With so much media criticism leveled at businesses and governments for their failure to incorporate more sustainable practices, it’s helpful to ensure that a path to achieving sustainability is clear. And so far, it isn’t. Ever tried changing a system in your own household? Like not using plastic bags?
After deciding to leave plastic behind forever, how long did it take before you consistently remembered to carry your re-usable bag to the grocery store? Chances are, you still slip up. That’s because old habits do die hard, especially in Abu Dhabi, where environmental awareness is only gradually being mapped. But with help from Eva Ramos, the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group is leading the Emirate down a greener path.Finding alternatives to the status quo takes a certain kind of expertise, something that Mrs. Ramos appears to have plenty of. Originally from Spain, Mrs. Ramos lends fifteen years of sustainability experience to Abu Dhabi, and carries three degrees stamped with her name. The Emirate really needs her help.
After years of economic growth, Abu Dhabi’s already strained natural resources are in serious jeopardy but many citizens and businesses continue to waste energy and water.
“We live in a mirage and forget that our ecological system here is very limited, so we need to use these things in a very wise way for future generations, otherwise we will leave them with nothing,” she told The National.
“The Government alone cannot change the other social problems we are facing, such as the high unemployment rate or labour practices, unless companies and citizens participate in resolving these issues,” she added.
So Eva – who works for the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) as the senior sustainability specialist oversees training and support programs aimed at coordinating efforts to manage the intertwined trio of ecological, economic, and social impacts.
To further this goal, she started the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group in 2008, which combines the efforts of 21 government agencies, private companies, and other incoming organizations. In so doing, one hopes that sustainability efforts will culminate in the achievement of common goals.
The group commits to reporting new management approaches and measuring their performance, all of which is compiled in an annual report. This seems a bit heavy on the administrative end and light on action, especially given that Abu Dhabi in the last month has pushed through two decidedly unsustainable moneymaking ventures, but Mrs. Ramos appears to have her heart in the right place.
“I’ve always wanted to improve and change things, and I saw how that kind of work was a way to contribute to the world that I live in,” she explained to The National.
Every day she reminds her daughter to turn off the tap while brushing her teeth – an effort to adjust the young girl’s attitude toward this limited resource. It is this kind of paradigm shift that needs to occur among the general populace as well, followed by a few concrete examples of a better way.
:: The National
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