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Embracing the Change November 2011 / Issue 2

 In this issue: My School :: My Planet :: My Dictionary – the story told once more It's pumpkin time International Day of Tolerance Cooperation is the key Read ―THINK GREEN!‖, a book empowering kids to save the planet

 My School :: My Planet :: My Dictionary – the story told once more You probably hear a lot of talking lately about issues like climate change, global warming, sustainability, the carbon footprint, etc. You will also be hearing some from us, as we try to promote alternatives to more environmentally friendly activities. This is why we wanted to start from the beginning and give you some brief definitions of all these notions, and explain how they relate, in case you had any queries.

ď ś Global warming When scientists talk about global climate change, they're talking about the global climate and a pattern of change that's happening over many years. One of the most important trends that scientists look at is the average temperature of the Earth, which has been increasing for many years. This is called global warming.

The Earth is getting warmer because people are adding heat-trapping gases to the atmosphere, mainly by burning fossil fuels. These gases are called greenhouse gases. Warmer temperatures are causing other changes around the world, such as melting glaciers and stronger storms. These changes are happening because the Earth's air, water, and land are all linked to the climate. The Earth's climate has changed before, but this time is different. People are causing these changes, which are bigger and happening faster than any climate changes that modern society has ever seen before.

Rising global temperatures lead to other changes around the world, such as stronger hurricanes, melting glaciers, and the loss of wildlife habitats. That's because the Earth's air, water, and land are all related to one another and to the climate. This means a change in one place can lead to other changes somewhere else. For example, when air temperatures rise, the oceans absorb more heat from the atmosphere and become warmer. Warmer oceans, in turn, can cause stronger storms.

ď ś Climate change More than 100 years ago, people around the world started burning large amounts of coal, oil, and natural gas to power their homes, factories, and vehicles. Today, most of the world relies on these fossil fuels for their energy needs. Burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide, a heat-trapping gas, into the atmosphere, which is the main reason why the climate is changing. Heat-trapping gases are also called greenhouse gases. They exist naturally in the atmosphere, where they help keep the Earth warm enough for plants and animals to live. But people are adding extra greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. These extra gases are causing the Earth to get warmer, setting off all sorts of other changes around the world—on land, in the oceans, and in the atmosphere. And these changes affect people, plants, and animals in many ways.

 Carbon footprint Carbon is an element that's found all over the world and in every living thing. Oxygen is another element that's in the air we breathe. When carbon and oxygen bond together, they form a colourless, odourless gas called carbon dioxide, which is a heat-trapping greenhouse gas. Whenever we burn fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas—whether it's to drive our cars, use electricity, or make products—we are producing carbon dioxide.

The atmosphere isn't the only part of the Earth that has carbon. The oceans store large amounts of carbon, and so do plants, soil, and deposits of coal, oil, and natural gas deep underground. Carbon naturally moves from one part of the Earth to another through the carbon cycle. But right now, by burning fossil fuels, people are adding carbon to the atmosphere (in the form of carbon dioxide) faster than natural processes can remove it. That's why the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing, which is causing global climate change.

Carbon dioxide is the most important greenhouse gas emitted by humans, but several other gases contribute to climate change, too. Nevertheless, people chose the term "carbon footprint" to refer to the impact of an individual or business on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gases produced. Even though some countries produce more greenhouse gases than others, emissions from every country contribute to the problem. That's one reason why climate change requires global action. Find out more:

 Sustainability There are various definitions and debates to the definition of sustainability among leaders in the field. In general they all have to do with the concept of living within our limits, understanding the interconnections among economies, society, and the environment and providing equitable distribution of resources and opportunities. The most common definition is: ―Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations to meet their own needs.‖ —Brundtland (1987). However, the best way to understand this concept is to look at some of the explanations given by children themselves, when asked what sustainability means to them. Here are a few examples:

Taking care of the planet and its creatures. Sharing what we have with others and not taking more than our share. Thinking about what you need rather than taking what you want. One thing leads to another, then another. Let’s make the chain good. Sustainability is not just cleaning up your own room – it’s about keeping tidy an even bigger room that belongs to everyone! Can you think of a better definition? Share it with us at Find out more:

Have a class discussion about all these terms, the importance of understanding them and the way in which they connect to each other.

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 It's pumpkin time We all know pumpkins: big or small, orange, brown or green, round or funny-shaped, they are a common sight, especially in November. But did you know that besides the joy of carving them up into scary faces they also provide lots of health benefits? Here are some of them: 

Pumpkin is one of the vegetables which is very low on calories, but is rich a source of dietary fibre, anti-oxidants flavonoides, vitamins (A, B-complex, C and E) and minerals like copper, calcium, potassium and phosphorus.

Pumpkin seeds are good source of dietary fiber and mono-unsaturated fatty acids which are good for heart health. In addition, they are very good in protein, minerals and many health benefiting vitamins.

