by Katrin Scholz-Barth, President, SustainableQatar
WELCOME (back) to SustainableQatar, your community that champions environmental sustainability through personal actions.
We are excited to (re) launch on Qatar National Environment Day, February 26, 2019, with purpose and determination; and we wish to pull you along on our journey of a mandate that combines ecology, economy and equity for environmental, human and economic prosperity right here in Qatar.
SustainableQatar is alive and kicking! Our newly energized executive committee has been busy behind the scenes to transform ideas into actionable sustainable knowledge. It’s been a while because the challenges of living sustainably in Qatar may seem daunting, impossible perhaps. But “impossible isn’t a fact. It’s an attitude” according to Christiana Figueres, former Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change. Our passion for contributing positively to a sustainable Qatar during and after its exciting rapid growth and development has always been our guiding principle.
Qatar will host the first-ever carbon neutral FIFA World Cup in 2022. That’s ambitious for a small country in the Middle East with roughly 350,000 Qatar Nationals outnumbered by expatriates from around the globe by a factor of 8, for a total of 2.8 Million. This is unique in the world and it matters – a lot – what every resident of Qatar is doing. The onus is on everyone.
Is it even possible to host a mega sports event like this in a fragile desert environment? Again, it’s an attitude and we believe that together, as individuals in collaboration with government, business and other organizations we absolutely can make sport sustainable and we believe in the possibility of using the power of sport to influence a diversified low-carbon public sector and economy that generates a net positive legacy for society.
Are you ready? It takes courage and humility to call out our collective challenges to find agreeable solutions. Let’s start by agreeing on some of these (social) problems and reframe them to allow us to turn the negative environmental footprint into a positive handprint: Despite its water scarcity and fragile desert environment, Qatar ranks top on carbon emissions per capita (35.73 Tonnes), water consumption per capita (500L/day) and waste generation per capita (1.23 kg/day). Let’s not let wealth lead to wasteful and unhealthy consumer habits.
OK, so we have work to do! When we dare to challenge our own assumptions, provoke our thinking to tickle out new approaches and solutions we can come up with some wildly radical ideas. These solutions only emerge when we reframe our questions, break through conventional barriers of thinking, and start doing things differently.
We believe in the Power of One and the power of purpose. We aim to engage and inspire YOU to take individual actions on the grassroots level to collectively address the biggest challenge of the 21st century – climate change. It’s our biggest challenge to humanity, food, water, health, security and economic prosperity.