Children all praise for eco-themed festival - GulfToday

Children all praise for eco-themed festival


Melanie Martini-Mareel, Alliance Française Dubai Director.

Shereen Afifi, Staff Reporter

Alliance Française Dubai held its first eco-themed festival, ‘Together&Now,’ from March 4-7. The festival featured family activities, films, talks, markets and workshops that inspire and support environmental goals.

Melanie Martini-Mareel, Alliance Française Dubai Director and brainchild behind the ‘Together&Now’ festival, said, ”I’ve been always very sensitive to ecology, so after the pandemic I was pushed to do something so I decided to dedicate 14 slots for an outdoor activity. That’s how it started.”

Talking about the reason why most festival activities, such as storytelling, movies, music and workshops, are children-centric, she said, “First because Alliance is a cultural and language centre. Half of our members are children and we are very strongly children oriented. I know children today are more conscious than their parents.”

Bentim, a 9-year-old boy, was all praise for the festival. “I liked the movie (Home). It discusses how our planet is very hot and there is too much pollution. Also, I bought some books from the flea market.”

Violet, also 9, remarks, “I liked the growing plants workshop, as well as the workshop on building a cardboard city. I bought toys from the flea market. And I learned that we reuse, recycle and reduce.  You just buy what you really need and you don’t throw it away.”

“In the UAE there are many citizens and companies really involved in tackling climate change but it is still not enough. So, we need to do more. We have been in Dubai here for 40 years. So there is something about sustainability in our DNA, Dubai is our home and we want to be an actor player in the future,” said Mareel.

“We gather people who are already eco-conscious and sometimes you need to meet each other to share and learn about a zero waste lifestyle,” added Mareel.

Eric Schaffner, founder and CEO of ZeLoop, was one of the speakers during the festival. “I can see the point about plastic pollution. The problem with plastic is not the material, it is about how to dispose it off. When you say to a consumer, “Hey, that’s not good for the planet, we know it’s not enough, because if it was there wouldn’t be any pollution. So, we have to find a new drive to get people engaged. That how we created ZeLoop, to encourage consumers on eco-friendly behaviour.”

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