Working together to protect the environment
Dear donor friends,
First of all, we hope you are doing well and taking care of yourselves?
And second, we want to send you a big vote of thanks for your support of our program. We are coming towards the end of our fourth online course for environmental leaders, and each one is proving to be more exciting than the last!
Our objective is to work with people across the country who are committed to making a difference in their communities, focusing on what we can do about the climate crisis. Educating, inspiring, encouraging and creating community to bring about sustainable change – individually, collectively and nationally. One step at a time.
This week we've been discussing ways of creating a dialogue with our neighbors and fellow citizens, and in particular how we can communicate with people whose views are radically different from our own – no easy task in a world where it seems that societies everywhere are increasingly polarized! Setting an example, listening deeply, using social media to create positive news instead of fake news, raising awareness without preaching, focusing on including people and finding points in common. Once we can communicate, then we can act.
In our discussion groups we start by collectively defining a particular issue that we feel that we can tackle, figuring out why it is important here and now, and coming together to work out what we can do about it. We examine the end result we hope to achieve and the scope of the project, we work out an approximate timeline, we consider the actors and partners we hope to attract, and, last but not least, we list the resources we are going to need in order to bring our project to life.
Our groups have been working together for several weeks, and ideas are now turning into action plans. So rather than telling you a little bit about each of our five groups, we’d like to profile just one.
This group is focusing on water management, which is an increasingly hot topic everywhere in the world, with water-rich Brazil being no exception. In fact, some parts of the country are facing a severe drought which affects not only domestic consumption but also industry, agriculture and energy, (almost all of Brazil’s electricity is generated through hydropower.)
And the water group is thinking long term. Their plan is to create a network of people who understand the issue and are prepared to take action. They´ll start by offering a series of simple, fun activities in which everyone can participate, giving short informative talks to schools, church groups, and neighborhood associations, encouraging people to work together and come up with their own solutions.
Leveraging their networks – friends and family, work colleagues, members of their church group or fellow sports fans, little by little they´ll create a community. And then they´ll approach potential partners: local business, schools, local government, emphasizing volunteering and pooling resources. The key to success, they reckon, is helping people become aware of the challenges while encouraging them to come up with their own ideas and solutions.
Makes sense, right? But it does go against the grain of the sort of hierarchical education that is still sadly so common in Brazil. Stay tuned and in our next letter we´ll let you know how the project takes shape. We can’t wait to see!
In the meantime, thank you again for your amazing support to our project. We couldn't do what we do without you!
With love and appreciation from the Iracambi Educators
PS If you want to take a peek at the recording of our last class, we're including it in the link below. Headsup- it´s in Portuguese!
Building bridges of understanding