Taking the next step…or something like that :)

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By Yula Pannadopoulos Summer is over, and fall is here. We miss the feel of sand and sea on our skin, as we bathe in the warm September sun, wrapped in a golden glow from leaves and bushes. Balmy evenings smell of jasmine, mornings are crisp, the countryside is busy, and cities are full of people again. School has begun, and everything is back to its usual routine. We too had our fair share of vacationing this summer, but we also worked very hard on this project – and we fully comprehended the meaning of the term “leg work” :) Livia, our main girl, kept busy this summer, exploring already existing positive examples and practices from around the world, and if you browse through our summer blog posts, you will be amazed by the great work schools, teachers and communities are already doing when it comes to education on sustainability, sustainable development and sustainable way of  life. Speaking of the way of life – why not soak up that September sun, enjoy the Indian summer and instead of driving, or taking the bus – bike to work or to school – in terms of transport, you can’t get more sustainable than that :) This month we’ll start our monthly newsletters – September issue is due on the 27th, where we’ll share some of the “bike to school” stories, so be sure to check it out! (you can subscribe to our newsletter right here) Also starting this month – we’ll be posting Friday round up blogs, to wrap up the week behind us, and let you all know what have we been up to. Enjoy the sunny September, and see you all next Friday. ————————————– (the fab photo was taken in Stockholm, Sweden, credits Sandra Antonovic) (want to connect with us? send us an email to  

Ethical Eating

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Ethical eating is not about absolutes; it’s about doing your best. Guest post by Syd Baumel A little over a year ago, two years into my transition from mild-mannered vegetarian to in-your-face vegan, I came to the conclusion that most people don’t want to buy what I have to sell. I was failing in my would-be mission as an advocate for the nearly 50 billion farm animals slaughtered every year around the world. The goal posts of vegetarianism, much less vegansim, were set far too high for most people – and some questioned the goal itself. Might there be a better way, I wondered, for my ethical vegetarian colleagues and I to reach the resistant masses? It has always been anguishingly obvious to people like us that most nonvegetarians do love animals; yet . . . they still eat them. I found myself meditating on this challenge at the lake that summer, and quickly a vision of another strategy took shape. Compromise. Tell people any change is better than no change at all. Get people and organizations of influence – movie stars, political and spiritual leaders, scientists, intellectuals – to speak up with one voice for ethical eating. Reframe the message from all-or-nothing veganism to anything-is-better-than-nothingism and the-more-the-betterism. As I was later to write in a letter to The New York Times Magazine, the opposite kind of all-or-nothing reasoning by the magazine’s food columnist – that “if you cannot be merciful to all edible animals, you needn’t be merciful to any” – “is a recipe for moral indifference. Every act of mercy is a sufficient act of kindness unto itself.”  In other words, I wanted myself, my activist colleagues, and others not yet even involved in this inclusive mass movement to send people an alternative message about food: you don’t have to be ethical all the time (or according to other people’s standards) to be ethical. You don’t have to be the Dalai Lama to be a good guy – indeed, even the Dalai Lama eats meat every other day.* You’re probably not a vegetarian either. Only about 4% of Canadians are. But I bet you’re concerned about issues related to your dietary choices – issues like protecting the environment, supporting farmers and other people in the food production chain, being kind to animals, and eliminating world hunger. Perhaps you’re buying organic food more often because it’s better for the environment, for farmers and public health, and typically for animals too.  Perhaps you’re eating more humane-certified, free range, or grazed/pastured animal products because you believe any animal that puts food on your table ought to be treated with at least a little compassion. Perhaps you oppose genetically modified crops because you believe they pose a threat to biodiversity – and therefore to the world’s food security – or because you worry that GMOs threaten public health. Perhaps you drink fair trade coffee or tea or eat fair trade chocolate so as not to support the exploitation of impoverished farmers in the developing world – even child slaves, in the case of chocolate Perhaps you give generously to aid agencies or donate to food banks so that others can eat too. If you do any of these things, you’re part of a burgeoning, spontaneous, and so far nameless movement (I would call it the ethical eating movement, a subset of ethical consumerism) of people who strive to eat not just what’s good for number one, but what’s good for everyone. You are extending your sphere of moral interest to include the very food chain that sustains you. You are co-authoring a new chapter in the moral awakening of humanity. Ethical eating, like ethical living, is not about absolutes. It’s about doing the best you’re willing and able to do – and nurturing a will to keep doing better. ————————————————————————————————————————————————— Syd Baumel’s full editorial was originally published in The Aquarian in 2003. A year later, he created photo credits
Colorful Chalk at Chalkboard

Education for Sustainability / Call for Schools

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June 6th, 2012 / Worldwide

Education for Sustainability  invites all schools (that are not already in our network) to join us in a joint effort to put sustainability on the curriculum and thus ensure children and youth have the skills to become citizens of a sustainable future.

Input from schools is essential in developing country specific coherent arguments that will help us advocate this initiative with the ministries and other respective governmental bodies (or, as we like to call them – “the decision makers”).

Many schools are already involved in sustainability projects, usually through extracurricular activities. Sharing your experiences and stories would help  inspire other schools to get involved too (maybe even create an extracurricular activity of their own), while together we work towards putting sustainability on the regular curriculum.

We have created a Wiki database (you can access it from our home page – please check out menu tabs in the upper right corner), and this section shares current situation in 30+ countries with regards to teaching sustainability and environment focused subjects.

(Please note that the Wiki page is work in progress. Should you know of a change in the system, update or even a wrong info that we might have misinterpreted, please send us an email to and we’ll sort it out.)

To gather more insights and understand your experiences, we have created simple questionnaires that schools’ representatives can fill in and return to us (once you fill them in, please email them to ). You can also complete the questionnaires online by choosing your country from this menu.

If your country is not on the list, but you’d like your school to be a part of this initiative, or you have experiences you’d like to share with us, please send us an email to

Finally, do subscribe to our monthly newsletter for updates, progress reports, free publications and other resources.


posted by Education4Sustainability , photo credits


20 solutions for a sustainable future

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 Guest post by World Youth Congress As part of the lead up towards the 6th World Youth Congress, we’re inviting WYC participants and supporters alike to tell us: what solutions do we need, in order to move towards a more sustainable future? Our Congress series has often produced action-oriented statements, that have inspired its participants, and other stakeholders they have been engaging with. As we get closer to the dates of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (also known as Rio+20 and Earth Summit 2012), one thing is clear: declarations can only get us so far, what we need is a true plan of action. HOW DOES THIS WORK? Solutions will need to include: – WHAT: what the solution is about – be as specific as you can, but make sure that solutions are of wide applicability – WHO: who’s responsible for making it happen (governments, business, young people, etc. – or more than one sector, or somebody in particular within that sector) – WHEN: is there a deadline? how much of it should happen by when? be specific In your comments, please elaborate: – WHY: the rationale behind proposing such solution, whether it’s a moral, or scientific, or other argument – EXAMPLE: if possible, showing how the solution is already implemented somewhere around the world The top 40 ideas will be discussed at the WYC, and 20 solutions will come out of the event, as our proposed plan of action for its follow up. To see some of the solutions we’ve received so far, please visit Proposed Solutions. We are really looking forward to your insights! Passionately yours, The WYC organizing team   To find out more about World Youth Congress, please visit