The founder and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of eco ini­tia­tive Goum­book tells us how she man­ages to make her fam­ily’s lives as green as pos­si­ble

Aquarius - - CONTENTS - Find more in­for­ma­tion on Goum­book’s eco friendly, sus­tain­able ini­tia­tives at goum­book.com, sus­tain­able­mena.com, dropit.ae and giveaghaf.com

Tatiana An­tonelli Abella, founder of eco ini­tia­tive goum­book.com, tells us how to live green

In what ways do you make your home life sus­tain­able/ eco-friendly? Take baby steps! Green liv­ing can ap­pear over­whelm­ing, es­pe­cially in Dubai. The first step I al­ways rec­om­mend is to con­sume less, which will help save money as well as sav­ing the en­vi­ron­ment. I’m very care­ful at plan­ning the weekly shop­ping and re­duc­ing the fam­ily food waste. I try to buy or­ganic foods as much as pos­si­ble - es­pe­cially for the chil­dren - and we’re re­duc­ing our meat in­take. I don’t think it’s healthy to eat too much meat, and the car­bon emis­sions re­lated to the meat in­dus­try are more than the air­line in­dus­try! I pack the chil­dren’s lunch in pa­per and not plas­tic, and I send them to school with a glass bot­tle filled with tap wa­ter; 6 years ago we in­stalled a wa­ter fil­ter un­der the kitchen sink. All our light­bulbs are en­ergy ef­fi­cient and dur­ing the hot sum­mer months we never put our AC be­low 23-24 de­grees. When it comes to pack­ag­ing, I try to re­move all I can in the shops and su­per­mar­kets in or­der to make it a point that they should of­fer more op­tions with less pack­ag­ing. And what­ever is left to re­cy­cle we put in our spe­cial green bin pro­vided by Emaar re­cently. An­other rule is to stop buy­ing all prod­ucts that con­tain mi­crobeads, such as tooth­paste, beauty scrubs or clean­ing prod­ucts. They end up in the oceans and fish eat them, which is ter­ri­ble for the marine en­vi­ron­ment. To what ex­tent are you able to be eco-friendly/ sus­tain­able in terms of fash­ion and beauty? I’m not a big shop­per, and that helps a lot. But when I do hit the mall - twice a year - I try to buy time­less pieces I’ll wear for a long time. I pre­fer to spend more on qual­ity rather than buy­ing cheap items that might have been pro­duced by child labour or in sweat shops in Asia. I like to go to Har­vey Ni­chols and Bou­tique 1, and I don’t mind go­ing to their shops in the Out­let Mall! For the chil­dren I usu­ally buy clothes when we’re back in Italy. In Dubai I might take them to Zara, Mas­simo Dutti or H&M and buy clothes from their or­ganic range, or made in coun­tries such as Turkey, Por­tu­gal and Morocco as I know my shop­ping will sup­port small com­mu­ni­ties un­der strict reg­u­la­tions. Fast fash­ion is de­stroy­ing the en­vi­ron­ment – it’s the num­ber two pro­ducer of en­vi­ron­men­tal waste, sec­ond only to waste pro­duced by the oil and gas in­dus­try. For my beauty rou­tine I use only the min­i­mal as I don’t want to ap­ply too much on my skin. I love Shirley Con­lon Or­ganic beauty prod­ucts; I find them ad­dic­tive! To pro­tect my skin from the sun I use Herbal Essen­tials sun­screen lo­tion which isn’t

greasy and is ab­sorbed quickly. For my hair, I only use the Kevin Mur­phy prod­ucts avail­able at the Marquee Hair Sa­lon and Nail Spa.

What are your favourite en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly week­end pur­suits around the UAE?

Al Maha is a haven for the mam­mals and birds of the UAE and un­der­takes ini­tia­tives such as habi­tat re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, prop­a­ga­tion of more than 6,000 in­dige­nous flora and the re-in­tro­duc­tion of the UAE’s first free-roam­ing herds of the en­dan­gered oryx.

Lo­cated in the tran­quil and eco-rich Wadi Khadeja, the Al Wadi Desert Re­sort Ras Al Khaimah rests amidst 500 hectares of pri­vate na­ture re­serve, home to in­dige­nous plant and wildlife. This oa­sis of peace is set against the mag­nif­i­cent Al Ha­j­jar Moun­tains. I took my chil­dren to visit the re­serve and they had the op­por­tu­nity to ride bi­cy­cles to move from a place to an­other as well as ex­per­i­ment with ac­tiv­i­ties such as archery and fal­conry. The Desert Is­land Re­sort and Spa by Anan­tara on Sir Bani Yas Is­land, home to thou­sands of an­i­mals and birds, has been planned keep­ing in mind eco­log­i­cal, so­cial and eco­nomic fronts. My boys re­ally en­joyed the early morn­ing sa­fari and snorkelling into the man­groves.

Built around the Al Ain Zoo — a cen­tre for the con­ser­va­tion of en­dan­gered species and the suc­cess­ful breed­ing of the Ara­bian oryx — the Al Ain Wildlife Park and Re­sort fol­lows the best sus­tain­able prac­tices, from lead­ing in­ter­na­tional ini­tia­tives such as Lead­er­ship in En­ergy and En­vi­ron­men­tal De­sign and One Planet Liv­ing.

Where do you like to buy your fam­ily gro­cery shop­ping from and why?

I’ll go to a big su­per­mar­ket to get the bulky stuff such as clean­ing and laun­dry prod­ucts; Geant stocks a good se­lec­tion of eco friendly prod­ucts. I go to the Or­ganic Foods & Cafe to get meat and fish, as well as greens and fruit. For our daily needs I walk to our next door Choithram where we have a great se­lec­tion of or­ganic, fair trade and lo­cal prod­ucts.

Are there any eater­ies around Dubai you like for their eco-friendly ap­proach?

My favourite place at the mo­ment is the One Café at Life’n One, Jumeirah 1. Food is gluten free, dairy free and sugar free, and all recipes are 100 per cent ve­gan us­ing raw ingredients. My favourite dish is the avo­cado and peas mash on seeds crack­ers and the sushi bowl salad, while the chil­dren go crazy for the raw chocolate cin­na­mon smoothie with al­mond milk.

Meat is still part of our lives, even if we have re­duced it, so we go to El­e­va­tion Burger with the boys. They of­fer au­then­tic and sus­tain­ably pre­pared food, the meat is 100 per cent or­ganic, grass-fed, and free-range, and the fries are cooked in olive oil, while all their restau­rants are built with sus­tain­able ma­te­ri­als.

“Fast fash­ion is de­stroy­ing the en­vi­ron­ment; its waste is sec­ond only to that pro­duced by the oil and gas in­dus­try”

What’s the lat­est news with Goum­book?

Goum­book is grow­ing fast and we are al­ways launch­ing new ini­tia­tives to help peo­ple make more re­spon­si­ble choices. The most re­cent one is Drop It, Say NO To Plas­tic bot­tles, a cam­paign aimed at re­duc­ing our plas­tic con­sump­tion with many ben­e­fits to the en­vi­ron­ment, to our health and to our sav­ings. The next step will be the launch of Drop It Youth, a ded­i­cated web­site for chil­dren; we hope many will get in­volved and be­come am­bas­sadors to help us raise aware­ness of plas­tic pol­lu­tion amongst new gen­er­a­tions.

Goum­book has been lauded for its con­tri­bu­tion to the en­vi­ron­ment and sus­tain­abil­ity in the Mid­dle East

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