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5. Summaries, April 16 - April 29 2012


Week 9 - 10
Each class summarizes the answers received from the   Learning Circle partners. The summaries are posted in the Wiki.




Summary env1, Chavakali High School, Kenya


First of all we are going to give the reason why we posted our question. This question was discussed by members of my group for a long time and we discovered that it was the right question to be discussed, this because the rate through which deforestation is taking place is at an alarming rate, and therefore we wanted to know now how countries are affected from this disaster. Then the second reason is that we wanted to be aware of how the communities where you belong contribute to improve the condition then lastly the priorities and activities taken in your school in improving the percentage of rainforests.


We were well informed about our theme, mainly in Kenya. Urban people In Kenya use mainly gas for cooking and also rich but those who are living in rural areas and of middle class will use wood fuel for cooking. This because the middle class people can’t get enough money to buy gas or some other cooking machine.

In Kenya deforestation is mainly brought by poverty which is a bigger problem than deforestation. Therefore if we want to solve deforestation we should start by solving poverty.


The theme did not clearly come out in the question but it was about forest cover in the world. We were informed about only few countries about how the forest cover is, like Canada. But we have learnt more than we knew in this long and interesting learning circle.


We have learnt that all the groups in this circle know the importance of youth evolvement in environmental conservation programs. We also have learnt that deforestation activities occur due to human activities. Then most countries that cutting trees do not take place, they either use alternation uses of energy or they import logs for example Canada. Also in some countries like Liberia the group their have joined online programs that enhance environmental conservation this programs include Environmental Online. The main lesson we learnt is that in order to reduce and enhance Environmental conservation is by use of alternative fuels and planting of trees where deforestation has occurred. What we expect to learn in this learning circle when very many, and almost everything we expected to learn was learn. These things include

1. How youth have helped in environmental conservation 

2. Effects of environment pollution

3. How to reduce deforestation

Countries those are highly deforested


From the responses of the students we learn that the students in the class were very willing and ready to learn they have positive response towards any question. They also did intense research in the question that you posted and were happy for it. We have also learned that for us to improve there living conditions to this generation and incoming generations the youth should be involved fully in the improving the living conditions of the earth. This is because the rate caused by deforestation is very massive and has caused global warming and green life effect. Then we discovered that the measure taken to control deforestation are good but should be improved and be spread in the whole part of the country so as to educate other citizens on the important of conserving the environment.


The environmental difference between one country and another are very many. For instance I can compare Canada and Liberia where Canada exports wood and Liberia does not. The other difference is that Liberia is involved in online programs while Canada does not. Another example is between Canada and Kenya where in Canada the government minds a lot about environment while the Kenyan governments does not take keen interest. 


This difference occurs due to different economical levels of the country you will find that countries that are fully develop would tend to concentrate to improve the environment the stay in because they have enough funds to do so, but countries with a growing economy known as third world countries will experience more effects of the pollution such as global warming even though they are the countries that contribute lowly to the effects. This is because third world countries have no enough capital to control the effects.


The consequences that the countries face are vast, first we can see that from the answer posted by group four where they showed us a photo of a forest which was a water catchments area but due to cutting down of trees the area changed to be a desert and it’s beautiful green natural look changed to be an ugly brown area with no single tree at all. Other effects are increase in decrease of agricultural produces due to change in season of rain. The countries are also affected by floods like in Kenya the Budalangi area where there are frequent floods which cause destruction of property.


We would like to thank all the groups that participated in this years Global Teenagers Project especially the environmental groups. They have done the learning circle to be more interactive and interesting, thanks for your good work.





Summary env2, The Bishop Strachan School, Canada


After looking at the various responses from the different schools, we have noticed that there are certain themes that are prevalent in the answers. The responses have focused on the political, economic and environmental effects of a level economic playing field globally. Politically and economically, if all countries had equal economic standings, then financial aid wouldn’t be relevant in the wake of a natural disaster because countries would be able to support and rebuild themselves. This would eliminate the dependence of one country on another and would reduce the notion of superiority amongst countries. Environmentally, pollution levels would increase exponentially because all countries would have resources and means to use them. This would also affect responsibility of this issue because as it stands today, there can be more blame placed on certain countries.


