Biodiversity and Children
What could be more rewarding than spending some time with your children observing life in your garden (or even your balcony or park)? Whether it is planting some seeds and watching them grow into veggies, or watching butterflies visit a flower and roll out their long “straw” to drink nectar, if you just take the time, your garden will give your children a moment of internal quietness while they witness amazing buzzing activity. Before you start, try to make enough free time in order to enjoy nature’s activities with the family. With a bit of patience and flexibility, you can involve even small kids in the preparation phase and pick and choose your favourite activities: 1. Give your children their own little plot of land or their own plant container. Ownership is important here! No mum/dad or big sibling needs to interfere in the young child’s personal approach when it…
Nature’s Helping Hand
Summertime is here! Before you head off to your summer destination, you can plan ahead with some help from nature. Don’t let minor stings and aches spoil your travel fun! Put together a natural first aid kit so you are prepared for the unexpected. When traveling, it’s always easier to have things close by and avoid the emergency scramble to find things and/or communicate your needs in a foreign language. All it takes is a few trips to an organic store and a pharmacy to take care of the essentials. So what are some emergency essentials to keep on hand? The Belgian Red Cross has a First Aid kit available for around 20 euros and contains all the basics including bandages, an emergency thermal wrap, etc. In addition, here are some natural remedies (in alphabetical order) to get you started. Arnica – a tube in gel or cream form of…
Mobility with Kids
I live less than 300 metres from a large grocery shopping complex. Due to my lack of a driver's license, this proximity to the shops was of primary concern when we chose our house (right behind price!). Yet shortly after moving in, I realised that my dream of popping up at the shops to do the weekly re-stocking of groceries had turned into a nightmare for one reason - the kids. In my dream, I had never bothered to work out the seemingly impossible logistics of transporting three small children (at the time, all under 5), four large bags of shopping and my own, increasingly lagging morale, for 300 metres. What had initially seemed a hop, skip and jump from the house was suddenly more daunting than a marathon. Finally, after yet another epic excursion with me trying in vain to strap babies to my body, toddler in pushchair, bags of…
Forêt de Soignes Tree Planting Event - March 2012
We are happy to report that our tree planting in the Forêt de Soignes / Zoniënwoud on 18 March was a complete success. More than 500 of you joined us and planted nearly 2,500 trees! Our heartfelt thanks to all you who came along or contributed. You can browse though some pictures of the event in our online album.
Champagne corks flying.... late nights out... 5 course dinners... gifts... swinging parties... tempting sweets... socializing with family and friends... piles of wrapping paper... cocktails... traveling across town (or the world)... shopping... decadent chocolates... Welcome to the Holiday Season! With all the festivities and so many things to prepare and do, the holidays can easily throw us off kilter, and lead to feeling rundown, even stressed by it all! With a little planning and positive intention, you can get through the season and come out of it feeling and looking great, and even help others and the environment along the way. To help create balance in and around your life, read on!
- Jane Goodall Institute. This institute is close to our heart! Jane Goodall not only continues to protect and observe chimpanzees, but also does some breathtaking development cooperation and inspires young people all over the world to do something useful with her Roots and Shoots program. You can either donate money, become a member, adopt a chimpanzee or order one of the many beautiful things of her online shop. You can find her books in English, beautiful mugs and letter paper, memo blocs, peace bracelets, brass pins, a tree planting certificate and even delicious organically shade-grown coffee beans from the Gombe Reserve. Sunbeams has a selection of her products which can be bought at our events. If you send us an email well in advance you can even make your personal order to be picked up at one of our events.
Like last year, the MYP students are currently involved in a project called 'Lease a Tree'. For just 35€, 48 fortunate families can enjoy me, and my pine tree friends', company for three weeks.
Have you got things in your house that you don't need any more but which are still in good condition? Have you bought something on impulse only to realize later that you don't really want it? Do you want to get rid of clutter but can't get yourself to throw away stuff mercilessly?
Well, why not make your unwanted items the life of your Christmas party by holding an 'all-old items' gift exchange? This gift exchange can be best done by a game called White Elephant or Yankee Swap. This game is very simple yet guaranteed to be fun. This could be an additional gift exchange or even replace the gift-giving altogether.
“Oh toilet brush oh toilet brush, how lovely are thy bristles...” just doesn’t have quite the same holiday ring to it as the classic carol, does it? I know I was surprised when, in the course of researching this article, I came across the humble origins of the artificial Christmas tree: in the 1930s the Addis Brush Company discovered that their toilet brush factory could produce a reasonable facsimile of a Christmas tree. The artificial tree is now firmly entrenched in the ethos of Christmas consumerism.
Open gifts with care and attention to the wrapping paper, ribbons, tags and boxes.
The challenge is to see how much can be saved and put away for reuse during your next holiday season.
Did you know that paper can be ironed on a low setting if you find there are two many creases in it from a previous wrapping.
On the inside of sheets of paper write the dates when used and see how many years one sheet of paper can be used. This can provide great entertainment in years to come as you remember gifts wrapped in the paper years past or simply how many years you’ve seen it come back in circulation.
Save tags and reuse again another year….saves time on writing out new tags and money buying new tags.
Ribbon can be added to new ribbons another year, can be reused as is, or added to children’s crafts.
Boxes often fold flat and take up little space. If they can not be folded, take on the puzzle challenge to find out how many you can nest together. Wrapping the parts of a box rather than the whole box itself saves the paper and has a prepared box for next year’s use.
Can you reuse any parts of pre-packaged gift items?
This article was originally published in the October 2011 edition of the Sunbeams Newsletter.
This article consists of two parts: first is a list of original ideas for eco-friendly presents, followed by the art of giving and receiving. There are also some ideas for sustainable wrapping.
Some original ideas for eco-friendly presents
Just try to imagine all the waste and pollution resulting from the Christmas season - it will make you sad. But, with a little bit of imagination, you can find many original ideas for an eco-friendly Christmas! Here is a list to give you some inspiration: