Here you will find stories and articles written by the Young Reporters.
Will we be celebrating Mars Day in the near future?
By Frederikke Ulnits
On the 22nd of April Earth Day was celebrated for the 46th time. But what if I told you that soon we will be celebrating Mars Day. That might sound crazy and impossible to you. But reading this article will probably change your mind.
Pundits are claiming that humans will be able to land on Mars in 2050 and NASA believes that it will happen in 2040 but Elon Musk says that it will be a possibility in 2025. But why believe a single man when most pundits claim that it will first happen many years later?
Elon Musk is the creator of SpaceX and Tesla Motors. SpaceX sent their first rocket to the International Space Station only 9 years after its establishment and reaching Mars has been the goal from the start in 2002.
In 2005 most people in the automobile industry claimed that it would not be possible that we would have a decent electric car for 50 years, but in 2010 Tesla Motors launched its first public electric car. So believing that the man who has defied pundits in the automobile industry and the man, who created an entire rocket company in less than 10 years, will be able to get humans to Mars by 2025, suddenly sounds believable.
But one thing is getting there another thing is to live on the planet. For humans to live on Mars there are 5 things you absolutely need to have. You need water, food, shelter, clothes and oxygen, since 96% of Mars’ atmosphere is carbon dioxide. Let’s take water at first. Mars might look like a desert from the outside, but the soil on Mars is up to 60% frozen water. So if we can melt the ice on Mars’s two poles, most of the planet will be covered by 30 feet of water. There are other methods too use such as a low-tech dehumidifier, like the one made by The University of Washington in 1998, cause Mars atmosphere is up to 100% humid.
The next thing is oxygen. Actually NASA has already worked that out. A scientist at MIT has developed a reverse fuel cell called the Moxie. The machine sucks in the Martian atmosphere and pumps out oxygen. This machine will be able to keep one person alive on Mars, and in 2020 NASA will be sending a big rover with this machine abroad to Mars.
The food problem can easily be solved in the beginning. Hydroponics will be used to grow food but we can only get 20% of our food from that method until water is available. In the meantime, dried food will have to be sent from Earth.
As shelter, inflatable pressurized buildings can be used in the beginning but only in daytime because of too much radiation. For a more sustainable solution NASA again has the answer. They have found out that the soil on Mars is perfect for making bricks, and if a little polymer plastic were added, it would be possible to build buildings with really thick walls. Or perhaps we will live in underground caves or lava tubes, of which there are many.
On Earth the atmosphere creates 15 pounds of pressure on our bodies. On Mars there is basically no pressure. Another scientist at MIT has therefor created a sleek space suit. The suit keeps us together, block radiation and keeps us warm.
So it is possible to live on Mars and we do have the technology to do it. But if we want to live a good life on Mars we need to be terraforming the planet. To do that, we need to warm up the planet. If a solar sail is erected above the South Pole on Mars, it will in less than 20 years heat up the planet to something like the temperature on Earth. By using the solar sail more carbon dioxide will go out into the atmosphere and thicken it. That will give more protection from radiation and make enough pressure to survive without the space suit. Besides from that, ice will melt so there will be running water, then crops will be able to grow and Mars will almost feel like British Columbia.
There might go 1000 years before the breathing problem for real will be solved, but as the smart and adaptable humans we are, technology will help us reach far and beyond today’s limits. Today it is possible to control genetic, perhaps we will be able to control our own evolution in the future. So maybe someday in the near future we will be celebrating Mars Day – but lets keep cheering for Earth, so Mars Day will become irrelevant.
Interview with one of this year’s young guides: William Christensen
William is 16 years old and is for the very first time attending a conference for caretakers of the environment. We are very happy with his choice and wanted to know how he first heard about CEI: “ I first heard of Caretakers of the environment at a local event called “Youth Day”. It is a day held by Aalborg Youth School and a day were you have the opportunity to hear about a large range of afterschool activities our community has to offer. It was that day I heard about The Caretakers. Elizabeth Brun told us about the great work that is done around the globe and how we had a chance to participate in that development. When she was done, I immediately asked where I could sign up! And here we are four months later and I have doubt that it was the right decision to make.”
As you can hear the spirit is high in the Danish delegation, even though there is a lot of planning and many long hours to make the conference happen and different projects succeed. Everyone is pretty excited and therefore we asked William what he is looking most forward to: “ What I look most forward to is to meet all the delegates from all over the world, to discover their cultures and our differentness and similarities. I am sure we all have so much to learn from each other and by sharing our ideas we can come up with new methods in our local communities to make a sustainable difference. It is quite amazing that it’s even possible to gather so many young people from all over the world with the same goal: To share ideas and take actions towards a more sustainable world. It really shows there is hope in the future and with a change of generation, we might also change the world we all live in.”
Different cultures coming together to solve one common issue is definitely a step in the right direction and every person matters, so we asked William how he could contribute: “To the conference I hope to bring joy to all the other delegates. I am a very happy and open person and I hope that feeling will be spread to others. That is also one of the reason I signed up to become a Young Guide and also to share my knowledge of how Aalborg is one of the most sustainable cities in Denmark.”
Coral Bleaching by Diana Fayed
Nowhere on earth is the effects of climate change more visible to the naked eye, than in the Great Barrier Reef. The colourful coral reefs are highly vulnerable to climate change and the impact of significant changes in temperature, such as heated oceans, can bleach – and eventually, kill the corals.
The coral reefs structure is mainly build from calcium carbonate (limestone) skeletons laid down by hard corals. Changes over a long amount of time can eventually affect these corals in a negative way.
