Managing Barriers To Sustainability Report Sample

Type of paper: Report

Topic: Sustainability, Environmental Justice, Development, Middle East, Climate, Solar Energy, Landscaping, Climate Change

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/12/16

A. Abstract3

B. Introduction3
C. Literature Review3
D. Primary Research4

E. Conclusion5

F. Draft Strategy6
G. Reference List6
H. Appendix7
One of the greatest threats to our livelihood in the 21st century is climate change.
Sustainability, or development that is conducted without the depletion of natural resources, is the world's most important weapon against climate change. Unfortunately, there are many economic, social, political, and institutional barriers to sustainability. This report advances a water-conserving landscaping technique called xeriscaping as a means to reduce these barriers. A survey of 24 households in a neighborhood in the United Arab Emirates was conducted to estimate local support of this new sustainability initiative. The results of the survey showed that the majority of respondents were apathetic to or unaware of the economic and environmental benefits of xeriscaping. These results suggest that in order for sustainable landscaping to take ground in the United Arab Emirates, the public must first be educated about its ameliorative effects.


Sustainable landscaping is an often overlooked feature of the sustainability movement. Rather, it should be one of the major focuses of the movement, since our lawns and gardens constitute a large portion of the surface area of the world. This report proposes the application of a water-wise gardening technique known as xeriscaping, or drought resistant landscaping, to the properties of private households in the United Arab Emirates. Xeriscaping will be well-adapted to the hot and arid climate of the UAE. As xeriscaped lawns use up to two-thirds less water than regular lawn landscapes (Chow, Winston, and Anthony, 2012), xeriscaping will allow our communities to reserve more water for domestic and communal use.
A survey will be conducted of a local neighborhood to determine the level of awareness about and openness to using drought resistant landscaping techniques. Data will be collected in the form of administering questionnaires. Once the findings have been recorded, they will be reported to the local council on community outreach. Then, a seminar will be held at the local community center about xeriscaping, where easy-to-follow plans and resources will be distributed.

Literature Review

There are many barriers to implementing sustainable development that must be overcome. These barriers are not only technological, but also social, economic, political, and institutional. Among the wealthy nations, unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, coupled with limited awareness about environmental impact, are the biggest social challenges to achieving sustainability. Without a significant change in human behavior, there will be little chance of sustainable endeavors taking hold. In addition, there are as yet few incentives for the private sector to pursue sustainable technologies on their own.
In countries such as the United States, the prevailing economic model (capitalism) tends to prioritize the importance of economic growth over the welfare of the environment. In order to make sustainability a reachable goal, there must be a shift in world view from seeing the environment as part of the economy, to seeing the economy as part of the environment. This means that economic objectives should be created that ensure that the environment is protected and preserved.
There has always been political resistance to sustainable initiatives. Environmentalism has been a minor force in political change. In the United States, systemic change resistance has prevented effective environmental policy from being enacted. In fact, change resistance is so high in the United States that it, along with China, has never adopted the Kyoto Protocol treaty. This is significant because the United States and China are two of the world's top producers of green house gases.
Institutional barriers to sustainability come in the form of entrenched social inequalities and lack of participation of civil society in government. There are many people who privately support and promote sustainability, but they are underrepresented in government and thus, have no voice.
Unfortunately, sustainability is not a priority for many nations. For it to be effective, it must be universally adopted and integrated into people's lifestyles. Sustainability goes beyond what we buy and what we throw away; it incorporates every aspect of our lives, including how we utilize energy in our homes, our gardens, and our cars.
According to a case study att Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, students are pushing for a more drought-tolerant campus. Over 800 signatures have been added to a petition to replace grass landscaping with climate appropriate, low water-using plants. The students behind the initiative found that watering plants accounted for 40 percent of Stanford's annual water use, a significant proportion. Initially, the university administrators resisted the change because they believed that students wanted green athletic fields, and not drought-resistant plants. The petition has helped to dispel the myth that students don't care about sustainable landscaping practices. This push for drought-resistant landscaping comes at a time when California is experiencing a record drought.

Primary Research

Research Objectives
Determine the amount of awareness about recent sustainability initiatives in the United Arab Emirates
Gauge the level of concern about or belief in global climate change
Determine the amount of awareness about drought resistant landscaping techniques
Gauge whether people are generally open to the idea of xeriscaping their lawns and gardens
Inform the public about the variety of benefits to xeriscaping
Going door to door in my own neighborhood, a survey was conducted of 24 houses and each head of household was asked to fill out a questionnaire consisting of 6 questions (attached in the appendix of this report).

