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NATURE BOOK

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LIFELONG LEARNING PROGRAMME

COMENIUS Bilateral school partnership

WE DESERVE A BETTER PLANET TO LIVE ON

NATURE BOOK

BULGARIA, PORTUGAL


“Humanity is a biological species, living in a biological environment, because like all species, we are exquisitely adapted in everything: from our behavior, to our genetics, to our physiology, to that particular environment in which we live. The earth is our home. Unless we preserve the rest of life, as a sacred duty, we will be endangering ourselves by destroying the home in which we evolved, and on which we completely depend. Edward O. Wilson

We, students and teachers participating in the Comenius school partnership “We deserve a better planet to live on� dedicate this book to all people who want to preserve the beauty of our planet for the next generation and to make it a better place to live on.

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Contents ESSAYS WRITTEN BY BULGARIAN STUDENTS ................................................ 4 The privilege to live on the Earth .............................................................................5 The Earth is our only home ....................................................................................... 6 Save our planet ..............................................................................................................7 Pollution of the planet – the price we pay for the modern world .................... 9 Pollution - what can we do to reduce it? ...............................................................10 Environmental problems–what can be done to solve them? ............................ 11 All about people and nature .................................................................................... 13 ESSAYS WRITTEN BY PORTUGUESE STUDENTS ............................................. 15 Azores – a land of natural beauty .......................................................................... 16 Deforestation................................................................................................................ 17 Greenhouse effect......................................................................................................... 18 Smog: causes and solution ......................................................................................... 19 Overfishing ................................................................................................................... 21 Overpopulation ........................................................................................................... 22 DRAWINGS MADE BY STUDENTS ....................................................................... 24

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ESSAYS WRITTEN BY BULGARIAN STUDENTS

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The privilege to live on the Earth The privilege to live on the Earth is given to us but we pollute and destroy our planet day by day. It fights with a lot of problems caused by us. Climate change is one of the greatest threats for our planet. The use of coal, gas, intensive agriculture, deforestation and lots of other human activities increase the amount of hothouse gases in the air. This increases the temperature of the Earth which lead to melting of polar ice, uploading the level of the ocean, floods, disappearance of species. Regularity of the quality of the environment and our physical functioning as organisms depends on solving all these problems. Fortunately, it is not too late to solve them. We still have the time to make our planet a better, cleaner and safer place. There is something each of us can do to preserve the environment. Each of us can contribute to this cause by doing simple things-moving by public transport or going on foot instead of driving cars to reduce the air pollution, using energy saving light bulbs, switching off the lights and computers when are not in use. To sum up, if we all take care of the Earth we actually will help ourselves because the Earth is the only place we can live on. Petya Tododrova, 10b

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The Earth is our only home The Earth is our home and we are inseparable part of it. It is the only place where we, human beings can live on and we have always depended on it. We have the power to destroy it or to save it for all the next coming generations. We can protect our planet and enjoy all its gifts or we can let it die and die with it. Because what happens to the Earth it also happens to us. Our planet is in great danger nowadays because of the serious problems it is facing every day – global warming, air and water pollution, overpopulation, acid rains, deforestation, soil erosion, habitat loss. It is not easy to solve all this problems but fortunately we still have the time to make our planet a better, cleaner and safer place by recognizing the importance of taking care of the environment. There is something each of us can do to preserve it. Each of us can contribute to this cause by doing simple things- using eco-friendly products, biodegradable packings and energy saving light bulbs, by not wasting too much water on washing and switching off the lights and computers when are not in use. It is a good idea to use public transport or go on foot instead of driving cars to reduce the air pollution. To sum up, the best way to save our future is to start take care of the Earth and thus we will help ourselves. It is our responsibility and must do our best.

