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Sunbeams - Articles
Articles

Articles (107)

cambioHave you ever considered getting rid of your car?

Let's face it - we all like the convenience of having it just outside the door waiting to be used and take us wherever we want to go. But who wouldn't want to be rid of all the hassle that comes with owning a vehicle: filling it up with expensive gas, checking tyre pressure, refilling window cleaning liquid, standing in line at the Contrôle Technique, expensive insurance, repairs... the list goes on forever. What if there were a way to use a car whenever you really needed one without assuming the responsibility of ownership?  Well, there is: it's called Cambio.

 

are you joining us
at the tree planting event?

here's an information pack with
all you need to know for the day

tpe_poster_tn
help promote the event - please email this page to anyone you think might be interested. Or download and print the poster above to display at your work/school/group.
co2
reduce your carbon footprint

In reposnse to the great demand we have extended the deadline for registering to plant or pledge trees. However we would ask you not to make any more bank transfers at this stage. Please use the paypal option or you can also pay directly at the event.

In March 2010 expats and Belgians came together to plant a forest in one day with sunbeams. Over 2,000 trees were planted and are now bursting back into life with the return of spring. Your can see coverage of last year's event here. This year we have a bigger plot of land and hope to plant many more trees - for which we need your help.

register_now

Sunbeams invites you to come and help us make Belgium a little bit greener on March 20th, 2011. 

For just €5 you can have a healthy sapling (~125cm tall) to plant in your name, or dedicated to someone else  - register now to reserve your tree(s).

We would love you to come along and plant the trees yourself, but if you can't make it we will have plenty of willing hands to plant them on your behalf.

The sunbeams forest is part of the United Nations Environment  Programme's Billion Tree Campaign.

when?

Sunday 20th March 2011. 10.00 - 16.00

who?

as well as children and adults from national and international organisations, groups and schools, the Slovenian and UK Ambassadors and the EU Commissioner for the Environment will participate in the tree planting event.

where?

tpe11_loc_tn This time the forest will be planted at Oetingen (Gooik), 20km west of Brussels, and we hope to plant over 5,000 trees.

Click here to see the exact location of plot. 

Parking is limited so we suggest you park in Kerplein, 1755 Gooik, which is a 5 minute walk from the site. Signs will show you exactly where to go.

 

more info?

For further information see the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and read our 2010 Tree Planting Event newsletter.

register_now

unep_logo BTC_logo_smaller
The sunbeams forest is part of the United Nations Environment  Programme's Billion Tree Campaign.

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this empty field needs your help....

a selection of the dedications attached to the trees of our new forest:

  • This tree is just for my family

  • To my mum who provided the cakes and to my dad who did nothing at all – Sophia
    For the environment

  • I hope that pollution will stop and oceans will be protected – David

  • For Terry, may it grow kind

  • For when we grow up we have a better environment – Almond

  • From my family in Belgium to my family in Scotland and to my friends in Belgium with love

  • Because I love nature – Phoebe

  • Omdat ik het van mijn mama moet doen en ik klim graag in bomen (because my mother said I had to do it and I like to climb trees)

  • Omdat ik wil helpen om de balans tussen natuur en mensen te herstellen. Daarnaast zijn bomen gewoon mooi! (Because I want to restore the balance between nature and humans. And just because trees are beautiful)

  • Omdat ik de opwarming van de aarde wil helpen en ook voor de vogels – Alexandra (because I want to help with global warming and also for the birds)

  • Voor Knut – Ena, 6 (Knut, the baby ice bear born in the zoo in Germany)

  • Voor moeder-aarde  - Emil, 10

  • Voor mijn over-grootmoeder, Mary Wartel (11/01/1915-02/03/2010) – Emil, 10

  • Voor Mama, oma, Moeke en Ena (four female generations)– Ena, 6

A special thank you to:

