Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, has reiterated the UAE’s concern over climate and environment, noting “a strong connection between our spiritual values and how we care for the environment.”

Sheikh Nahyan made the remarks at a large-scale public event at Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) in the presence of Indian spiritual guru Sadhguru who wrapped up the UAE leg of his ‘Journey to Save Soil’ with the event, which was organised by the Conscious Planet Movement to Save Soil (Conscious Planet), in partnership with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE).

Aimed at raising awareness on the importance of soil conservation, the gathering drew the participation of around 10,000 people, including several VIP guests.

It kicked off with an opening address by the guest of honor, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, who said, “Our observation of the alarming soil erosion around the world, and our desire to understand what we see, reminds me of the UAE’s most prominent environmentalist, our Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed, who had a deep love of nature. After Sheikh Zayed’s passing, our country’s concern for the environment continued to intensify so that now the UAE, led by the President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, has established many environmental initiatives and organisations.”

“In the spirit of the love of nature, we must all continue to explore ways to improve how we plan, protect, manage, and use our natural resources. I also believe there is a strong connection between our spiritual values and how we care for the environment. Our spiritual values provide the moral imperative to ensure that all people in all countries can enhance their standard of living without acting in ways that will leave their future generations living and working in a barren environment,” he added.

In her keynote speech, Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, commented, “In the UAE, we have developed several strategies and policies that aim not only to enhance food security but also to implement sustainable soil management systems. These include the National Food Security Strategy, the National Strategy to Combat Desertification, and the UAE General Environmental Policy. We also support the outcomes of COP26 that consider soil a vital component of sustainable farming systems. Let’s all work together to preserve our soil for the next generations, because how we act today will determine what the whole world will eat tomorrow.”

In an insightful session on soil conservation, Sadhguru said, “Knowingly or unknowingly, every one of us has been a part of this destruction. The only way forward is for every one of us to become a part of the solution. The solution is neither too complex, nor does it need any new technology, nor does it need great financial outlays. The only thing necessary is to face the right direction and a relentless commitment to fulfill that. This is all it takes to regenerate the world’s soils.”

Sadhguru’s 100-day solo motorcycle trip from London to the southern tip of India seeks to address the soil crisis by bringing together people from around the world to stand up for soil health and supporting leaders in developing and implementing national policies to save the world’s soil from extinction.

During his stay in the UAE, Sadhguru visited several sites that have an important role in soil conservation, including Jubail Mangrove Park in Abu Dhabi, and Emirates Bio Farm. He also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Conscious Planet and the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) to initiate cooperation in protecting soil in the UAE from degradation.

Sadhguru has been named one of India’s 50 most influential people. An engaging voice at major global fora that address issues of socio-economic development, leadership, and spirituality, he has initiated several far-reaching projects focused on social revitalisation, education, and the environment. His work aspires to provide people with the means to overcome poverty, improve quality of life, and drive community-based sustainable development.

Conscious Planet aims to activate the support of over 3.5 billion people and assist governments in formulating policies that will address soil health and make farming activity more soil-friendly to halt and reverse soil degradation. The primary recommendation of the movement is for governments across the world to enact policies that will mandate a minimum of three to six percent organic content in all agricultural soil in their countries.

World leaders, influencers, artists, subject matter experts, farmers, spiritual leaders, and NGOs are among those who have pledged their support to rekindle humanity’s relationship with soil. Organisations such as the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the UN World Food Programme India, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have partnered with the movement, which has also secured the support of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).