On the occasion of Qatar National Day (QND), a sustainability leader from Qatar Foundation (QF) has explained how the slogan of this year’s celebrations – Ancestral Meadows: A Matter of Trust - reflects how the environment is part of Qatar’s heritage, and must be preserved for future generations.
Meshal al-Shammari, director of Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC) – a QF member, said: "The environment is not the property of one generation; it is a legacy passed on by generations.
“In recent decades, many factors – such as climate change, global warming, and increased pollution rates – have negatively affected the environment, and these are all indicators that alert us to the high risks that our environment is facing.”
Al-Shammari believes that the slogan for this year's QND, derived from a poem by Sheikh Jassim bin Mohamed bin Thani, the founder of Qatar, links the past with the present, emphasising the strong connection between Qataris and their environment that has existed throughout the nation’s history.
“I remember, from my childhood, our continuous contact with the environment in Qatar, through visits and family trips to the meadows located in various parts of the country, which were evergreen in the winter,” he said.
"In recent years, the nature of these meadows has changed due to changes in the global climate, and Qatar has made unremitting efforts to revive and preserve these meadows. Future generations should play a role in preserving this legacy.”
Al-Shammari explained that buildings consume 50-60% of the energy produced worldwide, and improving their efficiency by just 10% will have a significant positive impact on the environment. "The responsibility for preserving the environment is not borne by governments only,” he said.
“It also falls on us as individuals, as everyone can offer much to their environment, whether by rationalising their use of electricity and water and following simple practices at home that have a direct positive impact on the environment.”
Al-Shammari also spoke about the role of QGBC in supporting Qatar’s efforts to preserve its environment, saying: "Our role has three axes - the first is awareness, through the major events we organise such as Qatar Sustainability Week, which encourages environmentally friendly practices in various fields.
“The second axis is technical support and training courses for specialists in the field of sustainability. And the third is our work in the field of research, in which we co-operate with local and international universities to conduct research related to sustainability. We co-operate with many local bodies to develop frameworks, regulations, and laws that, when applied in various sectors of the country, can develop effective environmentally-friendly practices.”