helping create sustainable future
DECEMBER 2012 ISSN 1847-6694
The Alpine December Dear Friends,
We hope you enjoyed our first three issues of Nektarina (S) pace! You can find the links on our website www.education4sustainability.com and also on our Issuu account (link: http://issuu.com/nektarinapublishing/docs/ nektarina_space_newsletter_september_2012
issuu.com/nektarinapublishing/docs/ nektarina_space_newsletter_october_2012 and http://issuu.com/ nektarinapublishing/docs/ nektarina_space_newsletter_november_2012 )
The publications are free and available for download, so you can enjoy it offline too. This fourth issue brings you a summary of what we did this year, what are our plans for 2013, an insight on volunteering and much more!
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We hope youâ€™ll enjoy reading this newsletter as much as we enjoyed putting it together!
Have fun, learn something, connect with us!
Yours truly, The Nektarina Team
Nektarina (S)pace Web Publication issued monthly by Nektarina Non Profit Issue # 4 December 2012
Published by Nektarina Non Profit
Contributors: Elena Livia Minca Yula Pannadopoulos Nikos Sorrensen
All photographs by Sandra Antonovic
In this issue Dear Schools, bringing you
Holidays are coming! 2013 UN Year of Water Cooperation 2013 European year of citizens Volunteering: a great way of making a difference
Overview: what has been done? The year that is ending with this month has certainly been a challenging one for Nektarina, but also full of excitement and surprises. We kept pretty busy and we will continue the same way in the new year. But since this one is drawing to a close and we look back at what has been achieved, here is a little recap of the most important moments in our activity:
Education for Sustainability Education for Sustainability is a project aiming at introducing Sustainable Development (and/or any similar subject, that may have a different name, but focuses on sustainable living, practices and futures) in schools curricula in countries and regions where that is not yet the case. The initiative brings together communities and individuals, governments, organizations, businesses and the educational community itself to ensure children have the skills to become citizens of a sustainable world and responsible stewards of the planet they will inherit. Essentially, the two main pillars that we are trying to bridge with our project are the national and local educational authorities on the one hand, as education providers and the communities and general population on the other hand, as education receivers. The importance of introducing the topic of sustainability in the curricula must be realized by both the categories mentioned above, in order for our goal to be reached.
When we started working on the project, we envisaged the implementation phase to last from 3 to 5 years. The preparatory phase started already in September 2011 and was completed in May 2012. During this phase an extensive research was done on environmental issues in each country, on its educational system, legislative framework and decision making process. We also used that period to develop a network of partners, local experts, communities and civil society organizations that will work with us on the implementation of the project. We already started working together with schools, civil society, environmental agencies, local experts and volunteers on understanding the local circumstances and on compiling, presenting and sharing data, research and facts that will help us explain and advocate the purpose of the projectâ€“ introducing Sustainable Development in schoolsâ€™ curricula. For
Liveable Cities is envisaged as a 12 month volunteer project sharing (at least) 365 blog posts from people all over the world, giving us their vision of a (more) liveable city. The project's objective is to explore, research and share practices, ideas and developments in the urban areas across the world, focusing on sustainability, quality of life, climate change mitigation and adaptation, water and air quality, pollution, waste management, low carbon transport, recycling, energy efficiency, renewable energies, co-operatives, environment and green areas, ecosystems and biodiversity.
The blog (http://www.liveable-cities.org) is a platform for anyone and everyone to express their thoughts, visions, concerns, ideas, projects and practices about how they see the city of the future a sustainable, environmentally conscious city. We are creating a platform for dialogue, a place for people to engage into a conversation, a forum, enabling everyone to express themselves in any format - writing, photography, video, design, multimedia, art. We would as many people as possible to join us and help create a set of ideas, stories and images for a better, healthier and more sustainable quality of life in our urban habitats.
We also engaged in several other activities like networking, collaborative work, research focusing on green economy, country specifics
workshops in order to gather information, etc.
One important and looked-for milestone for us, as for the whole global community, was the UN Conference on Sustainable Development that took place in June in Rio de Janeiro. Together with the groups in charge of agreeing a common position that was to be discussed at the conference we contributed information related to our focus countries and our input was incorporated in the final outcome document of the summit.
