For those of us who live along Brussels' busy streets and its neighboring cities, Sunday, 18 September, began in a rather unusual way. Rather than waking to honking car horns or halting brakes, Brussels residents were greeted with quiet. If there was any noise to be heard, it was not from the typical cacophony of screeching engines and rattling old mufflers, but from the joyous notes of laughter shared by cycling families.
Last September 8, Sunbeams, in collaboration with the Jane Goodall Institute of Belgium and the Commune of Molenbeek, and with the support of a grant from Levi Strauss & Co., organized the Levi's Team Day. Several excited volunteers attended the event and spent the entire day cleaning up a park in Molenbeek, Brussels. It was a very typical Belgian day with lots of rain and a chill in the air, but the Levi's people showed up, ready to rock. They strapped on their gardening gloves and split into two groups for the cleanup. One group was in charge of clearing as much Japanese Nut Weed (a poisonous plant found growing on the property) as possible. While the other group, led by Sunbeams founder and president, Ilke, helped to improve the park by building an herb spiral.
This year the Republic of Slovenia is celebrating its 20th anniversary of independence. To commemorate this, as well as the International Year of Forests, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, and to help greening our Planet, the Embassy of Slovenia will join us at the tree planting event on Sunday, the 20th of March 2011 in Oetingen, 20 km west of Brussels.
The Ambassador of the Republic of Slovenia in Belgium, the embassy staff, and Slovenians living in Belgium will plant 20 linden trees (tilia europaea). In Slovenia, the linden tree has been considered much more than a renewable natural resource. From time immemorial, it has been regarded as a national symbol due to its special role. To this day, many a Slovenian village still clusters around an ancient linden tree, and for a good reason. Throughout history, the tree has served as a social and political center of the village. To its inhabitants it symbolized the "tree of life".
Wednesday, 02 March 2011, 09:15 - 10:30
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” and other tips for naturally healthy and happy kids
At Savoorke, International Montessori School, Bergestraat 24, 3080 Tervuren.
This year is the International Year of Forests. Forests are home to millions of people and they sustain the livelihoods of millions more. They are essential to life on the Planet. Sadly, forest areas continue to decline. You can do your share, though, by helping plant a forest in Belgium - and in Congo.
What does the war in Congo, the chimpanzees, your mobile phone and your daily life have to do with one other? It was this strong and convincing holistic message of inter-connectedness which impressed me the most after hearing Dr. Jane Goodall speak in front of a full auditorium at the Free University of Brussels last 22 November 2010.
Here is a compilation of the press coverage of Jane Goodall’s visit to Belgium so far:
- New: EuroparlTV backstage video about the extraordinary visit of Dr Jane
- Sunbeams online photo album (please note that the photos are copyrighted)
- New Europe interview with Jane Goodall
- Article on our website about the EP event
- Article about Jane Goodall's visit to the European Parliament to meet a group of children including a video clip with subtitles in all EU languages.
- A slightly longer clip of the EP event
- The complete video of Dr. Jane's meeting with over 300 children of 37 nationalities at the European Parliament.
- Photos on the EP’s flickr page
- Spanish news agency EFE covers EP visit and signing of the first Belgian Giant Peace Dove (accompanying article)
- Flemish channel VTM covers Jane's VUB lecture
- Dr. Jane interviewed on 'De Laatste Show' on Belgium's main public TV channel - 'een'
- ZoomInTV's coverage of the UN press conference at the Brussels UN house - available in several languages
- Article at The Parliament
- Magda Fahsi: Des chimpanzés au dialogue entre cultures
- Media coverage also included: interview for the youth programme of European Parliament TV and video of the public lecture at the VUB.
- Sunbeams will also create an online photo album - feel free to share your photos by simply e-mailing us!
Dr. Jane Goodall was in the European Parliament on Monday (22 November) to talk to children of 37 nationalities from schools in Brussels. She talked about chimpanzees, the importance of conserving the environment and ensuring the future. "We haven't inherited the Planet from our parents, we borrowed it from our children," she told us in an interview before the conference when we also asked some questions from EP fans on Facebook.
Dr Goodall, you are in the EP but not to address MEPs, you are here to address a very different crowd, which is more interesting to you?
Yes, I'm going to be addressing young people, children from many different areas. Of course, it is important to address the Chamber too. The world is in such a mess, we have inflicted so much harm on it that we need to work from the top as well as from the bottom. But I'm certainly working very hard to developing our youth programme "Roots & Shoots".
What are the key messages you are going to deliver today?
That although we have harmed their future, there is a lot they can do. It's about time that we all get together, the elders and the youth and start healing some of the scars that we have inflicted.
Environmental protection and biodiversity are key subjects for the UN climate change conference in December in Mexico. What is your message to participants?
The message is that one of the most important things we can do to slow down climate change, and one of the most economically effective, is to protect tropical rainforests. As we cut down the forests, we release CO2, and then burning releases more, the forest itself is sequestering CO2.
Another message is to address intensive animal farming. Vast areas of forests are cut down to provide places to grow grain, more and more people eat more and more meat, they want cheap meat. The animals are fed unnatural diets so they produce huge amounts of methane gas which is a big contributor to the greenhouse effect. Cruelty aside, this intensive farming is incredibly damaging to the environment and to human health.
A question from Charlotte Biddle, an EP fan on Facebook: "As a UN messenger of peace what do you feel are the most important messages to convey regarding the environment and wildlife?"
The most important message is that environment is part of our future. So many people think it's a question of either or. Either it's human development or it's environmental protection. If we don't protect our environment and our natural resources, the future of our children is in jeopardy. There is a saying, "We haven't inherited the Planet from our parents; we borrowed it from our children". We've been stealing, stealing, stealing, and here we are, the most intellectual people ever to have walked on the Planet, and with this incredibly complex brain of ours we destroyed our only home.
It's been said that if everybody on the Planet had the standard of living of the average European, we would need up to 5, even 6 new planets. We don't even have one new planet. So we must use this complex brain of ours and start making wise decisions, based on how these decisions will affect people in the future, now how they affect us now.
Dinesh Kumar (EP fan on Facebook): What can common people do to protect biodiversity, after Homo Sapiens (supposedly wise man) destroyed a good part of it?
People often ask me: "What can I do?" The problems are so huge in the world that people feel helpless, and when you feel helpless you just don't do anything. Everyone leaves it to the scientists and the politicians, as "it is their problem, not mine". But I always say "just spend a few minutes every day thinking about the consequences of the choices you make - what you buy, what you eat, what you wear, how you get from A to B". Some people cannot afford to make the right choice but there are millions of people who can, and everyone can make some of the right choices.
Danielle Demos (EP fan on Facebook): Indigenous delegates to the Fifth World Parks Congress, Durban, South Africa in 2003 said, “First we were dispossessed in the name of Kings and emperors, later in the name of state development, and now in the name of conservation.” What would be your answer to them?
My answer is that I'm with them 100%. We work with indigenous people in several parts of the world. They have been abused, dispossessed; they were the stewards of their land. Fortunately in many places they begin to find their voice again. I'm so deeply impressed by the indigenous people who stand up against these forces who would dispossess them, even to the risk of their lives, to try a find a way for them to continue to be stewards of their land and to protect it from the rapacious greed of the rest of the world.
This article first appeared on the European Parliament website where a short video clip is also available.
You can also watch the video of all of Dr. Jane's address.