TIME

MAKING CHANGE

Eight young leaders on their visions for the decade ahead, from ending nuclear threats to fixing inequality and the environment

BASIMA ABDULRAHMAN

Sustainable architect, Iraq

Basima Abdulrahman was studying at Auburn University in Alabama when ISIS took over swaths of her native Iraq in 2014. As the Iraqi army, backed by a U.S.-led coalition, fought the militants, dozens of towns, including much of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, were destroyed.

When Abdulrahman, 32, returned home after finishing her master’s in structural engineering, she saw a silver lining in the rubble of her beloved country. “When we rebuild, we can make sure we are using the right materials—efficient in terms of water and energy consumption,” she says. “There is an opportunity because we have so much rebuilding to do.”

In 2017, she founded KESK, Iraq’s first initiative dedicated to green building, offering design and consulting services. Creating greener structures means combining the latest energy-efficient technologies and materials with Iraq’s traditional building methods.

“Indigenous practices, like building blocks made of clay, are better for the environment than cement,” she says, adding that the dome-shaped homes popular in some parts of Iraq help airflow and reduce energy consumption.

Abdulrahman wants the country to do its part to combat global warming, but its shortages of electricity and water make efficient building even more important. Erbil, where Abdulrahman lives, suffers hours of power cuts every day, and water shortages were so bad in other parts of the country over the summer that the government halted water-intensive rice farming.

The biggest challenge, she says, is a lack

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