Students and activists from across Qatar have taken a stand against climate change – with a sit-down protest at Qatar Foundation (QF) calling for world leaders to take urgent action to combat the greatest modern threat to the planet.
Young protestors added their voice to the growing global clamor for efforts to tackle global warming to be intensified as they gathered at Education City to demonstrate the strength of feeling among the nation’s youth about the climate crisis the world faces, and the rapidly-closing window of opportunity to tackle it.
It comes in a week when His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Amir of Qatar, announced Qatar is contributing USD100m to support small developing island states and least-developed nations in addressing climate change and environmental challenges, while speaking at the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 in New York.
And the climate protest at Multaqa (Education City Student Center) – organized by the Arab Youth Climate Movement, Global Shapers, and the Eco-Schools program – mirrored the recent ‘global climate strike’, which saw millions of people around the world hold demonstrations at what they claim is inaction in cutting carbon emissions and stabilizing Earth’s climate.
The event reflected QF’s commitment to advancing sustainability in Qatar, and beyond, through cutting-edge research and innovation in areas including air quality and energy, water, and food security, as well as its belief in being a platform for youth from Qatar and around the world to express their views and tackle global issues head-on.
Joud Al Issa, 11, a student at Qatar Academy Doha, part of QF’s Pre-University Education (PUE), was among the students who participated, and said: “I am protesting here today because I believe the damage we are doing to our planet will affect future generations and I hope that our grandchildren can see the world as it used to be.
“Humans are the cause of this damage, so they should always be the solution. It is the responsibility of all of us.”
And Maryam Al Obaidli, a student at Qatar Academy for Science and Technology (QAST), also part of PUE, said: “I’m glad to have the opportunity to take part in this protest, because it has allowed me to hear new ideas and opinions on climate change. Events like this help to raise our awareness of global challenges, and this can lead to a better life for everyone in the future.”
Climate change expert Mohammed Ayoub, Senior Research Director at the Environment and Sustainability Center at Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute – part of QF member Hamad Bin Khalifa University – said: “Climate change is a real threat to global environmental sustainability, and Qatar and the region as a whole are not immune to these threats.
“Regional increases in surface temperatures, changes in rainfall patterns, increasing dust-storm intensities, rising sea levels, the sustainability of the Arabian Gulf ecosystems, and a host of associated societal and economic impacts are the focus of research activities at QEERI. For example, data from national, regional and global climate datasets over the past 25-30 years point to increasing surface temperature trends for the region that are 2-3 times the global average.
“In other words, a 1.5-2.0 degree Celsius increase in global temperatures could translate to 3-6 degree increases in the region. Such temperature increases would have far ranging impacts in an area that already has some of the highest annual average temperatures worldwide.
“Qatar Foundation Research Development and Innovation hosts a spectrum of capabilities to build comprehensive institutional knowledge of national climate change impacts, and develop policies and technologies to mitigate the impacts of, and adapt to, climate change in Qatar and increase regional resilience. Such innovative technology and policy outcomes can catapult Qatar’s role in the fight against climate change to a global leader in adaptation to an increasingly harsher climate.”
The Education City protest followed the Qatar Eco-Schools Congress 2019, also held at Multaqa and organized by QF member Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC). It saw more than 200 students and teachers from Qatar schools learn how to maintain an ‘eco-school’ and adopt a zero food waste approach through composting.
The Eco-Schools program is the largest sustainable schools program in the world, and involves a two-year commitment that gives young people the chance to be active protectors of the environment, by giving them a say in the environmental management policies and behaviors of their school. QGBC operates Eco-Schools Qatar, and provides schools who register in the program with a range of support including training and other resources.
Shahd Abdulla, 14, a student at QAST, said: “All the schools had such amazing suggestions like using food waste as soil. It’s incredible how teenagers can come up with these ideas, and think of ways to save the world.
“I am so proud to be part of this event, proud to be part of the Eco-Schools, and proud to be part of this generation.”
And 16-year-old Tisya Raina, from Canada, who attends the American School of Doha said: “I want to see what we can get done together as a community, since we don’t typically interact with the other schools when it comes to talking about the environment. We want the younger generation to know what’s happening.
“Everyone needs to work together, and the younger you are when you learn about it, the more we can help.”
Speaking at the event, Engineer Meshal Al Shamari, Director, QGBC, told students: “You are the leaders, decision-makers, and parents of tomorrow. Therefore, we believe that by engaging you today – through Eco-Schools – you will protect the planet tomorrow.
“Together, we are leading the country to address the sustainability goals for Qatar National Vision 2030, helping this country on its journey to establish a post hydrocarbon economy.”
“Let’s build a sustainable future together.”
Source: Press release
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