José Francisco Bernades Milanez
Fellow Since 1993
This profile was prepared when José Francisco Bernades Milanez was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1993.
The New Idea
Unlike most of his fellow Brazilians, Francisco Milanez is convinced that environmentally destructive practices in every part of the country and every economic sector are gravely imperiling Brazil's future. He is also strongly persuaded that most attempts to enhance public awareness of that threat and to encourage environmentally protective practices are severely, if not fatally, flawed because they pay too little heed to factors that motivate the behavior of their intended audiences.In his home state of Rio Grande do Sul, Francisco is designing and implementing new environmental awareness and education initiatives that acquaint their audiences with the immediate burdens of environmentally harmful practices in which they are engaged and the benefits of alternative approaches. In one of those initiatives, which is directed to school-age children, he is integrating environmental learning into the treatment of standard school subjects (rather than introducing a separate course on ecology or environmental protection) and using "problems" and homework assignments to expose students and their families to the adverse environmental consequences of practices in which they are engaged. In another initiative, which is focused on farmers, he is demonstrating that environmentally harmful production technologies that they commonly employ are also costly in immediate farm revenue terms.Heartened by the way in which those two initiatives have been received, Francisco is developing similar programs and training materials for other target audiences.