In efforts to minimise its carbon footprint, Qatar Foundation introduces a new sustainability initiative to boost environmental morale.
Qatar Foundation (QF) is set to hold a car-free day on Qatar’s National Sports Day, which will be on 8 February, in an attempt to serve one of its core values of boosting environmental sustainability.
Staff members, students and visitors coming to Education City (EC) will be expected to park their vehicles in designated areas around the campus, and proceed to enter the premises either walking or by using other methods of transportation, such as bikes, scooters and the EC tram.
QF noted that in order to advocate for sustainability transformations, they will propose a car-free project to fall on a designated day every other week. The only confirmed date thus far is the one that overlaps with this year’s National Sports Day.
The proposed car-free day is defined by QF as “transformative disruptions of the business-as-usual approach for all to explore mobility alternatives already available.”
Education City has a long history of championing projects that align with their sustainability vision by building technologies and alternative transportation.
Dr. Damilola S Olawuyi, Associate Dean for Research at Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s (HBKU) College of Law, is reported to have said, “days like this represent an opportunity to break old habits and develop new ones.”
“In this region, we are so used to a car-dependent lifestyle, we don’t even realise that it’s a choice we make every single day without thinking of them as choices […] If not by a car, whether personal or a public taxi, how else can we get from point A to point B? We tend to forget the significant environmental and public health costs of excessive car dependency,” he added.
With the new introduction of this change, people will grow more aware of the environmental benefits it bears as well as acknowledge that there are ways to boost it.
“Human psychology is amazing; we love doing feel-good things, so the chances are your brain will convince you to try it again, maybe not every time but at least once a month, and that is still change,” said Dr. Olawuyi.
Such readiness to hold a car-free day is due to QF’s built-in infrastructure that is, for the most part, centered around sustainability.
The tram network is put in place to provide an alternative mode of transport. Walking as well as bicycle tracks are also put in place for occasions, such as car-free day, to run smoothly.
Mohamed Ayoub, Senior Research Director and ESC Founding Director at Qatar Environment & Energy Research Institute said, “the first thing to understand is that, unlike global warming, air pollution operates on both the local scale, as well as the national scale. It is a regional problem with local and behavioural solutions.”
He noted that in order to improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions, the most effective way would be through a communal behavioral change.
“What we don’t want is a one-time reaction, but a sustained behavioural change stemming from improved awareness and more importantly the willingness to do our part,” Ayoub added.