SustainableQATAR was started in March 2008 by Rosemary Lapka (formerly with Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar), Mike Johnston (formerly with American School of Doha), Adam Dodge (formerly with American School of Doha) and Jay Trimiar (formerly with Qatar University) as a group of individuals committed to environmental and social education, getting together to share personal interests and to start a dialogue.
SustainableQATAR was officially inaugurated in February 2009 and grew exponentially since its inception.
We expanded our group beyond educators and invited businesses, citizens, community organizations, non-profits, NGOs, and representatives from the Qatari government and Qatari community to join us. Together, we worked to take steps towards creating a Sustainable Qatar.
What set SustainableQATAR apart from other organizations in Qatar was our continued and unwavering long-term commitment to environmental sustainability efforts both at grassroots and institutional levels – along with a professional operation and community services on a strictly volunteer basis. We didn’t only theorize, but also took people into the field. We have taken members bird watching, mangrove kayaking, lizard releasing, visiting the state-of-the-art waste-to-energy Domestic Solid Waste Management Centre (DSWMC), A-Flower-Each-Spring program, and visiting Al Wabra Wildlife Preservation and The Sahara Forest Project in Mesaeed Industraial City.
Despite a transient and revolving population, the SustainableQATAR executive board continued to provide inspiration and dedication in establishing SustainableQATAR as a valuable resource for Qatar, its citizens and residents. We thank Dr. Mari Luomi, Gudrun Voggenreiter, Agnes Astolfi and Dr. Peter Bowman for their dedication and guidance during those formative years.
SustainableQATAR’s proudest accomplishment, so far, was to be recognized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as an official observer organization during the COP18 climate change conference, hosted in Qatar in November/December 2012.
Additional Milestones include:
- SustainableQATAR became an official observer organization for the UNFCCC COP18 Climate Change Conference with 11 UN approved delegates.
- SustainableQATAR was a founding and board member of Qatar Sustainability Network (QSN) for COP18.
- SustainableQATAR broke through a number of barriers, and our members now include Qatari nationals and expats. This mix of locals and expats is unique for Qatar, and a true accomplishment.
- SustainableQATAR operates on a strictly volunteer basis and has grown exponentially from a few enthusiasts into an active and respected public forum – first of its kind in Qatar.
- SustainableQATAR has several hundred members from broad professional backgrounds, which is rare in Qatar.
- SustainableQATAR attracts high caliber and professional presenters who discuss environmental issues relevant to Qatar, including a Qatari apiary/bee expert, a Qatari explorer to Antarctica, and a Qatari marine biologist on the Qatar Whale Shark research project – remarkable for Qatar.
- SustainableQATAR has received numerous international requests and inquiries for capacity building and collaboration.
Today, under the leadership of president Katrin Scholz-Barth together with a newly energized Executive Team, SustainableQATAR’s vision has evolved from ‘being a resource that empowers the community to environmental action by fostering awareness, skills and knowledge’ to ‘championing environmental sustainability through personal action.’
Executive Team members who have served include:
- MaryBeth Stuenkel (IT and Webmaster, October 2018 – October 2020): key contributor to the 52 Weekly Challenges, webmaster, and all around IT support.
- Shari Ann Botin (Social Media, March 2020 – September 2020): brought graphic design inspiration to social media accounts and established the SustainableQATAR Instagram account while mentoring other volunteers on our Social Media presence.
- Shiban Khan (Research, February 2019 – August 2020): key contributor to the 52 Weekly Challenges and head of Research, also representing SustainableQATAR through speaking engagements at sustainability conferences.
- Erica Ramorino (Social Media and Special Projects, January 2019 – May 2020): key contributor to the 52 Weekly Challenges, ensuring SustainableQATAR’s social media presence, and initiating and developing the SustinableQATAR Young Ambassadors Program.
- Hala Ahmed (Outreach, January 2019 – February 2020): key contributor to the 52 Weekly Challenges and instrumental in getting the word out about SustainableQATAR’s activities.