Ricardo Bertolino

Ashoka Fellow
Capital federal, Argentina
Fellow Since 1999


This profile was prepared when Ricardo Bertolino was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1999.
The New Idea
By seizing upon the environmentally important problem of urban waste disposal, Ricardo Bertolino has launched a vibrant youth movement that effectively addresses this and other quality-of-life issues while at the same time preparing a new generation of leaders to take responsibility for their environment and their communities, and to mobilize others to do the same. The nucleus of this movement is a growing network of "Ecoclubs," participatory youth organizations whose members become the protagonists of efforts to preserve natural resources and promote sustainable development within their communities-starting from the problem of waste management. One club may organize a neighborhood clean-up and tree-planting campaign, while another club may mount an effort, using posters, flyers, and workshops, to educate families about proper composting techniques.

Unlike many other youth organizations, Ecoclubs are microcosms of democracy in action, with equal representation of boys and girls. Each local Ecoclub convenes regular meetings, elects leaders to represent it at the provincial and national Ecoclub assemblies, and collectively determines what types of environmental preservation and community-improvement activities to pursue. To carry out those activities, the Ecoclubs then engage the support of a wide range of actors, including municipal authorities, businesses, universities, schools, church groups, volunteer fire departments, and other non-governmental organizations.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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