Adriana Dimitrova, 10b

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Save our planet Every day we throw so much of different kind of packaging, boxes, plastics, iron, etc., which form mountains of junk. All this harms not only our planet but also on us. Substances that these dirt separate in the nature, pollute and destroy, leading to an increase in the greenhouse effect, which in turn destroys the ozone layer that protects us from the harmful rays of the sun. When they get into watersheds in compounds with water become dangerous chemicals that pollute the water and are also able to destroy some species, leading to disruption of ecosystems. Furthermore, when the water evaporates, it goes into the clouds, wherein when forming certain compounds and the acid rain that has destructive properties. In the air litter with his harmful effects reduces the oxygen we breathe. Despite the many damages that cause these wastes, the sight is not particularly pleasant. They cause massive and abrupt climate changes that violate the natural rhythm of our planet which leading to loss of animal, plant species, new diseases and daily shortening our lives. Nature itself has created mechanisms and natural products that are available to help each of us, but we are becoming more materialized and mechanized society, we create a very artificial and unnecessary things that are pile up us every day and remind that healthy lifestyle is the best. Not only garbage threatens harm life on our planet. Annual clearing of thousands of hectares forest is also harmful. With a similar result are the killing of animal species, fertilizers that are put into the soil to have a fast growing fruits and vegetables. Construction of beaches, fields, in general of every free area, sprawl and construction of more plants, factories and different types of mains, concrete dams of most of the rivers in the world. You can add and rapid wasting and draining the planet's resources. The

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combination of all this leads to rapid destruction of us and our habitat. Recently it is talked about solutions to this problem worldwide. One way to salvation is recycling. It not only allows us to reduce the production of garbage, but to use it again and again. If we reduce other human activities that cause serious damage to the place where we live, so will further increase the benefits and ways to save our lifes. Do not we deserve a better planet to live on? Is not it nice to walk in a beautiful green lawn without paper and plastic bags around, sipping a glass of crystal clear water and breathing clean air and productive, odorless gasoline, diesel, coal, etc. ? Why do not we plant a tree for every year, we do not use artificial Christmas tree, or use a little plastic products, save the water and turn off the lights not only for the Earth Day. We need more and good, full life on our Earth, but it depends on us. Polly Kasakova, 10b

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Pollution of the planet – the price we pay for the modern world I think all of us are aware of the state of the world. Public awareness has been raised these last years, but are we really aware of what we are up against. The melting of the ice on the Polar caps does not seem like a big issue, but the truth is all the continents are sinking because of the melted ice. The changes need to start now if we want to save the world. Acid rain, the disappearance of the ozone layer, more sickness and a steady rice in temperature which does not stop. These are just a few of the issues we face. Scientists are trying to find new ways to use exploit the natural sources of energy to our advantages. There are ways to use solar power instead of burning fossil fuels and the technologies are improving every day. No matter how many advertisements are made there could always be more, and different ways which will make more people participate. This planet is our home but with our destructive way of living we are turning it into a graveyard. A graveyard which will swallow us all if it must stop us. We should care more about the Earth- our place of residence, source of food and water. The change starts with every one of us. Small steps make a big change.

Elina Kircheva , 10a

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Pollution - what can we do to reduce it? Our planet is polluted but we can change that because we all deserve a better planet to live on. Why the world can’t be green with many forests, clean rivers and pure lakes? The main factors for pollution are the outflow of dirty water or used chemicals from factories and the fumes and mucky smoke from chimneys. Cars and aircraft are also example for the pollution in our planet. Bottles, tines and other cast-off items are choking canals, streams and rivers of the world. Massive loads of terrifying lethal chemicals and atomic waste have been dumped into the oceans – where they quietly lie like time bombs, waiting for the decomposition of their metal or concrete containers. If we don’t do anything to save our planet, the impact based on theory is maybe inevitable. There are little things we can do every day to help reduce greenhouse gases and make a less harmful impact on the environment. Taking care of the earth is not just a responsibility – it’s a privilege. We can help reduce pollution just by putting that soda can in a different bin. We will also help environment when we go to school or workby bicycles, not by cars. It is also good when we turn off lights when we’re not in the room and unplug appliances when we’re not using them. It only takes a second to be environmentally conscious. What will we do if a tree dies? I think we have to plant another. People start pollution and people can stop it. We have to do it with pleasure, because when we do it we don’t only save our earth, we also save our live. Vicky Kaneva , 10a

