The GreenSheikh Shares his Insights on the Environment and his Visions

What made you become passionate about the topic?

One winter day when I was about six years old, I accompanied my father on a hunting expedition. At the time, I told him: “Father, I would like you to teach me how to hunt with a falcon and be a falconer just as you are”. He glanced at me, laughed and said “Listen my son, our time is completely different to yours. In the future, I want you to focus on something that is bigger than yourself and your life. Sooner or later you will discover your passion. I won’t tell you, but I can show you. For you are, truly the falcon!”

The moral of this wholesome conversation was that I had learnt, by the end of it and through my personal green adventure through the kaleidoscope called LIFE, how I can respect Mother Nature, tender to it and conserve the environment through the wisdom gained within the ecosystem. Today, not only do I want just to protect the environment but also to create a world where the environment is self-sustainable.

I achieve this by sharing my experiences, transforming and transferring my passion to current and future generations, while developing and nurturing young leaders and visionaries to carry forward the message of Earth’s enrichment and amelioration of its natural resources.


Who is the Green Sheikh?

Before acknowledging myself as the GreenSheikh, I recognize myself as human, an ordinary person gifted with extraordinary action and vision through collective experiences received from and through the education of the masses regarding nature.

When I was born, my parents named me “Abdulaziz”, the of my great grandfather. When I grew up, I formed another moniker as a result of my interaction with and inspiration from Mother Nature. The name itself “GreenSheikh” has inspired me and many others who I interact with on various environmental causes in the passionate pursuit of environmental stewardship, responsible use of natural resources, and the prevention of environmental degradation. I base this on the land-use ethic rooted in Natural Law of “doing good and prevent harm” as was postulated by St. Thomas Aquinas in his magnum opus Summa Theologiae 1-2, Question 94, Article 2 and King David (the Psalmist) before him at Chapter 37:27-29 of Psalms. All these build-up cumulatively through efforts the GreenSheikh invests in time, serving as a role model, promoting civic education, always mooting for environmental responsibility and collaboration with NGOs, earned and shared experiences and autochthonous wisdom.

In the East, many were confused, why the GreenSheikh precise – chose to go GREEN. They fail to understand who the GreenSheikh and what the GreenSheikh movement is all about! Likewise, in the West, many a people are still perplexed; they cannot comprehend why one would go GREEN as a Sheikh in an Arab Oil Rich country.


What measures on a macro scale should be taken in order to deal with the change of such magnitude regarding humanity, peace and environmental stewardship? For example, do you believe that universal income is a viable solution?

Upright human morals and a universal code of ethics enriched through understanding, respect, coexistence and allowing people to practice more of what they had learnt through and from their faith, tradition and education are in my opinion are a viable means of handling the changes and the challenges that we face as a universal and co-existing race of human beings blessed with abundant intellect and reasoning.


What are some of the most innovative and successful ideas or recommendations that you have received through open platforms?

Water bears powerful possibilities! In the Noble Quran, Allah says “Out of water, we made every living thing”. 750,000 people every year die due to disease- infested water and the consequent disease that arise due to its consumption while 800 million people live under conditions that make it hard for them to find water palatable for humans.

The BlueYouth Initiative: Launched at COP22 Marrakech in 2016, this initiative aims to serve as a global project where the youth can be mentored to learn, teach and enhance effective actions through the continuous recycling and use of bio-degradable products while encouraging a sustainable water consumption culture within their communities.

My advocating for and personal participation in the February 2020 initiative in Jordan entitled The Holy Land Living Water at the harmony interfaith world week in Jordan: Due to the universally accepted fact that water is at the core element in the sustaining of all life forms on Earth. Access to sufficient amounts of clean and palatable water is critical for human health, the environment and economic development. This is fundamental in establishing stability and sustaining peace. A case in point is the lower region of the Jordan River basin. The basin experiences severe water scarcity which inflames and aggravates dissentious regional geopolitics which could otherwise be resolved through the availability and abundance of this essential life resource.


Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future? Why or why not?

I am more optimistic than I am pessimistic and here are my reasons why I have embraced this frame of reference.

We all need inspiration, hope and a sense of meaning or a raison d’être through nourishment, connection, and support on our journey through our life and towards the future.

Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum stated that “We will get ready next year through comprehensive preparation for great strides. We will develop our plans, projects and thinking. 50 years ago, our founding fathers designed the lives we live today. Thus, we want to design the future for posterity in the next fifty years”. He went on to state that: “In the next fifty years, we will prepare all sectors for the post- oil phase, build a real knowledge economy based on innovation, creativity and modern science while leaving our imprint on the march of human civilization. We will lay solid foundations to sustain development for future generations”.

I wish to share a snippet of the experiences and examples of how matters are interconnected when interacting with energy resources that range from fossil fuels, alternative fuel and all forms of energy that are considered as sustainable and renewable breakthrough in the various global conservation efforts.

The exploration, production and processing of fossil fuels to petroleum and petrochemical products is still essential and they aid without a shadow of a doubt in many aspects of our daily life. From fuelling aero planes, vehicles, heating and cooling homes, malls and various places of human interaction and habitation. While the downside of these petroleum and petrochemical activities is: the production of plastics and other products that are unsustainable and non-biodegradable. The processes involved in the production of these fuels from the extraction, processing through each step of the petroleum supply chain until the end use all have an impact within our environment directly affecting earth’s four elements, with the effect being majorly negative in nature.

Over the years, newer, cleaner technologies that are renewable have been innovated, legislation, civic education of the masses and actions have helped in creating awareness on the effects of environmental degradation, albeit with minimum impact towards the

amelioration of the environmental issues related to petroleum products. Thus, it may seem that there is no single silver-bullet solution to combat this vampire that is the destruction of our eco-system. Although Science suggests that we can collectively reduce the damage already done, while at the same time extending the environment’s lifeline. Failure to which assures our early extinction and consequent exit from the face of the Earth.

I remember when a University student visited us from the USA and asked me a question few months ago; she questioned “Do you believe the moving away from fossil fuels towards sustainable energy will improve the environmental security of the UAE?” I replied yes while knowing full well that the UAE strategy for 2021 is to make a 50/50 energy mix.

This means that 20% will be sourced from clean energy, 30% from renewable energy while the remainder will be provided for by fossil fuels. This means that there will be a reduction of about 30% by the UAE on its dependency on non-renewable energy.

A second student queried “Given your interest in youth’s involvement in environmental protection, how is environmental awareness being brought into school curricula in the UAE?” The response that I gave established the fact that the Emirati ministry of education has been keen in the incorporation and inculcation of the environmental dimension in school curricula at all stages of the education system, by addressing the environmental issues that affect the students’ immediate and indirect environment, in a bid to pave way for discussion on sustainable solutions. Additionally, the Eco-schools initiative that has been launched as a global initiative led by the Emirates Wildlife Society in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), aiming to encourage more environmental action in schools.

Finally, I note that we have had enough chit-chat, discussion or debate on the fact that the status-quo of conducting ourselves as savages while continuously damaging the health of Mother Earth. We need to approach this from a different and sustainable perspective while collectively collaborating and creating various avenues or realms for GREEN possibilities from different levels while effecting more serious sustainable actions that are needed as a matter of urgency!

Green Sheikh AbdulAziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi will be speaking at the 12th Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, 4-9 February 2020.

Green Sheikh: Earth’s Enrichment

Saturday 08 February, 20:00 – 21:00,

Do you feel helpless hearing about the environmental crises that threaten future generations, and guilty about our lack of action? Do these challenges seem unmanageable? Have you wondered about the role of individuals and communities in preserving our environment?

Do not miss Green Sheikh’s session, which provides an in-depth discussion on how to adopt a lifestyle that respects and preserves the environment and contributes to building a sustainable future.

Green Sheikh: Earth’s Enrichment