In an area the size of Wales centered on the Greek ruin here, the younger Qaddafi, a group of wealthy Libyans and a bevy of consultants are planning a carbon neutral green-development zone, catering to tourism and serving as a model for environmentally friendly design, they say.
The plan will protect Libya’s fantastic Greek and Roman ruins from haphazard developments as it protects the coastal ecosystem, one of the last remaining natural areas of the Mediterranean. Waters off Libya are the last remaining breeding grounds for a number of Mediterranean species, environmentalists say. The idea is that as Libya opens to the outside world it will not become “like the Spanish coast,” said the project’s financial adviser, Mahmoud A. Khosman. (It will also be a good investment.)But the intention is clearly broader than that. “They want to show the world that Libya has turned a corner, that they can fit into the modern world,” said George Joffe, a research fellow at Cambridge who specializes in the region.
On paper, at least, Green Mountain is ambitious. But paper is the sole place it exists, and many people here voiced skepticism that it would materialize. Its energy would come from wind and solar power. Its waste would be recycled, and its trash converted to biofuel. Resorts, hotels, villas and residents’ villages would blend into the rugged landscape.