When the temperatures rise too much over a long period of time, the phenomena called coral bleaching takes place. It happens at the same time every year, but when the temperature remains high, which happens during El Niño (El Niño is the phase of the complex weather patterns resulting in an unusual rising in ocean temperatures over the Pacific). The El Niño that started in 2014 has continued to impact the Great Barrier Reef and has since become the longest bleaching event recorded, with approximately 93% of the Great Barrier Reef affected. The bleaching does not seem to be ending any time soon according to Mark Eakin, a coral reef ecologist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in College Park, Maryland;” Even though the El Niño is now weakening, its lingering effects could cause bleaching for another year.” With global warming raising ocean temperatures, even weak El Niño’s will be enough to change the coral reefs.
A constant pressure on the coral reefs would harm the ability of the corals to recover, which then would lead to the reefs dying.
The bleaching happens when the symbiotic algae called zoocanthellae (which uses photosynthesis to produce nutrients for themselves and their hosts) is extracted due to hot temperatures.
When the coral reefs die, it affects the many marine organisms and fish that depend on the reefs for shelter and food, leading to a loss of biodiversity.
The main issue that leads to coral bleaching is global warming. The only way to stop this is to rapidly prevent the global temperature in rising even higher. Actions towards global warming are a must.
Interview with former delegate and on of this year’s Young guides: Marie Fredensborg Akobe
Marie is 17 years old and is also joining the team of Young Guides for this year’s conference. We asked Marie how she heard of CEI: “I heard about CEI from a friend of mine. We share the shame interest for the environment, and she told me this was a good way to make a difference and learn even more on how I could make a difference. So at that point I knew I had to join.”
Many young people wants to make a difference and can see that actions are needed, but are simply just lacking the knowledge of how to make easy changes around them. By sharing that knowledge and spread the word like Marie’s friend young people have a chance to act towards changes. We also wanted to know what Marie looked the most forward to: “I look most forward to see what has been done in other communities and see if I perhaps can adapt some of their methods or knowledge to my everyday.”
Marie also feels that she can contribute with some good qualities at the conference: “I am certain that the delegates from around the world can use some of the initiatives I will show them during their stay in Denmark. Since I am a Young Guide I will show them many ideas that a brought to life in our community and hopefully they can be adapted to other cultures and communities as well.”
Interview with Wayne Schimpff part 2 by Emma Laursen
This week we will continue our interview with Wayne Schimpff. The idea was to travel back in time to understand the origin of CEI, which we mainly did in our last volume of Every Second Sunday News. This week we have asked Mr. Schimpff about the development of CEI up until now, and about his memories of the previous three decades of CEI experiences.
We asked Mr. Schimpff what makes CEI so special and how CEI has develop through the years: “The unique fact about CEI as it is the only global organization for high school students and teachers dealing with the environment that is operated and maintained with a $0 staff budget for its entire history. There is a related organization, www.Iearn.orgInternational Education and Resource Network that is 2 years younger than we are. They serve K – !2 students. They also host an international conference which is usually at the same time as ours. That’s why I have never attended one. They have a paid staff person in each country to promote local activities. They have an annual budget of between $13 and $15 Million a year. It all comes from the US Office of Education and the US AID program. Its world headquarters is at the Museum of Natural History in new York City. The USA affiliate is www.Youthcan.org. I have attended some of the Youthcan activities. Because we operate from a position of caring enough to make a difference we have developed an activity that involves challenging teens to explore with partners and tell others about their discoveries and what they have learned. The activity CEI uses is well founded in education practice and is called Service Learning and the Boy Scouts of America call it the Eagle Service Project. I pioneered science based service learning for the Chicago Public Schools and represented them at several national conventions on the topic. I also empowered 33 Scouts to do the service project and earn the Rank of Eagle Scout. I am an Eagle Scout since 1957. What has evolved and is now a strength of CEI is the transfer of leading conference activities from adults to CEI Alumni. The Alumni have been empowered to find ways to engage the participants in fun exploration activities. We have been successful to find educational leaders that have the resources and the educational experience to recognize the importance of this type of global learning experience. Also we have always have had fun experiences while sharing and growing together with out international friends.”
Furthermore we asked Mr. Schimpff about his own personal experiences with CEI if there is anything he look back at which makes him particularly happy or proud: “I am most happy that Gail and I have been give the gifts of time, health, and $$, resources to self fund our CEI experiences. Many of my students that went with us to earlier conferences have stayed in touch and I have been lucky enough to share in their various life successes. My most memorable moment is having a student, Calvin Young, that went with me as a student to the 2nd and 3rd conferences and then as one of the first 2 former student participants to attend the 7th conference as Alumni. The other student was our son, Scott. For the 25th conference Calvin returned to that conference with his son. As far as I know it was the first time a CEI participant has participated as a student then as a mentor with his son and other Chicago Alumni students. I personally look forward to sharing memorable views and conversations with my global teacher and student friends over a cup of tea overlooking a nice view of nature.”
Lastly, we asked Mr. Schimpff if he had any words of encouragement to current CEI students, he said: “Make sure you have as much fun connecting with new partners in doing your project as you can. Your community partners like and appreciate you in asking them to help with sharing their knowledge and in sharing their resources with you. Don’t forget to make you project presentation for them before attending the conference. Then after the conference, ask to make a report to them on how your project presentation went and to share what you learned and experienced at the conference. Also don’t forget to describe and tell stories about all the neat people that are now your global friends. Your home partners will be jealous of your CEI experiences. Don’t forget to thank the people that empowered you to be able to participate in the CEI conference as it is a very rewarding experience – your parents, your teachers, and their bosses.”
We want to thank Mr. Schimpff for enlightening us on the history of CEI.
In this issue we will publish two inspirational articles. The articles should be used as a reminder, that anything is possible and that we should keep a positive attitude towards these grave climate change issues we are facing. If we stay positive and curious we will continue to develop new ideas and solutions to these issues. In continuation of the idea that anything is possible, we have interviewed Wayne Schimpff and asked him about the early days of CEI. This week we will publish the first half of the interview.
