Environment festival aims to show we can go green even in the desert

The month-long UAE Green Festival 2014, which opened in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, aims to promote a more eco-conscious lifestyle among Emiratis and expatriates.

Children from Giggles nursery school in Abu Dhabi help to plant more than 1,000 flowers at Khalidiya Park in the city on March 16, 2014, the opening day of UAE Green Festival 2014. The month-long festival is aimed at promoting a more eco-conscious lifestyle. Ravindranath K / The National
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The UAE will be green for the next four weeks after the first environmentally friendly festival of its kind was launched in the capital on Sunday.

The month-long UAE Green Festival 2014 aims to promote a more eco-conscious lifestyle among Emiratis and expatriates.

On the first day 33 trees and more than 1,000 flowers were planted in Khalidyah Park with the help of staff from Abu Dhabi Municipality.

“We are proud to celebrate sustainability and launch the first festival of its kind in the UAE and the region,” said Lamiaa Chlyeh, managing director of LatestOn, which is organising the festival with the help of government departments and other businesses.

Ms Chlyeh said she hoped it would help to improve the UAE’s environmental performance by educating the public on green subjects.

Among those taking part in Sunday’s tree-planting were 10 members of Green Hope UAE, a youth organisation based in Dubai that volunteers at desert and beach clean-ups and other environmental-awareness events across the country all year round.

“It was great because we were helping the Earth,” said 14-year-old Shashwik Shetty.

Art also plays a major role in the festival, with Gallery 76 at the Dubai International Art Gallery hosting the environmental-themed show Cycles of Life. Running until March 23, the exhibition features artists Corine Pagny from France, Siren Waaroe from Norway, Alem Goshime from Ethiopia and Kamen Bonev from Bulgaria, who will create works using recycled cardboard and papier mache in a live performance on March 22.

“We are looking at a wide variety of eco themes using painting, sculpture, drawings and multi-media,” said Jeff Scofield, art director at the gallery.

“The eco theme has great resonance with our members. For us it was obvious to go ahead and fit in with the art initiative of the UAE Green Festival.”

In Dubai, the festival will focus on some of the solutions to environmental challenges when hybrid and electric vehicles cruise along Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard as part of the Green Auto Show from April 3 to 10.

In Sharjah, members of the public will have the chance to buy locally produced vegetables, arts and crafts and sustainable household products at the International Green Market being held each evening at Al Qasba from March 25 until April 12.

The festival will return to the capital with an eco fashion show at Abu Dhabi Mall from April 8-12.