WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY – 5th June 2012

From the WED website

The 2012 theme for World Environment Day is Green Economy: Does it include you? Evidently, there are two parts to this theme and the first tackles the subject of the Green Economy.

Visit the ‘What is the Green Economy?’ page to read a layman’s narrative of this concept.

The UN Environment Programme defines the Green Economy as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. In its simplest expression, a green economy can be thought of as one which is low carbonresource efficient and socially inclusive.

Practically speaking, a Green Economy is one whose growth in income and employment is driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy and resource efficiency, and prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. These investments need to be catalyzed and supported by targeted public expenditure, policy reforms and regulation changes.

But what does all this mean for you? Well, this essentially what the second part of the theme is all about. If the Green Economy is about social equity and inclusiveness then technically it is all about you! The question therefore asks you to find out more about the Green Economy and assess whether, in your country, you are being included in it.

It takes only a few simple steps to easily green your daily routine and make good eco behavior into a habit!

AAct now. 

Adopt as many eco-friendly lifestyle choices as you can and make them habits for WED! 

Add it up. Our impact is exponential when the global chorus sings together.

B
Buy FSC certified products and decrease the trade of exotic wood from endangered forests.

Bring a cloth bag to do all you’re shopping. But not just for groceries, even on your trips to the mall. A sturdy, reusable bag will last for years, and only needs to be used 5 times to have a lower environmental impact than a plastic bag.

Bring a mug with you whenever you go for take-out beverages, so you avoid using paper cups. 
Most paper cups are made in a way that makes it more difficult for them to degrade, and in some ways more hazardous to the planet than the plastic cup – so why not just bring your own mug for your favorite beverage?

CConsume locally. You will help reduce the demand for cutting down forests in foreign countries to meet export demands.

Choose public transport.

Compost your organic food waste.

Conserve energy. Turn off the lights to brighten our environment.

Create a greenspace wherever you can from the car you drive to the building you live in.

DDon’t run the water when brushing your teeth. You will save as much as 3 gallons every time! Only 2, 5% of the world’s water is drinkable.

Discover an alternative to using traditional wrapping paper for holidays and birthday gifts.

EEngage in an environmental activity like school or neighborhood beautification or tree planting.

Eat organic and locally grown foods and help reduce the clearing of forests for agricultural land.

Educate your friends on how individual actions can have an exponential impact and motivate action for WED.

FFind an unusual insect in your garden. Fewer than 10% of the world’s described species have been assessed to determine their conservation status.

Form a group of peers or colleagues to oversee the greening of your school, neighborhood or workplace with recycling, car pooling, or energy-efficiency.

Form a tree-planting group with family and friends and commit to planting and maintaining these trees together.

GGreen your office: print double-sided, turn off monitors, start an office recycling program.

Grow an organic garden and your own delicious food.

Give memberships to an environmental organization or seedlings as birthday gifts.

Go electronic for bills and payments: at home, in the office, at the bank etc.

HHost a World Environment Day celebration. Clean up your neighborhood, carpool with friends, have a vegan (no animal products) dinner party! And don’t forget to register your activity on the WED website!

IIdentify the nature that surrounds you – take note of the beautiful plants and animals that you may not always appreciate. Learn about the amazing ecosystem services they provide.

Improve the insulation of your home – it will really help your energy consumption…and your monthly bills!

JJoin a local environmental or conservation group. You can team up with those around you and make a real difference for your community.

Jog outside and save the energy you would have used on the treadmill!

K
Kick the habit! Don’t print unless it’s absolutely necessary. And when you do print – always print double-sided!

Keep your cup! When traveling on airplanes, ask to reuse your plastic cup.

LLearn more about Brazil, this year’s host country.

MMobilize your networks! Message your friends about WED – facebook, twitter, orkut, SMS, text, phone, email – it doesn’t matter how, just get the word out!

NNominate a WED Hero from your world. Notify us about the great environmental work they’re doing and why they should be a WED Hero.

OOptimize the use of your washing machine – use the cold-wash option and significantly save energy and reduce your daily carbon emissions.

Offset your travel whenever possible – most airlines provide an option to offset your travel when you book your tickets.

Opt for public transport whenever possible.

