Embracing Sustainability: Celebrating World Environment Day with QCDC
The United Nations Environment Programme has celebrated World Environment Day since 1973. Each year one country represented the international efforts by hosting forums and celebrates an aspect of sustainability. This year, 2023, Côte d’Ivoire hosts exciting conversations on beating plastic pollution. World Environment Day is a significant occasion that reminds us of the importance of environmental conservation and sustainability. It serves as an opportunity to reflect on our impact on the planet and explore how our career choices can contribute to a sustainable future.
As our world faces the challenges of climate change, new career fields emerge in response to the changing times, and the field of sustainability takes centre stage. This shift gives rise to careers focused on environmental preservation and protection, or sustainable decision-making in any career. However, sustainability is not limited to protecting the environment. Sustainability is essentially about learning from our past, doing right by the present and protecting our future, as evidenced by its adopted definition: sustainability is “fulfilling the needs of current generations without compromising the needs of future generations, while ensuring a balance between economic growth, environmental care, and social well-being.”
Sustainability is an issue that burdens every sector of society; social, economic, and environment. As the world tries to keep up with our demand, we find our home planet depleting and struggling to overcome exacerbating pollution and climate change, along with all their accompanying phenomena: desertification, floods, forest fires, etc. The urgency of this matter is as relevant as ever; rapidly growing populations and overconsumption creates a strain on natural resources.
Qatar leads the discussion on sustainability on a national level through the aspiring Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030). It aligns its national development strategies with the UN-adopted sustainable development goals. QNV 2030 aims to achieve sustainable economic and social growth in Qatar hence necessitating a comprehensive vision that prioritizes the preservation of natural resources for future generations. QNV 2030 also strives to strike a harmonious balance between developmental needs and environmental protection through transitioning to a knowledge-based economy while fostering citizen awareness and responsibility in safeguarding the nation’s environmental heritage.
We have already seen these brilliant intentions in reality, as The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy set a new benchmark in World Cup history by adopting an exceptionally comprehensive sustainability strategy that encompasses human, economic, and social development. 90% of temporary diesel generators were replaced by electric sub-stations providing greener grid power and reducing air pollution. All five energy centres at FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ stadiums have Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) Seasonal Energy Efficiency certification. The World Cup serves as an example of growth and prosperity whilst committing to sustainable practices.
On a more personal level, what can we do in our life choices that contribute to a greener planet? Sustainability can be achieved directly or indirectly. Fields such as environmental science, engineering, agriculture, governmental administration and much more, can have tremendous positive impacts. Workplaces also incorporate “Green Jobs” into their work force. Such as, sustainability manager, corporate social responsibility (CSR) manager, and sustainability consultants. These roles integrate sustainable practices and develop strategies to achieve environmental and social responsibility goals. As sustainability becomes increasingly important, more professions are evolving to integrate sustainable practices into their work.
How can you contribute to a brighter future if you don’t work in the sustainability field? There are steps one can take that may seem small, but make a difference once we commit as a community to the greater good, such as but not limited to:
- Energy Efficiency: Promote energy conservation by turning off lights and equipment when not in use, utilizing natural lighting and ventilation whenever possible, and advocating for energy-efficient appliances and lighting fixtures. Architects and engineers can also, for example, consider sustainable decisions when designing and building new projects.
- Sustainable Transportation: Encourage alternative modes of transportation like carpooling, biking, or using public transportation. You can take advantage of the extensive public transport offered in Qatar, such as the Doha Metro.
- Sustainable Events and Meetings: Plan and organize eco-friendly events and meetings by minimizing waste generation, opting for digital invitations and materials. Consider telecommunication or online meeting options to reduce commuting-related carbon emissions. This even saves time and opens up to international collaborations.
- Water Conservation: Raise awareness about water conservation by promoting responsible water usage practices. Encourage the use of water-saving fixtures, such as low-flow faucets and toilets, and educate employees about the importance of reducing water waste. Bringing water bottles from home, reduces plastic waste and single use cups. Kahramaa, through its Tarsheed campaign, offers great resources on the topic of conserving water and electricity.
There are endless opportunities for everyone to contribute to the realization of QNV 2030 by dedicating time and effort to the noble cause of sustainability. Whether you are inspired to commit with your career choices or make sustainable choices in your respected fields and personal lives. All actions will amount to great progress and brings us closer to achieving a safe and sustainable world for future generations.