Read more on:

Does this start up your appetite for some pumpkin treat? Here is a delicious (and easy-tomake) recipe for pumpkin soup. The Simple Pumpkin Soup Ingredients 1/2 cup onion, 3 tbsp. butter, 2 cups mashed cooked pumpkin, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tbsp. sugar, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, 1/4 tsp. ground pepper, 3 cups chicken broth, 1/2 cup cream. Preparation Chop the onions and gently brown with butter in a pan. Put the mashed pumpkin together with the onions in the pan. Add the salt, sugar, nutmeg and pepper. Slowly add chicken broth and heat thoroughly, but do not boil. To serve, pour into a tureen and add the cream. Makes 4 to 6 small servings. Bon appetit! You can find the recipe at:

So, what is your favourite pumpkin activity? Tell us how you enjoy pumpkin time in your country or community. Send us photos, stories or recipes at

ďƒ Save the date: 16th November, the International Day for Tolerance

This date was chosen by the UN in 1996 to bring into the spotlight the commitment to advance human welfare, freedom and progress everywhere, as well as to encourage tolerance, respect, dialogue and cooperation among different cultures, civilizations and people. Try to organize some activities (open talks, debates, forums) in your school to mark this day. Although not directly linked with environment and nature, tolerance is the key to peace and stability, which make the perfect ground for thinking about the really important issues that we have to cope with, like climate change or achieving a sustainable way of living. Read more at:

ď ś Cooperation is the key The United Nations has declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives, highlighting the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development. Nektarina also supports this and for the next year we will try to focus some of our activities on promoting cooperation at local and regional level.

With this in mind, in the next issues of the newsletter we will go through a list of entities that schools can associate with for projects and describe more in depth how these partnerships can help you enhance your activity. Here are some of them in brief. ďƒ Other schools: from the city, the region, the country or even the whole world Peers are always a good way to share experiences, not to mention to have a nice, fun competition about greening and sustainability. Try partnering with other schools for projects and you will certainly have a lot to learn, especially if they are from a different region or country.

 Municipality / city council Municipalities are sometimes harder to get into the game, but it is worth trying. Not only will they provide a trustworthy patronage umbrella that will look appealing to other sponsors, but they can also help with more ―technical‖issues, like providing counselling or even financial means for solar panels, for example.  Ministry of Education A partnership with MoE can offer the same advantages as municipalities, but sometimes even more. Their resources in terms of venues for instance are usually quite good and they can also ―open a lot of doors‖.  Local or national NGOs NGOs are definitely a good solution for partnerships: they are always looking for projects and what they lack is what schools have most: volunteer workforce. This way, students will not only learn about environment and sustainability, but also about what it means to be a volunteer.  Companies Already seeing the dollar sign? Yes, companies have money, an important resource for a project. With the CSR work increasing chances are you can make partners with a company easier. But there are other benefits as well in a company: instead of money they can help out with products, like environmentally friendly light bulbs.  Media representatives A youth magazine, a radio station, even the local newspaper can be valuable partners. They can help you advertise your green work, which will increase your visibility and ultimately the chance for more projects.  Culture centres, libraries, museums, exhibition halls, art galleries, etc These are all interesting partners mostly because they can provide excellent venues for events like presentations, screenings, exhibitions, etc. Being public institutions they are open to everyone, so your work is likely to be seen by more people.

 Suppliers Suppliers can also become partners if you manage to negotiate a good deal. For example if your waste collection company agrees to provide separative waste bins for your school to start recycling or if your cafeteria supplier agrees to bring only organic milk. Explore the possibilities.  National Parks or Reserves Nothing like a trip in the nature, huh? What if you had also a specialised guide that can tell you everything you want to know about the area? Partnerships with these institutions are a great way to get involved: tree planting, waste collection, bicycle tours, etc.  Transport companies Raising awareness about greener transport can be tackled by partnering with a transport company. This way the students will learn that public transport is less harmful than having your own car and maybe you can also snatch a deal for reduced costs in your trips.  Farms If you have nearby farms around the schools it may be a good idea to make partners. They can provide you fresh, locally produced food, while kids could cultivate their own veggie garden and learn how to grow them. We are working on setting up an open database of the schools we work with, so that you can interact and see each other’s activities. In the meantime, you can write to us and share your ideas and local practices:

A book and/or a movie: get inspired every month We have made such a mess of this Planet with our overconsumption, wasteful habits, and lack of respect for the environment. In rectifying this situation, we must teach our young to be good stewards of the Earth so they don’t make the same mistakes we’ve made. ―THINK GREEN!‖, a new children’s book created by Jeanine Behr Getz, is a wonderful tool to teach our children how simple actions can ensure that the Planet remains safe for all creations that inhabit it. Throughout the book Millicent and her friends illustrate greener choices that reduces their impact on our world. Many of the choices are easy ―no brainer‖ concepts that if instilled young enough, they will become routine in our children’s lives. For example, in the book Freddy turns off the TV and lights when he leaves his room. How many of you constantly heard from your parents growing up, ―we don’t own the electric company‖ to urge us to turn off the lights? I still say this today to my own children since it was instilled in me as a young child.

To make the book appealing to children and adults alike, she teamed up with Jenny Nightingale to illustrate this book to engage her young readers with bright, vivid pictures. Take a glimpse of some of the colourful pages.

Although the book is geared to children ages 3 through 7, the lessons learned from the book are not limited to children. Thinking greener is ageless and adults are never too old to learn new tricks. Teaching by example is the easiest way for our children to learn. In writing this book, Getz realized that it too would have impact on the Earth. Just think how much paper, water and chemicals are used to publish books. Everything we do has impact even for a positive cause. To limit the book’s impact, it was published from paper made out of 100% recycled fibre and 50% post consumer waste, and was processed without chlorine. Soy-based ink was used to print the book. In addition, the electricity used to manufacture the books was offset by Green-e certified renewal energy certificates. The back cover of the book illustrates how the methods used to print the book saved a specific amount of natural resources. So, for a child’s next birthday present, holiday gift, or ―just because‖ gift, treat that special child in your life to this terrific book. You can buy it here:

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Schools' Newsletter November 2011  

Schools' Newsletter November 2011

Schools' Newsletter November 2011  

Schools' Newsletter November 2011