We are currently embarking on what we call the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration. What on earth are we talking about? You! (And Earth, of course.)
Be it forests, seas, or deserts, it is important to preserve the state of our ecosystems as it is what holds health and biodiversity. In other words, we can only thrive and flourish if our home is in good shape. For a long time, we have been causing massive destruction to our ecosystems through the progression of civilisation and exploitation.
Fortunately, there are several ways for us to decelerate this destruction and assist our planet in healing. 5th June marks what we know as World Environment Day. The theme focuses on our efforts in fostering recovery to those ecosystems we have degraded and in conserving the ones that are still intact.
You can choose to be a part of #GenerationRestoration where we aim to recover our ecosystems for our future and Mother Nature.
Every effort counts so here are some ideas for you to contribute to this mission.
- Collect recyclables
Emirates Environmental Group (EEG) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting the environment through education and community outreach programmes.
If you are based in the UAE, join this summer initiative with your community!
Collect recyclables with the people you live with and forge a closer bond with the ones in your community. Reach the targets and you will have an indigenous tree planted under your name! To find out more, you can visit their website at www.eeg-uae.org or contact email@example.com
- Plant a tree
How about offsetting your carbon emissions by planting a tree?
Goumbook is a local social enterprise that focuses on the efforts of a greener economy in the region. You can contribute to their mission through the Give a Ghaf tree planting programme where you purchase a Ghaf seed and they grow it for you. The Ghaf is the national tree of the UAE. Do not let its luscious green leaves fool you, the Ghaf stands tall even during a drought. If the idea of planting a Ghaf yourself excites you, Goumbook holds an annual planting day for those that purchase a seed from them.
If you don't have the time to plant a tree with your bare hands (we all live hectic lives!), then check out Tree Nation. Tree Nation is a non-profit organisation that allows citizens and companies to plant trees all around the world and offset their CO2 emissions. You can plant a tree for as low as 1 €, and Tree Nation has tree planting projects all over the globe: from India to Peru and more! A Terminalia arjuna (which costs 1 €) offsets up to a whopping 800kg of carbon dioxide over its lifetime. You can decide to do tree planting as a one-time thing or even become an “offset citizen” similar to what we do where we contribute monthly. Find out more here.
- Run for the oceans
For every person on this planet, one ton of plastic exists in our oceans. Lingering around for centuries, they find their way into our bodies through the water we drink and seafood we consume. Animals often tangle up with these plastics and if not, wrongfully ingest them. If we do not take action now, there will be more plastics than fish in our oceans by 2050.
Adidas x Parley “Run for the Oceans” returns for a fourth year and for every kilometer you run, they clean up the equivalent of 10 plastic bottles from beaches and islands. In conjunction with this global initiative, you can now find a floating walkway along the fountains at The Pointe. Giving you the experience of running over waters, this 250m running track is accessible daily from 6pm to 12am till the 8th of June. Its entrance can be accessed from the front of LadBurger located in the eastern side of The Pointe.
Play your part for a healthier marine ecosystem by signing up here. There is also a calendar of community runs planned, access it here. For that extra push to get off your couch, join this Facebook group!
Make smart choices
- Sustainable shopping
Fun fact: 1kg of cotton is required to produce a pair of jeans. It takes 10,000 litres of water to grow that kilogram of cotton and this is equivalent to 10 years’ worth of a single person’s water consumption! The carbon footprint of your favourite clothing may be more than you think huh!
After production, transportation for sale and even its disposal leads to more emissions. To prolong the lifespan of our clothing and minimize the need for fast fashion, an ideal way is to give it a second life.
We are dedicated to giving clothes a new lease of life. We sort through pre-loved (or even new!) clothes for various causes such as donation, restoration, upcycling and for sale into new homes.
Besides the fact that 100% of our profits go to Gulf for Good (gulf4good.org), you will be pleased to know that for World Environment Day, we will be planting a tree for every purchase in-store through Tree-Nation. We will also be giving you a little special gift - seed paper (coriander and parsley seeds) from Quarter Moon - with every purchase.
If you would like to keep up with us, we regularly hold workshops and pop-ups that center around the theme of sustainability and community bonding. These activities are held to raise awareness as well as fund various international charity projects.
Visit us at our store (Golden Mile Galleria Building 8) or shop our online collection today.
- Environmentally-friendly consumption
We know that reducing our meat and dairy intake helps the environment. Why? Think of the space taken up to herd, water needed to farm, and the high carbon emissions produced by animals bred for the food industry. 1kg of beef produces 60 times more greenhouse gases than the same amount of peas. Even methane from cow’s farts has a warming potential of 28 times more than carbon dioxide itself!
Let’s be realistic - most of us are unable to commit to a full plant-based lifestyle *hello KFC* and there is nothing wrong with that. Try having a vegan day once a week (or month), and experiment with plant-based foods. Who knows, you might enjoy it! Here are some simple ways to make a difference.
- Plant-based diet
Did you know? More than 65% of the world’s population is lactose intolerant. Most of us experience some sort of symptoms such as bloating whether we notice it or not. There are a variety of plant-based, cruelty-free milks such as almond, soy, oat, rice and even hazelnut. Not only tasty, they are easier on your tummies and are typically lower in calories! Food4less sells such milks at half the price compared to regular supermarkets.
(Photo: Mylk Lab by Genki)
Nothing beats a freshly squeezed option and the Mylk Lab by Genki is here to give you that homemade zest. Made in small batches daily, Genki’s Mylks are free of the nasties such as thickeners, additives and preservatives. With more than 10 different exciting flavours such as Ferrero Leche Hazelnut Almond Mylk or Matcha Delight Pumpkin Seed Mylk, the original Pure Bliss Almond Mylk itself also comes in a half light version. You can visit their store in Jumeirah (Wasl 51 Mall - Al Wasl Rd - Dubai) or order online by clicking here.
Besides vegan milk, it may surprise you that there are also plant-based cheeses in the market. Grawtitude caters to the community with its caringly crafted wide selection of cheeses that are made from cashew nuts. Their aged classics include brie, blue and gouda. If you are looking for something lighter, take a look at their menu of mouth-watering spreads consisting of sour cream and truffle.
For a local touch, try the Zaatar soul pods concocted by Food for Soul. Food for Soul also creates vegan and nut-based cheeses but with a flavourful kick. They pride themselves on locally sourced ingredients with no added preservatives or artificial sugar. Items such as the black pepper or jalapeno & oregano soul pods will be sure to ignite your senses and tease your tastebuds! Make your own cheese board *or order one* with them today!
The vegan world is colourful and delectable. For vegan meal plans, take a look at Sage or Pumpkin & Kale. For that plant-based gelato or sorbets, go to Artiserie. As for our round delights of joy, we recommend the vegan options at Freedom Pizza - the Beyond Pizza is our personal favourite.
- Opting for organic
Choosing organic helps in our mission for sustainability and the preservation of our ecosystems. Nitrogen-based fertilisers’ release greenhouse gases that are detrimental to our environment). Similar to pesticides, they pollute groundwater and can cause contamination of air, threatening the health of humans and animals alike. Here are some local options.
(Photo: Big farm brothers)
With no minimum order or delivery charges, Big farm brothers break the stereotype of expensive organic products with their unbeatable prices at great quality. They offer a selection of herbs, spices, pulses, beans, rice and even artisan products that are sourced directly from local farmers and growers. They encourage their farmers to practice sustainable methods of farming and your purchase is a voice to support and persuade these farmers to grow their produce organically.
(Photo: My Farm Dubai)
For fruits or vegetables, take a look at My Farm Dubai. Their produce is grown locally and organically. By buying direct from farmers here in the UAE, you contribute to the reduction of our carbon footprint. My Farm Dubai also has a distinct selection of honey, spirulina, and other infusions. They even serve to educate by holding farm tours and workshops that allow you to harvest vegetables on your own! If you aspire to have green fingers and grow your own produce in our desert, don’t hesitate to reach out to them.
Other farm-to-table organic growers in the UAE include Greenheart and Emirates Bio Farm.
Raise your voice!
There are many ways to spread awareness about the environment and engage the people around you.
Regardless of who you are, you can always hold conversations for sustainability. For example, does your classroom or office already have a recycling bin? If not, choose to take the initiative and coordinate one. Perhaps a beach clean-up day where participants pick up litter for a healthier marine ecosystem? Or a crafts day using recyclables?
(Photo: Companies for Good)
An organisation like Companies for Good can help achieve your firm’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) goal. They work hand-in-hand with local charities to come up with team bonding activities for businesses while doing good. One of such on their list is having the team clean up mangroves while kayaking. This would take place in Abu Dhabi, protecting ecosystems right here in the UAE. They facilitate packages for different group sizes and make organising an event for your team easy.
Dubai Municipality will be launching a virtual exhibition on the 6th of June featuring exclusively the theme of ecosystem preservation in conjunction with this year’s World Environment Day. It begins at 10am and is accessible through this link.
This event, known as “One minute for the environment” will start off with a virtual seminar and will showcase a series of videos from the community about their aligned aspirations for our planet and ecosystems. Invite your friends along to witness these heartwarming creatives and hold a discussion after!
Essentially whatever you do matters. Whether it is switching off your lights before leaving home or joining a volunteer programme, World Environment Day reminds us to love the very being that holds our existence and keeps us alive. Every effort in preserving our environment and Mother Earth will have an impact on our planet.
Interested to learn more? Here is a link to get you started in anticipation for World Environment Day 2021.