Interview with Wayne Schimpff by Diana Fayed
This year’s conference in Aalborg, Denmark will be the 30th conference in CEI’s history. This is an impressive anniversary for organization that is operated and maintained with a $0 staff budget, as Wayne Schimpff pointed out for us. We have asked Mr. Schimpff about the early days in CEI, since we are curious how a successful organization like CEI was founded. Mr. Schimfpp got involved at the 3rd idea forming meeting of CEI, which later resulted in the birth of the CEI concept as we know it today – this was in the early 70’s and Mr. Schimpff has attended 21 conferences ever since, throughout which he and his wife Gail has introduced generations of Caretakers to the CEI family. We have asked Mr. Schimpff how he got involved with CEI: “ … I had already hosted the first ever Global Conference for high school students back in 1973 in Chicago. Ed Radatz, was the teacher of the USA high school that participated along with student teacher delegations from 13 countries. So Ed had already experienced this international conference. In the mean time I worked with Ed in his capacity of high school teacher while I worked with him in planning his high school ecology class field trips while I was the first Naturalist in charge of teacher education for the Forest Preserves of Cook County, IL, the first Ranger Naturalist at our nations first National Urban Park, the Indian Dunes National Lakeshore, the first Chief naturalist for the State of Illinois and the first naturalist for the City of Chicago. So when Ed Radatz, Isabell Abrams, and Arjen Wals had their early idea forming meetings, they convinced me to take a day off from teaching and meet with them at Ed’s school to see what I thought if the idea. I said that the idea was great and we moved forward with implementing the idea.” So as Mr. Schimpff puts is: “I never joined CEI, rather I helped it evolve and develop …”.
As part of our journey to understand the background of CEI we asked Mr. Schimfpp why CEI was founded at that exact time: “The above background activities in the USA were happening. Also Ed and I were involved with the planning and the conducting of first Earth Day celebrations in the Chicagoland area. Also Arjen Wals, Joke Wals son, was 26 years old and had his family’s background in caring about the environment in Europe. He also saw that CEI should be a place where teachers and students would participate as equals. This ‘Participation as equals’ idea was revolutionary at the time, because in Europe the teacher was highly respected as was not an equal of a student. But Arjen thought that concerns about the environment were ‘Equal for all’. So his mom and dad hosted the first CEEI Conference in The Hag, Netherlands. This is where the successful formula of the current mix of CEI conference activities was pioneered. Arjen’s father, Harry Wals, was in charge of Parks and the Environment for The Hag and he was also the first Chairman of the EU’s Committee on the Environment. So he used his extensive resources to invite countries to send delegations and to host conference activities. Harry also was developing and presented the first Blue Flag for a clean beach was awarded during our first conference. Also he had pioneered the first Farm in A City program. He also supported community and school site gardens. So the CEI Conference activities gave the host country an opportunity to show case what it had been doing to empower it citizens to connect with the environmental base of which the society exists and how teens can help in the connecting process. I guess it was just a pure coincidence that Ed had the luck of having Arjen assigned to him as a foreign exchange student teacher and they shared prep and lunch periods where they talked about common interests. Ed had been operating his nationally recognized Oak Park Pollution Control Center out of Oak Park River Forest High School where he taught for many years prior to the initial meeting to form the meeting about forming a group that would be called Caretakers of the Environment International. The Pollution Control Center had it’s own phone line where community residents could call it with many types of requests. Students were assigned to answer the phones and the callers’ questions during the school day. They also attended many different community meetings regarding all types of pollution issues and topics in their community and elsewhere in the region. So with the above combined experiences and knowing the power of empowered teens, the global program began it successful almost 30 year program.”
With a combination of skilled teachers and leaders (and a small portion of great luck, referring to the meeting of Ed Radatz and Arjen Wals) CEI was founded. Speaking as an active Caretaker I believe that many, many students and teachers across the world are thankful that this handful of people came together and created the CEI concept we know today, since it has been a source to wonderful learning experiences throughout the years. Next week we will continue our interview with Mr. Schimpff. We will ask him about the development of CEI through the years and talk about his personal experiences with the conferences.
Breathing Buildings by Frederikke Ulnits
Imagine living in a building that actually breathes. Instead of having to turn on the air condition when it’s hot outside, the fresh air will just come through the walls. And the most amazing thing is; you won’t even have to use any electricity to make it happen. The building will really be selfventilating. How is this possible? Architect Doris Kim Sung has found a way. She believes that we shouldn’t just focus on making the mechanical systems as efficient as possible, but try instead to find new and more sustainable ways to ventilate buildings. Doris was a biologist before she became an architect, and she has found a way to make the outside of a building work similarly to the human skin.
It’s called thermo-bimetal. It is a smart material, because it doesn’t need electricity to function. The metal, as the name suggests, is actually made from two different metals, which then gets laminated together. The idea is that when heated, one of the metals will expand faster than the other metal, which means that the ends will curl up. That way the fresh air will be able to get inside, and the hottrapped air can get outside without having to use any power at all, except for heat from the sun, of course. And no pieces of the thermo-bimetal are the same. That means you can adapt the form of each one of them, to fit the place it’s going to be placed on the building. Doris Kim Sung has created an installation called Bloom with over 14000 pieces of thermobimetal, all of them different and adapted to the angle of the sun. What is really great about this thermo-bimetal method is that it will always work. If the electricity goes it will still work the same and if it isn’t hot outside, it simply won’t expand. And Doris Kim Sung has also experimented with getting the metal to shade from the sun, so you won’t need any blinds. We see this on Bloom, too. Some pieces of thermo-bimetal are placed in a way to make them keep the sunlight away, while other pieces have been placed so they can let fresh air inside or release the hot air that has been trapped underneath the surface of Bloom. Every single piece has been placed strategically and has it’s own specific function. And with the technology we have today, who knows when we will start making houses the same way? Then we would have a sustainable way to survive a hot day.
Recycle now! By Emma Laursen
When we speak about recycling it is impossible not to focus on the importance of plastic recycling. Mostly because the amount of plastic used in todays societies has reached an extremely high level, but also because with this rate the situation will only get worse, unless people start to realize the problem, and act according to these bad circumstances we created ourselves.