We noticed that many of the schools interpreted the concept of an environmental crisis very differently. A secondary question that this raised for us was whether it would be beneficial to have a common definition of what an environmental crisis is. We believe that this would help countries to work to solve environmental issues more quickly and with less conflict because there would be a consensus on the definition of an environmental issue. By having numerous discrepancies of what exactly an environmental crisis it, it is much more difficult for solutions to be found amongst the global community. 


Some of the key perspectives we walk away with around sustainability from our colleagues are:

  • Sustainability is a cause and effect. In order to live sustainably, we must reduce the effect we have on the environment – meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own.
  • A global issue on sustainability is when humans disregard their responsibility and therefore the natural repercussion will ultimately have a negative impact on human life. Living sustainably is insuring that the impact we, as humans, have on the environment is as minimal as possible.
  • In our opinion, sustainability can be summarized in one quotation, “leave the environment better than when you found it.” In order to be truly sustainable, global co-operation and participation is crucial. Sustainability is the global issue

In our work and other projects as a class we really struggled and debated back and forth around why the Montreal Protocol was so successful and other's since have not been able to find the same success.  Your insights were similar to the same we shared as a class in a formal debate.  There are five main reasons why international protocols and policies are not being maintained.  Corruption, lack of funding, lack of operational objectives, lack of public awareness and education and regulations. 



  • Corruption – dishonest or fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery.
  • In Kenya bribes are given to leaders in government in order to allow for large companies to dump their waste in water systems or control forest lands such as the Mau Forest. 


Lack of funding :

  • International policies require a lot of funds to be run but due to lack of adequate funds the people in authority find it hard to carry out this policies.
  • In Kenya there is a world water day where people check and clean their water sources but due to lack of funds very few areas participate, mostly in urban areas. 
  • The countries may recognize the importance of these protocols and policies but they do not carry out the guidelines and practices of the protocols or policies because of economic turmoil. 


Lack of clear operational objectives:

  • Many international systems lack central authority, which leaves people confused and able to manipulate the system to fit their own agenda. 
  • The poor responses from significant ministries of different countries involved in international policies causes it to fail. 


Lack of public awareness & education:

  • There are extremely low literacy rates, leaving people uneducated and unaware of global and environmental issues. 
  • Ignorance and poverty has created an open and illegal consumption of our natural resources. 
  • In Liberia over 60% of the populations are illiterate. They may not understand while sustainability is important, but over time and with enforcement of compliance to International protocol there would be a way forward.



  • Countries may not endorse the protocols and policies because they are unenforceable. These countries may not be able to meet the targets of the protocols that they signed, Canada backed out of the Kyoto Protocol in late December 2011 because they could not meet targets. Some countries were exempted from the Kyoto Protocol because they were developing nations.


There were differing opinions in the answering question 2; therefore it is up for further investigation as no solid evidence sways the answer one way or the other. One group was concerned that if we didn’t tackle all the issues at the same time, other areas would continue to worsen. While one should consider interconnectivity, it is evident that by trying to solve one issue, others will benefit from this resolution. Interconnectivity in terms that all environmental issues are joined together, like a web. An example of this is global warming and pollution, and these two issues negatively impact our environment. By improving things such as the burning of coal and the draining of ecosystems, it will begin to act as a solution for both issues. Due to this example, I wonder if we should consider focusing on one issue at a time, and this could help us move towards a sustainable future. 


Thank you so much to everyone for sharing with us your insights. 