Our writing, editing and publishing activity field will include two e-cookbooks, three sustainability project related e-books, our third annual report and the Nektarina overview for the first three years. Furthermore, we are preparing and distributing the Schoolsâ€™ Newsletters during the entire length of the school year, providing interesting and informative insights and stories to the schools in our network.
Holidays are coming! Once again the holiday season is approaching and, like always, it brings about the excitement and the joy that we all have been expecting. It is therefore very easy to get carried away and instead of a calm, peaceful and enjoyable holiday break we find ourselves sucked into the frenzy of buying unnecessarily, eating too much or spending a fortune, often without realizing the associated damaging effects of these practices. This is why we thought a little holiday sustainability lesson is welcome. So here are our suggestions: → Thousands of paper and plastic shopping bags end up in landfills every year. Reduce the number of bags thrown out, by bringing reusable cloth bags for holiday gift shopping. → This year try buying green gifts, making charitable donations to environmental groups, or buying antiques, vintage items or locally made gifts instead of new stuff. Many people would prefer you spent time with them, rather money, so why not give something like concert tickets or museum passes, where you can go together. → For wrapping, use recycled or reused packing materials like newspaper and cardboard, old maps or magazines. Also, there are lots of wrapping papers and ribbons that are made of 100% recycled waste, and gift bags are a great reusable option. Give gifts that don't require too much packaging and also remember to save or recycle used wrapping paper.
→ Send recycled-content greeting cards to reduce the amount of virgin paper used during the holidays. Remember to recycle any paper cards you receive. You can also try sending electronic greeting cards to reduce paper waste. → About 40% of all battery sales occur during the holiday season. Buy rechargeable batteries to accompany your electronic gifts, and consider giving a battery charger as well. Rechargeable batteries reduce the amount of potentially harmful materials thrown away, and can save money in the long run. → Turn off or unplug holiday lights during the day. Doing so will not only save energy, but will also help your lights last longer. Newer LED lights use just 10% of the energy of older incandescent bulbs, and because they run cooler they're also a bit safer. → To help prevent waste from cutting down and disposing of live trees, you can decorate an outside one or buy a potted tree and plant it after the holidays. After the holidays, look for ways to recycle your tree instead of sending it to a landfill. Check with your community solid waste department and find out if they collect and mulch trees. They might be able to use chippings from mulched trees for hiking trails or beachfront erosion barriers. Artificial trees, which contain lots of chemicals, are surely not a green option. → Instead of buying new decorations use the ones from last year or make your own! Invite family and friends to create and use holiday decorations such as ornaments made from old greeting cards or cookie dough, garlands made from strung popcorn or cranberries. 19
→ Consider the durability of a product before you buy it as a gift. Cheaper, less durable items often wear out quickly, creating more waste. Check product labels to determine an item's recyclability and whether it is made from recycled materials. Buying recycled encourages manufacturers to make more recycled-content products available. → Running your tap continuously while preparing food or washing dishes during the holidays wastes water. Scrape dirty dishes clean, instead of using water to rinse them before you put them in the dishwasher. Fill your dishwasher to capacity before running it. You will run fewer cycles, which saves energy. If you don’t use a dishwasher, fill the sink with a few gallons of soapy wash water, clean your dishes, and put them aside. Then rinse them all together afterward. → Bake cookies or other goodies and package them in reusable and/or recyclable containers as gifts. Home-made goodies show how much you care and help you avoid packaging waste. Consider buying organic food and locally grown food. Make smaller, more realistic amounts of food. After holiday festivities, put leftovers in recyclable containers, and share them with family, friends, or others. Donate whole, untouched leftovers from parties to a local food bank or homeless shelter. → In spite of all the holiday madness, try to limit your trips around town as much as possible, if only to avoid traffic. Enjoying the holidays might be easier if you stay local and avoid the airport craziness, flight delays and travel expenses. If you need to travel longer distances make your trips low -impact, for example by travelling by train. 20
WE WISH YOU HAPPY, GREEN, SUSTAINA
ABLE HOLIDAYS, EVERYONE!!!
Preparing for a new year
Looking ahead into the new year we are already preparing for the projects and challenges that lie before us. 2013 will be dedicated to water cooperation and citizenship and we will try to incorporate these topics in our activities. Below you can read more about how and why these particular themes have been chosen.
