Topic : Environment & Sustainability
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Patricia Bustamante's environmental education program for rural Brazil brings the elderly and children together to catalogue plants, rediscover their traditional uses and create community-based nurseries and seed banks.
Ronaldo Lima de Oliveira is working both to prevent the destruction of the rain forest and to guarantee the survival of forest communities by creating a model for sustainable agro-economical activities in Brazil's recently-created "extractive reserves." The strategies that he is developing will allow people living in the reserves to meet their food needs and to produce a surplus to be sold in the market, thus enabling them to buy other goods necessary for their family's survi
Working in Nazaré Paulista, a relatively impoverished conservation area that borders on the Atlantic Forest and is a major source of water for the city of São Paulo, Suzana Padua has developed a new model for community engagement in environmental protection.
Wigold Schäffer is developing, demonstrating and testing a new model for the operation of small farms that reconciles the preservation of secondary forests and attendant biodiversity with farmers' desires for higher incomes and improved quality of life.
Terri Valle de Aquino grew up in Acre, the very poor and thinly populated state on the southwestern edge of Brazil's Amazon basin. He returned to work with the indigenous peoples there and is now setting out to help them and their traditional enemies, the rubber tappers, learn to collaborate and work together economically and politically. This collaboration is as important to the rainforest as it is to both peoples.
Rubens is building powerful networks and coalitions of civil society organizations addressing major issues of environmental protection and sustainable development in Brazil. His work is helping those organizations gain greater voice in national and international deliberations and enabling them to play more productive roles in translating international environmental accords and environment-friendly national policies into effective action at the regional and local levels.
Wilson Passeto is empowering ordinary citizens to take steps to combat urban water scarcity, by providing them with a series of incentives and technical innovations to reduce their water consumption. He offers training and support to a growing cohort of “water agents,” who then help to change the habits and behavior of their friends and colleagues, fostering a major culture shift across Brazil.
Silvia is working to balance social development and community-building with environmental conservation, focusing on sustainability over the long term. Working from this vision, she is the first Brazilian to address biological imbalances caused by foreign plant species. Unlike the United States and Australia, which carefully control nonnative vegetation, Brazil has neither public policies nor legal limitations on the growth of species that degrade the quality of soil and crops.
Tourism is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it brings people and business to economically starved regions, creating jobs and wealth. On the other, much of that wealth is concentrated in the hands of business owners and comes at the expense of severe environmental and cultural degradation.
Merlong is helping small farmers in the state of Piaui overcome historically defeatist attitudes to become more productive. Through CERMO, a non-profit educational and consulting organization he co-founded, he hopes to help the region's small farmers become more productive and combine to achieve greater market power.