52 Weekly Challenges

SustainableQATAR 52 weekly challenges – one challenge per week for a whole year themed by month – are Qatar-specific and Qatar-relevant opportunities for all residents to take actions in personal life, work and within our communities. Read more


Challenge #52 ~ Food

Read the blog post on the February Theme – THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY

The final challenge! #52! And it is about Food, from a new perspective. What better way to celebrate completing the 52 Weekly Challenges than with a good meal! It is a banquet filled with options and choices for critical thinking and decision making – for personal actions toward a positive impact. Bon Appetit! 

Powerful climate actions and solutions are possible where water, energy and food connect. We need to become more literate about the entire food system by understanding interactions and relationships about how we grow, harvest, transport, prepare, and serve food to maximize our health and minimize food waste and disposal. Did you know that February is Cancer Prevention month? In a number of our weekly challenges we discuss food to fight cancer, healthy brain food, locally grown food, and composting food waste. The Project Drawdown food sector is a powerful reminder to self motivate for food-related impactful solutions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the atmosphere.  

Project Drawdown, the world’s leading resource for climate solutions, lists 8 of the top 20 existing solutions to reverse global warming related to the food system. What we buy to eat three times a day presents one of the most important daily decisions and actions we can make as individuals,  that can contribute to conservation agriculture and food waste reduction. 

The final weekly challenge celebrates the completion of 52 Weekly Challenges, that build on each other week by week and month by month, for every individual to make better informed purchasing decisions and adjust habits and behaviors to live more sustainably. The ultimate goal is to reduce our carbon footprint, right here in Qatar, to Think Globally – Act Locally and accelerate implementation of climate solutions.

Reduced Food Waste

Project Drawdown Number 3 most impactful solution for reversing global warming

A third of the food raised or prepared does not make it from farm or factory to fork. Think about the huge amount of waste this produces – waste of seeds, water, energy, land, fertilizer, labor, and money. Food waste accounts for about 8 percent of global emissions, largely due to methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) produced by organic material in landfills.

In higher income areas such as Qatar, food waste becomes even more relevant, as retailers and consumers would often reject food that is i less than perfect, or simply leave it unconsumed.

Project Drawdown research shows that “if 50 percent of food waste is reduced by 2050, avoided emissions could be equal to 26.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide. Reducing waste also avoids the deforestation for additional farmland, preventing 44.4 gigatons of additional emissions.”

Consult the Food Recovery Hierarchy in our Feed Others, Not the Landfill Challenge to see how your individual actions can contribute to this carbon reduction solution.

Plant-Rich Diet

Project Drawdown Number 4 most impactful solution for reversing global warming

A diet rich in plants is important to our health, and the health of our planet. Meat-centric diets are responsible for one-fifth of global emissions.

“If cattle were their own nation, they would be the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases.”

Project Drawdown

As our Cancer Fighting SuperFoods Challenge points out, not only are plant-rich diets important in reducing emissions, they are also healthier, leading to lower rates of chronic disease.

As Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh has said, making the transition to a plant-based diet may be the most effective way an individual can stop climate change.

Project Drawdown describes the impact in this way: “If 50 percent of the world’s population restricts their diet to a healthy 2,500 calories per day and reduces meat consumption overall, we estimate at least 26.7 gigatons of emissions could be avoided from dietary change alone. If avoided deforestation from land use change is included, an additional 39.3 gigatons of emissions could be avoided, making healthy, plant-rich diets one of the most impactful solutions at a total of 66 gigatons reduced.”

Even Google is getting in the game, finding innovative ways to help its employees make healthier choices in their cafeteria. It’s a smart move. Healthier employees take fewer sick days off and have fewer doctor visits, both of which are good for a company’s bottom line. As a bonus, healthier eating choices also contribute to a healthier planet.

Composting

Project Drawdown Number 60 most impactful solution for reversing global warming

As was pointed out in our Healthy Soils Challenge and reinforced in the Materials Challenge, compost is a magical resource not to be dismissed. With nearly half of solid waste composed of organic or biodegradable materials, we have on our hands fantastic raw materials to improve our soils. And by keeping these out of the landfills, we reduce decomposition in the absence of oxygen that produces methane, a greenhouse gas that is up to 34 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over a century.