2013 â€“ UN Year of Water Cooperation
In December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 as the United Nations International Year of Water Cooperation. UN-Water has called upon UNESCO to lead the proceedings, in particular because of the Organizationâ€™s unique multidisciplinary approach which blends the natural and social sciences, education, culture and communication. Given the intrinsic nature of water as a transversal and universal element, the UN International Year on Water Cooperation naturally would embrace and touch upon all these aspects.
The objective of this International Year is to raise awareness, both on the potential for increased cooperation, and on the challenges facing water management in light of the increase in demand for water access, allocation and services. The Year will highlight the history of successful water cooperation initiatives, as well as identify burning issues on water education, water diplomacy, transboundary water management, financing cooperation, national / international legal frameworks, and the linkages with the Millennium Development Goals. It also will provide an opportunity to capitalize on the momentum created at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), and to support the formulation of new objectives that will contribute towards developing water resources that are truly sustainable.
2013 â€“ European Year of Citizens
Union citizenship and the rights that go with it are one of the key pillars of the European Union. To mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Union citizenship under the Maastricht Treaty, on 1 November 1993, the European Commission has proposed to designate 2013 as the "European Year of Citizens".
20 years after the creation of Union citizenship, tangible progress has been made that directly affects the lives of millions. Thanks to EU citizenship European citizens have access to a broad range of rights across all EU-Member States, including rights as consumers to access goods and services in other Member States, and the right as citizens to access education, to obtain recognition of their professional qualifications, to access healthcare, to acquire or preserve social security rights or the right to vote and to stand as candidates in elections to the European Parliament. These are just some of the benefits derived from EU citizenship. Yet the EU Citizenship Report 2010 showed that many obstacles still remain. The Commission's goal is to make sure that the remaining hurdles people face when exercising their rights abroad are removed.
One of the recommended concrete actions to remove these barriers is to "strengthen citizens’ awareness of their EU citizenship status, their rights and meaning in their daily lives by proposing the designation of 2013 as the European Year of Citizens and by organising targeted events on EU citizenship and citizen-related policies during this Year". The purpose of the European Year of Citizens is to facilitate Union citizens' exercising their right to move and reside freely within the EU by ensuring they can easily access information about their rights. More specifically, the aim of the Year is to: → raise citizens' awareness of their right to reside freely within the European Union; → raise citizens' awareness of how they can benefit from EU rights and policies and to stimulate their active participation in Union policy-making; → stimulate debate about the impact and potential of the right to free movement, in particular in terms of strengthening cohesion and people's mutual understanding. To mark the European Year of Citizens 2013, a range of events, conferences and seminars will be organised across the EU at Union, national, regional or local level. The Commission is also planning to strengthen the visibility of the multilingual Europe Direct and Your Europe portals as key elements of a “one-stop-shop” information system on Union citizens' rights, as well as the role of problem solving tools, to allow Union citizens to better make use of their rights.
Where we will be Starting in January next year we will take part in several events, where we will present our projects and discuss new partnerships. The first two important opportunities that we will be using are outlined below.
World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos -Klosters, Switzerland 23-27 January 2013 For over 40 years, the mission of the World Economic Forum – committed to improving the state of the world – has driven the design and development of the Annual Meeting programme. The Annual Meeting remains the foremost creative force for engaging leaders in collaborative activities focused on shaping the global, regional and industry agendas. Today, we live in the most complex, interdependent and interconnected era in human history. We are increasingly confronted by major adaptive challenges as well as profound transformational opportunities. This new leadership context requires successful organizations to master strategic agility and to build risk resilience. More broadly, it requires fostering resilient dynamism in every sector of society. Consequently, “Resilient Dynamism” is the focus of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013, aiming to catalyse and facilitate global, regional and industry transformation as a trusted partner of our members and constituents. 30
5th UN Alliance of Civilisations Global Forum in Vienna, Austria, 27-28 February 2013
Entitled “Responsible Leadership in Diversity and Dialogue”, the Vienna Forum will provide participants with a unique global platform for constructive and result-oriented dialogue to share lessons on best practices and develop joint initiatives and new partnerships.
The Forum will bring together political leaders, representatives of international and regional bodies, the private sector, civil society groups, youth, arts, and the media as well as donor agencies and foundations to explore new ways of promoting crosscultural dialogue and understanding.
A one-day preparatory Youth Event – designed to allow young participants to network and formulate youth-specific recommendations – will take place on February 26, 2013.
