On 8-9 December 2016 YEE had the pleasure to organise, in Prague, the 5th project meeting of STEP - Societal and political engagement of young people in environmental issues. The 14 project partners gathered to discuss the project’s progress on the project’s work packages, the upcoming launch of the STEP e-participation platform and the action plan for the following months.

In the beginning of December the newly elected YEE Board and YEE Secretariat met for the second Physical Board Meeting (PBM). The meeting took place at the eco-center Toulcův Dvůr in Prague between the 3rd and 6th December. The purpose of the meeting, as many times before, was to update each other on topics related to YEE, set course for future work and strengthen the bonds between the Board and office.

It all started with an energiser, the human knot, on a fresh Saturday morning in the courtyard of Toulcův Dvůr. After untangling ourselves, we moved indoors for the official opening of the meeting. We first had a look at the meeting’s agenda and selected minute-takers and timekeepers of the meeting. We moved to the updates from the Board and office and gathering of opinions on the vision of YEE. Before going to lunch the first Board member, Treasurer, facilitated session focused on finances of YEE. The latter was followed by a discussion on the financial future and sustainability of YEE. We finished the day with a teambuilding activity - a training on communication with Carmine Rodi.

To create awareness on the role mountains play in our lives the United Nations made 11th of December the International Mountain Day.

Mountains cover almost a quarter of Earth’s surface, host more than half of all global biosphere reserves and provide 80 percent of our freshwater. They are an important source of raw materials, play a key role in providing renewable energy and are a place where tourism takes place. High peaks and steep slopes wake awe, admiration and inspiration in human minds.

Since 2012, the 5th of December is dedicated to one of the most important, yet sometimes overlooked, natural resources on Earth - soil. World Soil Day is a United Nations campaign which aims to bring soils closer to people by raising awareness on their importance.

Although most of it is covered by water, we still call our planet Earth - a word which is also a synonym for soil. This game of words merely shows how important soils are to us, even if we are not aware of it. Soils are the second largest carbon reservoir on Earth. They host a quarter of Earth's biodiversity. They reduce flood risk and help clean the water we drink. They provide the foundation for our infrastructure. Last but not least, over 95 percent of food comes from soil. Yet, we have already managed to degrade 33 percent of world soils.

Have you ever heard about Zanzibar leopard, Pyrenean Ibex, Black Rhinoceros, Javan Tiger, Baiji River Dolphin or Caribbean Monk Seal? Probably not. All these species have become extinct during past 40 years. Experts calculated that from 0.01% to 0.1% of creatures will become extinct every year. If it doesn’t sound so frightening, keep in mind that there are around 2 mln species in the world. And the speed of dying out now is 1000-10000 times higher than the natural extinction level (extinction without human or climate change influences). Previously human actions were the biggest problem for animals and plants, now the climate change impact as dangerous as hunting extermination.

According to WWF there are 19 species which are critically endangered, 28 are endangered and 20 are vulnerable. Remembrance day of lost species the initiative, driven by coalition of artists, educators, scientists and writers, is held annually on 30 November, aiming to learn and tell stories of lost species.