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Environmental problems–what can be done to solve them? The earth is considered one of the most beautiful planets in the universe. It is the only planet in the galaxy that has enough water to support life. Unfortunately, the planet is suffering due to many environmental problems that may affect people, societies, and ecosystems. These problems can result in major consequences for everyone's daily life. The major environmental problem that is facing the world today is global warming. Global warming is defined as the increase of the average temperature on earth. This increase in the earth’s temperatures is the cause of natural disasters like hurricanes, floods and droughts which are becoming increasingly frequent all over the world. The effects of global warming are very dangerous for our existence and survival. Unless global warming is not controlled, no men, animals will be able to live, grow and thrive. So, we should try to maintain the ecological balance to decrease the effects of global warming. There are several things we can do to solve the problem of global warming. Trees are cut by humans every day. And we don’t even realize that without trees on our planet, it will become a hotter place just like a large desert and our lives will be harder and even impossible. We should plant more trees because they absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen We should also use less energy and recycle more products. Generating electricity is one of the main sources of carbon dioxide. If we use less electricity, we will produce less C02. We should all be very concerned about our future on Earth as human beings. We may not be at such an immediate risk of burning to death, but our future descendants are. Every year, the overall temperature has gone up slowly. Eventually Earth will be too hot to live on, and the human race will become extinct! The best way to save our future is to start now. 11


In conclusion, if we make small changes now in the way we live, we can avoid huge changes in the future. Scientists, governments and individuals must work together to overcome this threat. Katy Anadoliiska, 11a

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All about people and nature Nature is where we all come from. It’s everything around us, every answer of our problems, everything we need to be healthy. But we are so stupid creatures. We make our life harder and harder and harder every single day. People somehow think they are more then the wild power of nature. Somehow they think they can change everything in whatever way they want. Can’t they understand that we need just as much as the nature gives us? Why does it have to be that hard, since it’s all so plain and simple?! Pollution is so common word these days. There is a whole bunch of people that make money just by talking about pollution, organizing campaigns and so on and so forth. But! But nothing seems to change. Just because nobody seems to care enough. But we really pollute the air, the soil, the water and everything ells around us. Why and how? Let’s talk about the air. In Bulgaria we don’t have a lot of factories but we have so many cars. People are getting as lazy as possible, I have friends who have no idea what it means to take the bus to somewhere, god knows why they think that driving there own car makes them speci n some way. Living out in the country for so many years helped me understand that walking is not only good for the environment, but mostly healthy for us. And riding a bike is such an amazing feeling for sure. It’s so relaxing to feel the air blowing in your face and to know that the speed depends only on your own strength. Keeping the air clean is not hard at all, it’s almost as easy as everything ells. Just we have to think a little. There are so many things to do, so many things that need to change! If I were an ecology minister I’ll hardly find time to eat. In the last one hundred years the world is getting so dirty and polluted and as I said, nobody seems to care about that. But I’ll sure have to start from somewhere.

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One of the biggest problems in Bulgaria is that everyone builds everything, everywhere and cuts trees just because they are in ones way, or because one could make money that way. So, my idea is to bring in a requirement for every new building plan (it’s supposed to have a yard twice bigger than the building itself or it just can’t exist). Then someone has to control real closely every new building plan and stop it in time if the requirement isn’t observed. When I was manager for a day last year I was amazed by the huge waist of paper in that institution. They printed the same document probably ten times or more. I thought they are crazy, but they weren’t. Soon I understood that it’s almost the same in every office, school, institution around the world. That has to change fast. all the kids at school and all the working people need to plant at least three new trees every year required by law. There has to be a limit of paper for each institution and using the new technologies has to be strongly encouraged from now on both at school and everywhere ells. I hope these little changes will make our planet a bit greener. Being alive, being part of that huge world full of different people is not easy sometimes. But after all, people say that we’re the only rational beings on earth. Let’s try not to act like the most stupid creatures ever lived! And as I love saying. Let’s never forget that we’re a result of millions of years of evolution. That’s what I call a huge responsibility. Wouldn’t it be terrible if at the end appears it was all for nothing!

