Reviving an oasis and harvesting water on an individual and community scale, through traditional, innovative natural solutions in water retention and erosion control: A green infrastructure project in Gharyan, Libya
Reviving an oasis and harvesting its waters is a work of symbolic blessing. In a famous story called “The Alchemist”, the hero visits wisdom keepers who live in the desert at the Oasis AlFayoum. They explain that people who live together must honour traditions that help them survive. And tradition says that the oasis is neutral territory, respected by everyone for its promise that there can be some measure of peace on earth. At the same time, tradition says that the people of the desert should believe the desert’s messages.
This project, “Regenerating Ancient Water” is listening to the new message of climate change. Answering the problems everyone faces around the world from more intense weather, the project provides the opportunity for the people who live in El-Qabel to hear and respond to a message of hope for transforming a dry and erosive landscape into one of renewed fertility. “It takes everyone to change everything,” someone once said, and the Ancient Water project is different from most. Everyone in Gharyan is needed and will be invited to help meet the challenge of arid communities to make Gharyan and Libya bloom once more in solidarity and peace. Combining new knowledge from engineering experts who know how to keep drought from getting worse, with the timeless knowledge coming from the experience of citizens of a historic community, the Ancient Water project will also include young people who understand that we are all an intimate part of the flow of nature’s life-giving forces. Our community outreach will offer presentations and conversations that welcome everyone into deep dialogue and reflection, and expand the wisdom needed to welcome back the beloved olive trees, whose branches are yet another symbol of peace with our neighbours and reconciliation with nature.