JEDDAH: Foundations are being laid to increase levels of awareness and responsibility among Saudi children about caring for the planet and nurturing the environment.
Achieving environmental sustainability is one of the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plan’s key goals.
Many environmental awareness groups are emerging in the Kingdom, and there are also books that teach the younger generation how to use resources wisely in the future.
Raising awareness starts from a young age, however, as children are inheriting a planet that is not fighting fit.
Former early childhood educator Nourah Feteih wrote a children’s book called “Adam and The Giant.”
She spoke about her story, why she chose the topics of pollution and global warming, and presenting these issues for Saudi children.
The book, which was inspired by her son Abduljalil, was published five years ago and aims to teach children from a very young age how they can be productive members of society by caring about Earth and how to keep it clean and safe.
“He always liked to help from an early age,” she told Arab News. “He was interested in everything with regards to the environment. Whenever he saw smoke rising from car exhausts or litter anywhere in the streets, he used to make it a point that he does not like pollution and wants it to stop.”
Feteih started educating her son from home and helped instill in him the importance of preserving the environment.
“I thought what if other kids at a young age would learn about this and become productive members of society and grow with this wonderful value, to actually make a great difference for your environment and your planet.”
Philanthropy is a cause very close to Feteih’s heart, and publishing “Adam and The Giant” was a way to give back to her community. She stressed that it was important to teach children about the environment at a young age, and highlighted how they loved to help out and feel included.
“I strongly believe that it’s in children’s nature to help in any way they can, and (they) have the drive of curiosity and learning innately. So, teaching them the value of caring about their environment and teaching them how it affects the planet they live on is a significant added value that they will grow up learning and will carry with them as adults.”
Saudi Arabia has made a number of efforts to protect its environment and resources, while also promoting environmental awareness through various initiatives.
Community groups have been actively engaging with the public and focusing their activities to include families and children.
Environmental awareness groups such as Hejaz Ploggers — jogging while picking up litter — have caught the attention of Saudi youth for their combination of sports and an environmental cause.
There is also a rising number of sustainability solution providers in Saudi Arabia such as Naqaa Sustainability Solutions, which is one of the Kingdom’s first social enterprises.
It was established in 2011 and has been providing waste management programs and community engagement initiatives as well as other services. Some of the activities include collecting waste, talking about environmental problems, separating waste in malls and children’s play areas, and also visiting farms and garden centers.
These two groups are among those that have taken the initiative to play a helping hand in advising children and families alike about the importance of keeping the environment clean, preserving it and ensuring that solutions can one day replace problems.