Environment Agency Abu Dhabi nurtures passion for biodiversity in youngsters

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Environment Agency Abu Dhabi nurtures passion for biodiversity in youngsters

Aimed at students aged eight to twelve, the six “Endangered Species” books highlight several critically endangered animals.

By (Wam)

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Published: Thu 21 May 2015, 2:11 PM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:39 PM

Abu Dhabi -- The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, EAD, is raising awareness of local and global natural heritage among children by publishing six encyclopaedic books on biodiversity, on the occasion of World Biodiversity Day on May 22.

Aimed at students aged eight to twelve, the six “Endangered Species” books highlight several critically endangered animals along with details and scientific facts about these species and their current status in terms of daily risks and threats. The series spans terrestrial wildlife, birds, marine life, reptiles, amphibians, and the plant kingdom.

The series of books will serve as important reference material for both students and teachers, with the aim of promoting and supporting the schools’ academic curriculum. The books, published both in English and Arabic, are currently in the process of being distributed to school libraries for the upcoming academic year and will also be available online.

Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, Secretary-General of EAD, said, “We are confident that many understand the definition of biodiversity which relates to all forms of life on earth. There are several millions of species that are yet to be identified, we hope that these books inspire a new generation of biological studies. The United Arab Emirates is located in a desert and arid area, with one of the most fragile ecosystems in the world.

Plants and animals here are overcoming many challenges to survive, however this land is still able to accommodate an amazing number of plants and animals, with as many as 800 plant species, 64 terrestrial and marine mammals, 67 reptile species, and 430 bird species already identified.”

However, scientists estimate that one of every eight species of birds, four species of reptiles, and three species of amphibians are on the brink of extinction. 75% of the world’s fish species are also in imminent danger. With the loss of almost 31% of the world’s forest cover, the ecosystem has already lost many of its resources and habitats for animals.

Biodiversity is crucial to human existence, the loss of species has a direct impact on our environment such as pollution, introduction of invasive species, and climate change. Human interference is a key factor in such ecological damage.

“By nurturing a love of nature and biodiversity among the children, we are laying the foundations of a generation that will protect and conserve the environment,” said Fozeya Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, Director of Environmental Outreach at EAD.

Al Mahmoud added, “At EAD, we believe that we can preserve and conserve nature in all the spheres of the environment and the living world. Neglecting the link between human beings and the animal kingdom will diminish one’s sensitivity towards environmental issues as they get older.”

Biologist Edward Wilson in his book entitled, ‘Biophilia hypothesis: the bond between human beings and other living systems’, which he published in 1984, talks about the bond between humans and other living systems, a subconscious result of “pantheism hypothesis”. From this perspective comes the need to raising environmental awareness among students and the youth, and instil a sense of responsibility towards the environment.

The six books about biodiversity were written and published in association with The Energy and Resources Institute, TERI, based in India, a pilot programme, “Green Curriculum”, which aims to incorporate environmental concepts into the curriculum in-line with Abu Dhabi Education Council’s (ADEC) curriculum, which is being implemented within the framework of an effective cooperation between EAD and ADEC.

The pilot programme targets kindergartens and primary public schools in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, to be expanded on a larger scale in the coming years to target the largest number of students.

The “Green Curriculum” programme also falls in line with one of the most important key objectives set by Abu Dhabi’s Executive Council, which is finding an environmental conscious community capable of contributing towards achieving Abu Dhabi’s Environment Vision 2030 goals.

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