Plastic is a human made synthetic product and is made of long carbon chains, crude oil, cellulose, salt and natural gas. It all gets melted together and goes through a long process before it turns to solid plastic. Since plastic is a human made product and not a natural product, it makes a severe problem for the environment. It is an unknown substance for the nature and therefore there isn’t a natural decomposing. The nature is simply not capable of getting rid of the substance and thereby the amount of plastic will grow if the problem continues.
If people don’t recycle, a huge consequence can be seen in the oceans. Massive wastes of plastic end up in the sea, and here winds, tides and currents move it around into what oceanographers call gyres. These gyres comprise 40 % of the plant’s ocean surface – 25 % of the entire earth.
Some birds especially seabirds get entangled in the garbage patch. Animals who live in the ocean can’t see the difference between food and garbage and they eat it. The plastic will make them feel full when they are not and they starve to death. It also affects humans because smaller fish will eat micro plastic and the tuna will eat the smaller fishes and we will eat the tuna.
Another problem that occurs with the plastic waste that doesn’t end up in a recycling station but on the kerb side or other places around in the cities or nature is the toxics that ends up in our groundwater. All the toxic substances from the plastic will get carried away with rainwater, and led into our groundwater. Here it can spoil the ecosystem and harm the animal life.
When you are recycling your plastic, the plastic gets squeezed and pressed together. Then it gets cut into small pieces, washed and melted and then you can use the material to reproduce new products.
It is decided that in EU in 2020 all the Member States have to recycle 50% of glass, paper, plastic and metal from the ordinary housekeeping. It will be an important positive development for the environment and if all countries would do the same, we would move in the right direction and recreate the situation we live in and made ourselves.
Interview with former Danish delegate and member of this year’s Young Guide Team: Nadia Agermose Hinrichsen
Nadia (pictured below) is 15 years old and is a part of the young guide team for this year’s conference. It is her second conference and she is really looking forward to joining the CEI family once again. First of all we would like to hear how Nadia even heard about CEI: “I heard about CEI during a local event for a lot of schools in Aalborg, including my school. The event was focusing on international collaborations and different international organisations. During the event you could go around to different booths where you could hear about different organisations and environmental initiatives. The so-called Environment Ambassador’s (Aalborg Youth School’s spare time class that focuses on environmental activities) also had a booth and it sounded pretty exciting. I therefore decided to write myself on the list so I could be contacted, since I really wanted to hear more about it.”
Nadia is really looking forward to this year’s conference and we asked her what she is most excited about: “I am really looking forward to meet a lot of new people and learn about their cultures and what they have done to create a sustainable future. I am also looking forward to show everyone our lovely country and city. Another thing that I am excited about is all the exciting projects the participants have made this year, and to see if some of the projects can be adapted to our society.”
This year we had the opportunity to choose how we would like to participate in the conference and we asked Nadia why she chose to be a Young Guide: “I chose to be a young guide because I love language and I am looking forward to get challenged on my English and perhaps be better at communicating in general. Apart from that I want to challenge myself and get better at meeting and talking with new people. I also want to help creating a really cool program so everyone has an amazing experience and never will forget this conference.”
There is a lot of work to be done before the conference and we asked Nadia what she believes she can contribute with as a young guide: “I can contribute with a good spirit, engagement and a helping hand when it is needed. I will also try to make sure that everyone have a good time and are feeling welcome and well received.”
Living on light by Diana Fayed
With the growing need for fuel for everyday things like transportation or heat, the need for new energy sources has increased as well.
Scientists from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark have managed to discover an energy source they call “reverse photosynthesis”. While normal photosynthesis makes plant grow and develop, this process breaks down the plant. By having fungus and bacteria break down old plants as a result of harvesting sun energy from the plants sun catchers in the form of chlorophyll, there is released enough energy in this progress to activate enzymes of micro organisms that begins to break down the cell wall of the plants, which then leaves access to the energy in the plant.
This new discovery could be a part of solving the issue facing greenhouse gasses and the dependency of fossil fuel; simply by mixing fungus enzymes, a natural light source, plant material such as grass and dry wood, and a test tube containing a green formula of chlorophyll found in plants.
Once the energy source gone through the last stage in the process and all the necessary procedures to make sure it is safe, it could essentially reduce our need for fossil fuels. Furthermore the bioethanol extracted in this process could help raise the requirements of how much bioethanol there should be mixed in European petrol. In the United States of America petrol is being mixed with 10 % of bioethanol, while they plan to increase it to 15 % in the near future. By mixing bioethanol in petrol the octane number rises which increases the combustion and decreases the use of fossil fuels.
Interview with former Danish delegate and member of this year’s Young Guide Team: Anne Juel Larsen
We have interviewed Anne Juel Larsen (pictured below). She attended last year’s conference in Portugal and is joining the conference this year as a Young Guide. Firstly we have asked her how she learned about CEI:“I first heard about CEI and the conferences from Sophie, our teacher. She was in charge of a group that focused on cultural event planning. I joined the group and Sophie has been in charge of many of my subsequent activities among Aalborg Youth School since then.”
Anne couldn’t be more excited for this year’s conference and we have asked her what she is looking forward to the most: “To host the conference of course! I’m looking forward to show Denmark as a country and Aalborg as the great and green city it is. I think the activities of the conference are going to be exciting and hopefully fun as well. I am also looking forward to showing of our skills at the Cultural evening! There isn’t anything I’m not excited about, really.”
Instead of doing the usual project presentations Anne chose to become a Young Guide at this years conference. We have asked her why she made that choice: “First of all, I adore Aalborg as a city. It is my hometown and I am always willing to show everyone else what a great place this city is. Second of all I truly want to spend as much time with all the participants as possible and the best way of doing that is to be a part of the activities!”
