Dubai: Why is the gleaming emirate on the verge of going green?


Dubai: Why is the gleaming emirate on the verge of going green?

Wardrobe racks in a glass cabinet are clogged with a mess of dresses, shirts, and jackets. A fridge on the other side of the room is brimming with milk cartons, meat platters, and ready-to-eat meals.

This may be a typical Emirati family in a city known for its extravagance. After all, Dubai is the land of unlimited possibilities, where bottomless breakfasts are endlessly replenished and skyscrapers reach for the stars.

These dioramas of domesticity, however, are disturbingly dysfunctional as part of an immersive exhibition themed on sustainability.

As we study a collage of disposable plastic moustaches, the type often seen inside a Christmas cracker, Mona Al Ali, who helped coordinate the artworks, adds, “The objective is to provoke dialogue about the number of day-to-day things we consume.” “It makes us think about how our habits affect the environment and where our priorities should be.”

EXPO 2020, which has been postponed owing to the pandemic but is set to take place in Dubai from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022, is one of the primary subjects. The event is epic in scale and ambition – perhaps more so given the time, however organizers are certain the event will go through as scheduled.

It’s a feasible prospect, with 40% of the UAE now immunized and workers frantically putting the finishing touches on pavilions representing 192 countries. Even isolationist New Zealand is on track to finish their area on schedule.

After a period of global isolation during which international borders were closed and few people were able to travel, the notion (much alone logistics) of bringing so many countries together in one spot seems unbelievable.

With organizers expecting 25 million visitors, it’s likely to be the most memorable world expo in contemporary times, capturing the zeitgeist for climate care.

Although many of the participating countries have selected environmental themes, there is also a separate pavilion, Terra, dedicated to the subject. It is on track to become the UAE’s most sustainable building to date. (This is a brief piece.)


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