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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 05/06/2014
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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) An advocate for renewable energy swan was in dubai to deliver a talk hosted by dewa on the occasion of world environment day.

thought for the day: a withering tree in al quoz dubai. while rising sea level is the theme of this year’s world environment day receding groundwater table is a growing concern in the region. — kt photo by shihab

the scariest moment in robert swan’s life was when he was on an expedition to antarctica. the third man in a line of explorers he had just taken a step forward and turned to look back when he saw a huge hole appear where he had been standing seconds earlier.

“you become incredibly aware of the changes taking place around you based on the colour of the ice and the sound it’s making” said the polar explorer environmentalist and pubic speaker.

an advocate for renewable energy swan was in dubai to deliver a talk hosted by dubai electricity and water authority (dewa) on the occasion of world environment day.

it was part of dewa’s corporate social responsibility supporting national and global initiatives that raise environmental awareness and highlight the need for conservation.

a united nations environment programme (unep) initiative this year world environment day — june 5 — is dedicated to make people aware and understand how sea levels are rising due to climate change. the theme is ‘raise your voice not the sea level’.

dubai municipality plans mall activities contests

staff reporter

mall visitors in dubai will be told how they can help combat rising sea levels and climate change during the world environment day celebrations by the dubai municipality.

the civic body is organising a range of programmes and activities to create awareness of environment conservation on world environment day 2014 today. the opening of the activities will be held in the souk hall of the dubai mall at 6pm.

“under the united nations environment programme theme ‘raise your voice not the sea level’ the civic body aims to educate the young generation on the importance of environment protection through different activities and competitions” said alya abdulrahim al harmoudi director of the environment department of the municipality.

world environment day (wed) is the united nations’ principal vehicle for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the environment. over the years it has grown to be a broad global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated by stakeholders in over 100 countries. it also serves as the ‘people’s day’ for doing something positive for the environment galvanising individual actions into a collective power that generates an exponential positive impact on the planet.

“the focus this year is to create a greater understanding of the growing risks and vulnerability to natural and environmental disasters due to climate change which has resulted in an increase in sea level that can cause flooding and coastal erosion” said al harmoudi.

“we all have a duty to protect and nurture the environment and it is important to adopt eco practices from a very young age. through our eco-kiosk we intend to reach out to young minds and inspire them to work towards a better safer future” she added.

organised in collaboration with the environment centre for arab towns and the panasonic marketing middle east and africa the activities include an environmental film show in the municipality’s main building from 9am to 1.30pm; awareness programmes for students at the hor al anz office from 9am to 12noon which includes two workshops by civic body officials; a public programme in arabian center from 4pm to 9pm on june 11; in addition to presentations and exhibitions by different departments on their environmental activities and achievements.

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standing on a podium with a self-quote behind him that read ‘the greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it’ swan held the audience rapt with his inspiring talk on challenges while scaling icy terrain. he spoke of the importance of sustainability and how when you’re in a desert — a sandy or an icy one — you pick up climate signals from the surroundings.

the first person to walk to both the north and south pole swan is also the founder of 2041 a company dedicated to the preservation of the antarctic. with american author and journalist gil reavill he has co-authored a book: antarctica 2041: my quest to save the earth’s last wilderness.

swan delivered another inspirational speech at the opening of a subsequent workshop. emphasising the importance of will power to achieve one’s goals he underlined the importance of sustainable growth: “if we do not get back to using more clean and renewable technologies in the real world we cannot preserve the antarctic continent.”

praising the achievements of dubai in the field of sustainability he said the emirate’s visionary leadership has made sustainability a talking point in the region. swan also underscored the need to strengthen environmental awareness among the younger generation: “the decisions taken by the youth of today will affect our planet and the future of life on earth. we must encourage today’s youth to make positive decisions and enhance their role in the protection of the environment.”

from 2009 to 2013 dewa’s water savings amounted to nearly 5 billion imperial gallons from government education industrial commercial and residential sectors. the electricity and water savings together translate to dh662 million and counting in terms of money.

dewa also held a workshop at raffles hotel dubai to establish its work strategies for the next four years. saeed mohammed al tayer managing director and ceo said dewa is committed to become a sustainable world-class utility providing safe reliable and sustainable utility services and promote the emirate as a global hub for business finance tourism and green economy.

kehkashan basu global coordinator for children and youth unep major groups facilitating committee highlighted the role of children in achieving environmental sustainability through participation from various educational institutions in dubai.

a series of activities including environmental workshops games and quizzes were organised to engage students and inspire them to take positive action on environmental conservation.

participants also toured dewa’s sustainable building in al quoz and planted trees with noor and hayat dewa mascots.

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