The Environment Agency Abu Dhabi has revealed an app that will help citizens and residents of the UAE embrace a more sustainable lifestyle. Created with the Sustainable Campus Initiative and Borouge, Baadr – named after the Arabic word for "initiate" – aims to educate, encourage and reward users looking to shift to a more environmentally friendly way of living.
Available as a free download for Apple users, with an Android version in the pipeline, the app is designed to be fun and interactive while helping foster long-term behavioural change. Based on seven central themes – Move, Reuse, Switch, Grow, Initiate, Conserve and Join – it allows users to get involved in more than 30 tasks, all of which encourage mindful living.
To join, simply register, select a theme and then complete the tasks set. Some actions are easily done, such as using both sides of a paper when printing and carrying along a reuseable cup for a daily take-away coffee, while others are larger, including information on how to organise a group desert clean-up.
Each action – such as ditching the car and cycling instead, or growing a favourite herb on the window sill – will earn users rewards when they take a photograph of their task and upload it to the app.
“One of the most unique aspects of Baadr is the rewards and incentives, through which people can earn points by uploading a picture of themselves completing a set task," Aisha Al Mazroui, project manager of the Sustainable Campus Initiative, environmental information, science & outreach management at Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, explains.
"For example, people can take a picture of drying their clothes on a rack instead of using the tumble dryer, or individuals can recycle their electronic products by visiting a dedicated e-waste centre, or save money by growing their own fruits and vegetables.”
Points earned can then be redeemed at nine different companies. At Jubail Island, for example, users can enjoy a free boardwalk through the Mangrove Park, get a 10 per cent discount on kayaking, or take part in mangrove tree planting. The Green Ecostore, the online platform that stocks sustainable products and gifts, will offer a 15 per cent discount to users of Baadr on certain items, plus free shipping across the UAE.
Elsewhere, at the Art House Cafe, customers can enjoy free plate or bottle painting, have a free coffee or juice with their breakfast or main meal, or a free guacamole dip during the venue’s karaoke event on Saturday nights. Users can also get 15 per cent off their food bill on weekdays.
Third Place cafe, meanwhile, will offer users a free coffee, while at Boho Salon, users can get buy-one-get-one-free deals on salon services. Those looking to get fit while helping the planet can get a free tryout session, and 15 per cent discount off membership, at Perform Boxing Studio. There's also up to 30 per cent off on hotel and flight bookings through Nirvana Travel and Tourism.
Hoping to engage the youth and the camera-savvy, the app encourages active participation and hopes to nurture a like-minded community, working on the premise that many small actions make a larger whole. At the launch, the accompanying notes spoke of a desire to “help change people’s behaviours in their everyday lives and inspire the youth, placing them at the forefront of supporting the government’s drive to create a greener city that will benefit residents and citizens”.
Offering tips and advice, the app will remind users to shop locally to help reduce carbon footprint, while supporting local businesses, too. It also encourages users to try and grow their own food, with tips and suggestions.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be launching Baadr, which marks the start of a new chapter in the history of the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, said Khansa Al Blouki, director of environmental outreach at Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi. "As individuals, the responsibility lies within all of us to ensure we protect the environment and preserve our planet for ourselves, our children and future generations.
“We have carefully developed Baadr to be a fun app that is easy to use for everyone and with a wide range of exciting incentives on offer for completed tasks. I encourage all of you to download the app and be part of a unique journey that will not only promote a more sustainable way of life but also strengthen Abu Dhabi’s position as one of the most sustainable and eco-friendly cities.”
The app is the latest venture from the Abu Dhabi environment agency. Founded in 1996, it works to safeguard precious groundwater, as well as protect the biodiversity of the UAE's desert and marine ecosystems.