Dubai: Some of the planet's biggest environmental activists like David Attenborough, Al Gore and Arnold Schwarzenegger are being persuaded to attend an event in the UAE to focus attention on climate change that is the brainchild of a grade 11 Sharjah student who is just 16.
Holed up in meeting rooms in Academic City to finalise plans with people at least twice his age, Rishi Avala from India is hopeful that the famous trio will eventually agree to be among a group of keynote speakers that could also include Robert Swan, the ice explorer who raised much awareness on the hole in the ozone layer and heads the organisation 2041 to protect the poles from oil exploration, and Mohammad Nasheed, president of the Maldives.
The event is planned for October 10, or 10/10/10 — a day associated with the celebration of climate solutions — at Zayed University in Dubai in partnership with the Zayed Environmental Impact Network.
Rishi has been greatly encouraged after corresponding with Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Ali Al Nuaimi, 44, of the ruling family of Ajman who embarked on an arctic voyage with Robert Swan earlier this year.
Also known as the ‘Green Shaikh', it was Shaikh Abdul Aziz's call for ideas to make Ajman a more environment-friendly place that helped Rishi come up with the idea of organising a ‘Global Environmental Salon' and gather speakers to make an impact on people of the UAE.
"I didn't know what to expect when I e-mailed him but he liked my ideas," Rishi said.
The young man, who plans to become an environmental engineer, says he was "captivated' by 350.org, an international campaign to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis.
"Currently there is 392 parts per million of CO2 in our atmosphere but 350 is the safe upper level we need to bring it to," said Avala. "If the amount reaches 400ppm, it will be disastrous for life on earth."
Plans for the climate summit are still in the early stages but a team of academics and volunteers yesterday met to draw up plans. Dr Osama Al Alami, associate professor from the Department of Natural Science and Public Health at Zayed University was confident about the event's impact.
Al Alami, who is also co-chair of the Zayed Environmental Impact Network (ZEIN) committee established in August 2009, said, "We don't want a campaign or a conference, we want to create something new. We are inviting leaders and heroes that have made a real impact."
At a glance
The Global Environment Salon hosted by the Zayed Environmental Impact Network under the patronage of ‘Green Shaikh' Abdul Aziz Bin Ali Al Nuaimi, will take place on 10/10/10.
Attendance is limited.
For more information contact Rishi Avala at firstname.lastname@example.org