Results and Discussion

According to the results of the research, awareness about sustainability efforts in the United Arab Emirates is very limited. Additionally, many of the respondents were found to be either completely indifferent to or completely unaware of the effects of climate change. 10 out of 24 respondents answered “strongly disagree” to the statement “I am concerned about climate change,” and only 7 answered that they agree to the statement “I am well-informed about climate change.” However, a large proportion of respondents were found to be interested in learning about xeriscaping: 9 out of 24 people agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “I would like to learn about drought-resistant landscaping.”
Based on these answers, the greatest barrier to implementing the proposed plan will be apathy. In order for the proposal to be efficiently executed, the public first needs to be informed about (a) the dangers of climate change and (b) the potential economic and ecological benefits of xeriscaping.
Figure 1: Answers to the statement “I am concerned about climate change.” An answer of 1 indicates strong disagreement, while an answer of 5 indicates strong agreement.
Figure 2: Answers to the statement “I would like to learn how to landscape my lawn to be more drought-resistant.”


The problem of managing barriers to environmental sustainability has proven difficult to solve. Misinformation, lack of awareness, and apathy all stand in the way of realizing sustainability goals. On a social level, there must be a concerted effort to educate the public about the dangers that we face if sustainable measures are not rapidly undertaken.
Xeriscaping in the UAE has the potential to allow members of the public to actively participate in sustainability objectives. It will allow private households to conserve water and reduce lawn maintenance costs. Bringing xeriscaping to UAE homes is a worthwhile venture. With the right education and outreach efforts, it will be possible to increase awareness and support for this opportunity.

Draft Strategy

Based on the primary and secondary research I have conducted, there are two primary suggestions for managing the barriers to the successful application of xeriscaping to the lawns and gardens of UAE homes.
Spreading awareness : the majority of interviewees are unaware of sustainable practices and initiatives within the United Arab Emirates. Informational pamphlets can be an effective way to deliver information in a simple, eye-catching package. Pamphlets can be left at the doorsteps of houses or in coffee shops and libraries.
Leading by example: Many people would be more supportive of the initiative if they could see it in practice. A demonstration of a xeriscaped landscape will showcase the aesthetic appeal and financial benefits of the technique.


1. Milbrath, Lester W. “Psychological, cultural, and informational barriers to sustainability.” Journal of Social Issues 51.4 (1995): 101-120.
2. Singer, Merrill. “Eco-nomics: Are the planet-unfriendly features of capitalism barriers to sustainability?” Sustainability 2.1 (2010): 127-144.
3. Smit, Barry, and Olga Pilifosova. “Adaptation to climate change in the context of sustainable development and equity.” Sustainable Development 8.9 (2003): 9.
4. Giddings, Bob, Bill Hopwood, and Geoff O'brien. "Environment, economy and society: fitting them together into sustainable development." Sustainable Development 10.4 (2002): 187-196.
5. Chow, Winston TL, and Anthony J. Brazel. "Assessing xeriscaping as a sustainable heat island mitigation approach for a desert city." Building and Environment 47 (2012): 170-181.
6. Wallace, Elizabeth. “All Dried Up: Students push for a more drouht-tolerant campus.” The Stanford Daily (27 Feb 2015).
1. I am aware of ongoing sustainability initiatives in the United Arab Emirates. 1 2 3 4 5
2. I would like to participate in sustainability efforts in my country. 1 2 3 4 5
3. I am well-informed about global climate change and its consequences. 1 2 3 4 5
4. I am concerned about climate change. 1 2 3 4 5
5. I am familiar with drought-resistant landscaping techniques, or xeriscaping. 1 2 3 4 5
6. I would like to learn how to landscape my lawn to be more drought-resistant. 1 2 3 4 5
Additional Figures
Figure 3: Responses to question 1: “ I am aware of ongoing sustainability initiatives in the United Arab Emirates.”
Figure 4: Responses to question 2: “I would like to participate in sustainability efforts in my country.”
Figure 5: Responses to question 3: “ I am well-informed about global climate change and its consequences.”
Figure 6: Responses to question 5: “I am familiar with drought-resistant landscaping techniques, or xeriscaping.”

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