Tell us about yourself.
I am Fatima Al-Hantoubi, an environmental expert with 20 years of experience from the United Arab Emirates, a country that has transformed from an environment with poor resources to a fertile and sustainable one. I have progressed from an environmental inspector to an environment official, and eventually to the head of environmental protection. I am passionate about sustainability, and I am focused on developing environmental awareness strategies to improve sustainability performance in the UAE. I am also a member of many environmental associations, and I present workshops and radio and television programs to raise environmental awareness.
I love my job because it helps me achieve my goal of preserving natural resources.
What inspired you to embrace eco-friendly practices and make a shift towards sustainability?
I grew up in a desert country with limited water resources, and I believe that water is life. I have a Bachelor of Agricultural Sciences, and I have seen firsthand the impact of climate change on agriculture. It is painful to see the change from what we saw 20 years ago to now. There was so much natural beauty, trees full of fruits, greenery, birds, and pastures, but now none of that is there.
What are the primary steps you take to integrate eco-friendly practices into your lifestyle?
In my home, I practice sustainable living by recycling, reducing my water consumption, and ensuring that no food waste comes out of my house. I believe that everyone can make a difference, and I encourage others to adopt sustainable practices.
Share some of the most effortless yet impactful eco-friendly changes you’ve made in your daily routine.
- I make sure to only use the energy I need, and I turn off lights and appliances when I’m not using them.
- I have solar panels on my house and garden, which help me to utilize solar energy.
- I recycle at home, from collectibles to food. I love doing this as it also teaches you to be innovative.
- I plant a lot. I have more than 30 trees in my home garden, and I also persevere in growing seasonal crops to achieve self-sufficiency for my home. I name the trees after my children so that they can get used to taking care of them. I gave my son a small place in the garden and told him I want to see your production of vegetables and fruits and share these ideas with people on Twitter. I love nature and agriculture very much, and I have a strong belief that nature has solutions to all the challenges we face today, including climate change.
Tell us about sustainable mobility and what do you think individuals can do to promote it?
Many people find it difficult to secure sustainable transportation, but it can be simple if we adopt environmentally friendly practices. In the UAE, there are many initiatives that call for sustainable transportation. The country has a sustainable transport plan that aims to achieve sustainable mobility in the UAE through each of the mobility management strategies for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the comprehensive land transport plan (Abu Dhabi), the Dubai strategy for smart self-driving mobility, and the Dubai Green Mobility Initiative.
The environmental dimension of the plan is to achieve pioneering performance in the field of environmental sustainability through the use of clean resources to reduce pollution and preserve the environment. The plan has been prepared to lead to the development of a world-leading transport system that meets the needs of residents, visitors, and companies in an environmentally sustainable, safe, reliable, attractive, and more efficient way. The comprehensive road transport plan includes an integrated set of carbon emissions reduction and sustainability measures, including:
- Establishing a massive public transport infrastructure powered by world-leading renewable energy technologies and alternative fuels.
- Creating innovative systems such as personal rapid service buses (PRT), which operate on solar energy.
- Committing to reducing carbon dioxide emissions in all aspects of transportation, from the design stages through construction to operation.
- Committing to encouraging walking, using bicycles, and respecting the natural environment through awareness campaigns on social media and financial incentives such as prizes.
I am optimistic about the future of sustainability in the UAE. The government has made significant investments in sustainable transportation, and there are many initiatives underway to promote environmental awareness. I believe that we can create a more sustainable future for our country and our planet.