The ‘Largest Environmental Sustainability Lesson’ under way in Abu Dhabi yesterday. It was conducted by Illac Angelo Diaz, executive director of Liter of Light. Image Credit: Abdul Rahman/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Zayed Future Energy Prize on Wednesday earned the UAE a Guinness World Record for the largest number of students participating in an interactive session on environmental sustainability.

The ‘Largest Environmental Sustainability Lesson’ featured 282 students from across the UAE. The lesson held at the Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi was delivered by Illac Angelo Diaz, executive director of Liter of Light, the non-profit winner of the Zayed Future Energy Prize in 2015. Liter of Light has provided affordable solar lighting in Philippines to thousands of homes, schools and workplaces struck by natural disasters through its education and self-help programmes.

Samer Khallouf, official adjudicator from Guinness World Records, confirmed the event as the “largest environmental sustainability lesson” with the presentation of an official certificate to Dr Nawal Al Hosany from Director of Zayed Future Energy Prize.

“No such records were set previously in the world wherein hundreds of students attended a large interactive lesson on environmental sustainability. This is the first time,” Samer Khallouf, official adjudicator from Guinness World Records told Gulf News.

The 30-minute lecture highlighted how young people around the world can help reduce energy poverty while also challenging them to devise solutions that will bring about a more sustainable future.

The gathering also witnessed the assembly of 2,400 solar lanterns, arranged to create a unique light installation in tribute to Shaikh Zayed, Father of Nation, the centenary of whose birth is being celebrated across the UAE this year.

During the interactive lesson, Emirati moderator Khalid Al Ameri asked students to express their thoughts on sustainability and climate change and how they can contribute to a greener environment.

Abu Dhabi Emirati student Maryam Al Nuwaimi said we should use less petrol and avoid unnecessary burning of fuel. Raha Islam from Bangladesh School in the capital, said, “If we want to protect our environment, we have to strictly follow the principles of recycle and reuse.”

Radhika Mathur from Dubai urged reducing power usage and wastage.

Khalifa Al Asili, a local student from Abu Dhabi, said people waste too much water while they shower and this practice must stop.

Dr Al Hosany, said, “Today’s record-breaking event is an inspirational way to mark the Year of Zayed and the 10-year anniversary of the Zayed Future Energy Prize.”

“Today’s gathering highlights the critical importance of youth in driving forward the renewable energy and sustainability conversation, and the power they have as change agents, now and for the future.”

The Zayed Future Energy Prize each year recognises the outstanding contributions from companies, schools, non-profit groups and individuals to the environment.

Mohammad Bin Zayed issues statement

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on Wednesday tweeted about the Zayed Future Energy Prize and Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

“As a nation, we have always been focused on our humanitarian ideals and forward-thinking mindset. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Zayed Future Energy Prize and I invite all of you to join in honouring those making an impact across the globe,” Shaikh Mohammad said.

“Youth are central to the development of a sustainable future and to the continued progress of the UAE. The focus of this year’s #ADSW on youth will ensure they are equipped with the skills needed to maintain our momentum,” he added.