Summary env3, Cedarbrae Collegiate Institute, Canada

Dear international friends, we enjoyed learning about the differences in our environments and what it takes to protect it. We were amazed to learn about the many different ways that people around the world take care of their environments. Here in Canada, we have different methods of preserving our natural resources. For example, we use wind turbines to convert the power of the wind into energy. Not only that but, we also harness the energy of the Niagara Falls in Ontario, and turn it into hydroelectricity. Also, using biofuels as a source of energy is becoming a growing field, and we hope to develop further success with this. An example of this would be trying to convert corn oil into fuel for automobiles. Although we do many things to preserve our natural resources, deforestation continues to be a growing problem in our society. Due to urbanization, forests are being cut down to accommodate our rapidly growing population. This has a negative impact on the many species that inhabit these forests, and reduces diversity, food sources, and medicinal plants. We Canadians are trying to overcome these environmental issues and are trying to expand on our preservation of our environment.


From our friends at the Chavakali High School in Kenya, we learned that many first nations communities use thousands of plant species. This provides them with food, medicine and living material. Aboriginals use plants for medicine to cure diseases and maintain good health; over 500 plants are used by aboriginals for medicine. Although the first nations use plants in several ways the government continues to allow the deforestation which is causing the cultural practices done by aboriginals to be distracted, some may even lose their habitat if this continues. Some agricultural policies in our home province, Ontario, are:

-        Main agricultural areas are now given priority and special protection

-        Development in any way such as urban expansion and non-farm is now forbidden

-        Agricultural uses now have to be licensed

-        No new lots are to be created for the expansion of farm houses and agricultural uses

-        Minimum distance has to be set in place for separation of livestock



Our neighbours at The Bishop Strachan School in Canada, uncovered that medicinal plants are used to treat human ailments, and are the main source of medicines. The 'First Nations' Canadians used lots of species of medicinal plants in the past, and still in the modern day. In Canada, cultivation is used to sustain our population to support environmental sustainability. This helps farmers preserve economically important wild crops, and to provide farmers with new and beneficial crops.


In Canada plants have been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. They were used primarily by First Nation Canadians to treat many of their local ailments. In today’s society medicinal herbs are an important part of the natural health product industry. One of the most important medicinal plants in Canada is the North American Ginseng, along with other plants such as, Echinacea, Ginkgo Biloba, Liquorices, and St.John’s Wort. A few ways that we can sustain our medicinal plants is by cultivating them, crop rotation, soil amendment and changing their location every few months. The soil should also always contain enough nutrients and should be fresh to maintain the medicinal plant. It is important to maintain medicinal plants carefully because the production level could decrease causing many lives to be at risk.


The rainforest is the key to survival for 70% of Liberia’s population according to the Calvary Temple A.G. school in Liberia. Trees found in the forest provide herbal medication. Certain trees such as cottonwood trees are valued in society, so they are conserved.  Farming is also practiced in Liberia and has serious impact on conservation.

            Many farmers use the traditional slash and burn method, rotational farming, and bush following. These farming methods include modification of farming land for soil fertility, cutting of trees and burning it to create farming space in the forest. Sadly these farming methods have destroyed plant and animal habitats, as well as having a large impact on carbon emissions. According to the Forestry Development Authorities conserving the national forest and animal habitats is a serious issue for the forestry management team.  


In Ghana, medicinal plants are used in human ailments.  They are mostly used by people in rural areas.  To make sure that the plants are safe to use, the plants are sent to a research centre in Mampong, a city in Ghana.  The CSRPM, a research institution, conducts research on these plant species and also has become a leading research institution for development of herbal medicine in Africa.  An example of a remedy that has been produced at CSRPM is Mist Tonica which has been used for over 30 years.  It is an effective treatment for anaemia and loss of appetite.  In Ghana, herbal medicines are made from different plant structures such as:  Stems, leaves, roots, fruits and flowers.  Several clinics and hospitals use these plant treatments to cure their patients all over the country.  They also use traditional agricultural practices to sustain the population as well as the environmental sustainability.


After reading the response from the COLEGIUL ECONOMIC BUZAU in Romania, we have learned about the significant importance of plants, not only in Romania but throughout the history of the world. We have learned that there are 800 medicinal plants that are commonly used in many different forms for the greater good of the Romanian society. They exist in teas, tinctures, essential oils and other thriving forms. The oldest form of medicine known to man is using plants to prevent and treat diseases. Additionally, in the Romanian govern strategy the setting up and the extension of the technical plants cultivation is strongly encouraged.  It is said that some plants are actually much less harmful and more effective than synthetic drugs for the sole active ingredient.  