P
Plant a tree this year! 
Why not celebrate by planting a tree with friends or family.

Pile up! Lay the grounds for a compost pile and start sorting your garbage.

QQuantify how much money you could save each cold winter if you lowered the temperature inside your home by 2 degrees Celsius. It could reduce your energy consumption by 14 percent!!!

RReduce. Reuse. Recycle. 

Register a WED activity at www.unep.org/wed!

SSacrifice something small each month – eat locally grown vegetables instead of imported vegetables; do without steak as cattle ranching is high impact!; carpool with co-workers; take your bike to work etc.

Support and motivate companies that use certified materials and operate in ways that are environmentally responsible.

Switch your lightbulbs to energy-efficient LED’s. You will see substantial savings on energy bills!

TThink! How green is your daily routine? Just by making a few small changes, like remembering to turn off the lights, turning down the heat, stop running the water while you brush your teeth – you could cut your daily emissions by more than 60 per cent.

Think again! Before you toss, consider if the item can be reused or recycled?

Think outside of the bottle! Bottled water costs 1900 times more than tap water

UUse your common sense!

Understand your options. Learn about the small ways you, as an individual, can make a positive impact on the environment.

Use rainwater for your indoor plants – they love it, and you’ll save water at the same time.

VVisit the WED website  regularly and see how you can get involved! Book mark website, subscribe to RSS, Twitter or facebook

W
Whenever you feel like buying books, magazines, or newspapers go to your local library or borrow from friends and neighbors.

X
X-plore! Get out into the forest and enjoy what our planet has to offer.

YYOU!
You can make a difference – individual actions, when multiplied, can make an exponential difference to the planet! 

ZZip around town on your bike, on public transport, or your own two feet. 
Avoid your car whenever possible – it’s cheaper! 

“Three weeks after WED, Brazil will host Rio+20 where world leaders and nations will gather in order to design a future that takes sustainable development from theory and patchy success to the locomotive of transformational change-a pathway that can grow economies and generate decent jobs without pushing the globe past planetary boundaries,” he added.

Brazil has had a checkered history on the environment front but it seems that there is some hope and it is worth working with the country as it will be very influential in the future.

With a country of 200 million people, Brazil is the fifth most populous nation in the world and has the fifth largest land mass on the planet with 8.5 million square kilometers

In recent years Brazil has taken enormous steps to tackle issues such as deforestation in the Amazon through enforcement efforts and monitoring initiatives by the Brazilian government.

Indeed by some estimates, Brazil recently realized one of the biggest greenhouse gas emission reductions in the world as a result of its achievements in reducing deforestation rates.

According to UNEP’s Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication, the country is also at the forefront of building an economy that includes recycling and renewable energy and the generation of green jobs.

    • Brazil’s recycling industry generates returns of US$2 billion a year while cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 10 million tonnes.

Recycling in all its forms already employs 12 million people in three countries alone: Brazil, China and the United States.

Brazil is also the world leader in sustainable ethanol production for fueling vehicles and is expanding into other renewable areas such as wind power and solar heating systems.

    • The recent construction of 500,000 new homes in Brazil with solar heating systems generated 30,000 new jobs.

“We are very pleased to host this global celebration for the environment. The World Environment Day will be a great opportunity in Brazil to showcase the environmental aspects of sustainable development in the warm up to the Rio+20 conference,” said Brazil’s Minister of Environment, Izabella Teixeira, who this week is attending UNEP’s Governing Council meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.

“The history of Brazil, the complexion of its diverse and dynamic economy with its natural and nature-based resources allied to its industries and its current and future role in international relations, offer a lens and a unique perspective through which a broad-based, transformational outcome is possible at Rio+20,” said Mr Steiner.

“Brazil’s commitment to social and equity issues nationally and regionally and its responsibilities towards developing and least developed economies can also guide and shape the debates,” he added.

And from Cultural Survival

To honor this year’s World Environment Day, take action!:     

1. Learn about the impacts of oil palm plantations on the environment.  Watch The Sustainability Lie.

2. Stop Oil Palm plantations from destroying Cameroon’s ancient rainforests.

In 2011, the government of Cameroon granted a vast land concession to Herkales Farms in the southwest region of the country. What the government overlooked, was that this concession occurred on the homelands of the Oroko, Bakossi, and Upper Bayang peoples. Herakles Farms plans to clear and replace 300 square miles of rainforest with mono-culture trees to establish an oil palm plantation. Take Action to stop this destruction. 

