I think everyone who visits our site knows that I work with natural ingredients closely, and obviously natural ingredients need a clean environment! So our concern for the environment is always very strong.
The other day I overheard someone dear to me talking about Tamera Al Husseini and her work with the protection of tidal Mangroves, I was so relieved someone has dedicating so much love and time to the health of our sea, and was desperate to interview her and feature her, because we need to bring awareness to this very important subject! Clearly we are all experiencing global warming- right? Its November and no sign of winter chill or rain!
R: Tamera tell us a little about your background…
T: I’m an ecologist, I’ve been asked so many times why I chose the environmental field and I really don’t have a specific answer. I originally wanted to do art but I eventually decided on Ecology. My love grew from there.
R: I guess you must have had an interest in nature to edit out all the other zillions of options!
T: Yes I love nature…
R: Are you a Taurus?
T: No I’m a Virgo
R: So that means you like to be useful?
T: Yes I really do like to be useful; I decided that the career that I choose would be something useful …
R: Ok let’s talk about your work for Bahrain’s beaches. Bahrain is really a little piece of heaven however it hasn’t grown to reflect the heaven that it is. When I was a teacher in UCB university, we did a Photography documentary exhibition about Bahrain’s beaches, I wanted to send out postcards of the trashed beaches, I remember feeling really disturbed because I really wanted to go the beach and I was really disappointed all of them were in bad shape. So I had the opportunity to communicate this issue on a larger scale because I was in a position to do that as a teacher. I gave the students a project to photograph the beaches, they had all the basic technical skills to compose and shoot documentary photos and they captured really disastrous documentary images (with good composition- I was a proud teacher). Someone actually managed to photograph a sewage truck dumping sewage in Seef. This exhibition was really powerful. So I was really relieved when my sister told me someone was doing something to neutralize the toxicity. I know I will sound ignorant especially after being so excited about you growing mangroves but could you clarify, what are mangroves?
T: They’re a species that we go crazy for environmental field, they are a tree but the thing about them is that they grow in the shoreline. They only grow in salt water and they get really big. The gulf only has 1 species but there are quite a few different ones. The mangroves in Arad Bay were actually planted through government initiatives- which at the moment is run by The Directorate of Biodiversity within The Supreme Council for Environment. They are actually a really good directorate, certain things are beyond their control but they care a lot and enjoy their work.
R: Why specifically mangroves, what do they do for the environment?
T: They form a really important ecosystem, they provide nurseries and breeding grounds for a lot of fish species, so when we do the planting we get to see all the creatures and it’s amazing. Within the environment field there is something called ecosystem services and it’s a huge thing, it’s everything that the environment provides us like wood for fuel but also services like water filtration and pollination. Mangroves provide a huge service. It’s not so obvious in Bahrain but in SE Asia they’re really important for coastline integrity, if they rip up the mangroves they expose themselves to storms, tides, any kind of coastal degradation. So to get people to understand the importance of ecosystem services its really hard because you cant put a value on it, so by calculating how much damage they prevent you can really make people understand the value of the mangroves.
R: There’s a lot of pollution in the ocean, where does one start to clean up the damage we do! Clearly prioritizing mangroves seems to be really strategic?
T: It is a very strategic way, as I’ve said before they provide an important habitat for marine species and birds. They have so many other advantages, its great for helping with coastal problems and useful for combating climate change; they’re a huge carbon sink. They have lots of different ways to help the environment. They’re great for ecotourism too as they’re so beautiful. They are a great attraction in Abu Dhabi.
R: Mangroves is one thing you do, is there anything else?
T: in terms of the ocean, no, but I at the Directorate of Biodiversity am working on a project called the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan. The Directorate is also responsible for the 6 nationally protected biodiversity communities in Bahrain. The Directorate works on legislation and management but there are so many limitations such as financial constraints but also lack of public awareness to support issues like the environment.
R: But the public doesn’t know, we don’t know that you need our help…
T: Yes it’s a double-edged sword, the public doesn’t know but they also need to open their eyes more. Ill give you an example, we get complaints that the area in Arad gets dirty, but the mess all comes from public.
R: If I wanted to be more pro-active about supporting you what can I do?
T: An interesting thing to look at is the national report on Bahrain’s Biodiversity released by the SCE. It is available to the public. Ill gives you an example of a resource which I worked on personally. It’s called Bnature www. Bnature.info. It has a list of all the protected areas and species in Bahrain. We are really pushing it and trying to get more awareness, we self fund the website. We’re up on social media too.
[Please visit the site bnature.info and take a look at what they have put together so far!]
R: Ok Lets talk about you? How do you stay healthy?
T: I do a lot of things, Muay Thai - Thai kick boxing, and I also do Jiu Jitsu, which is a Brazilian Martial art.
R: Why Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
T: That was an offshoot of Muay Thai and I started Muay Thai when I was 18 because I wanted to learn self-defense before I went to university. I do that and I do football. Those are my main sports. I try to eat well and I don’t smoke. I keep a balanced diet. I tried a lot of different diets, and now balance is my diet!
R: How do you moisturize?
T: I moisturize with a combination of Origins face wash and Green Bar Moon Water and Origins for Moisturizer. I like the natural stuff. I also love the Black Vanilla, it definitely helped with the itching, but I wasn’t strict about putting it on every day so I couldn’t notice if it stopped mosquito bites. (I had no idea she was our client FYI!!)
Lipstick or Lip Gloss: lipstick, gloss is too impractical and sticky
Curly or Blow-dried: Blow-dried
Dress or Pants: Pants
Manicure- Round or Square nails: Natural!
Heels or Flats: Flats
Hair up or down: Down
Rose or Hibiscus: Rose
Tea or Coffee: Any tea, not coffee
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