Intersection of law with Environmental Sciences
By: Fadia Al-Balawi
Sometimes I immerse myself in thinking about the impact I have left on the environment as a Saudi individual. The Earth's lungs have suffocated from factory smoke, its soil polluted with plastic plates and cups that resist decomposition, and its rare trees have learned how to produce thorns to protect themselves against flying plastic bags. The pure air has become something of pure imagination. #Green_Saudi_Arabia starts from our homes, and even before that, it starts from our minds. Have you ever tried embracing a tree?
Law and the Environment:
Our country protects its plants and animals, which represent natural wealth, through the law. Just as the law protects human lives and bodies, it protects the body of the environment. Although our homeland sometimes fails to assert its rights, the Saudi environmental law demands it. We are a part of the Earth, and the Earth is a part of us. We are the ones whom Allah honored to be custodians of His land. Have we fulfilled our stewardship? That is the question being asked, and sometimes the answer is forgotten. That's why I'm here, trying to remind.
With the issuance of the new Saudi Environmental law in the year 1441 AH, 10/07/2020 AD, which abolished the previous regulations, a unified system was established for all laws related to environmental conservation. It reflects a tremendous effort and great concern by the country for the environment. The Saudi law, which includes penalties and fines, including:
"It is prohibited to engage in any activity that could pollute the environmental media and water resources, cause harm to them, or negatively affect their utilization." Article 6 of the Environmental Law. For more details on the Law, please refer to it. Source
The Saudi law stipulates fines in the new environmental law and clarifies the methods of imposing fines in the executive regulations of the law. There are fines for starting fires and water pollution. The issue of the environment continues to occupy the Saudi legislature. The focus on the environment and combating climate change is inherent in our Islamic religion and Arab culture.
The Saudi Bedouin and the Environment:
Caring for the environment and advocating for a more environmentally friendly lifestyle is not a Western import. In addition to Islam's emphasis on environmental conservation and animal rights, the Arab Bedouins had a closer connection to the environment. They were more aware of its fluctuations. The relationship between the Bedouins and nature was intimate, but it faded away with civilization and industrial progress. The Bedouin Arab was attentive to the direction of the wind and its currents when pitching his tent. He would sense the suitability of the land for habitation and livestock grazing by observing its plant life. He could even predict whether a cloud would bring rain today or tomorrow without holding a degree in environmental science. The same was true for Bedouin women, who used herbs to heal and treated patients using the earth's herbs and plants. They excelled at making jewelry and cosmetic powders from nature. Concepts like "natural" and "organic" were closer to us than the West, which only recently recognized the idea of constant human connection with nature.
Conscious Individual Behavior:
Afforestation, abstinence from excessive consumption, and sharing surplus food are all environmental Islamic values that need to be revived in the spirit of the new generation of Saudis. By doing so, we affirm that environmental care is not a Western value imported from abroad, but an authentic value in our Arab and Islamic heritage. Through this simple post, I am trying to promote environmental awareness and revive the authentic perspective towards nature.
Environmental Economy and the Law:
Law intersects with the field of economics, and one form of this intersection is the promotion of environmentally friendly economic values. This approach is adopted by the Saudi government and aligned with Vision 2030. The green economy is an economy that considers environmental and human interests, taking into account the escalating environmental problems.
Abu al-Ala al-Ma'arri and Environmental Philosophy:
Studying the relationship between humans and the environment is not a product of Western thought. On the contrary, Western environmental thought was influenced by local environmental thought. The first vegetarian philosopher in human history was Arab, and the first to contemplate the human-animal relationship and establish a code of ethics for ethical consumption of the flesh of another being (humane slaughter) was not a Western philosopher, but an Arab messenger, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Do the modern generation realize these facts? Or are they overlooked amidst their preoccupation with what they consider less important than climate change and global warming? The Earth is screaming for help! Let us implement the environmental system.