img 9190_300Tree Planting Event 2010 Update

The first annual sunbeams tree planting event took place in March 2010 and was a runaway success which exceeded everybody's expectations, with over 2,200 trees being planted in what has since become an annual event. In May 2012 we took a trip back to where it all began and we are happy to say that the spalings planted that day are doing well and, whilst not quite a forest yet, are growing strongly. Photos of the trees as they are now, and the event itself, can be seen in our online album.


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  • Biodiversity and Children
    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
    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
    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
    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.
Welcome to Sunbeams

Join us at our next tree planting event on 18 March 2012 - from 10.00 to 16.00 - in the Forêt de Soignes / Zoniënwoud which will be dedicated to Wangari Maathai. Check out this list of frequently asked questions and watch out for updates on this website, on our Facebook page and in our newsletter

Published in Articles
Wednesday, 05 October 2011 09:11

Car-Less For a Day

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.

Published in Articles
Wednesday, 05 October 2011 09:08

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.

Published in Articles

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".


Published in Positive news
Sunday, 20 February 2011 21:49

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.

Register at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it by Monday, February 28, 2011!

Published in Articles
Tuesday, 01 February 2011 21:41

Plant for the Planet in Belgium!

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.

Published in Articles
Friday, 10 December 2010 14:34

Dr. Jane in Brussels

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.

Published in Articles

jg_ep2_smDr. 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.

jg_ep_medEnvironmental 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.

Published in Articles

gallery: tree planting 2012