3.  Learn about the 2012 theme for World Environment Day. “Green Economy: Does it include you?” The UN Environment Programme defines the Green Economy as one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. Simply, a green economy can be thought of as one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive.

take action now

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International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression – 4th June 2012

International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression – 4th June

May 27 2012

“BEIRUT (AP) — Gruesome video shows rows of dead Syrian children lying in a mosque in bloody shorts and T-shirts with gaping head wounds, haunting images of what activists called one of the deadliest regime attacks yet in Syria’s 14-month-old uprising.”

This may be one end of a continuum which covers all acts of aggression against children  – it gains media attention but many acts of aggression do not – corporal punishment is still used in many schools (worldwide)  and the UN study on violence against children (2006) lists many small but significant acts of aggression against children –

Main findings of the study
The study concludes that violence against children happens everywhere, in every country and society and across all social groups. Extreme violence against children may hit the headlines but children say that daily, repeated small acts of violence and abuse also hurt them. While some violence is unexpected and isolated, most violent acts against children are carried out by people they know and should be able to trust: parents, boyfriends or girlfriends, spouses and partners, schoolmates, teachers and employers. Violence against children includes physical violence, psychological violence such as insults and humiliation, discrimination, neglect and maltreatment. Although the consequences may vary according to the nature and severity of the violence inflicted, the short- and long-term repercussions for children are very often grave and damaging.

“On this solemn occasion, we need to recall the sacred duty, enshrined in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child, to ensure that all children, without any exception whatsoever, enjoy special protection.”

Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar
International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression
3 June 1983

On 19 August 1982, at its emergency special session on the question of Palestine, the General Assembly, “appalled at the great number of innocent Palestinian and Lebanese children victims of Israel’s acts of aggression”, decided to commemorate 4 June of each year as the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression (resolution ES-7/8).

The purpose of the day is to acknowledge the pain suffered by children throughout the world who are the victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse. This day affirms the UN’s commitment to protect the rights of children.
Victims of injustice and poverty have always had their problems being heard, and none have had more difficulty, historically, than children. Children need help and protection from an adult world that perpetrates most of the abuse. Children are victims of various forms of abnormal behavior.

It is especially difficult for children to cope in times of war. Children’s reactions to such stressful events vary and there are similarities across all ages when their lives are impacted by war or the threat of war. What is specially disturbing about children during times of war is when a child begins to experience anger toward the people or countries with which their country is at war, feelings that could be redirected at a classmate, parent, or neighbor, because they are unable to express them in other ways.

War interrupts everyone’s routines and changes how one responds to daily life. While children are supposed to be protected in armed conflicts, in reality, they are not. The difficulty to monitor and report on basic violations has hampered efforts to bring pressure to bear on parties to armed conflicts in order to elicit compliance with child protection commitments and obligations.

Appalled by the great number of innocent Palestinian and Lebanese children victims of war in August 10, 1983, the United Nations General Assembly decided to commemorate June 4 of each year as the International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression.

The day is an occasion to remind people that throughout the world, there are many children suffering from various forms of abuse, and acknowledges the pain suffered by children throughout the world whether it be in times of war or peace. The day also affirms the United Nations commitment to protect the rights of children.

While considerable progress has been achieved in the past few years in obtaining a framework of international norms and commitments that protect the rights and wellbeing of children, the general situation for children remains grave and unacceptable.

The International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression calls on individuals and organizations all over the world to be aware of the impact of abuse against all children and to take part in responsive campaigns centered on protecting children’s rights.

A Second Chance to Put Conflict Sensitivity into Practice?

A Second Chance to Put Conflict Sensitivity into Practice?

(Swisspeace)

The current debates around state fragility and conflict as well as effectiveness and results provide a new momentum for rooting conflict sensitivity in operational practice. This increasing interest undoubtedly is a welcome development. To properly implement conflict sensitivity at the operational level it is necessary to acknowledge the lessons from past failures and address the persisting practical challenges.