  In early years humans used different plants for medication and to treat different diseases. Grupul Scolar Tehnic Nehoiu in Romania uncovered that the plants used for these remedies available throughout many areas of the world. Urban settlement and industry which lead to deforestation cause many of these plants to be cut down and extinct. Even though the cities are mainly using modern medication some areas of the world are still using these ancient remedies to cure diseases.


We would like to extend a huge thanks to everyone who participated in this learning circle with us. This was our first experience with learning circles and we had an amazing time partaking in this activity and learning about all of you!


Best of luck with your future endeavors, and thank you for helping us protect our world.


Cedarbrae ENV 3: Ms. Young’s Biology class 1 and 2. 








Summary env4, Cedarbrae C.I, Canada


Thank you for a great learning experience.  Our class has enjoyed learning about sustainability from everyone, especially the global perspectives of linking our countries.  It is very important to work together world wide as we all share the same Earth and so many of our activities depend and affect the world.


Our summary:

An ecological foot print is the measure of a country's dependency and demand on the Earth's natural resources analyzed alongside it's ability to
regenerate those resources. This correlates with the country's carbon dioxide emissions. Transportation, Utilities and Industrial Production are CO2 sources that, in Canada, are primarily evidenced. Reducing this ecological footprint requires us to take small footsteps such as walking, carpooling or taking

public transit. However, large scale improvements should not be ignored such as switching to a renewable source of energy. The Canadian Government has
introduced some regulations in order to reduce the economic footprint. They have also encouraged citizens to switch to renewable energy sources.

Liberia is one of the world’s poorest countries covering an area of 48,000 sq mile with a total population of 3.5 million people. According to the 2010 Global Footprint Network, Liberia’s ecological footprint is relative small estimated at 0.0 in 2005 to 1.26 hectares per person due to the low population thus the less demand of impact on the environment. Carbon dioxide is caused by the burning of fossil fuels and the making of cement. In Liberia, the government is not doing anything about the ecological footprint because the country already has fewer cars and fewer industrial companies.


Ghana uses oil as a main source of fossil fuel and has many natural resources that they need to make sure they protect.  


All countries agree that we are living beyond our means and that the resources we require are more than the Earth can provide.


An ecological footprint is an instrument in finding out how much pressure humans are putting on the environment. We are using a lot more resources than the Earth can provide for us. Many of us do not know how much of our resources we are using. Actually, many of us do not even know how many resources we have left to use.


One of best videos we have seen is the David Suzuki Test Tube Video




We encourage all groups to watch it!


Cedarbrae C.I., Toronto, Canada



Summary env5, Calvary Temple A.G, Liberia

Many thanks to all our colleague who response to our question have help shaped and modified our approach to WATSAN(Water and Sanitation) advocacy.



 We learn about the various steps and procedures about how to control water-Educating people on the importance of water .

We also learn about water conservation projects and the different sources of water pollution. We got an important point about how to protect the drainage system, being mindful of what we drop in our drainage system. The different responses reveal how government policies vary from country to country. We see a slight difference in compliance and enforcement. Some countries like ours have poor compliance when it comes to implementing government policies.

 We learn a great deal about the Canadian water act and hope to advocate for a robust clean water act and waste regulation measures in Liberia.

One point that strikes our imagination was the point of going Green. We have heard about the issues of going green, but Env 4 response created a bigger picture. Env 6 strikes a point that is common in Liberia-Defecating in water bodies. Poor standard of living has created the condition for public defecation in local streams and major bodies of water. We see the need to be more vocal on speaking against defecating in water bodies.

Interestingly, we see a comparison between existing waste and pollution in Africa countries and some contrast in other countries outside Africa. Especially, the health problems associated with water-borne diseases that our colleagues from Ghana point out. Env 7 also stress an eye opening point on the direct and in direct water contaminants sources, one from industrial source and the other from ground waters that have been contaminant with chemicals-pesticides. On the overall, we learn from our peers that future citizens must be proactive in pursuing their cost for a better future. If we do not stand up for a better and safer environment, we  are dome.







