Sustainability Across Generations: What Can We Learn from the Elderly Generation About Sustainability in UAE?

  • Casiana Pascariu
  • Leslie VandeputteEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Science, Technology & Innovation book series (ASTI)


In order to understand sustainability implies, among other factors, to grasp cultural perceptions of the environment and our impact on it. Both sustainability and anthropology are, therefore, intrinsically intertwined and growing numbers of studies have been conducted to examine this relationship (Al Musharrekh 2015). Sustainability and anthropology where they stand include cultural competencies. This research is comparing and contrasting the word sustainability to intergenerational and transgenerational perspectives, aiming to define the term from a United Arab Emirates (UAE) perspective. Fieldwork methods used for this research were anthropological such as Participant Observation (P-O), informal interviews, focus groups, and surveys. The data was collected through surveys distributed to eligible students at the American University in the Emirates (AUE), focus groups with the sociology and anthropology students, and eight visits to the Thukher Social Club for Elderly (males and females). In this research, the focus was sustainability from a cultural perspective: how did the cultural competencies (socially and religiously) influence the lifestyle of elderly UAE generation and the new UAE young population (AUE students). The research results aim to teach the UAE millennial generation how to be sustainable from the elderly about the new modern times. In the end, we intend to reconsider/reimagine our contemporary practices and our relationship to the environment by drawing inspiration from the knowledge of the elders. Based on the data analysis, we offer three recommendations: open a Baraka club in schools, integrate the elderly in higher education and create cross-generational workshops, and lastly, learn from the past when it comes to architecture, reusable materials, and energy.


Intergenerational education Sustainability Anthropology Conservation History Transmission Development Religion Middle East MENA region UAE Emirates Arab Peninsula 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.American University in the EmiratesDubaiUAE

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