Nature in Lebanon.. Beautiful Sanctuary for Soul in Stressful Environment…report

Nature is a safe haven for human beings in crisis situations, and a source of inspiration, tranquility, meditation and alleviation of the psychological stress that human beings experience in their daily lives. Major crises such as wars or natural disasters affirm the importance of nature as a safe haven for human beings. This applies to Lebanese people amid a marked increase in their uptake of nature, to alleviate psychological stress in the worst economic crisis in Lebanon's history.

In emergencies, seeking refuge in nature is very useful, as forests, beaches and scenic landscapes help relieve psychological stress and improve ones mood. Studies show that people living in nature feel happier and more satisfied with their lives in general.

Lebanese recourse to nature has recently increased by spending time with family and friends in nature, having food and drinks with them, and organizing group walks through tourist companies or individuals who have made nature a home for their livelihoods.

In a statement to Qatar News Agency , owner of "walk in nature" idea Naji Abdulkhaliq said that the idea came through a personal experience, as nature gives positive energy, psychological comfort, unloading negative energy and eliminating the pressures of the individual in their daily life, especially in the light of the crises experienced by the Lebanese citizen.

He explained that his project "Nature Journey" is interspersed with spending a full day in the nature, walking in beautiful environmental routes (mountains, scopes, valleys, river and waterfalls), indicating that trips include breathing techniques, benefits of nature and herbs, yoga, positive energy, your food is your medicine, and vegan food recipes.

Abdulkhaliq emphasized that the Lebanese use of nature has begun since the COVID-19 pandemic as the only breathing nature, under the social distancing imposed by the pandemic and continued since late 2019, with the onset of the economic crisis that has affected all of Lebanon.

Studies suggest that nature has important characteristics that can impact people positively, such as calm, serenity, positivity, vitality, growth and constant change. It is also known that exposure to natural light, fresh air and natural sounds may improve human mental and physical health.

In this context, psychiatrist Hala Abu Baraka confirmed to QNA that the recent increase in Lebanese recourse to nature, in view of the worsening living as well as living conditions, is due to the fact that nature's colors bring reassurance and tranquility to the human psyche and reduce tension, indicating that most relaxation to address psychiatric and neurological diseases require the evocation of nature. Under the current circumstances, a plethora of income groups had recourse to nature because nature did not require expenses for those with limited incomes. It was also reassuring for the affordable classes, who had resorted to it as a result of their psychological crises after losing their moneys in banks as a result of Lebanon's banking sector crisis.

Lebanese citizens told QNA that nature is a valuable source of inspiration, positivity, meditation and recovery. And, more than that, it can play an important role in improving human mental and physical health in crisis situations. Lebanese are therefore keen to approach, recognize and enjoy nature in an attempt to escape reflection after the financial crises and in the light of the increasing poverty rates among Lebanon's population and the prolonged food security crisis.

Lebanon is experiencing an economic and living crisis, with the World Bank ranking the Lebanese crisis among the 10 worst, perhaps among the three worst globally since the nineteenth century, while the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in a recent report revealed that Lebanon's poverty rate had risen to more than 82 percent of the population.

Moreover, In its latest reports on food security around the world, the World Bank said that Lebanon recorded the highest nominal food price inflation rate in the world during the February 2022 February 2023 period. The country registered 261% annual change in the food Consumer Price Index (CPI), followed by Zimbabwe (128%).

With regard to the real inflation rate, the report monitored an increase in the annual change in food prices in Lebanon by 71 percent during the comparison period, followed by Zimbabwe by 40 percent, Rwanda by 32 percent, and Egypt by 30 percent.

In a separate report on poverty, the World Bank warned that the economic situation in Lebanon was rapidly deteriorating, noting that the exchange rate of the national currency against the US dollar was trading at about LBP 100,000 to the dollar, which means that the national currency has lost 98 percent of its value since the economic crisis started in the last quarter of 2019.

The World Bank also said the failure to address the financial sector losses, estimated at about $72 billion, more than three times the gross domestic product, deepens the impact of the crisis. Recent field surveys have shown that the poverty rate continues to rise, as three out of five families classify themselves as poor or very poor, especially among those who do not receive remittances from abroad. While unemployment levels have decreased, the majority of people are now working in low-quality jobs.

In the updated forecasts, the World Bank estimated that the economy in Lebanon would contract by 0.5 percent at the end of this year, after the contraction rate decreased by 2.6 percent at the end of last yea. According to the World Food Program (WFP), and with the continued rise in food prices, food insecurity is expected to affect about 1.46 million Lebanese people and about 800,000 refugees by the end of this month.

Source: Qatar News Agency