As a Young Guide Anne has a lot of responsibilities at the conference and we have asked her how she thinks she can contribute the most: “I think I can contribute with a lot of humor and smiling. Since Aalborg is my hometown I definitely feel that I can contribute with educational knowledge about Aalborg. I am so excited about hosting the conference and put a lot of effort in it to make it unforgettable for all the other delegates.
Interview with President of CEI: Birgitta Nordén By Diana Fayed
Birgitta Nordén joined CEI in 1994 when she attended her first conference in Aberdeen, Scotland. We asked Ms. Nordén about her first encounter with CEI: “Together with a friend and colleague Ingrid Adolfsson, I was invited by a very action-oriented teacher colleague, namely Ruth Irvine from Northern Ireland. She had been visiting Lund with her students earlier, because my high school students by that time had exchanged lots of information with them through videoconferences and developed various environmental projects. Among other things, these projects were about how to increase biodiversity on the school ground and how to avoid air pollution and diminish the negative consequences of the climate change.”
Ms. Nordén continues: “The reason why I joined was that I met so many inspiring teachers and engaged students from all around the world. Also the board members of the CEI were very welcoming and presented a very strong concept that I wanted to be a part of. This was something I wanted disseminate and offer young people and colleagues – not only in Sweden, but worldwide – to join.” Following her first encounter with CEI in 1994, Birgitta Nordén has continued her involvement in the organization. In 2000 she and the Swedish branch of CEI hosted The Global Environmental Youth Convention in cooperation with the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University. She recall this as an fantastic experience: “It will always remind me of what can be accomplished if you build a strong team with supportive partners and committed teachers and students.”
Ms. Nordén has been an active member of CEI for 22 years and is currently President of the organization, we have asked what have made her continue her involvement in CEI: “The meetings and the exchange through the years with all energetic and positive people connected to the Caretakers of the Environment International. The great network of the CEI is as an extended family, which is so encouraging when you have to deal with the urgent and hard tasks concerning environmental and sustainability issues.” As a part of the CEI family we have asked her why this “family” is important and she answered: “Towards sustainability there are lots of challenges. Gathering on the CEI conferences, as in Aalborg 2016, shows how important it is for teachers and students to work together on environmental and sustainability challenges. Also, to take responsibility for whole processes designing activities for awareness raising and learning towards sustainable development. By arranging meetings with different actors in society holding various experiences and competence, a rewarding outcome of knowledge formation, new ideas and solutions could be reached.”
Lastly, we have asked Ms. Nordén if she as President of CEI has any words of encouragement for current and future Caretakers: “Young people as you are important, your voices must be heard as you present your visions and when you discuss and share your arguments. Young people are to be recognized and listened to as you contribute to society in a respectful way. Communicating, learning and understanding collaboratively create a foundation for developing critical knowledge capabilities and competence to act democratically towards sustainability – locally and globally.”
This was Birgitta Nordéns story and experience with CEI. We would like to thank her for her time and her inspiring commitment to CEI.
The 2 degrees milestone By Emma Laursen
The discussion about whether climate change is real or not is surpassed – climate change is very real. Instead scientists and policymakers are discussing how much temperature rise we can tolerate.
Leaders of the world met back in December at United Nations Climate Change Conference 2015 to discussed how high a temperature rise we can tolerate. One of the outcomes of the conference was the participants’ agreeing that 2 degrees will change the world (Scheller, 2015). Therefore, the 195 participating countries agreed to the Paris Agreement, and thereby committing to reducing their emission as at method to reducing greenhouse gas and thereby doing their best to keep global warming at a minimum or “well below 2 degrees C” (Paris Agreement).
Just three months after the Paris Agreement the average temperatures across the Northern Hemisphere briefly crossed 2 degrees Celsius above normal (Cronin, 2016).
Rising temperatures will affect and eventually destroy plant and animal habitats. It will result in more people being exposed to flooding and drought – leading to climate refugees.
A average rise at 2 degrees Celsius would for example result in the world’s coral reefs to perish and the sea level rise more than two feet (Palmer, 2016).
At the 3 of March 2016 we reached that milestone, briefly – only three months after a majority of the world’s countries signed an agreement that the climate change should not exceed the 2 degrees milestone.
It seems to us that the climate change is in overdrive and it is time for all of us to act – as it has been for a long time.
Interview with former student: Asbjørn Heby By Katrine Rose Jensen
Asbjørn Heby is 26 years old and is currently studying a Master of Science in Politics and Administration at Aalborg University.
This interview with Asbjørn will be the first of many with former students of the CEI conferences. Asbjørn attended his first conference in Oregon, USA in 2005 (pictured below at a cultural presentation in 2005, dressed up as the Princess from one of H. C Andersen’s Fairytales) – so he celebrated his 10 years anniversary with CEI last summer.
We have asked Asbjørn how he got involved with CEI: “I first became a part of CEI, back in spring 2005. It was during a normal school class when Elisabeth Brun visited my class because she wanted to find new recruits for their team attending the CEI conference. I thought it sounded too good to be true, a trip to USA. The destination itself was the main goal at first, before I learned more about what CEI represents then it became much more than a journey to an interesting place.”
After his first conference Asbjørn continued his involvement with CEI. He attended Poland (2006), Hong Kong (2007), Denmark as a Young Guide (2008) and finally Scotland (2009). We have asked Asbjørn about some of his favourite experiences with CEI: “I’ve been lucky to attend the CEI conferences a few times. All the times have been amazing in each way. The best part is to see the people who also have been able to attend before – to meet old friends and family. There are so many moments from all of my times with CEI. Being a part of hosting the conference in Denmark in 2008 has to be one of the proudest. It’s hard to single out specific moments, which I am really happy about without the context. From experiencing 4.th of July in USA to walking the streets of Hong Kong, they are all filled with extremely happy and joyful moments. However, what makes me truly happy when I look back, is that through CEI I found the best friend anyone could ever imagine, a friendship I know that will last till the day I die and beyond.“
Asbjørn was a student at the CEI conferences for four years. We asked him how his involvement with CEI has affected his current life: “It has affected me in more ways than I can possible comprehend! First, it has contributed to how I am as a person. Being open, respectful and friendly towards strangers, from different cultures and backgrounds. Moreover, I have acquired skills, such as being able to speak in front of large crowds, without being nervous, which is very helpful in a world, where exams are important. More than this, I have also learned how to be and act better towards the environment, by doing the simple things. Turning off the lights when I leave the room, no standby lights on computer, Playstation etc. Sorting the trash, reuse bottles, plastic bags and so on.”
