The future of the planet lies in the hands of the younger generation. To achieve a sustainable future, the Environmental Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has been creating a positive impact on community members and students through its several programmes and outreach initiatives, including Naha and e-green platforms.

Rasha Ali Al Midfai, acting director of the environmental awareness department, environmental information, science, and outreach management at EAD, told Khaleej Times about the various efforts to address environmental issues.

“We launched the Naha platform to turn climate intentions into actions, aiming to encourage and inspire community members to be proactive in creating a sustainable future,” Al Midfai said about the platform launched in November last year.

She pointed out that by offering more than eight programmes, the Naha platform promotes education and awareness surrounding various environmental issues.

“Through these programmes, people are encouraged to explore innovative solutions and to foster collaboration between individuals and organisations to create a sustainable future.”

Impacting 1.8 million students

One of the programmes, Enviro-Spellathon, is making a significant impact on environmental education by providing a holistic, accessible, and interactive learning experiences specific to the UAE’s unique ecosystems.

“Since its launch, Enviro-Spellathon has reached 1.8 million UAE students, offering challenges in English and Arabic, with Braille options to ensure inclusive learning.”

Catering to varying interests, Enviro-Spellathon covers a range of topic and levels from wildlife in the UAE, seas, the desert, and cities, with the latest level covering climate change and its impact on the environment.

“The platform’s comprehensive approach instils a sense of responsibility towards the environment while ensuring universal accessibility through bilingual content and interactive engagement, making environmental education compelling and effective for all learners. We pledge to continue providing captivating and motivating programmes to guide, support, encourage and propel members of the community towards a brighter, greener world.”

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E-Green learning platform

The launch of the e-Green learning platform in schools aims to have a profound impact on both students and the environment, Al Midfai said.

“This innovative platform is tailored to discuss and uncover distinctive ecological challenges and opportunities specific to the region. E-Green provides students with a comprehensive understanding of environmental issues relevant to the local context. Through interactive modules and engaging content, students gain practical insights into sustainable practices, resource conservation, and environmental leadership,” Al Midfai noted about the initiative launched in October 2022.

Covering a diverse range of subjects from marine ecosystems to sustainable urbanisation, the courses are curated and delivered by industry experts, providing users with credible and practical insights to advance their knowledge.

“While actively contributing to environmental sustainability, the platform helps cultivate a generation of environmentally conscious individuals who are capable of making informed decisions in their daily lives. E-Green promotes a shift towards an eco-friendlier educational approach, reducing the consumption of paper and other resources associated with traditional learning methods in schools. This transition aligns with global efforts towards sustainability and reinforces Abu Dhabi’s commitment to environmental conservation.”

Larger objectives

Al Midfai noted that these initiatives not only stimulate proactive involvement, but also contribute to meeting the UAE’s strategic sustainability guidelines and goals, such as Net Zero by 2050.

“Through more awareness and environmental education, we are directing future leaders’ attention to the importance of protecting the environment.”

EAD’s initiatives support international blueprints on environmental education, she underlined.

“For example, the recent World Environmental Education Congress was held in Abu Dhabi for the first time and showcased our unwavering commitment to achieve unified action.”

Convening representatives from more than 80 countries, the congress included a Youth Environmental Education Congress (YEEC) to enable young changemakers discuss various environmental shortages.

“This specialised congress provided an open forum for shared insights to champion a zero-carbon world. A testament to joint forces, YEEC also celebrated the collaborative efforts of universities in response to urgent environmental challenges including climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.”

Al Midfai pointed out that another priority objective is the conservation of the UAE’s ecosystems, through monitoring and analysis, for generations to come.

“One of our programmes, the Murshed – Youth Rangers initiative is specifically aimed to attract young people to get actively involved in environmental conservation. Through hands-on experience, youth rangers gain insight on the measurable impact of their actions, eliciting a sense of responsibility towards preserving the nation’s precious ecosystems,” Al Midfai underlined.

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