The main problem with a lot of green events and green conferences is that they end up preaching to the choir. The green-savvy will attend to learn more but it’s very hard to convince new people with no prior interest in the issue to give up their time to discuss a brand new topic. This is where the SustainabilityCamp conference in the UAE comes in.
Two weeks ago, it brought together people with interests in health, education, art and youth issues to discuss the interconnectedness of sustainability issues and what they can do to make their city and country more sustainable.
Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Ali al Nuaimi, the ‘Green Sheikh’, launched the event with a brainstorm around personal steps that participants can take to build a greener planet. He also added that the only way for change to happen is to be the change we wish to see.
Many of the participants pledged to work towards a more sustainable UAE and steps that they suggested included everything from supporting sustainability projects to taking and watering plants at work.
As well as looking at building a more sustainable community, the power of art to communicate important green messages was also discussed. Although Abu Dhabi is planning to ban plastic bags completely by the year 2013, the issue of plastic bag usage in UAE is still contentious and the participants took part in making a sculpture made out of plastic bags to highlight the hazards of plastic bags to nature and ways to reduce their usage.
A ‘First Milestone’ meeting will be held later this month for participants to catch up and discuss how their pledges are getting on and how to push things further. Let’s hope that this is the first step for many green-newbies on the path towards a more sustainable future.
Image via SustainabilityCamp.
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