As earlier mentioned Asbjørn is currently studying Politics and Administration and we asked him if his involvement with CEI has influenced his educational choices: “Perhaps, perhaps not. It’s not clear to me, if CEI has affected me into choosing Politics and Administration. But being a part of CEI has surely helped me in my studies – and probably guided me in a certain direction.”
This was Asbjørn’s experience with CEI. We would to thank him for taking time to telling his story.
Interview with Young Guide: Julie Valentin Tolbod By Frederikke Ulnits
Julie Valentin Tolbod is another member of this year’s Young Guides Team. It is her first conference and she is very excited about being a part of such an amazing community. Julie is 17 years old and has formerly been involved in environmental activities. She has among other things written a project about global warming which she thought was very instructive and interesting. The first question we have asked her is where she heard about CEI and the conference: “My discovery of CEI happened through Sophie Mortensen. I was a part of a group called ‘The Youth Council’, which is a group of voluntary youngsters who discuss and arrange social activities for other young people in Aalborg Municipality. It was here I got to know Sophie. Then one day she contacted me and asked if I was interested in this conference. It sounded amazing and I was definitely ready to join the conference this year!”
Since it is Julie’s first conference we thought it would be interesting to hear what she expects from a CEI conference: “I am excited to learn from other people – and I am curious to see the different approaches to the conference theme. I wonder if people take theoretical approaches or if they will actually be able to combine it with a more practical approach” she continues: “Then of course I look forward to meet different cultures through different activities, to get more knowledge about the environment and to be challenged communicatively – as I expect to be as a Young Guide”.
One of the great parts of CEI is that we are so many people with different backgrounds: age, culture, education, religion – who all unite for the greater good. This means that we always have space for new members, we asked Julie what she believe she will contribute with to this year’s conference as a new member of the CEI family, she said: “I have been a school council-chairperson for 3 years and then there was the Youth Council. Both things have made me used to speak with new people and in front of big audiences. I will bring my good mood too and contribute with great sense of organizing, which I think is important as a Young Guide to help make things go as smooth as possible”.
Potatoes: Our new protein? By Diana Fayed
New research is going to make it possible to replace proteins gained from animals i.e. from eggs or milk, with protein extracted from potatoes.
As the world’s population continues to grow, it becomes more and more difficult to provide a sustainable protein source, which is why researchers have tried to find new sources. Some have turned toward insects as a novel source of protein, seeing as they pollute less than the traditional protein sources; beef and pork. The positive effects of insects as a protein source have been reported since the early 1970’s, and yet the western world has not shifted from traditional meat to insects or other alternative protein sources.
But now Danish researchers from the University of Aarhus and University of Copenhagen have taken it upon themselves to find a new source of protein; potato protein.
In Denmark there is every year being produced a large amount of potato starch, which leads to 10.000 tons of waste product that is not being consumed by humans but instead by farm animals. By extracting the residue of toxic chemicals and unwanted enzyme activities naturally found in the waste product of the potatoes, it will be possible to create a sustainable source of protein, which could help solve the issue of the lack of protein which we are currently facing worldwide.
Not only could this be beneficial for the Danish agriculture, but it is a more sustainable and environmental friendly way of using the waste product of potato starch. The research will be conducted by the University of Aarhus and the University of Copenhagen.
Interview with Elisabeth Jørgensen Brun By Emma Laursen
Elisabeth Jørgensen Brun is the Head of Sections in Aalborg Youth School – the institution that is hosting this year’s CEI conference. Mrs. Brun attended her first conference back in 2000 and she has been involved with CEI ever since. She is currently a board member as Incoming Conference Chair. She also hosted the 2008 conference in Denmark, so this will be her second time hosting. We have asked Elisabeth about her first encounter with CEI: “My first experience with CEI was in 2000 at the conference in Lund, Sweden. By coincidence I became aware of the organisation and decided to attend the conference. It seemed foolish not to, since this was a unique chance to be part of something different, which would allow the students and teachers to be part of something bigger than themselves. The students and myself returned 13th of March – Aalborg, Denmark from Lund with great new experiences and a worldwide network – we were so excited and eager to continue our commitment with CEI, which we did. Aalborg Youth School has been participating ever since – except for the conference in Kenya, which we could not attend, unfortunately.”
Being a part of CEI for this long, brings along a lot of good memories, so we have asked Mrs. Brun if there is any specific moments with CEI, that she looks back on with pride, she said: “I only have very good memories from my involvement with CEI. Each conference has been unique in it’s own way – and every time I have travelled back home to Denmark filled with new perspectives on the environmental issues we are facing – and life in general. Meeting and understanding people from different countries and cultures, is one of the greatest things about the CEI conferences. Especially in the era of globalization, I believe that this experience will be highly valuable for both students and teachers. I specifically remember the conference in South Africa, where I ended up in a Township with my students; this really put our lives back home in Denmark into perspective. Also, in Scotland in 2013 I remember my young students in the kitchen with a Supreme Court representative from Pakistan – all doing the dishes together. I think this is very unique for CEI, the boundaries between age, rank, countries, culture, religion are broken down for the greater good.“
Elisabeth has chosen, like so many others in CEI, to commit to the organisation. This means attendance on the conferences and all the work that follows, we have asked Elisabeth what motivate her, to spend time and energy on CEI: “The environmental and climatic issues have only increased and become more intrusive, hence my involvement in CEI has only gotten more important. Also, in regards to the educational aspect of participating in the CEI conferences – I truly believe that this is a once in a life time experience for my students, both in regards to the general academic aspect, but also in regards to the development of identity and tolerance towards others – this is what motivates me in my work for CEI”
We are all very excited about CEI 16’, so we asked Elisabeth if she had any words of encouragement for the participants of this year’s conference: “You can all look forward to an amazing week in the company of other committed youngsters and their educators. You can look forward to interesting workshops and fieldtrips, which among other things will introduce you to Europe’s happiest city (the City of Aalborg) – where sustainability is in focus. We are looking forward to seeing you in Aalborg, and I wish you good luck with your projects.”
