x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Youngsters given a glimpse into the future by UAE exhibition

A year-long exhibition aiming to show children how their choices can either destroy the city or make it a better place opened at Manarat Al Saadiyat on Thursday.

Pupils from the American International School were among the first to enjoy the interactive experience of the Eco Future exhibit on display at Manarat Al Saadiyat.
Pupils from the American International School were among the first to enjoy the interactive experience of the Eco Future exhibit on display at Manarat Al Saadiyat.

ABU DHABI // A year-long exhibition aiming to show children how their choices can either destroy the city or make it a better place opened at Manarat Al Saadiyat yesterday.

Eco Future is targeting children aged from eight to 12 in a bid to teach them the process of creating a more sustainable and environmentally friendly lifestyle.

Organised by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA) in collaboration with various entities, including Masdar and the Abu Dhabi Education Council, Eco Future is based on "realistic environmental issues" in the emirate, according to organisers.

Tairone Bastien, the public programmes manager at TCA, said it was "important to engage children in these issues" to teach them how to live a green lifestyle.

And he said that Saadiyat was the ideal location for such an exhibition as the TCA is interested in making the island sustainable, in line with the Abu Dhabi 2030 Economic Vision.

Divided into sections - building, drinking, enjoying, eating and moving - the exhibition focuses on issues such as healthy living, climate change and global resources.

The children are given a card with a microchip that they need to swipe to start interactive games.

Games include building their future home using different materials, driving electric cars and choosing the right food for a healthy meal.

Omar Akad, 12, from Syria, who studies at the American International School Abu Dhabi, said the exhibition was "amazing", as it helped him "to be more eco-friendly".

"This place is fun. I knew about the environment before but this has taught me how to be more aware," Omar said.

He added that his favourite section was the building area, because he could build his own house and "learn how to thrive and live with nature".

The choices the children make are stored in the card's microchip and, at the end of the exhibition, it will reveal what Abu Dhabi would look like if they were in charge.

Emirati pupil Suhail Alkhour, 13, who also studies at AIS, said his results were "not good" when he swiped his card at the end.

Another student got a "poor balance" message on the screen after he had chosen a virtual meal consisting of fries. "But I thought they were potatoes," he said in despair.

Eco Future takes about 45 minutes to complete, and can hold 30 people at one time.

Faisal Al Dhahri, a manager at TCA, said they were hoping to see many visitors but that they were mainly focusing on schools.

"Since school has just started again this is what we are looking at," he said.

The exhibition will also have a series of programmes spread out over the course of the year, including kayaking trips to the Abu Dhabi mangroves, combined with art workshops.

Admission to the exhibition is Dh25 for children under 15 and Dh30 for adults and is open from 10am to 8pm daily.

molson@thenational.ae