Beyond Sustainability

For the second time in four years, the Green Sheikh brings his message of environmental stewardship to UAlberta

Donna McKinnon - 01 October 2019

Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi is a contradiction in terms. A member of the Ajman royal family in the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Abdul Aziz is correctly addressed as His Highness or His Excellency, but the former chemical engineer turned environmental activist is known internationally, and affectionately, as the Green Sheikh.

It is a well-earned nickname. Sheikh Abdul Aziz, who earned a PhD in clean energy production and industrial eco-systems from Australia's Griffith University in 2007, delivers an impassioned message about environmental stewardship and sustainability to audiences around the world.

For the second time in four years, the Green Sheikh brings his message of environmental stewardship to the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta

Dr. Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi, known as the "Green Sheikh", makes a return visit to the University of Alberta on October 8

It's a message that speaks to collective effort, but also makes a case for individual responsibility, reminding us that what we do matters - that the impact of our over-consumptive, oil-addicted mindset has global consequences. "We need to measure not just our carbon footprint," he says, "but our attitude footprint."

The Sheikh's presentations paint a hopeful but realistic picture, stressing collaboration as a vital feature of global transformation - goals that align with the University of Alberta's new signature area,Energy Systems, which includes and builds on theFuture Energy Systems program launched in 2016 to help Canada transition to a low net-carbon energy economy.

When Sheikh Abdul Aziz visited the University of Alberta in 2015, Mayor Don Iveson proclaimed Oct 10 (the Sheikh's birthday) Green Sheikh Day in Edmonton in recognition of his international efforts on behalf of environmental stewardship. Following his lecture, the Sheikh met with Acting Dean Lise Gotell to discuss the Faculty of Arts' environmental research initiatives.

In between speaking engagements, Sheikh Abdul Aziz serves as the Environmental Advisor for the Ajman Emirate and is the Executive Vice President of Al Ihsan Charity Organization - a pioneer NGO in the UAE which provides healthcare services and socially innovative programs for families in need. He is also the author of eight books on environmental and humanitarian topics, and in 2010, ventured to Antarctica as a member of the2041 Foundation leadership team to familiarize himself with the realities of climate change.

The Sheikh attributes his commitment to environmental preservation to the time he spent as a young boy learning to train falcons with this father, which opened his mind to the interconnectedness of the world. It is a legacy that he hopes to pass on to his own children.

"One day my son will be known as the 'Blue Sheikh'," he says, "because we will have a fight with water. On the day of judgement, you will be asked, where did you get it, where did you spend it, and how did you spend it? The planet has been given to us as a trust, and we are its stewards."

The Faculty of Arts presents Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi - "The Green Sheikh: Beyond Sustainability" on Tuesday, October 8, 3:30 - 5:00 p.m. Telus 134. Reception to follow. This is a free event, but please REGISTER HERE.