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SchultüteThere are a few basic rules to bear in mind when trying to buy eco-friendly school materials. The main ones are: go for sustainable material which will last a long time, choose items with a minimum of packaging, and look for recycled, recyclable and non-toxic products. We’ve checked out the Belgian market and found the following ideas to get your child off to a planet-friendly start.

The international year of biodiversity has begun and we are now counting down to the end of the year. The Countdown 2010 was launched by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to call for a global action to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010.

In our series on biodiversity, we will focus on bees this time. There are two major groups of bees: the honeybees, whom we all know, living in big communities and the solitary bees, less known and with a big variety of species (more on them later).

As you might know, all bees are crucial for humans, because they pollinate: if bees were extinct, it would take human kind another 4 years to disappear as well. The problem is we do not know where the tipping point is in the declining numbers among bees we see today. Even the causes are not always clear. Recent studies show that the general loss of biodiversity is a main factor, the excessive use of chemicals and climate change have all been mentioned in this regard. Hopeful news is reaching us, like the French government announcing a large scale project to plant wild flowers, the thriving of bees in towns, and the raised interest in beehive associations. There are also things you can do!

herbspiral
Photo: anarchitect

One of the best quick garden projects we can all undertake near our homes is building an herb spiral. The idea is pretty straight forward: a spiral, one to two meters in diameter, curving and rising to a center point about a meter high allows us to put as many herbs as possible in as small a space as possible. The walls are made of stone, the inside is a series of different planting materials.

transitionnetwork logoClimate change, acid rain, the ozone layer, over-fishing, polluted rivers… the list of environmental problems can seem daunting – and then when solutions appear, it seems there’s another problem just waiting to pop up behind it! What seems to be needed is a concerted effort to reform the foundations of our cities and towns into more sustainable entities that work in harmony with our planet: Fortunately, this is just what several grassroots environmental movements are trying to do. Between the Transition Towns, the Sustainable Neighborhoods, and Agenda 21, cities all over the world (and all over Belgium!) are taking concrete steps to become more sustainable and to cut off environmental problems before they even start.

reason2be logo

Give something back

We, at reason2.be, are always thinking about how we can operate the business more efficiently and ecologically. Our grocery home delivery service lends itself perfectly to collecting as well as delivering. So we have come up with several ways to utilize the deliveries for more than just food delivery. We collect items for recycling, reusing, disposing and trading. The ‘sustainable services’ we offer are a non-profit element of the business, and give our customers the chance to give something back. The reason2.be ‘sustainable services’ are as follows.

Here is a test of the image gallery:

Sustainable Fish

If you've been wondering which fish you can still buy with good conscience, without depleting the ocean from endangered species and knowing that your fish was caught in a sustainable way without harming other sea animals, then this small step is for you. An excellent ressource is www.goedevis.nl - that is, if you know what the fish is called in Dutch!

Electronics make up 70% of all hazardous wasteNot sure where to pitch that passé PC? We suggest some solutions for your elderly electrical and electronic equipment.

My printer died last month. I felt really ticked off that despite having tried 3 new cartridges, the circuitry just wouldn’t recognize the full cartridges and refused to print. It was more than 2 years old and finding the receipt for it would have been futile, so getting a refund or repair was out of the question. I wanted to do the right thing and get rid of it properly. But how... and where? Throw it away?

Save fuel up to 20-30%, drive more safely and cut your green house gas emissions!

  •  Shift to a higher gear as soon as possible (above 2000-2500 revolutions);
  •  Drive smoothly: try to keep a constant speed (cruise control where possible) and avoid breaking and speeding. Anticipate the situation in the traffic: let your car “roll” without touching the gas pedal;

Photo by Anushruti RK on flickr!Have you thought about the difference in taste of a nice deep-red strawberry in its high season or a pale pink one in wintertime? But it is not only a problem of taste… Did you know that 1 kg of strawberries transported from Spain to Belgium causes 2,5 kg of CO2 emissions and that 80 tons of out-of-season strawberries are imported to Belgium each week? While local strawberries harvested in season produce only 0,2 kg CO2? Did you know that transport by airplane generates 177 times more greenhouse gases (GHG) than shipping does? And that a cooled truck is almost as bad as an airplane when it comes to GHG?

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