Project Drawdown puts this in very real terms: “In 2015, an estimated 38 percent of food waste was composted in the United States; 57 percent was composted in the European Union. If all lower-income countries reached the U.S. rate and all higher-income countries achieved the E.U. rate, composting could avoid methane emissions from landfills equivalent to 2.3 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050.” Let’s go Qatar!

Nutrient Management

Project Drawdown Number 65 most impactful solution for reversing global warming

The final Food solution where we can have a positive impact is nutrient management. 

Nitrogen fertilizers have a huge impact on contamination of our natural environment. Reducing the use of nitrogen fertilizers leads to healthier soils, less contaminated waterways, and reduced impact on global warming, as soil bacteria convert nitrate fertilizers into nitrous oxide—298 times more powerful than carbon dioxide in its warming effect.

Of course, as we see in our Healthy Soils Challenge, composting is a remedy here as well. And our Cancer Fighting Superfoods Challenge encourages us to eat organically grown foods as often as possible, improving not only our own health outcomes, but also that of our planet.

By considering these Food-related strategies, we help to reduce carbon emissions from the atmosphere and contribute to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) #2 – Zero Hunger; #3: Good Health and Well Being; #12 – Responsible Consumption and #13 Climate Action.

Resources


Take a photo of your weekly action and post it on social media using hashtags #SustainableQATAR #52Challenges.


CHALLENGE #52 ~ THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY: Food

Solutions for Food to reduce GHG emissions

CHALLENGE #51 ~ THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY: Materials

Solutions for Materials to reduce GHG emissions

CHALLENGE #50 ~ THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY: Buildings and Cities

Solutions for Buildings and Cities to reduce GHG emissions

CHALLENGE #49 ~ THINK GLOBALLY, ACT LOCALLY: Transport

Solutions for Transport to reduce GHG emissions.

CHALLENGE #48 ~ GREEN CHEMISTRY: REFRIGERANTS

Refrigerants are a huge contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

CHALLENGE #47 ~ GREEN CHEMISTRY: CHEMICALS ENTERING OUR BODY

Watch out for chemicals absorbed through the skin.

CHALLENGE #46 ~ GREEN CHEMISTRY: HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS

Clean your home without using toxic chemicals.

CHALLENGE #45 ~ Green Chemistry: PEST CONTROL

Rid your homes of pests – safely and responsibly.

CHALLENGE #44 ~ HEALTHY HOMES: Healthy Kids’ Rooms

Our children are our most valuable asset, our future. Let’s keep their play spaces toxin-free!

CHALLENGE #43 ~ HEALTHY HOMES: Healthy Bedrooms

The hours spent sleeping are critical to our well-being. Let’s keep them toxin-free!

CHALLENGE #42 ~ HEALTHY HOMES: Healthy Living Rooms

Living Rooms are for living. Let’s keep them toxin-free!

CHALLENGE #41 ~ HEALTHY HOMES: Healthy Bathrooms

Let’s remove toxins from our bathrooms!

CHALLENGE #40 ~ HEALTHY HOMES: Healthy Kitchens

How to be healthy AND sustainable in your kitchen

CHALLENGE #39 ~ FASHION: Swap & Exchange

Sustainable Fashion – Swap & Exchange!

CHALLENGE #38 ~ FASHION: EXTEND THE LIFE OF CLOTHES

Sustainable Fashion – Make it last. Wash Less – Fight ocean plastics!

Challenge #37 ~ FASHION: Shop your closet

For sustainable fashion, shop your closet

Challenge #36 ~ Fashion: Wear Your Values

With Sustainable Fashion, we can speak without talking when we wear our values.

Challenge #35 ~ GARDENING: Furniture Treatment

A Kitchen Treatment for Wooden Garden Furniture.

Challenge #34 ~ GARDENING: Beneficial Bugs

Bees, birds, and beneficial bugs – ‘Jurassic Park’ in our backyards.

