Towards a green and innovative economy

This month, the European Commission has launched the Europe 2020 Strategy to go out of the crisis and prepare EU economy for the next decade. The Commission's proposal on a new strategy follows a public consultation that attracted some 1 500 comments.

Europe faces major structural challenges - globalisation, climate change and an ageing population. The economic downturn has made these issues even more pressing. The Lisbon strategy addresses these challenges - aiming to stimulate growth and create more and better jobs, while making the economy greener and more innovative. Before the financial and economic crisis hit the EU, the strategy had helped create more than 18m new jobs. When the economy slumped, the EU acted to stabilise the financial system and adopted a recovery plan to boost demand and restore confidence.

The plan is delivering a major fiscal stimulus, with measures to keep people in work and public investment in infrastructure, innovation, new skills for the workforce, energy efficiency and clean technologies to meet the goals of the Lisbon strategy.

Green economy is one of the four key areas of the strategy, and it can help recovering from the economic crisis with the creation of new "greener" jobs.

If you need a break but you don't want it to be a waste of time, have a look at this video. It's funny, but also interesting. The guy in the video is not a comedian (although he may prove a witty one): his name is Dan Barber, he's an American chef and scholar. In 2009, Mr. Barber was named one of the world's most influential people in Time's annual "Time 100" list. This cooking expert has a philosophy of food of his own, about sustainable agriculture and tasty meals, which is definitely worth listening to.

In this talk, you will learn something about fish culture, its sustainability and the quality of these products. And you will not get bored, that's for sure. So, take your cup of coffee (or your dish of fish soup!), sit down, relax and enjoy the video!

Sign GM Food Petition now!

A few days ago, the European Commission approved growing genetically modified crops in the European Union for the first time in 12 years!

Consumers, public health, environmental and farmers groups have long rallied against a few international GM companies having such significant influence over European agriculture. Concerns about growing GM crops include: contamination of organic crops and the environment; their impact on climate due to the excessive need for pesticides; the destruction of biodiversity and local agriculture; and the effects of GM food on public health.

EU member states have voiced strong opposition to last week's decision to authorise BASF's potato and Monsanto's maize, including Italy and Austria, which want to ban GM cultivation, and France, which said it would ask for further scientific research.

There is still no consensus on the long-term effects of GM crops. And
it is the GM industry, pursuing profits not public well being, that is
funding the science and driving the regulatory environment. That is
why European citizens are calling for more independent research,
testing and precaution before crops are unleashed onto our land: we have to get the facts first before growing foods that could pose a threat to our health and environment.

Now, the "European Citizens' Initiative" gives 1 million EU citizens the opportunity to submit policy proposals to the European Commission and offers us a unique chance to drown out lobbyists' influence. Let's build a million voices for a ban on GM foods until the research is done; they will be delivered to Mr. Barroso, President of the European Commission.

Avaaz, a global web movement, is promoting a petition to raise 1 million voices to put a moratorium on the introduction of GM crops into Europe and set up an independent, ethical and scientific body to research and determine the strong regulation of GM crops.

Sign the petition now and then forward it widely!

International campaign for greener festivals started in 2009 in 3 "Visegrad" countries: Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary.

This year Konopa association (member organisation of YEE) together with Youth and Environment Europe, Eurosolar.cz, Sosna, Nimfea and Green Action Hungary will organise series of demonstrative events where actual ecological possibilities for cultural festivals such as biodegradable dishes, renewable energies, compostable toilets or local food will be presented.

"We will invite festival organisers and ecological companies to round table where the best concept of cooperation shall be designed with intend to decrease negative impact of cultural events on the environment," explains Michal Ruman from Konopa. Illustrative guideline will then help to share experience and facilitate conversion of cultural festivals to more sustainable ones.

The campaign for greener festivals is run under long-term campaign for sustainable life, Sunny Campaign, and is inspired by tendencies visible in United Kingdom, France or Belgium and among festival organisers themselves.

You can check ongoing events on www.sunnycampaign.net and webpages of partner organisations.

"We keen to create an international network of sustainable festivals. Our main aim is to spread the message about ecological solutions and their use to broad public and motivate people to apply those at home; to show that with a little effort we can produce less or no waste, save energy and natural resources," closes Michal Ruman.

The project is supported by International Visegrad Fund and Partnership Foundation .

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LIFE among the olives

LIFE among the olives: good practice in improving environmental performance in the olive oil sector

The EU is a global leader in olive production, accounting for almost 70% of total world output. The olive sector is particularly important in southern countries, where it represents a significant share of the agricultural economy. But the economic benefits of olive production come at a cost. Olive farming has become more intensive in recent decades and olive processing now produces significant and growing volumes of waste.

This brochure examines how the LIFE programme is helping both olive growers and olive processors to improve their environmental performance, highlighting good practices and approaches emerging from LIFE projects that could be adopted more widely within the sector.

Please note: A printed copy of this publication can be ordered free of charge from 15 February 2010 via the LIFE website.

To find out more about the LIFE programme, visit the website at: http://ec.europa.eu/life

 
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