Most countries in the world are faced with the dilemma of missing one or more crucial ingredients that prevent them from engaging in environmental research or implementing environmentally friendly policies and practices. Some countries that have the resources to affect change suffer from a lack of political will, whereas others that may have the political will lack the human or technological resources or institutional capacity to affect a change. At present, Qatar is in a unique position for enhancing its environmental performance and sustainability. Endowed by a small population and the world's third largest natural gas reserves, economic resources pose little restraints, and could be converted into building a cleaner future. Education City, Qatar's leading vehicle for building a knowledge economy, incorporates some of the most ambitious environmental sustainability projects and initiatives in Qatar, including sustainable buildings seeking LEED-certification, environmental awareness campaigns, and related practical applications in the areas of solar energy, among others. Apart from this unique concentration of institutions, projects and practices relating to environmental sustainability, the City's cultural diversity makes it a true melting pot of values, perspectives and lifestyles relating to the environment. Education City could provide lessons or even serve as an example of an environmentally sustainable community for the broader society, or will it simply remain a self-proclaimed green community with little impact outside its boundaries? In other words, is Education City a green beacon or is it a green island? This study, funded by the UREP channel of the QNRF, aims to explore environmental sustainability in Education City (EC) and answer the main research question by answering three interlinked, complementary sets of questions, namely: 1) What are the intersections of the vision and EC? 2) How is EC advancing (in) environmental sustainability? 3) Are the university students in EC environmentally sustainable? How about university students in Qatar in general? In addition to providing answers to these questions through qualitative analysis and a survey administered among different universities in the autumn of 2012, this study will seek to identify policy advice and practical applications for environmental sustainability education in Education City and throughout other universities in Qatar.


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