To achieve results in difficult environments conflict-sensitive program management must indeed be considered as necessary precondition.

Initially published in K O F F Newsletter Nr. 107 / 01.05.2012

Read full article 
here.

Exploring the Politics of Reconciliation through Education Reform

Post conflict education reform can often just include strategies such as the inclusion of peace education, yet it demands wholesale changes of attitudes, through a more comprehensive approach including curriculum content adaptation and teaching approaches. The article below, from the recent INEE newsletter, reviews some strategies used in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Exploring the Politics of Reconciliation through Education Reform: the Case of Brčko District, Bosnia and Herzegovina

(International Journal of Transitional Justice)

Brčko, in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H), has had a separate administrative status from the rest of B&H since the end of the war. Education reform to overcome segregated classrooms and ethnocentric teaching materials, still a problem in the rest of the country, has been very vigorously pursued by the international administrator, who had more power to intervene in local institutions, including educational, than the international administration of B&H. Based on two years of fieldwork, this article explores the local implementation, at the classroom level, of these education reforms. It focuses on some of the challenges to post-conflict efforts to promote social reconstruction of divided societies, based on the day-to-day problems faced by teachers and students. Despite the author’s cautionary picture of this project, it is striking that she reports that, on the subject of multicultural education, “many respondents were in fact enthusiastic about progress in Brčko.” In the post-conflict context, this enthusiasm is no small victory.

Published in the International Journal of Transitional Justice, Vol. 6 (1), 2012, 126-148

Read full article here.

THE WHOLE CHILD – excerpts from the ASCD virtual conference

Many educators may subscribe to the fact that their aim is to educate the ‘whole child’ -but in practical terms -how do you do it?

Many will already know the high quality of resources and discussions facilitated by ASCD . Their virtual conference opens up discussion to a global audience and if you missed it have generously uploaded many of the sessions and resources in relation to their latest conference entitled:

Moving from Implementation to Sustainability to Culture

From May 3–11, 2012, ASCD conducted its second annual Whole Child Virtual Conference. This free online event explores what outstanding schools, communities, and individuals have done as they move along the continuum of the whole child approach from implementation to sustainability to culture.

Many schools may be in the process of implementing a program or a new process to support a whole child approach. Other schools may be looking at how to sustain what has already been achieved or developed. Others still may now be looking at how to integrate a whole child approach into their cultures so that it becomes an integral part of what they do and who they are as a school and a community.

Here are some excerpts and links:

Archived Sessions 

Archived session recordings and presenter handouts are below,


Monday, May 7

Tuesday, May 8

Wednesday, May 9

Thursday, May 10

Friday, May 11

Disaster Risk Education: An Imperative for Education Policymakers

Disaster Risk Education: An Imperative for Education Policymakers

As I mentioned in the last post on climate change, DRE or DRR is moving up the agenda in many countries -often it is because of economic concerns, but at least if it means all are planning and preparing to offset the damage done to families, and normally the poorest, then it is worth the effort.

This report was listed in the INEE newsletter:

(UNESCO and UNICEF)

Education is central to building society’s resilience to hazards. Disasters are occurring at an alarming frequency and with increased severity in Asia and the Pacific. Along with climate change related crises, disasters create humanitarian and development challenges. The education sector has a key role to play in addressing these challenges and in preventing hazards from becoming disasters. This role is best fulfilled through DRR in education.

 

This resource is available as a brochure and as a poster.

Climate Extreme: How young people can respond to disasters in a changing world

Climate Extreme: How young people can respond to disasters in a changing world

Disaster risk reduction is now being taken seriously and planning with all stakeholders, including young people, is now being implemented in a number of countries around the world. Climate change,although still being challenged by the sceptics, is now on the agenda and practical strategies are being planned.

This report is timely…

(Plan and the Children in a Changing Climate Coalition)

This short report is a child-friendly version of the 594-page document produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on managing disaster risks.

Plan, on behalf of the Children in a Changing Climate Coalition, took up the challenge of producing this easy to understand report. It gives children in developing countries knowledge about how to prepare and reduce the risks they could face when disasters hit their communities.

To access this resource, click here