Kalinka Boneva, 10a

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ESSAYS WRITTEN BY PORTUGUESE STUDENTS

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Azores – a land of natural beauty Azores are one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal. It is formed of nine volcanic islands West of Portugal continental which are Ilha de São Miguel, Ilha do Pico, Ilha da Terceira, Ilha do Faial, Flores, Ilha de São Jorge, Graciosa, Corvo e Ilha de Santa Maria. The vast extent of the islands is an immense exclusive economic zone. The highest point of Portugal is located in Pico, with an altitude of 2352 m. Pico Pico is one of the most beautiful islands of Azores. It is the second major island and its mountain is the highest point of Portugal, known as well as Ilha-Montanha. It has 14 806 citizens. The island has a great gastronomy, specially sea food like crab, clams, limpets, octopus and crayfish. . Dolphins and Whales The Azores are currently one of the world’s largest whale sanctuaries. Among resident and migrant species, common or rare, more than 20 different types of cetaceans can be spotted in the Azores. It’s an ecosystem with unique characteristics, with whales and dolphins. Inês Correia

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Deforestation

     

 

   

Trees are wonders of nature and a great gift to humans as they are immensely useful to all of us. They give us so much, taking almost nothing in return. Trees are essential to our survival. They not only help to keep the climate in balance, but more importantly, they support 60% of the world’s wildlife by giving shelter and food for millions plant and animal species. Also, they protect people and wildlife from noise, dust, air pollution and ultraviolet radiation and reduce the effect of the wind. In addition, forests provide us with lots of products- fruits, nuts and seeds; wood to build houses and make furniture and to be used as fuel. Main causes of deforestation (a process of complete and permanent disappearance of forests). Forest fires of human and natural source Need to expand the areas for agriculture and livestock; Timber extraction Urban expansion and development of lines of communication; Development and growth of the tourist areas; Air pollution and phenomena arising, for example acid rain leads, consequently, to decreased diversity of plant and animal species. Consequences of Environmental deforestation: Soil erosion and desertification (lost of fertility of soils) Climate changes in order to evapotranspiration ( the soil loses water because of evaporation and the animals and plants also lose water by transpiration) Decline of biodiversity (extinction or modification of several habitats, and the number of animal and vegetal species) Reduction of the production/emission of oxygen Solutions for the deforestation lLss observation of carbon dioxide Increase of carbon dioxide on atmosphere). Beatriz Garcia 17


Greenhouse effect How does the Earth stay warm and comfortable in coldness of space? Temperatures on Earth are liveable because of a natural process we call the greenhouse effect. The process of the Greenhouse effect: It starts with the Sun. When the sun’s radiation reaches our atmosphere, some is reflected back into space and some passes through and is absorbed by the Earth. This causes the surface to warm up. In other words, the greenhouse effect is a process by which thermal radiation from a planetary surface is absorbed by a blanket of atmospheric greenhouse gases, and is re-radiated in all directions (some towards space and other towards the ground). This keeps the Earth’s temperature at a level necessary to support life. This process is the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. The major non-gas greenhouse effect.

contributor

to

the

Earth's

Clouds also absorb and emit infrared radiation and thus have an effect on radioactive properties of the atmosphere. Angela Brum

