The UAE Government has taken the innovative step of putting environmental sustainability at the forefront of its Vision Plans and significantly prioritised its role in all governmental departments and initiatives. They recognise the vital role we all play in protecting the planet and safeguarding its vital resources for future generations. According to recent news from the UN, we have just over a decade left to make the changes needed to combat climate change and planetary destruction. At TELLAL our mission is to help improve the education and lives of all students, so we are always looking for ways in which we can generate further sustainability in everything we do. As fantastic as government programmes are, real and lasting change also needs to have a grassroots momentum, which means it starts with you. Individuals have a huge responsibility to play their part in reducing greenhouse emissions, recycling and limiting waste; you might not think your actions have a big impact, but if everyone adapted their behaviour even just a little bit, imagine how much better off the world would be?
If you have always wanted to be more environmentally friendly but haven’t been quite sure what you can do, we’ve put together a short list of easy things you can do in your everyday life that can make all the difference. Some of these you are probably already aware of (and might be doing yeah!) or maybe they might be ones you haven’t considered, but any of them that you can incorporate could go a long way to improving your green credentials! Some of them you might also be able to use in the classroom or share with your students as you help to get them excited about making smarter decisions for a brighter future for us all.
Turn it off
Okay, we know you will have heard of this one, but it is still surprising how many of us forget to turn things off when not in use. Not only could more awareness here save you money on your DEWA bills, it really does add up in terms of demand on resources. Think about all the switches in your house? Lights, appliances, screens, chargers – turning this off, as well as the outlets they are plugged into, will drastically reduce how much energy you are using. Certain ones do have to be left on (hello, fridge) but if possible, consider investing in ones that use energy more efficiently. Also, in such a technology laden world, we could all do with less screen time so maybe consider adding a ‘games night’ to your weekly schedule, were the family play cards or a board game together and there is definitely no TV or screens allowed!
Consider your Carbon
Given how many of us are expats, flying is a certain reality of our lives that it would be hard to avoid if we ever wanted to see family and friends, but there are still things you can do to slash your carbon footprint. Firstly, we should try and limit our airtime if we can – next time you aren’t visiting home but need a break, think about trying one of the amazing staycations in the UAE or Oman. We have some of the most beautiful hotels and experiences in the world and residents can often get fantastic deals. Secondly, as much as you can, drop the beef. We know for meat-eaters a yummy burger or delicious steak can be much-needed, but if we can limit these to treats rather than weekly occurrences, it definitely helps. It takes 66 gallons of water to make one hamburger, so beef has one of the most impactful carbon footprints of any food. Switching to chicken or fish, or even better a diet that includes more plant and vegetarian based meals, will help drastically. So next time you are in the super market, maybe don’t go for the mince and try something new instead.
Ditch ALL of the Shopping Plastic
This may well be something that you are already trying to do, avoiding straws, using reusable water bottles, taking a tote to Carrefour etc, but sometimes we can completely miss that there is far more plastic in our lives then we think. Think about the fruit and vegetable section? When you have chosen your items, you put them in a plastic bag so they can be weighed? That tends to add up. Why not take an additional bag to the supermarket and have your fruit and veg weighed without the plastic (they are happy to accommodate this) – put the produce in the bag and collect the stickers on a piece of paper to be scanned at check out. Instant saver and once you have done it, you won’t be able to look at those rolls of plastic bags again!
Make your Own
This kind of works on every level, making your own lunches, presents, decorations, avoiding processed food etc but how about making your own cleaning products? Not only is this better for the environment, it is also better for your health and it isn’t hard at all. The green-fingered geniuses at Earth Easy have loads of brilliant non-toxic recipes you can try for everything from dishwasher soap to diaper wash, drain cleaner and floor polish. Check out which ones you could do here.
Get Creative and UpCycle
This is something that not only helps the planet, but could be a fun thing for you and the family to do together; not to mention the chance to flex your creative muscles and perhaps discover a hidden talent! There are so many things in your home you could recycle or upcycle from pesto jars to tin cans, glass bottles to furniture that could be repurposed. There are also hundreds of handy sites online with tips, tricks, inspiration and instructions from Pinterest to Facebook Groups and many, many more. Been meaning to buy a new coffee table or TV stand? Why not try making one?
Do let us know what your great tips are for being green and if there is anything we should be trying! Join the conversation via our social media platforms Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org