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On December 14, 2019, the UAE celebrated what appeared to be a remarkable achievement. In just one year it had climbed 10 places on the Global Food Security Index, ranking 21st out of 113 countries and apparently on course to fulfil its extraordinary ambition of achieving a top-10 position by 2021. At the time, Mariam Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security, said the jump reflected the government’s determination “to transform the UAE into...

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Brett Girven is no ordinary headteacher. Possessing degrees in Zoology and Environmental Studies, and a passion for sustainability, the New Zealander presides over one of Dubai’s most progressive and disruptive education institutions: The Arbor School. His aim is to place awareness of the environment at the heart of his students’ experience of education.  The British Curriculum school, which opened in 2019, has been an instant hit among staff, students and parents who have been won...

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Have you ever heard the expression “live simply, so others may simply live”?   For the stereotypical UAE resident, that idea may be quite far from the reality of their luxury lifestyle. However, as we learn through almost daily apocalyptic headlines about the impact of climate change, if we don’t change the way we live to be more environmentally friendly, we might not have any chance of living at all in a few decades.   Fortunately, living...

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I was sitting down with the other board members of a local personal finance group, SimplyFI when I first noticed it: they were all thin.   Health and body weight had been weighing heavily on my mind, and when I looked around at the other financially astute members, this was the striking commonality. Several of them have already accrued enough wealth that they never have to work again — they’re what we call “financially independent” — but...

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By the looks of it, the global food supply chain hinges on just one country. Like other outdated systems of production currently breaking down as a result of years of pandemic and geopolitical recalibration, the way we produce and distribute food needs radical change. The centrality of Ukrainian wheat production is one particularly extreme demonstration of the weak links in the food system. Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus are major food producers that are facing a...

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The restrictions of the pandemic prompted a lot of different hobbies, and one that might be around to stay is cultivating a balcony garden. You can do it safely from the comfort of your own home, you can see the progress you’re making and it provides a real sense of  achievement. And with looming talk of food shortages, more people than ever are interested in taking empowering first steps to becoming more self-sustainable.  New research...

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Under majestic palm trees, groups would gather to listen to Prophet Mohammed. Isaac Newton discovered the law of gravity sitting under an apple tree. And it was in the shade of a massive Bodhi tree that a prince found enlightenment and became the Buddha. For centuries great thinkers have found answers to life’s deepest questions in nature, while everyday people have sought both meaning and comfort there.  Trees and the vegetation around them not only provide...

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For several years, Single Use Plastic (SUP) has somewhat dominated the region’s recycling landscape, with numerous campaigns highlighting its negative environmental impact and water bottles becoming synonymous with the fight for sustainability.  Since 2009, the UAE-based social enterprise Goumbook has been at the heart of such initiatives and was the driving force behind what became the nationwide campaign Dubai Can, endorsed by HH Sheikh Hamdan, Crown Prince of Dubai.  Recently, however, Goumbook has shifted its...

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It’s no secret that the UAE capital is home to a vast array of unique wildlife, but still, the fact that Abu Dhabi has the second largest dugong population in the world is nothing short of amazing.   Known as a ‘sea cow’ due to its love for foraging on seagrass beds, there are about 3,000 of these harmless sea mammals living in the emirate’s waters.  Dugongs are a huge part of the area’s maritime culture...

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The United Nation’s (UN) 17 interlinked Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are designed to guide nations, organizations, and individuals towards a brighter and more sustainable future. They cover the different facets of sustainability, from reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions, to eliminating hunger and poverty as well as improving access to clean air and water. The problem with such macroeconomic factors is that they fail to engage the general population. Power generation, transportation, manufacturing and agriculture...

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The pursuit of an equilibrium between humans and nature is a central part of the ongoing fight against climate change. While the scales may have felt increasingly imbalanced in our favour in recent years, addressing more of humanity’s problems through an environmental lens could hold the key to finding better solutions.  The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG) provide a framework for this approach and while Goal 13 — “Take urgent action to combat climate...