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June 22, 2011

Ecology – it’s our role to take care of it

‘Ecology is not a problem of one backyard, one county, one city, but it concerns all of us around our country and in the world’, Anna Komorowska said on Monday, the 20th of June 2011 at the meeting of the National Ecology Council.

1690663327.jpgAnna Komorowska, who is the wife of Polish President, Bronislaw Komorowski, has become the chairwoman of the Council in February, when she received the nomination from Jerzy Buzek, the previous leader of the Council. ‘This coalition connects people who represent government, parliament, NGOs, businessmen and regular citizens and shows that such cooperation is possible, and what is more important, brings incredible results’, said the First Lady during the meeting.
The Council itself organizes the National Environment-friendly Competition, which promotes ideas bringing us closer to nature, but at the same time gives opportunity to those who are willing to share their innovative ecology friendly ideas on both technical and educational level. This year’s ceremony is to take place on the 15th of July in Warsaw.

by D. Suchacz


June 09, 2011

A recycling love story by D. Suchacz

There are many ways to promote recycling, but a love story of two milk plastic bottles is quite an innovative idea. This short film shows how they meet on a production line, fall in love while waiting to be bought on a shop shelf, spend some time in a family fridge and finally, once all the milk has been used up, one of them ends up in a clean recycling bin, while the other one in a regular dumpster. At the end of the film, the viewer is asked whether he or she wants to witness the happy ending - if the answer is yes, then recycling plastic waste is what we should promote.
Nice, light and interesting way of making difficult matters - simple and easy to follow. So, would you like to see the happy end ? Don't separate your plastic waste, select it and recycle it - then it will live forever :)

June 07, 2011

Renewable Energy Sources

One of the secondary schools in Jaworzno, in the south of Poland, launched a competition which general aim was to interest Young people in education connected with ecology an energy as such in order to search for and Invest new renewable energy sources.
The competition was prepared for secondary school students and for the university students; their task was to prepare a written thesis on one of the given subjects, but the crucial element was to include a possible idea on how to either use a renewable source of energy or even a ready plan on how to implement it into everyday use; the subjects included: waste as the source of energy, solar energy, de-carbonation, how attractive is Poland for the development of wind energy, smart grid technologies and many other. The winners are presented on the competition website: http://www.lo3.jaworzno.edu.pl/energia/index.html.

Congratulations !


Polish Presidency and the Environment

Polish Ministry of Environment invites all the NGOs to get involved into actions connected with promoting and informing about the environmental issues connected with Polish presidency in the European Community; the aim of the competition is to increase the level of knowledge about three issues:

  1. proper usage of resources

  2. preventing the climate change and adapting to it

  3. protecting the biological diversity

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Minister Środowiska zaprasza pozarządowe organizacje ekologiczne do włączenia się w działania informacyjno-promocyjne dot. zbliżającej się prezydencji i ogłasza otwarty konkurs ofert pn.

Environment Friendly

This Nationwide competition has been organized for ten years and has been under the honorary patronship of the President of Poland, Bronislaw Komorowski. The idea is to introduce environment friendly technologies not only among the teachers and students, but among the NGOs and other organizations. In order to take part, a local community or any other organization presents the changes they have introduced in order to promote environment friendly inventions and what is more important what the influence both social and economical has been. Thanks to the great interest and many entries, we are able to learn about new ways of helping to protect the environment.


Be on the green side of the nature


One of the companies producing mineral water in Poland – Zywiec Zdroj – has launched a project which aims at planting as many trees as possible. There are many celebrities, politicians and other famous people who promote the idea among the citizens of our country. So far they have been able to plant over 2 million trees in the southern part of Poland, prepare and conduct 55 local ecological projects with 3,000 inhabitants and 130 local organizations involved, prepared 23 workshops for 300 teachers all over the country.

In order to plant your tree you simple enter the website, pick the location and it’s ready!

Collecting Electro-waste


CEMEX – one of the companies in Poland, together with an ecological organization ‘Nasza Ziemia’ launched a competition among the companies producing concrete to collect the electro-waste. The result was unbelievable – almost 15 tons of electro-waste was collected. It is going to be recycled. The competition was part of an ecological educational program introduced at CEMEX to promote the issues concerning saving of the environment among the workers of the company.

‘Using less, living better – Green Week 2011’ in Warsaw

Green Week 2011.jpg

On the 11th of June 2011, in Warsaw we will be able to visit an ecology-friendly motor fair with a vehicle constructed by the students at the Technical University in Warsaw; it is an electrical car. The fair is organized to promote the ‘Using less, living better – Green Week 2011’ in Poland, according to the debate which took place in Brussels. There will also be an exhibition of jewelry and toys made from every-day things, which we often throw out.

