Sarah Siblini, Environmentalist
Describe yourself in 3-5 words?
Mum of 3, Environmentalist, Photographer, Kundalini yoga teacher-in-training, Dive master
How has your sustainable journey started?
I have felt connected to nature for as far as I can remember. Because of this connection, I strongly feel part of our greater ecosystem. So naturally I’ve always been concerned with the way we humans recklessly disregard and destroy our environment and other species for our benefit.
The Green Switch was created to offer easy practical eco-solutions and tips to those who feel powerless and want to lower their waste can apply right now! Because the amount of work and change that needs to be done and trying to figure out where and how to start is overwhelming, my insta platform aims to break down the task into simple and convenient steps.
What is your vision and how do you think you add value to the community?
My aim is to raise the community’s consciousness about the need for sustainability.
I offer green talks in schools, universities and businesses, and encourage everyone to make one green switch a month.
“What can i do? How can I help? Where do I start? Will it make a difference?” are questions I want to offer answers to by sharing practical, convenient and easy tips on my instagram platform and through my talks. Raising awareness at a grass root level is for me not just rewarding, but also paramount.
I believe sustainability should be integrated in our children’s curriculum. They will after all be inheriting the planet in the state we are leaving it.
Can you share a couple of practical examples on your sustainable living that would be useful to others?
My two tips to anyone wanting to embark on a lower waste journey is to first start by installing a water filter at home to say NO to plastic bottles forever and to reduce their meat consumption.
One essential habit to introduce in your daily life is to keep reusable grocery and produce bags in your car. I keep along with a reusable cup and tins for whenever I go grocery shopping. I use the produce bags for loose fruits & veggies, tins to fill with olives or cheese from the counter.
My reusable cup is there in case I’d like to pick up a smoothie on the way.
Since when do you live in the UAE?
I grew up here in Abu Dhabi
Why do you love this place?
Home is where the heart is!
If you would get a magic stick what would you improve and make better?
I dream of a community where respecting our environment, and living in harmony with the planet and its other inhabitants is at the centre of our endeavours.
And if I had magic: All the plastic already produced would miraculously disappear, and never be produced again.
Overfishing and cruel factory farming practices would come to a halt. Which also means deforestation would stop.
Pesticides would no longer be sprayed on our food and into our soil.
Toxic fumes would no longer poison our air and heat up our atmosphere.
A girl can dream!
Where do you like doing your grocery and why?
I find the most joy in buying from local organic farms, knowing that what I feed my family is safe (pesticide-free), and that we have not contributed to contaminating the soil.
I also enjoy refilling pulses, nuts and teas from the Al Bayara stands in some supermarkets around town.
What is your favourite eco-brand?
My biggest and proudest green switch this year are the ModiBodi period undies.
Every month, I pinch myself: they’re super comfy and so kind to our planet! If you are “people who menstruate”, and wondering what switch to make this month: look no further. These undies are life-changing!
What is your favourite eco-friendly restaurant or cafe?
I don’t believe we have an “eco-friendly” restaurant per se in town, however we are seeing more and more vegan and vegetarian menus popping up: I’d like to think they’re trending!
Two of my favs are the raw vegan menu at the Four Seasons café and The Market Edition hotel.
The best way to spend time with family and friends?
Outdoors surrounded by the beauty and force of nature hands down! Hiking, swimming, camping, discovering. In the desert, the sea, the mountains.
How do you spend your free time?
I love reading, walking, meditating and… dancing!
The best recent discovery in the UAE?
If we are talking about a recent eco-discovery, for me in Abu Dhabi it is the Al Bayara refilling stations. I can’t imagine buying pulses, nuts, dried fruits in plastic bags anymore!
Do you recycle and how?
I recycle glass and aluminum, and deposit them in the recycling bins next to Spinneys in Khalidiyah.
What is the best way to learn about sustainability and green living?
Get outside and connect with nature.
Read up as much as you can about why it is crucial to live in harmony with other species and how we are all connected.
Follow green eco-accounts on social media, there are so many great tips out there!
Follow Sarah on Instagram @thegreenswithchuae