We want to thank Mrs. Brun for her time and we wish her the best with 13th of March – Aalborg, Denmark the preparations for conference.
Interview with Young Guide Jonas Lykholt Andreasen By Katrine Rose Jensen
In the last issue of Every Second Sunday news we introduced our first member, Diana Fayed, of this year’s Young Guides Team – a group of youngsters who will be helping out as guides during the conference.
This week we have interviewed another Young Guide – Jonas Lykholt Andreasen. Jonas is 17 years old and this year’s conference will be his third. He previously attended the conferences in Taiwan (2014) and Portugal (2015).
First, we have asked him why he made the choice to be one of the Young Guides on this year’s conference: ”I chose to become a Young Guide because I’ve watched by from the sideline of other conferences how others have been so busy and involved in the more practical parts of hosting a conference – and this year is my chance to try something different and be an active part of getting as good a conference as possible. Especially the Alumni Team has been very open and has created an amazing spirit to the conferences I have attended. I hope to pass the good spirit on to the participants of CEI 16’. So when everybody is returning home, they are tired but thrilled that they have been part of something this amazing”. On his other conferences Jonas has been participating as a regular student, so being a Young Guide will be a whole new experience. We have asked him how he feels he can contribute to this year’s conference as a Young Guide: ”One of my strongest side is that I’m not shy in any ways. Which is a big advantage, because as a Young Guide you are going to talk a lot in front of many people – we will for example be guides on the field trips and around the City of Aalborg. I’m very easy to talk to and I want to make all the participants feel that they always can come to me if there is anything they want to ask or are curious about” he adds: ”I think the challenge of being a Young Guide will fit me very well, even though I am young and this is only my third conference, I think I am old enough to take responsibility”.
Since this year’s conference is taking place in Denmark we have also asked Jonas how he feels about this: ”I am super stoked that it is in Denmark this year – and even in my city. It gives a completely other perspective on the conference for me, I am a bit more anxious because this is my city and my country and I just hope everyone will have a good time. It’s special for me this year, 13th of March – Aalborg, Denmark because I am not joining as a regular participant, but being part of the more practical team. It is going to be SUCH a blast – Just praying that we will have the weather with us, and not a usual rainy Danish summer”.
Why should our cows eat Oregano? By Frederikke Ulnits
One of the subthemes of the 30th CEI conference is nature and conservation. In Denmark researchers have tried to find a way to make milk cows more environmentally friendly for many years – with no result. But now they have discovered a method to reduce the methane emission.
The greenhouse gas methane (CH4) is the second most prevalent greenhouse gas just after carbon dioxide (CO2). In 2006 a report from FAO concluded that the meat industry produces 18% more greenhouse gasses than the transport sector. In Denmark cows are responsible for 40% of those greenhouse gasses. Actually a typical milk cow produces up 500 litres of methane gas every single day.
The 1st January 2015 a new project was initiated by Aarhus University in Denmark. The goal is to reduce 25% of the methane emission caused by milk cows in Denmark. The general goal in EU is to reduce the methane emission with 24% in 2030 in proportion to 2005 in Denmark. Four years of laboratory experiments has now shown that Danish ecological oregano is able to reduce the methane emission. The new project will test if oregano in cow fodder can reduce the methane emission too.
The project is divided into three working faces. The first face’s purpose is intensive experiments in environmental chambers. Among other things it means that they are going to research the digestibility of individually nutrients and to measure the amount of gas production from the milk cows.
The second fase will focus on researching the fatty acid composition and the taste of the milk from cows eating oregano as a part of their daily fodder.
In the third fase the focus is on growing oregano and practical tests. The oregano will be sowed at fields with as high dry matter percentage as possible. They will do comparative tests, where they will feed a group of cows with fodder rations containing oregano and another group with fodder without oregano. It is then possible to measure the amount of methane to see if the project is working as well in practice as it were in the laboratory. The project is expected to end on the 31st of December 2018. Instead of putting oregano on top of our pizzas, maybe we should start feeding it to our cows instead – and work towards a more sustainable agriculture.
Message from the CEI2016 administrative team :
We would like to remind everyone that the registration is closing on the 1st of April 2016 – so please remember to register in time. Secondly, we would like to remind those who need an official invitation letter to contact us on email@example.com Thirdly, we would like to remind participants to e -mail their flight information, so we will be able to arrange the Airport and Train Station Shuttle. Lastly, we want to recommend you to visit our Instagram account “CEI2016” and our Snapchat account “CEI2016” where you can follow our Young Guides and Young Reporters in their preparation for the conference. We are looking so much forward to welcome you in Aalborg in June.
As part of the 30th Caretakers of the Environment Conference, which is taking place in Aalborg, Denmark from the 26th of June to the 2nd of July, we (The Young Reporters) will be posting our so called “Every Second Sunday News” every second Sunday, hence the name. Since it is the 30th conference, and thereby an anniversary for CEI, we have chosen to focus our newspaper on former and current CEI members – their stories and perspective on CEI. Each issue of the newspaper will contain at least one story from former or current Caretakers. Furthermore, we will include at least one inspirational article, which will be related to the conference theme and sub themes. Lastly, we will include at least one introduction of our Young Guides Team, which will be helping on the conference.
