Environmental issues in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are caused by the exploitation of natural resources, rapid population growth, and high energy demands. The continuing temperature rise caused by global warming is contributing to Dubai’s water scarcity, drought, rising sea level, and aridity, and it has forced Dubai to push for a green economy. Rates of waste output in the UAE are among the world’s highest and the UAE’s landfills contain a large percentage of materials that could be recycled. This has led the Government of the UAE to take a more proactive approach to recycling, including the introduction of a zero waste to landfill strategy by Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Sharjah, and it has led to the opening of several new recycling centers in the country.
In an effort to build up the city, the UAE bided to host EXPO 2020 and it won the bid on October 27th, 2013. On Expo2020 the UAE will be showcasing sustainable practices that the world should use as a model, according to Dubai’s governmental Expo2020 website, 2017. With the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” sustainability, mobility, and opportunity, Dubai will host the next World Expo between October 2020 and on April 2021. Bringing together more than 180 nations and an international audience of 25 million visitors, it will be one of the greatest shows on Earth. According to Diamond Developers, the developers hired by Dubai’s governmental infrastructural department on 2015, the Sustainable City would combine modern applications of social, economic, and environmental sustainability in the built environment. It will be the first operational Net Zero Energy city in Dubai and will be modeled to become an international showcase for sustainable living, work, education, and recreation. Recycled materials will be used in 30% of the construction and 50 % of the Expo’s operational energy requirements will come from renewable sources onsite. Other initiatives include plans to recycle waste water, reuse materials, and monitor the carbon footprint of the site.
This building model may be initially costly, but it should be implemented in the poorest Southern Asian and African countries where resources such as water, food, and schools for basic learning are limited. Of course, in these countries luxuries such as shopping and horseback riding are not necessarily the most important, but some alterations to the model can be made to allow people to grow their own crops and have a place to sell them (markets, as opposed to on the streets). Much like how the government has implemented the net zero city in Dubai, few of these can be done in poorer countries, especially those with a lot of children and risks of famine. In order to move forward in a humane direction, we must protect our youth and see that their futures are a sure thing.