April 12, 2011

Using Lifecycle Thinking to Protect the Climate

One of the most difficult questions we face in the modern world is how to judge the impact our lives have on the world around us. Reducing our individual consumption of energy and natural resources is one clear way to make a positive difference. However when it comes to understanding which actions will actually help achieve this, the answers are rarely simple. This is where scientific research and investigation can play a vital role in helping everyone – whether a consumer, manufacturer or politician – identify the right choices to make.

Lifecycle thinking tells us that to understand the true impact of a product on the environment, we need to consider every stage of its existence. This could typically include extraction and production of raw materials (such as crude oil or metal ores), transport to production sites, production, transport to installation, installation, use, removal, transport to waste management facility (e.g. recycling plant), and recycling.

What we have today is a mass of different measurements and methods for calculating product impacts. Most people will be familiar with the carbon footprint, which measures greenhouse gas emissions associated with particular products or activities. A number of other calculation methodologies also exist, such as the water footprint, sustainability appraisal, social footprint and cradle-to-cradle certification. However many of these methodologies are flawed, for the reason that they only measure a very small number of environmental impacts, and not always across the entire lifecycle.

Lifecycle assessments (LCAs) are more rigorous tools to assess the environmental aspects and potential impacts associated with a product, process, or service. This involves compiling an inventory of relevant energy and material inputs and environmental releases, evaluating the potential environmental impacts associated with these inputs and releases, and interpreting the results.

This final stage – interpretation of results – is crucial in identifying the most important materials and choices for climate protection. To give an example, the materials used to construct vehicles determine how heavy they are. The heavier the vehicle, the more fuel it will burn, and the more carbon dioxide it will produce. Understanding the right mix of materials to reduce vehicle weight without compromising other aspects such as safety will therefore help protect the climate. On average 15-20% of materials used in the construction of a car are plastics. However, the weight of each car is not increasing as much as if alternative materials were used in place of plastics. This saves around 5% in emissions. For aviation, 22% of the Airbus A380 is made of plastics, helping to reduce fuel consumption by 15% over its lifecycle.

Science – and in particular chemistry – also helps us understand the most beneficial ways to deal with products which have reached the end of their useful lives. Most of the plastics that are in use are thermoplastics. After they have been collected and sorted, they can be melted again and reshaped into other articles. This enables plastics to be used in a number of different formats throughout their lifecycle. One good example is the front screens of mobiles: the different colour front-plates are made from recycled polystyrene earlier used as disposable coffee cups. This is not possible with thermoset plastics, which have a molecular structure that makes the material decompose if heated to very high temperatures.

For those plastics which can’t be recycled, LCAs demonstrate that the most effective way to protect the climate is to use them as a source of energy. Plastics are in essence solid oil, so can be used as fuel in special incinerators which efficiently convert the energy released into heat and electricity.

This chat will help students to understand some of the ways in which science can help us identify the right choices to make to protect the climate.

January 08, 2008

Climate Change

As climate change is one of the major concerns of mankind these days, we should all try to think of how we can protect our planet. Therefore I would like to invite all teachers and students in Austria to work on this topic, and also to let others participate in their activities, by telling us what they do and which results they achieve.

My school is working with two partner schools in a Comenius Project. This year climate change and all environmental topics are our priorities. In Austria, we have invited Prof. Kromp-Kolb, who is an exceptional specialist in this field, to come to school and discuss climate change with the students. The Dutch and German partner schools will together go on an excursion on the Ijsselmeer to learn more about the marine environment.

As energy is our future, we should also try to learn as much as possible about alternative energies, and we should invite our students to recycle as much as possible.

I wish you all the best for your energy projects and hope, that many Austrian schools will participate and hopefully one or the other will win a prize. If you need some help or support, please send me an e-mail.

Susanne Pratscher

November 13, 2007

Make a difference and contribute to a sustainable future!

Welcome to the Energy is our Future blog! The blog is a dedicated space to sharing thoughts, ideas and activities that focus on enhancing and supporting energy education across the curriculum in schools. The Energy is our Future programme is intended to raise awareness on how energy consumption might affect climate change and how advanced materials can contribute to a sustainable future.

The blog is published only in English. Teachers are invited to:

  • tell us how they have implemented the Energy is our Future School programme into their teaching;
  • share their experiences and ideas with the programme;
  • describe how the programme has influenced their students' behaviour;

To post a new blog entry, with a new topic, a teacher should send a text with a header (in English) to Petru Dumitru at: futurenergia@eun.org

Comments to any existing blog entry can be made directly on the website. We thank you!