7 Ways to Celebrate World Environment Day and Get Back to Nature in the UAE

7 mins

From switching to a vegan diet to guided nature trails and environmental film screenings, these World Environment Day activities will have you reconnecting with Mother Earth in no time

From beautiful beaches to the rolling sand dunes, the UAE’s natural environment is stunning – and it’s one we need to protect. This week all eyes land on the environment around us, as World Environment Day falls on Wednesday June 5.

Set up by the UN, the first World Environment Day was celebrated in 1973, with the theme Only One Earth. Each year there’s a different focus, with 2024 throwing a spotlight on land restoration, desertification and drought resilience.

Around the globe events are held to raise awareness of World Environment Day and to support the path to a more sustainable future.

Although it’s a bit warm for a seaside stroll or a desert expedition right now, there are still plenty of ways to celebrate nature and support the natural environment here in the UAE today and beyond.

Here’s how to get back to nature this World Environment Day, from ocean-side yoga to getting behind turtle rehabilitation.

Celebrate the turtles at Jumeirah Al Naseem

turtle headed to the ocean

The Turtle Rehabilitation Sanctuary at Jumeirah Al Naseem does important work in rescuing and nursing injured turtles. It has five outdoor lagoons where turtles regain strength before being released back into the ocean – more than 2,150 rehabilitated turtles have been returned to their natural habitat since 2004. Turtle-lovers can wander around the lagoons and see the resident turtles, plus there are daily feedings.

And in celebration of 20 years of Jumeirah’s Dubai Turtle Rehabilitation Project, there’s a brand-new staycation package to try. The stay focuses on ocean conservation, and as well as turtle-inspired welcome amenities, guests will get a look behind the scenes at the project, including a tour of the aquarium at Burj Al Arab and the Turtle Rehabilitation Sanctuary at Jumeirah Al Naseem. There’s also an ocean-themed afternoon tea, made with sustainably sourced, local ingredients. That’s not all, as a portion of the stay rate, which starts at AED2,025 will be donated to the project.


Do a class at SEVA Experience

SEVA Table  with healthy food

This charming environment- and vegan-friendly café in Jumeirah is not only a brilliant spot for a bite to eat, it also hosts a variety of classes. With a lush green garden and plenty of foliage, it’s the ideal place to feel closer to nature – and to experience a greater connection to a sense of self. Read a book, chat with friends or just sip on variety of smoothies, tonics and teas. There’s a 100 percent plant-based and organic menu to try, with dishes that are cane sugar-, gluten- and GMO-free. Dishes are good for you and the planet, with menu highlights including healing macrobiotic soup, superfood salad and plant-based tacos.

For those who want to work on their mental and physical health there are a variety of wellness events and classes, from sound healing to meditation and yoga, and on World Environment Day there’s vinyasa flow at 8.30am or soma breathwork and chakra dance at 7pm.


Explore the rainforest at The Green Planet

couple at Green Planet on a bridge

To get back to nature, but still stay cool in the June heat, The Green Planet is popular with families. Found in City Walk, the huge rainforest biodome spans 60,000sqft and is home to more than 3,000 species of plants and wildlife. For further ways to discover more about the environment there’s the Nature Pass, which gives visitors access to shaded outdoor botanical gardens and treehouse adventures. Here there are 20 giant animatronic bugs – larger-than-life versions of the real ones found inside The Green Planet – so that kids can learn more about the insects.

There are also nine botanical gardens representing different areas on the planet with everything from herbs and orchids to Zen gardens and vegetable patches to explore. The aim of The Green Planet is to educate visitors about tropical habitats and the importance of sustainability for the environment. It’s also committed to reducing its carbon footprint using eco-friendly and sustainable practices. Tickets start from AED155 and it’s open seven days a week.


Practise beach yoga at Talise Madinat Jumeirah

women doing yoga on the beach

For those who want to connect with the ocean on World Environment Day, then beach yoga is a great choice. Held every evening from 6pm until 7pm on the beach at Jumeirah Al Qasr Hotel, it’s a tranquil way to enjoy the outdoors. The hatha-based session is AED95 and aims to bring a sense of serenity, while the sun setting makes for a gorgeous backdrop. During the session yogis will practise a range of poses all while enjoying the environment around them, listening to the sound of the sea, feeling the sand beneath them and the warmth of the surrounding air.

Meanwhile, on Thursday 6 June there’s New Moon Yoga, to harness the energy of the lunar cycle and find inner stillness. Held at 6.30pm at the Yoga Garden at the same hotel, it’s AED100.


Sustainable staycationing at Qasr Al Sarab

For a stylish staycation, that still has an eco-friendly ethos, Abu Dhabi’s Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara is found just 90 minutes from the centre of the UAE capital. It’s a beautiful desert resort hotel that keeps sustainability at its core. The resort has a sustainability programme that includes carbon-saving practices. The resort has no plastic water bottles or plastic straws, creates renewable energy using solar panels and the desert sun to create hot water for guest rooms and the laundry, plus there’s a zero-waste policy, it makes its own compost and has an on-site vegetable greenhouse and herb garden.

For animal-loving guests there’s also Ezba Cultural centre, an ezba being a place where families traditionally raised sheep, goats and camels. At Qasr Al Sarab there’s an educational farmhouse and cultural centre to educate guests about the flora, fauna and heritage of the Emirates.


Take a nature walk at Jubail Mangrove Park

jubail mangrove park

To fully embrace a nature trail, it’s time for an early alarm call and a trip to Jubail Mangrove Park. Found in the UAE capital there are 4,000 hectares of mangrove forests and coastal estuaries with more than 30km of waterfront. Supporting biodiversity, it’s an excellent place to celebrate World Environment Day as there are gazelle, heron, flamingos and more fauna and flora to see. Plus, every morning at 9am there are guided nature trails to explain more about the eco-friendly attraction, costing AED30 for a 20-minute walk.


Visit Terra

visit expo city's terra pavilion on World Environment Day

The Sustainability PavilionFor something innovative and fun on World Environment Day a trip to Terra is in order. Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion asks visitors to examine their relationship with nature and is one of the most interesting places to visit at Expo City. It focuses on ways to preserve the planet for future generations, while looking at conserving water and fighting climate change, plus examining humanity’s impact on the planet. Terra also has 4,912 solar panels on its 130m-wide canopy, plus 18 energy trees that together help to generate 4gwh of alternative energy annually. It’s open daily from 10am until 6pm with tickets starting at AED50.

To celebrate World Environment Day 2024, Expo City Dubai has teamed up with home-grown UAE picture house Cinema Akil to show films that have an environmental meaning. On Saturday June 8 there will be two films being shown, Ainbo: Spirit of the Amazon, and Costa Brave, Lebanon. The first is shown at 1pm and the second at 4pm. Films are included in the price of a Terra or Attractions pass and are on a first come, first served basis.


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