Carlos Alberto Ricardo

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2010
ISA - Instituto Socioambiental


This profile was prepared when Carlos Alberto Ricardo was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
The New Idea
Founder of two of Brazil’s most important social, environmental and human rights organizations, Beto has been a pioneer in advancing the links between human rights, environmental protection, and sustainable development for over 35 years. He has done this through creating innovative “socioenvironmental” solutions that have given indigenous groups the legal rights to millions of acres of land and the tools to remain on those lands in sustainable manners.

In the early 1970s Beto co-founded Brazil’s leading citizen organization (CO), the Ecumenical Center for Documentation and Information (CEDI). By 1992 he had already left an extraordinary footprint on Brazilian history, bringing indigenous rights onto the agenda as Brazil’s 1988 Constitution was being drafted and culminating in winning the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. But Beto viewed this merely as the beginning of Brazil’s transformation, and in 1994 he formed a second major CO the SocioEnvironmental Institute (ISA), whose new idea was to integrate new solutions that were both social and environmental. The groundbreaking nature of ISA’s work was symbolized by the creation and wide adoption of a new term in Portuguese—socioambiental or socioenvironmental. ISA has pioneered the concept of integrating environmental protection and sustainable development with indigenous groups. ISA’s work has achieved significant impact by influencing public policies and spearheading new laws while effectively developing 70 million hectares through three separate projects, in three different parts of Brazil. ISA has introduced integrated programs from satellite mapping and monitoring against land invasions, to sustainable income-generation, to schools and clinics designed and operated locally, to extending formal citizenship and advocating for needed national policy changes. These initiatives have become models for indigenous socioenvironmental development in Brazil and around Latin America.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

More For You