A DAY IN THE LIFE OF...
The founder and managing director of eco initiative Goumbook tells us how she manages to make her family’s lives as green as possible
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