The launch of a ‘Sustainable Lifestyles’ campaign will give more than 720 women in Abu Dhabi the opportunity to learn about the environment and how they can take positive action to protect the planet.

Over the next six months, monthly workshops will be held in various community centres across Abu Dhabi with the aim of raising awareness of environmental issues amongst women. The organisers hope that by engaging with women on issues such as waste and the importance of preservation, that eco attitudes will trickle down the wider community and encourage Emirati families to be more green. In 2006, Emirate beat the US as the country with the highest carbon footprint per capita and Dubai is similarly burdened with a high carbon footprint.

The ‘Sustainable Lifestyles’ project has been organized in partnership with the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi, the Family Development Foundation and the Emirate Wildlife Society-World Wide Fund for Nature. The first phase of the initiative was launched in early 2010 and attracted 215 women to three workshops held in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region. Ayesha Al Hameeri of the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi told the Gulf Today that the project was launched due to a belief in the “leadership role women can assume in protecting the environment.”

The two main aims of the initiative are the need to conserve resources such as energy and water as well as decreasing the output of waste- and plastic bags in particular. On average, the UAE uses around 2 billion plastic bags a year and the Ministry of Environment and Water has been working hard to reduce their use as part of its plans to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags by 2012. Workshops will focus on practical ways to reduce water consumption through water saving devices, highlight the negative impacts of plastic bags and recommend eco practices for the home, mosque, school and office. By mid-2011, the organisers hope to have reached out to 720 women from Abu Dhabi.


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