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Qatar, US students at Earth Day activities.

Summary: Students from Qatar and the US took part yesterday in the Qatar Cool-sponsored Earth Day event at Katara, where they learnt about the problems associated with climate change and participated in other environment-based activities.

Qatar Cool is sponsoring the event for the second year running.

The theme of the day was ocean conservation, and students participated in group discussions on issues related to the theme before presenting their findings to the larger group.

The event opened with a number of speeches, including a video presentation from world famous entrepreneur and environmentalist Richard Branson, who spoke about his next adventure which will see him plunge the depths of the ocean.

He described the ocean as "magnificently beautiful, but magnificently fragile" and challenged the students to "go forth and save the world".

"Just a small challenge!" he joked.

The US students have been brought to Qatar by Qatar Foundation International (QFI) and partners such as One World Now.

QFI's Maggie Mitchell Salem spoke about the reasons behind the project.

"I should note that this event would not be possible without the sustained support of Qatar Foundation, QFI's founding donor," she said, adding that "HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser's vision started QFI, inspired our mission, and inspires all of us at QFI, to bring together young people to learn about one another, appreciate each other's culture and work together to solve pressing problems confronting the world".

Representing further collaboration between the US and Qatar, the representatives of Ocean for Life announced that this year, four students from Qatar - two girls and two boys - will be joining them.

Qatar Cool chief executive Fayad al-Khatib also addressed the group, describing the ways in which district cooling helps conserve energy and contribute towards a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way of life.

"I remember last year when we participated in the first Earth Day celebration at Qatar Foundation," he said, "we were supposed to leave an impression on the students - instead they left a bigger impression on us because they proved that they could make the difference."

"We at Qatar Cool believe that investing in the new generation is an investment that yields the highest returns," al-Khatib added.

He spoke about how more people are doing their part to reduce wastage and recycle, and urged everyone at the meeting to act in accordance with their "duty to the environment".

"We have to make a conscious effort to conserve our resources and choose sustainable solutions," argued al-Khatib.

"It does not matter if you are young or old, a student or the chief executive of an international company - we all have a duty to protect the environment," he stated, adding: "If you start young you have the potential for even greater environmental savings in the future."

"As Qatar and the world are developing, so is our reliance on modern solutions to enhance our living and working environment," al-Khatib stated, stressing that "we are here today to make sure that these solutions do not come at a cost to the environment".

As well as learning about district cooling, the students took a trip to Sealine to participate in a beach clean-up.

Students got together again in the evening to take part in an event at Education City, an environmental film festival featuring screenings of films focused on the issues they had been discussing earlier in the day.

Gulf Times Newspaper 2011

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Publication:Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar)
Geographic Code:7QATA
Date:Apr 23, 2011
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