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'Reconnect with flora and fauna'

Dhanusha Gokulan (Principal Correspondent)/Dubai
dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com Filed on October 31, 2015 | Last updated on October 31, 2015 at 07.02 am
Reconnect with flora and fauna
Celine Cousteau.

Builders and authorities can build butterfly parks and green spaces inside malls to teach children the importance of interacting with the environment, says expert.

More buildings in the UAE can do with 'inner terrariums' or green spaces that will help people reconnect with their environment, said Celine Cousteau. Celine suggested that builders and government authorities can build butterfly parks and green spaces inside malls to teach children the importance of interacting with the environment and the importance of outside play.

Cousteau is best known for her television documentaries on ecological environment in Antarctica and the Amazon and has spent several months diving in the freezing waters of Antarctica and Easter Island for a 12-part series for PBS, CBS, and the Discovery Channel.

"Oftentimes people today say that there isn't much nature in the city ... but if you look around, there is so much nature. People today need to reconnect with their environment," said Cousteau.

She went on to add that there are flamingos living in the middle of the Dubai, and there are 3,000 dugongs noting that the country has the financials to invest more into green and solar energy.

"The UAE is a place that is incredibly creative with its architecture, and a lot of the inspiration for the buildings looks like it comes from nature. However, we could do with more green and blue spaces, like inner terrariums, butterfly parks, and small green spaces inside buildings," said Cousteau.

She said that building such spaces would essentially reconnect people, especially children to their environment, which is a matter of great urgency in today's context.

Roots and Shoots

The Roots and Shoots was founded by animal rights activist Jane Goodall in 1991, with the goal of bringing together youth from preschool to university age to work on environmental, conservation and humanitarian issues. The organisation has nearly 100,000 youths across the globe.

Since its launch in the UAE, 12 schools and two universities have joined the programme. Tara Golshan, executive director of Education for the Roots and Shoots Foundation said: "The foundation is focusing on various issues that impact the UAE. Since its inception last year, we have had schools approaching us to sign up with the programme."

She said students are being encouraged to focus on issues such as water conservation, plantation of ghaf trees, care for animals like camels and dugongs, trade of exotic pets and so on. Golshan said: "As long as there is demand, there will be supply. Boycott or action at a legislation level is not what will solve the problem of animal trade in the long run. Therefore, education of young children towards the cause is mandatory."

Details about the Roots and Shoots foundation can be found on the Roots and Shoots website https://www.rootsandshoots.org/

dhanusha@khaleejtimes.com

author

Dhanusha Gokulan

Originally from India, Dhanusha Gokulan has been working as a journalist for over ten years. For Khaleej Times, she covers NRI affairs, civil aviation, and immigration issues among other things. She completed her BA in Journalism, Economics and English Literature from Mangalore University in 2008 and is currently pursuing her MA in Leadership and Innovation in Contemporary Media at the American University in Dubai. In her spare time, she dabbles with some singing/songwriting, loves food, and is mom to an over-enthusiastic Labrador retriever. Tweet at her @shootsprintrite.





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