  • All people tall and small who donated trees and planted them together with us;
  • All the fundraisers and contact persons at the international schools and organisations for having done a tremendous job helping us with this event: Alison April, Caroline Gill, Donna McVicker, Felicity Dent, Ingrid De Decker, Joy Gillman, Kathleen Anderson, Kirstie Egner, Martina Bauer, Martine Foerter, Olga Danilova, Lisa Thauvette, Lisa Treadwell, Marcel van Ratingen, Michelle Brown, Paul Christmas, Sabah Siddiqi , Sarah Kapoor, Sarah Koghali, Tasha Byrne  and many others!
  • Everyone who sponsored the children from the Marollen, inner-city of Brussels, to come and participate at the event under the wings of Serve The City - Brussels;
  • Bert, Liselot and Lore of the Flemish forest association who gave us all their expertise, technical support and patiently answered all our questions and demands;
  • The director of UNEP Brussels, Olivier Deleuze, who supported Sunbeams and this common cause and was also present at the event to plant his own trees;
  • The land owner, Luc Vandermarliere, for realizing his childhood dream of converting his land into a forest forever;
  • The mayors of Linter and Tienen for their support of our event;
  • The Eastok choir for letting their magical voices be carried away in the wind, blessing all the new little trees and warming us in the cold;
  • Simon Dibb and Jean-Luc Onckelinx for putting their professional shoulders under the press coverage of our event;
  • The following Belgian nature organisations being present with their booths and willing to explain everything in English: Natuurpunt
    JNM
    Vogelbescherming Vlaanderen
    Imkerverbond Vlaams Brabant
    Bosgroep Dijleland-Gete
  • Our partners and lovely dynamic people of Reason2.be, Ben and Valerie, for selling their yummy Belgian organic apples and pears at the event;
  • The Embassies of Indonesia and Slovenia, as well as MO Group International for planting trees at our event;
  • The International Montessori School for sponsoring our event by offering their driver and shuttle bus to drive people back and forth from the train station of Tienen;
  • The sponsors providing free apple juice Tetra packs for all the children;
  • The neighbours for being so patient with all the cars and people invading their streets;
  • All the members of the Sunbeams team for their creative minds, their dedicated time, warm welcoming of people and their sponsoring and planting of trees: Alan, Alexander, Bogdan, Courtenay, Eli, Ellen B., Ellen H., Eva, Geoffrey, Henrik, Katrina, Kirstie, Laura, Lisa, Martina, Martine, Merritt, Morgan, Nickie, Nicole, Olga, Ronna, Sarah, Tamas, and ... especially Vanessa for all her hard work liaising warmly and professionally with all the international schools.

Thank YOU so much!

Ilke Pedersen-Beyst

Founder and President of Sunbeams

plant or pledge trees for this year's event
20 March 2011
TPE2011reg

14 March 2010: we did it! our tree planting event (TPE) was a runaway success which exceeded everybody's expectations. Over 2,200 trees were planted.

A huge thank you to everybody who took part, contributed and made a forest appear in 1 day.

German TV channel ZDF came to record the event and you can watch their report online. (skip to 8 minutes 43 seconds for the sunbeams TPE report)

October 2010: Here are some photos of  the trees as they look now

Thank you people!!!!!!

On behalf of the entire team, I would like to thank every child and adult who purchased trees and helped to plant for the planet with Sunbeams on 14 March in Neerlinter, east of Tienen (Belgium). Here you can read our special thank you list to all who made this possible.

You cannot imagine how heartwarming it was seeing all of you challenging the cold weather and turning the meadow into a forest in one day. Families and individuals, 12 international schools, 15 organizations, embassies and companies, people of all nationalities, Belgians and expats, planting side by side.

At the end of the day, all 2,280 personal messages waved us goodbye and we trust all of the wishes and dedications are heard and will reach their destinations.

You will find a selection of personal messages from children here. In our next e-newsletter, reports, interviews and stories will be told. You can follow us and give us feedback on our Facebook wall. And here you can find lovely photos of children, local mayors, the UNEP director of Brussels and school representatives planting trees. Please do not hesitate to share your own stories, messages, and pictures with us!

Our aim with Sunbeams is to show that every single individual, regardless of age, can make a real difference. Whether it is planting a tree or taking small steps in daily life, we can all make this planet a better place.

