Blossom children’s nursery in Dubai has received a certificate from myclimate the international non-profit foundation based in Switzerland, for offsetting their carbon emissions to become the first carbon neutral educational establishment in the UAE.
Farnek Avireal a leading Middle East facilities management company, myclimate’s partner in the Middle East, provided consultancy and advisory to enable the school to calculate its carbon emissions and to support their successful plan to offset those emissions to become carbon neutral.
According to Markus Oberlin, the general manager of Farnek Avireal, himself the father of two young daughters, the school managed to offset over 40 tonnes of carbon emissions. “Compared with a large hotel or commercial tower, the savings are modest but if every school in the UAE managed to become carbon neutral it would make a significant difference. It would also educate children that collectively they can make a real difference, irrespective of how insignificant individual contributions may seem. Indeed as the saying goes, from little acorns…”
Measures taken by the school to rebalance their carbon emissions included recycling and making their own paper, using a filtration system to dispense water, which cuts out the need to order plastic bottles and run refrigeration units. Other simple but highly effective measures employed include lining the windows with coloured film to reduce classroom temperatures, refilling and recycling toner cartridges for printers, using potato peelings to make compost for the school gardens and utilising special chemicals that require minimal water to clean the floors and furniture. Children are also educated about the excessive use of toilet paper.
“Educating our children about the environment promotes a well-rounded, ethical life built on integrity and honesty. We try to empower them, nurture the seed to achieve, so that they can be the change that they want to see in the world. This initiative will have positive long-lasting and far reaching implications. That we hope that will be the legacy of Blossom,” said Zahra Hamirani, the chief education officer at the Blossom Nursery.
To support their claims, at Blossom the alphabet is taught using letters that have been made out of recycled materials and is prominently displayed in school’s foyer. In the art and craft area children are taught about sustainability through recycled art. Blossom also uses an environmental calendar which recognises significant sustainability dates such as Earth Day and Environmental Day when pupils are encouraged to wear something green to mark the occasion.
The school has even created a character called Wasteful Wanda to reinforce the environmental message, through storytelling. The children soon recognise what Wanda is doing wrong and propose ways in which she can be more eco-friendly
The school currently teaches over 400 pupils of pre-school age (6 months to 4 years) over two sites in Jumeirah and has 90 staff members. The school drives home the environmental message through lessons in Arabic, French and English.
“It is rather appropriate that the should be recognised by myclimate, as the foundation was launched in 2002 as a project by students and professors in Zürich. Today this charitable Swiss organisation is one of the leading global providers of voluntary and compliance carbon offsetting solutions. I’m sure these young eco warriors in Dubai will go on to lead a more sustainable lifestyle,” added Oberlin.
Farnek Avireal in its own right not only consults, it leads by example. Last year the company launched the first carbon neutral bus in the region to transport its staff and its offices and staff accommodation are models of sustainability, with a raft of carbon reducing features from low energy light bulbs to water diffusers and energy-saving modules that regulate air conditioning units.