Dr. Hassan Hassoon, an Assistant Professor at the University of Dubai (UD), spoke to a full house at Dome Hall on the premises of Dubai Customs this past week about living sustainably during ten years of strict sanctions in Iraq. Dr. Hassoon’s presentation and subsequent lecture was part of the 7th Community Lecture of the Emirates Environmental Group (EEG). The Emirates Environmental Group is a professional working group devoted to protecting the environment through the means of education, action programs and community involvement and is in its 20th year of operation.
Hassoon, who started at UD in 1999, lectured on sustainable living - a lifestyle in which one reduces his or her consumption of resources to minimize and in some cases eliminate the negative impact a person leaves on the Earth. As Dr. Hassoon mentioned, through reusing, reducing, recycling and restoring, a person can minimize their carbon footprint and help create a balance with the Earth’s natural ecological cycles.
“As the saying goes, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention,’” said Hassoon. After completing his studies in the UK, he returned to his home in Iraq in 1989. A year later, Iraq entered war and strict sanctions forced Dr. Hassoon and his family to live on the bare minimum. In his presentation he described how the family planted vegetables, fruit trees and raised hens for food. Everything at the family’s disposal was used for optimum efficiency. The trimmings from the trees for example went to fuel the oven to bake bread and the ashes from the oven would go to the hens so they could take dust baths as they are accustomed to doing.
Dr. Hassoon described finding activities for his children to do during this period, which included building a computer out of scrap parts and building a swimming pool for only $150. “We decided to build our own swimming pool by using bricks and a used circulating water pump,” Hassoon said. “For us, ‘Do-it-Yourself’ became the mantra of our lives.”
Now living in Dubai, Hassoon teaches Contemporary Environmental Issues and Mathematics at UD. “I am now happily settled in Dubai,” he said. “I have lived through six bloody wars and have only come to realize that there is no winner in these wars. It is only the people and the environment that is destroyed.” His main interest lies with contemporary environmental issues that are related to the GCC and the Middle East Region. He has introduced three new courses on Water and the Future and; Energy and Integrated Science. He has published more than 50 papers and articles, and has more than 30 years of teaching experience.
The Community Lecture is part of EEG’s free community public lectures held almost every month to different interested parties. EEG’s overall objective is to contribute positively to the advancement of sustainable development in Dubai and the UAE by acting as a focal point for people of all nationalities and ages concerned with environmental protection and responsible waste management.