We invite you all to join us again next year when we will plant our next Sunbeams forest.  The event will occur again around the same date, but in a different place somewhere in Belgium.

We hope to see all of you again!

Ilke,
founder and president of Sunbeams

Sunbeams has written a series of articles to celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity. 

biod2010_LogoJoin us to make small steps for biodiversity around us.  

Sunbeams articles on what you can do for biodiversity:

Sunbeams articles on biodiversity in Away Magazine:

  • Interview with IUCN representative, by Leanne Halewyck [Jan-Feb 2010]
  • Permaculture, by Dave Meyer [Mar-Apr 2010]
  • You and me and biodiversity, by Ilke [May-June 2010] (available here soon )

Sunbeams article in Small Talk (BCT):

Celebrating biodiversity with children [June 2010] (available here soon)

Sunbeams Events related to biodiversity:

  • 4 Workshops for children on nature and wildlife (as from October 2010)
  • Annual workshop for adults on wildlife in Belgium (fall)
  • Annual tree planting event (spring)
  • Annual composting event (May-June)
  • Build a herb spiral together with Sunbeams in your commune
  • Guided nature walk in Zoniënwoud/Forêt de Soignes (in the fall)

Other events focusing on biodiversity:

  • Natuurpunt needs your help to count biodiversity in your garden, weekend of 22-23 May 2010 www.waarnemingen.be
  • EU Green Week, 2-5 June 2010
  • Environmental Party outdoor in Jubelpark/Cinquantenaire, 6 June 2010 (come and see us at the Sunbeams stand)

Useful links can be found in all teh above articles, and here are a few more:
Check out the activities at the Museum of Natural Sciences and their focus on Biodiversity
http://www.naturalsciences.be/active/biodiv2010/biodiv2010_site
Order a little booklet with 366 ideas on what you can do for biodiversity in Dutch:
http://www.post-online.be/biodiv/nl/index.php
or in French:
http://www.post-online.be/biodiv/fr/index.php

More Sunbeams articles relating to specific areas of biodiversity:

This article was originally published in the January 2010 issue of the Away Magazine.

There are several systems to get started at home (see our article on composting):

  • a heap (loose pile)
  • a container (e.g. with walls of wood, usually several in a row)
  • a bin (usually out of dark coloured plastic with a lid and an aeration stick, available in different models at garden centres)
  • a wormery: home made (e.g. towering plastic containers), or bought (including worms) online (e.g. Can O’Worms), at nature shops (e.g. Nature et Decouvertes at City 2 and Woluwe Shopping), or at a collective composting place (more info see below, they sell nice models in wood at the one in Watermael-Boisfort, on Sunday afternoons only),
  • a Bokashi system, composting cooked food and meat: Belgian Bokashi blog in English
  • tumbling system, etc...

youth_glblwrrm2

(click for larger images)

This is an overview of beneficial plants and flowers for bees, bumblebees, hoverflies and butterflies. To find a specific term, just use the search function of your browser.

triclosanFor health and environmental reasons, many of us do our best to eat organic produce and free-range meat, or even give up meat altogether. Likewise, we may try to be conscious of the body products we use, making sure that they do not contain harmful or irritating ingredients. While we pay attention to what we ingest and what we use on our bodies, we may be less mindful of the household cleaning products we use, thinking that they will not harm us anyway.

On the contrary, they can harm us. Conventional household products are a big source of indoor air pollutants due to their ingredients. They contain irritating and even carcinogenic components that enter our bodies through inhalation and skin contact. After usage, the harmful ingredients persist in the environment, cause harm to nature, and eventually end up in our bodies through the food we eat.

illuminationDecember, dark mornings, early evenings, winter weather, holidays – It is the season of illumination! Whether an evening at home or inviting family and friends to a festive party – illumination brings atmosphere, comfort, and essential lighting. Illumination via electrical sources also brings increased cost to your pocket and the environment. Can you still light your home festively and be kinder to your pocket and your planet? Absolutely! A few tricks and changes and you're on your way.

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