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© Sheikh Abdul Aziz al Nuaimi, "The Green Sheikh"

His Highness Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi

and I have partnered with the head of a global NGO to inspire youth leadership and engagement. Together we will reach out to individual leaders in the GCC region and around the world to build cross-cultural bridges as well as to support collaboration for custodianship of the Earth. We will announce details of the collaboration soon. Do you think luxury and sustainability can co-exist well or rather contradict one another? Sustainability is not a privilege for the wealthy. Most indigenous people lived and continue to live a sustainable lifestyle. We need to unlearn our wasteful behaviors associated with consumption and waste, and inspire a simpler lifestyle for all. Waste comes with increased consumption, which is often associated with more wealth. It is essential that we work on aligning our social values with the needs of the planet.

The richest person is not who has the most but who needs the least. What are the main environmental challenges in the UAE? And how can they be addressed? The UAE is a country of young people, led by wise leadership. Our greatest challenge is also the source of our economic success: the easy availability of fossil fuel, the abundance of resources, and almost tax free opportunities. We work to raise awareness of clean and renewable energy, such as solar energy and just recently commissioned “Shams One", generating 100 MW and more – in order to instill a sense of environmental responsibility and respect for sustainability in the younger generation. What can the European Union learn from the UAE regarding CleanTech and sustainability?

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That even a fossil fuel rich country can be committed to sustainable practices, and can be a global visionary for the future. All that it takes is wise leadership, belief and courage to bring and embrace the best sustainable practices for its people and country. And what can the UAE learn from the European Community in these specific areas? The European Community has a very engaged citizenship, and great models for citizen participation. We are studying these models and intend to bring some of them home. Encouraging local innovation of sustainability from culture and heritage and turning compassion into action is our goal. Thank you very much for the interview!  www.greensheikh.com

GO GLOBAL UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

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