Interview with Vice President Fátima Matos Almeida by Diana Fayed
Fátima Matos Almeida joined CEI at the 2nd CEI Conference ever hosted – It took place in Spain in 1988, and Ms. Almeida has been an active member of CEI ever since. Currently, she is the Vice President of the CEI Board (a member of the Board since 1992) and she hosted the 29th CEI Conference in Oeiras, Portugal last year. We have asked Ms. Almeida about her first experience with CEI and why she has chosen to continue her commitment to CEI: “It was a life experience to see teachers and students from all over the world so actively involved and concerned about the environment. From that moment I wanted to join and take part in the lifelong project as our commitment to a better world should be” she continues “I am part of that group of people whom you may call utopic, by believing that each and everyone can make a difference, even though with insignificant actions in our daily life, within our family and friends, in our jobs and communities. This is my drive to continue. The sense of belonging to a community of people who care and feel the same inspires me to continue and to spread the word.”
After 28 years of commitment to CEI and a record holder of most attended conferences, we have also asked Ms. Almeida if there is anything in particular she looks back at with pride, she said: “Though formally CEI is structured with a board and other members that run the foundation, it is actually a very horizontal organization where there is always the possibility of adding a new member and people may be invited to join in the decision making. This feature invites people from different countries and diverse settings to approach the board and to make a proposal to run the next CEI conference. Even in years of more difficulty, CEI conferences have taken place. Year after year delegations of students and teachers have participated and some of them coming back to this “family” gathering with more knowledge and greater enthusiasm. As a member of the board since 1992, this is what makes me particularly happy and proud.“
Ms. Almeida hosted the 29th CEI conference, as previous mentioned, and we asked her if she had any words of encouragement to the current host Elisabeth Jørgensen Brun, Ms. Almeida said: “You may not expect the task to be easy, but you may expect the reward to be worthwhile – you will provide young people with the unique chance to meet, share and build lasting relationships and a better understanding of the world and the challenges that are expecting them in the future; teachers will be inspired to create networks and continue their hard work of educating for a better and just world which is only possible with our joint effort and commitment. Bem-haja! (God bless you)”.
This was CEI from Ms. Almeida’s perspective. We want to thank her for her time and her inspiring history as a Caretaker. Next issue will feature an interview with current host, Elisabeth Jørgensen Brun from Aalborg Youth School.
Interview with Diana Fayed by Emma Laursen
The 30th CEI conference is hosted by Aalborg Youth School, which is an institution that offers both in and out of school curriculum courses. In relation to hosting the conference a new course has been created at the Youth School, the so-called “Young Guides Team”. The Young Guides Team will be guides and social facilitators during the 30th CEI conference. We have interviewed one of the youngsters, whom have already joined the spare time course and will be attending the conference as a Young Guide – Diana Fayed.
We have asked Ms. Fayed why she joined the team: “This conference will be my fourth and this time around I really wanted to help during the conference in a more practical manor since it is taking place in my home town – while still being able to capture the different activities on camera as I tried to do in Portugal too. So I thought it would be the best opportunity to attend the conference with a camera in hand”. Furthermore we asked her what she expect to be contributing with to this year’s conference and what she is looking forward too in relation to, she replied: “Hopefully I will be able to help spread a good mood and to introduce the delegates to Aalborg and what it offers. Furthermore I will be walking around capturing every moment on camera. Also, I hope to encourage new CEI members to continue their commitment to CEI” she continued “I am especially looking forward to getting up early morning on the 26th of June and standing in the Airport and welcoming new and old friends from all over the world”. Next issue will feature an interview with Jonas Lykholt Andreasen, who will also be a Young Guide at CEI 2016.
Smart Cities and the future by Katrine Jensen
The theme of the 30th CEI conference in Aalborg is “Sustainable Societies” and one of the sub themes is “Smart Cities” – we have researched this sub theme. Smart cities are a worldwide market estimated to be at approximately 1.3 trillion a year and growing annually with 17%. This is because the digitalization of the cities makes them easier for the citizens to live in, and a good place to develop innovative and sustainable solutions. That makes the smart cities a very good investment that can boost a country’s sustainability as well as improve the urban areas, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. But what is the definition of a Smart City? A Smart City can be defined as following: “A city equipped with basic infrastructure to give a decent quality of life, a clean and sustainable environment through application of some smart solutions.” (Times of India, 2015 – What is a “smart city” and how will it work).
In our country, Denmark, the government is very interested in investing in Smart Cities. Many municipalities have worked with Smart City projects and some have been successful: “For example, in the Capital Region of Denmark, employment in companies that operate in the smart cities market has risen by 60 % between 2003 and 2013, an increase which amounts to 19,500 jobs” (Andersen, 2016 – Unlocking the potential of Danish Smart City solutions).
However some municipalities have had some difficulties in carrying them through, perhaps due to lack of experience and capability. They do not know which smart city solutions to execute. Many businesses also have problems with accessing the needed digital skills. But if we can solve these problems Denmark and other countries around the world, has an opportunity to develop a lot of new Smart Cities – and more sustainable urban areas.
We think it would be very interesting to work with and develop the Smart City solutions – Smart Cities are spreading around the world, which should make it accessible for CEI delegates to examine the subject and hopefully develop new ideas to future Smart Cities.
Message from the CEI 2016 administrative team:
We are happy to see so many registrants already – currently we have 76 registrants. We want to remind all of you that we have posted a Project Guideline to our web site (www.cei2016.dk ), which should work as a frame for the CEI16 projects. We have also uploaded a Parent’s Consent Form, which should be filled out and signed by the participant’s parents or caretakers – it should eventually be e -mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please follow the important notices on the web site. We are working hard on the preparations for the conference and we are looking forward to seeing you in Aalborg in June. See you in Aalborg!