Renewable Energy in GCC: Need for a Holistic Approach

The importance of renewable energy sources in the energy portfolio of any country is well known, especially in the context of energy security and impacts on climate change. The growing quest for renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries has been seen by many as both – a compulsion to complement the rising energy demand, and as an economic strength that helps them in carrying forward the clean energy initiatives from technology development to large scale deployment of projects from Abu Dhabi to Riyadh. Current Scenario The promotion of renewable energy (RE) is becoming an … Continue reading

How Minimalism and Sustainability Go Hand in Hand

A topic that has been gathering momentum as of late. The idea of sustainability is rapidly becoming a popular trend and the reduction in fossil fuel usage is testament to that fact. However, sustainability is not just found in the energy sector. Sustainability has become a trend in all aspects of life. So much so that it has become a lifestyle for some. Minimalism has rapidly become a popular way of life as well, providing great benefits to those living according to it. To start, it is important to define these terms and how they can relate to one another. … Continue reading

15 Inspirational Quotes On The Environment

With the New Year’s upon us, global citizens are beginning to think about their goals and what they want to accomplish in 2022. Many people focus on their finances, while others may be thinking about their health and relationships. Yet there is still one relationship that many people have forgotten: our relationship with Earth. In May of 2006, the film “An Inconvenient Truth” was released and for the first time in a long time, our environmental needs and causes was on everyone’s mind. But since then, it seems as though many of our sustainability challenges have been forgotten or swept … Continue reading

Green Building Sector in the UAE: Perspectives

The focus on sustainability is one of the biggest trends in the GCC’s building sector. This is underpinned by Dubai being ranked third in the list of global cities with the highest number of green certified buildings in the ‘Sustainability and Wellness in Dubai’ report by Core Savills with over 550 projects under LEED certification and the implementation of the Estidama framework in Abu Dhabi. Paving the Way In the UAE, the directives by the Federal and Local Government entities to establish a sustainable economy that advocates demand side-energy management, and water & energy use efficiency has encouraged real estate … Continue reading

Impact of IoT on Sustainable Development

The Internet of Things (IoT) is currently trending with its ever expanding eco-system of digital sensors, appliances and wearable smart devices. Like other sectors, the role of IoT in sustainable development and environment protection will be crucial in the coming years. Environmental degradation is occurring all over the world. Land degradation, deforestation and desertification pose a growing threat to food security and water availability. Widespread loss of biological diversity is undermining the productive capacity of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. This reduces access to essential environmental goods and services, including vital ecological processes such as water purification, nutrient cycling, control of … Continue reading

Re-thinking Sustainable Innovation: A New Development Discourse

The climate change presents a challenge to science and policy makers to articulate a new discourse for  sustainable development. Although, the Middle East, the cradle of civilization, was  a fertile land, it was transformed by modern technology and new models of development into a vulnerable ecosystem. The Paradox The paradox is that we are witnessing high levels of poverty despite a growth in global GDP. Also, our natural capital is being degraded at an alarming rate. This is evident when we look at global indicators; i.e., the planet has lost half its mangrove in the last century, and about 70% … Continue reading

How Mindfulness Can Support Sustainability

Though the two may seem to lack connection, mindfulness and sustainability can actually go hand-in-hand. This may be especially true if you wish to adopt new sustainability practices or change various habits that affect the environment. So, how do they go together, and what can you do if you need help with mindfulness? About Mindfulness To understand how mindfulness can support sustainability, it may be helpful to first define mindfulness as a standalone concept. The American Psychological Association or APA dictionary describes and defines mindfulness as, “awareness of one’s internal states and surroundings.” Mindfulness is a common tool employed in … Continue reading

Humanizing Architecture – Through the Eyes of Abeer Seikaly

Through the jasmine-scented roads of L’weibdeh (Jordan) I navigated my way to Abeer Seikaly’s studio, an old house that resembles Jordan’s genuine and inspiring identity. Abeer Seikaly is a young Jordanian architect who has been featured on several global and local media platforms because of her innovation “Weaving a Home” that was shortlisted for the 2012 Lexus Design Award. Influence of Education and Local Knowledge Top architecture schools in the Arab world are heavily influenced by international trends in built environment and sustainability, and unfortunately Arabic reference material is largely ignored in teaching. The emerging thinking around built environment and its relationship … Continue reading

Water Resource Management in GCC – Issues and Challenges

GCC countries are suffering from a huge deficit in their water resources reaching more than 20 billion cubic meter, being met mainly by an intensive over-drafting of renewable and non-renewable groundwater resources for the agricultural sector, and by the extensive installation of highly expensive desalination plants for the municipal sector, and by reusing a small percentage of treated wastewater in the agricultural and municipal sector. Furthermore, conflict between the agricultural and domestic sectors on the limited water resources in the region are rising, and as a result, groundwater over-exploitation and mining is expected to continue in order to meet growing … Continue reading

Environment as a Peace-Building Tool

The world is changing demographically, economically, politically and environmentally. The acquisition of natural resources, such as water, can be viewed as a threat to the international security. Severe environmental degradation can deepen regional divisions and trigger social conflicts for communities that depend on these resources for their livelihoods and fulfillment of basic needs. Moreover, the environment itself can be dramatically affected by such conflicts. The unprecedented demand for natural resources is fuelling ethnic conflicts, causing large-scale displacement and is a severe threat to the lands, livelihoods and the way of life of indigenous people. Infact, many of the bloodiest conflicts … Continue reading

Understanding Sand and Dust Storms

Sand and dust storms are regular occurrences around the world and more common in arid and semi-arid regions, such as the Middle East. Dust storms play an important role in global dust cycle, and can alter the radiative balance. It can damage agricultural crops and retard plant growth and alter the life cycle of the marine benthic organisms due to less sun light penetration into the sea floor. Dust storms can cause social disruption, economic loss and adverse impact on human health. When the visibility is below 1000 meters on a dusty day, it is considered that dust storm is occurring. … Continue reading

SEA as Sustainability Mainstreaming and Planning Tool in Jordan

Seeking to find its own recipe for sustainability planning, Jordan is piloting Strategic Environmental Assessment as a tool for planning and managing development zones or special economic areas. Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) is a systematic process for evaluating the environmental consequences of proposed policy, strategy or master plan in order to ensure they are fully included and appropriately addressed at the earliest appropriate stage of decision-making on par with economic and social consideration. Using a unique model, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has prepared Strategic Environmental Assessment and Strategic Environmental Management Plan (SEMP) for the Dead Sea Development Zone which was … Continue reading