"It all began so beautifully, with the ruler of Dubai photographed planting the
first tree of his ambitious environmental initiative, as smiling officials
applauded around him.
In 2010, the One Million Trees initiative was announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin
Rashid al-Maktoum, the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab
Emirates and ruler of Dubai. The aim of the launch was to increase green areas
in Dubai through afforestation, while contributing to overall beautification of
The plan was to establish a nursery for the young trees on land contributed by
the Dubai Police Academy, to allow them to grow to maturity before sending them
out across the emirate. A company called Green Land partnered with a
government-backed environmental organisation on the project to develop the tree
nursery and began planting the trees.
“This is our attempt to stop desertification, and to add to the aesthetic
appeal of Dubai,” said Lt Gen Dhahi Khalfan, the deputy head of Dubai Police
and General Security, in 2010.
At its peak, the tree nursery spanned more than 130,000 sq metres, irrigated
using recycled wastewater and desalination. The once empty land had more than
30 types of trees chosen to withstand the desert environment, including groves
of olive, palms and ghafs, the national tree of the UAE.
But then the stark realities of hyper-development in Dubai began to overpower
the project when Dubai Holding, an investment holding company that is the
personal corporate portfolio of Sheikh Mohammed, announced plans for the Mall
of the World, conceived as the world’s largest shopping centre, a 4.4m sq-metre
project costing more than 25bn dirhams (£5bn)."
Via Glyn Moody, who wrote "more human greed and stupidity"
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics