Saving the Planet Without the Capes

By Naila Tariq

With rising sea levels and temperatures, melting ice caps, and record-breaking weather patterns, we are finally realizing that the Earth is a finite resource. While we cannot reverse the effects of climate change, we can — by working together — at least minimize its effects and help guarantee a habitable future for generations to come.

Sustainability is thus a field needed more than ever. People and organizations around the world are stepping up to fill this need, the United Arab Emirates among them, with businesses that focus on raising awareness on sustainability and promoting and/or providing eco-friendly alternatives to unsustainable practices.

One that does all three, Bee’ah, is probably one of the most well-known. Bee’ah is an environmental management company aimed at building a sustainable future through waste management, renewable energy, and community engagement initiatives.

Bee’ah’s donation and recycle bins are scattered throughout the UAE — especially in Sharjah, where the company is based — and their waste disposal trucks are a familiar sight on the city’s roads. Their long-term goal is to make Sharjah the Environmental Capital of the Middle East, and they take their mission seriously.

On the almost-exclusively awareness front is Goumbook, which hosts and presents at events and exhibitions to raise awareness of environmental issues. They also help establish environmental practices through special projects and programs. Additionally, on the corporate level, Goumbook helps sustainability companies enter the regional market and network with each other.

Raising awareness is one thing, however. Many companies see the need to be more hands-on, actively attempting to help reduce people’s carbon footprint and/or energy wastage.

For example, Tayar, a graduate of the Sheraa Accelerator Program, developed a device and accompanying app that allows you to monitor and control the amount of power you consume in your home. This not only reduces your energy consumption, but also your electricity bill, encouraging people to save the planet while they save money.

Taka Solutions operates in a similar vein, utilizing the concept on a larger scale by considering the environment in the very design and construction of a building. A technology and engineering company, Taka Solutions provides green, energy-/water-efficient solutions to corporations and governments. Their aim is to maximize a building’s performance while minimizing its environmental impact.

And while Bee’ah’s alternative energy source stems from non-recyclable waste, Enviromena focuses on solar power, developing and building solar power plants. Though they are based in Abu Dhabi, Enviromena have operations in nine countries, run over forty power plants, and have supplied around 17 thousand solar home systems, with the aim of delivering clean energy throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

These were just some of the hundreds of businesses out there fighting for the health of our planet, but we could always use more.

To help empower the youth to take the future into their own hands — for themselves, their children, and beyond — Sheraa has partnered with Bee’ah to launch the Sustainability Track.

Have an idea to raise awareness on environmental issues? How about an initiative that encourages local communities to recycle and lower their carbon footprint? Or perhaps you want to bring sustainable fashion/technology/education to the region.

Whatever your idea, know that you don’t have to have superpowers or a cape to save the planet, just a venture that can help guarantee its future.

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