Volunteering â€“ a great way of making a difference
Volunteering is a very good opportunity to help the planet, the others and yourself. There are so many things in the world that could benefit from your time, whether itâ€™s a year, a month, a day or just a couple of hours. Every bit of help can make a difference in the lives of those who are less fortunate, or an environment which is close to destruction, or an animal that faces the threat of extinction. Whatever cause fits to your interests, there is a way you can volunteer to help. Through volunteering you can contribute to a better world, not to mention all the personal benefits, like the sense of satisfaction or the chance to learn a new skill or become more confident. Volunteering is not just about helping others, it can also a way to help yourself develop as a person. Volunteering allows people of all ages and background to contribute to making a positive difference. Itâ€™s not just about saving those in poor countries, volunteering helps our own societies everyday. Volunteering also helps create important links between the business and the non for profit organisations. Not only does this help create job opportunities but is also helps keep a cohesive society and maintain social integration. But more importantly, without volunteering many organisations would fail. By working not for the money but for the sense of contribution, volunteers ensure that the money the NGOs do get is spent on maintaining the good they do at home or abroad. 34
It also helps in providing informal and formal opportunities for you to gain knowledge, exercise skills and extend your social networks, as well as better yourself and your CV. Making a difference by volunteering doesn’t mean you have to fly to Africa and hand out aid packages. Local volunteer services are everywhere, from teaching, management, health care and IT, to participating in environmental campaigns, selling Christmas cards or chocolates to help raise money for the hospital or running a charity shop, every little bit matters. A lot of NGOs need a lot of help at home to support their work, including overseas, and keep their organisations afloat and growing.
Steps in becoming a volunteer: → Choose the cause, organisation, part of the world or issue you want to volunteer for. Look around your community or on the Internet and find something that can motivate you participate; → Make a list of any skills you might have to offer, such as IT or PR skills. This will help by putting your knowledge to the best possible use, thus making the volunteering activity more efficient; → Think of any activities or particular tasks you want to undertake or skills you want to learn and decide how much time you have to offer, even if it is only a few hours, it is better than nothing; 35
→ Give your organisation of choice a call and ask about any opportunities. If they have a website, you might be able to find out details about such opportunities there; → If they don’t have anything don't be disappointed. Leave your name and number so that they can contact you in the future and try another organisation; → If they do have something, don’t be surprised if they ask you to fill in a form or attend an interview. It is their way of ensuring they get the best use of your help.
To sum up, the benefits of volunteering are: Volunteering
Whether it is for the environment, for people or animals or places, your work as a volunteer produces a visible, constructive outcome and contributes to making things better. And that is in itself something extraordinary. Volunteering connects you to others. One of the betterknown benefits of volunteering is the impact on the community. Volunteering allows you to connect to your community and make it a better place. Dedicating your time as a volunteer helps you make new friends, expand your network, and boost your social skills.
Volunteering is good for your mind and body. Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. You are doing good for others and the community, which provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. Moreover, by attending meetings or doing fieldwork volunteering helps you stay physically fit. Volunteering can benefit your future career. Volunteering can help you get experience in your area of interest and meet people in the field. It gives you the opportunity to practice important skills, such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, project planning, and organization. It is also a great way to gain experience in a new field. In some fields, you can volunteer directly at an organization that does the kind of work youâ€™re interested in. Your volunteer work might also expose you to interested professional organizations. Volunteering brings fun and fulfilment to your life. Volunteering is a fun and easy way to explore your interests and passions. Doing volunteer work you find meaningful and interesting can be a relaxing, energizing escape from your day-to-day routine. Volunteering also provides you with renewed creativity, motivation, and vision that can carry over into your personal and professional life.
http://www.epa.gov/epahome/hi-winter.htm http://greenliving.about.com/od/ thegreenfamily/tp/green_christmas.htm http://www.unwater.org/ watercooperation2013.html http://europa.eu/rapid/ pressReleasesAction.do? reference=IP/11/959&format=HTML&aged=1&language =en&guiLanguage=en http://www.weforum.org/events/worldeconomic-forum-annual-meeting-2013-0 http://www.vienna5unaoc.org/vienna-forum/ http://www.roughguide-betterworld.com/? page_id=32 http://www.helpguide.org/life/ volunteer_opportunities_benefits_volunteering.h tm