Neeshad Shafi , Qatar
Neeshad Shafi cofounded the Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar to increase awareness of climate change issues in the Middle East, reaching over 1,000 people with his work to date. Neeshad created a platform where young people can learn and work together to reduce food wastage, make better lifestyle choices and reduce carbon emissions to help build an ecologically conscious community. Qatar is one of the biggest per-capita carbon emitters in the world, so it is important to demonstrate that Qatar is concerned about climate action and that there are grassroots organisations in the Gulf working to promote sustainable living. Neeshad works to increase awareness of climate issues through delivering talks to young people and students in Qatar and other Middle Eastern countries including Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. As well as helping people to understand the complexity of the issues around climate change, Neeshad and his team give practical advice on how participants can change their daily habits to make a positive change. The Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar has started a new initiative to show people how they are connected to nature by organising educational nature trails. Neeshad has also raised this issue at a number of events including giving a talk to over 1,000 delegates at a Model United Nations Assembly in Qatar. He emphasised the importance of including Gulf countries in this dialogue because although they are seen as fossil fuel countries, it is important that their voices are heard in this process so that they can also make a transition towards a green economy. Supported by local organisations in Qatar and by the Directorate of Climate Change at the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, the Arab Youth Climate Movement Qatar strives to improve climate action through policy recommendations and public awareness campaigns. The Movement has worked with several embassies in Qatar to host special events. It is also working towards compiling a national survey on changing attitudes towards climate change and the environment. The Movement has recently started the Earth Talk Series, which brings eminent environmentalists and development professionals together to discuss global environmental issues in the local context. The Series is expected to reach over 2,000 people over the coming year.