Summary env6, Morning Star School Limited, Ghana


Hi colleagues,


Here is our summary of all that we gathered from our colleague partners for the past couple of weeks:


First of all, we would like to thank everyone; especially the organizers and participants, for making the students of Morning Star School have such a wonderful and pleasant experience for being able to interact with different people from different parts of the world.


 In the course of this of this learning circle, we have learnt a great number of things. The issue of the environment, how to preserve it for us to enjoy. We realized that there is the issue of pollution which is of global nature. Most countries are grappling with it and solutions are being found to it. Some countries have good environmental plans in place and these are being adhered to whilst others have virtually nothing.


 During this few weeks of interaction with our colleagues; we have now gathered a great deal of information when it comes to environmental issues especially pollution, mining activities, dumping of industrial waste into our seas, air pollution and even noise making.

Some of the answers we got from our colleagues were really fascinating.


We have learnt that Africa has done little in terms of curbing and preserving our environment as compared to the advanced countries. Some countries have good environmental plans and policies whilst others don’t. We are therefore, calling on governments, international bodies, and non-governmental organizations to help preserve and protect our environment to enable us enjoy it.


In a nutshell, it is our prayer that the environment would made friendly for us to live happily on this planet. It is an experience that will be remembered for our lifetime, an unforgettable one.









Summary env7, COLEGIUL ECONOMIC BUZAU, Romania


Hello friends!

 We received all of your answers and we were very happy to see that all of you are aware of how our actions can affect the environmental sustainability.



Like you’ve said, it’s true that Sustainability is hard to accomplish in this moment because we’ve gone to far already with the pollution and use of resources and our planet is very unbalanced ;all this because we behave without thinking about the cause of our actions on the environment !


         It was very interesting for us to read about you’re concerns about the future generations too. Our future generations will live in a better world only if we act like we should!

     It’s true that each of us with our everyday choices and decisions -

choice of transport,choice of food and consumer habits, can affect the   environmental sustainability, but doesn’t have to be in a negative way.


We can think twice before we consume something, or be more careful on wasting water, electricity, and so on.     

     Even if we are in this situation, and the environmental sustainability represents a problem for us in this moment, it’s good to see that the majority of us are conscious about what this means for our lives. But also it’s true that being conscious doesn’t really change anything..so it’s not enough, we should do something to make a difference.!


Let's help our planet to be healthy, and have a very long “life”!







Summary env8, Petrik Lajos Vegyipari, Környezetvédelmi és Informatikai Szakközépiskola, Hungary





Summary env9, Grupul Scolar Tehnic Nehoiu, Romania 


Hello, dear friends!


     We are glad to see that we received so many answers! From your answers, we understood that you have different oppinions, which is good, because each one has it's own explanation.

     As we saw, your variants are: Recreate, Recreate, Respect, Refusing, Repair, Refill and Recreate. A few of them were not from our variants, which were Recreate, Refuse and Refill, but we are open-minded persons and we like that you found other ones.

     So, we have three groups saying that the 4th R is Recreate, because they think that this helps the environment by bringing up areas which were destroyed, areas which are including areas that have been gone through massive deforestation, polluted areas, eroded areas or distroyed areas by human and natural forces.

     We have one group that says that the 4th R is Respect, because we have to respect our environment since it is our home, one that says that we need to Refuse what makes us harm, one that we need to Repair what's broken and one that thinks that we should Refill, because of the ice age and it's consequences.

     We saw that you added a few links and videoclips and we must say that we are excited of your interest.

     We are also glad because you said that you are using or you will try to use the 4th Rs, to help the Planet. The ways to use them, as you said, are through: recycling electronics, using reusable bags, throwing garbage in special places, keeping computers and cell phones off as long as possible, taking shorter showers, using reusable bottles and so on.

     Thank you again for your answers and all the best from us! J


All the best and good luck forwards!

env9, Grupul Scolar Tehnic Nehoiu, Romania



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