Abu Dhabi: A new joint venture between Waha Capital and the Emirates Wildlife Society (EWS) in association with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is aiming to raise awareness on climate change among young people through their Environmental Youth Champions Programme.
The programme’s activities will include lectures, workshops, laboratory work, and a two-day field experience giving the young participants an in depth insight into the subject.
“Climate change is one of the biggest threats to humanity and life as we know it today in the UAE, and things will only get worse if we don’t act,” said Laila Mustafa Abdul Latif, Director General at EWS-WWF.
“The good news is there is still time to make a difference — 2017 has been declared the “Year of Giving” in the UAE and as an organisation we are working with partners such as Waha Capital to positively contribute to the environment and society,” she added.
“We have the knowledge and the technology to reduce our contribution to climate change and ease the pressures caused by this on our society, and we want to drive this forward. Waha Capital is supporting our view that society should engage in the issue and that our youth should play a critical role in finding solutions and volunteering their time to act as ambassadors of the cause,” she said, highlighting the important role young people can play in facing and mitigating the challenge presented by climate change.
Amer Aidi, head of marketing and corporate communications at Waha Capital, echoed similar sentiments, noting the importance of building future leaders to come up with solutions on combating climate change.
“Waha Capital is strongly committed to contributing to the important conversations that are unfolding globally while also engaging the next generation of leaders on these key issues,” he said.
“EWS-WWF has designed an excellent initiative that addresses two crucial issues for our future — climate change and science education. We hope our partnership will help make the Environmental Youth Champions Programme a real success, and that it will leave a lasting impression on the young people involved,” he added.
The launching of a climate change awareness programme is timely, with a recently published report by UAE University highlighting a lack of public awareness among residents on climate change.
The study surveyed 4,000 people across the country on the subject and found that 49 per cent of residents in the UAE were unaware of climate change and global warming. The report also found that 40 per cent of residents did not believe that humans were causing climate change and global warming.
The two authors of the report, Dr Abdelgadir Abuelgasim and Dr Salma Daiban, said that education on climate change was a crucial element in creating awareness on the subject, especially in the schools.
“Education, general or specialised is believed to play a significant role in the awareness about climatic changes. This is particularly important specially for the UAE with a total literacy rate of 93.8 per cent,” they said.
“Younger generations in high schools scored the highest in their awareness levels (40.4%) with issues related to climate change and global warming in comparison to all other levels of education,” the report stated.