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Smog: causes and solution

mog is a type of air pollution that is very common in big cities. Smog is caused by many factors. The smog that enters the atmosphere consists of over 100 chemicals, many coming from different sources.Particulates present in smog include carbon monoxide, dirt, soot, dust, and ozone. To really create the smog effect, sunlight, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides have to mix together.Major producers of smog include automobiles, fires, waste treatment, oil production, industrial solvents, paints, and coatings.Car engines, especially diesel engines, as well as gas stations that allow gas to be leaked out are huge contributors to the smog problem. Gas vapor that gets away from gas pumps contributes to the hydrocarbons needed to form smog. Diesel engines emit particles of soot that enter the atmosphere.a city, especially during summer months. Today, the smog problems created by cars are becoming increasingly severe. As gas prices decline, consumers are buying cars that use more gas, and hence pollute the atmosphere to a greater extent. When an area becomes covered with smog, the people feel the effects immediately. Unlike other problems, which may be harder to understand and visualize, smog creates immediate problems that everyone will experience. It can cause anything from minor pain to deadly diseases such as lung cancer. Smog slowly ruins people's lungs to an extent as great as that of cigarettes. Smog is is an increasingly dangerous problem in today's society and has detrimental impacts on health and the environment. However, there are many things people can do to decrease the smog in their communities.

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Since cars are one of the main causes of smog, one way to eliminate the problem is to stop driving everywhere. We have to try walking or riding a bike. This not only helps the ozone layer and the atmosphere, but also increases health by creating opportunities to exercise. If a person's destination is not too far away, this is a wonderful option. Sometimes smog cannot be eliminated altogether, but it can be reduced with less driving. Taking public transportation is one way to reduce the number of cars on the road. Buses, subways and other transportation systems allow many people to ride at the same time. Carpooling is another viable option. Nothing is going to change until people are aware of the problems smog creates. By informing neighbors and friends about the effects of smog, we will encourage more people to take the initiative and decrease their reliance on personal cars. InĂŞs Correia Nara Santos

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Overfishing Over three quarters of our planet are covered by the oceans. Their biodiversity unmatched and they contain over 80 percent of all life on earth, mostly unexplored. Millions of people worldwide are depending on the oceans for their daily livelihoods. More and more all this is endangered because of ignorance and a global lack of management. Overfishing can be defined in a number of ways. However, everything comes down to one simple point: Catching too much fish for the system to support leads to an overall degradation to the system. Overfishing is a nonsustainable use of the oceans . Over 25% of all the world's fish stocks are either overexploited or depleted. Another 52% is fully exploited, these are in imminent danger of overexploitation (maximum sustainable production level) and collapse. Thus a total of almost 80% of the world's fisheries are fully- to over-exploited, depleted, or in a state of collapse. Worldwide about 90% of the stocks of large predatory fish stocks are already gone. In the real world all this comes down to two serious problems. We are losing species as well as entire ecosystems. As a result the overall ecological unity of our oceans is under stress and at risk of collapse. We are in risk of losing a valuable food source many depend upon for social, economical or dietary reasons. Ines Ferreira

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Overpopulation

That's what the human population has successfully been doing for thousands and thousands of years, expanding, exploring,

migrating,

conquering,

utilizing,

evolving,

civilizing, industrializing, and now, destroying the very land upon which we live. According to projections, the world population will continue to grow until at least 2050, with the population reaching 9 billion in 2040, Wars to be fought in the future will continue to be over natural resources. Humans

everywhere

must

understand

that

rapid

population growth damages the Earth's resources and diminishes human well-being." Fresh water supplies are running low worldwide. Declining water supplies is having disastrous consequences for agriculture. More than one out of six people lack access to safe drinking water� “World will sho80% of the world's commercial energy comes from non-renewable fossil fuels and there is no replacement to these resources. Shortly come to an end of fossil fuels- the world's primary energy resource.� Poverty and Overpopulation 22


During a remarkably short period of time, we have lost a quarter of the world's topsoil and a fifth of its agricultural land, altered the composition of the atmosphere profoundly, and destroyed a major proportion of our forests and other natural habitats without replacing them. Worst of all, we have driven the rate of biological extinction, the permanent loss of species, up several hundred times beyond its historical levels, and are threatened with the loss of a majority of all species by the end of the 21st century. Think about it‌ Andre Galhofa

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DRAWINGS MADE BY STUDENTS

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The book of nature  
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