Children Driving the Green Movement - Environmental Academy in UAE

November 21, 2013
Enviro Dress-Up

“Stop Talking, Start Planting” was the message which over 200 enthusiastic green crusaders pledged at the 4th environmental academy conducted by Green Hope UAE at the JSS Private School auditorium today, the 26th of October. The aim of the academy was to empower children in the fight for Climate Justice through planting trees.

In my role as the UAE’s academy coordinator, I conducted the country’s first Plant-for-the-Planet academy one year ago and the huge turnout and response encouraged me to hold one every quarter since. Today’s event was the fourth and by far the largest to date. Students attended from a multitude of schools, many of them leaving as early as 6am from Abu Dhabi to be in time for registration at 8am.

It was a day long event attended by children and youth ranging in age from 5 to 18. Addressing such a diverse age group is always a challenge but the interactive presentations, group activity, workshop, quiz and role play made it an extremely engrossing event. We held a very unique activity called the “Enviro Dress-Up” . The participants were divided into groups and were given a set of daily waste materials such as cardboard boxes, plastic packets, cups and plates. Each group then created a dress out of it which was modeled by a volunteer on stage. The idea was to convey the message that waste could be “upcycled".  The response of the participants to this activity was simply amazing. The aim of this workshop was to convey to the participants the urgent need for sustainable consumption in our lives.

The highlight of the day was the planting of 206 saplings which was an emphatic green statement by the participants who pledged to plant a million trees in their lifetime. I had earlier in the year spoken at the 12th Youth Assembly at the United Nations in New York on the Millennium Development Goals and its transition to the post 2015 agenda. These goals were explained at the academy in detail as was the importance of engaging children and youth who are the amongst the largest constituents of civil society. Participants stuck their sustainable pledges on a world map which showed the transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the Sustainable Development Goals. New concepts such as Upcycling, as opposed to the more popular “recycling”, were also dwelled upon.

This academy proved that the green movement in the region is truly underway and events such as these provide the catalytic spark which ignite latent passion in children and youth to work towards safeguarding the future.

The event was widely reported in the media which helped us to reach deep into our community.


Submitted by: Kehkashan Basu – COE Hub Leader , Dubai

4th environmental academy conducted by Green Hope UAE

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