Challenge #33 ~ GARDENING: Proper Plant Selection

Selecting the right plants for a water-sensitive cheerful garden. 

Challenge #32 ~ GARDENING: Healthy Soils

Producing healthy soils from homemade compost and natural soil amendments

Challenge #31 ~ TECHNOLOGY: Tech FOR Sustainability

Is technology good or bad for the environment? It depends on how you use it and what you use it for.

Challenge #30 ~ TECHNOLOGY: eWaste

What contains a higher concentration of precious metals than one ton of mined ore?

Challenge #29 ~ TECHNOLOGY: Paper-less?

Can we go paperless? Or should we aim for less paper?

Challenge #28 ~ TECHNOLOGY: Power Management

Save power, money, and carbon with a few simple power management tricks

Challenge #27 ~ TECHNOLOGY: Smart Purchasing

Using financial technology to save money and time, and help preserve the environment

Challenge #26 ~ FINANCES: Fintech

Using financial technology to save money and time, and help preserve the environment

Challenge #25 ~ FINANCES: Value-based Spending

Making our voices heard by letting our values speak for us

Challenge #24 ~ FINANCES: Green Banking

Understanding financial products and services (loans and bonds) for impact and driving market demand climate solutions.

Challenge #23 ~ FINANCES: Green Investment

Future-proof your financial assets

Challenge #22 ~ FOOD: Eating for Brain Health

Eat REAL food for a healthy brain

Challenge #21 ~ FOOD: Cancer Fighting SuperFoods

Lower your risk factors for developing cancer

Challenge #20 ~ FOOD: Growing Our Own

What beats locally grown organic food? Your own-grown organic food!

Challenge #19 ~ FOOD: Choose Local

Eat local? In Qatar?

Challenge #18 ~ FOOD:
Eat to Become a Centenarian

We can all be centenarian!

Challenge #17 ~ HOLIDAYS:
Staycation

Sand & Sea, Culture & Malls – without Stress or Emissions

Challenge #16 ~ HOLIDAYS:
Responsible Travel

Is responsible travel even possible?

Challenge #15 ~ HOLIDAYS: Agritourism

Thrill on a Farm: Homestays and Farmstays save your health and time

Challenge #14 ~
HOLIDAYS:

Take Direct Flights

Save your health and time by taking direct flights

Challenge #13 ~
CLOSE THE LOOP:
Innovation

We are all Entrepreneurs

Challenge #12 ~
CLOSE THE LOOP:
Beyond Recycling

Reduce, Reuse, Remake, Refuse, Respect, Repair, Restore, Recycle, Remember

Challenge #11 ~ CLOSE THE LOOP:
Feed Others, Not the Landfill

Follow the Food Recovery Hierarchy

Challenge #10 ~ CLOSE THE LOOP:
Say No To Packaging

Simple ways to reduce the amount of packaging used once and thrown away

Challenge #9 ~ TRANSPORTATION: Electric & Hybrid Cars

It’s fast. It’s cool. It’s electric.

Challenge #8 ~ TRANSPORTATION: Smart Driving

Can you really be more sustainable while driving in Qatar?

Challenge #7 ~ TRANSPORTATION: Avoiding Idling

Idling your car engine releases as much pollution as a moving car.

Challenge #6 ~
TRANSPORTATION: Walking & Biking

Walk and bike for more human connection and less stress.

Challenge #5 ~
TRANSPORTATION: Ride Sharing

Sharing a ride, whether in your own car or a taxi, reduces the environmental impact of your ride by at least half.

Challenge #4 ~
WATER:
Every Drop Counts

Turn the unconscious conscious and look for daily water savings!

Challenge #3 ~
WATER:
Leaky Fixtures

Did you know that even a slowly leaking fixture can waste as much as 12 lattes worth of water in a single day?

Challenge #2 ~
WATER:
Shorter Showers

The Power of a Shorter Shower!

desert garden

Challenge #1 ~
WATER:
Smart Gardening

You enjoy gardening and are desperate to green your backyard. Grow your dream garden sustainably.

Brave plant

Initial Challenge:
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