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Transition Towns brings environmental education to communities in Brazil

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Transition Towns brings environmental education to communities in Brazil

Danilo Mekari – 05/06/14

It is no news to anyone that the world we live in is experiencing a serious environmental crisis. Among some consequences of this situation are global warming, which deregulates the climatic conditions of the planet, and the scarcity of basic elements of survival – such as lack of water that reaches the water supply system of Greater São Paulo.

In the opposite direction of governments that are hitting theirs head in trying to find a formula for sustainable development and large companies adopting discourses of environmental adaptation and concern for the future of Earth, there are community initiatives that value the changes in the way humans built cities , that are now based on a highly developmental and little concerned with the balance of the environment logic.

This is the case of the Transition Towns movement (Transition Towns), whose intention is to make cities sustainable development models, making them less dependent on oil, more integrated with nature and even more resistant to external shocks, whether ecological or economic.

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Children participate in activities in Transition Brasilândia. | Credit: Reproduction

Environmental education

Created by British permculture teacher Rob Hopkins in 2005, the Transition Towns came to Brazil in 2009. Besides promoting environmental education and consumer awareness, the movement stimulates the creative solution of adversity in various local communities where it operates, as Brasilândia neighborhood the northern zone of São Paulo.

“We work with community leaders and ordinary people on issues such as water conservation and the creation of parks. We want to establish a participatory process, where one helps another within the community, “explains Monica Picavêa, enabling movement and part of the Transition Brasilândia.

According to Monica, group activities, initiated in 2010, now reach 60 000 inhabitants, or 27% of the district population. There are those who participate most actively in monthly meetings, and divide into working groups – economic solidarity, and water conservation, among others. The movement teaches simple low cost technologies such as capturing rainwater for reuse, construction of mini tanks and community gardens. “It is very interesting how people can create their own solutions,” she says.

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According to the national network articulator of the movement, Isabela de Menezes, 43 countries receive the initiative. In Brazil, approximately 23 groups lead the debate to their communities.

She cites one of the elements that most appreciates in motion: reskilling. “We rescued the wisdom that no one else teaches today, how to sew,  plant an edible garden, work with wood and even make a cake,” she says. “It is the wisdom of the elders, who lived in a world with little energy and even less technology,” says Isabela, for whom such knowledge should be included in the school curriculum.


The Transition Granja Viana, which Isabela is part, created the EcoFeira, that take place twice a month at  Teresa Maia Park in Cotia, where local organic products are sold. “Brought a resilience in the food issue,” she says. “Today, if you have no fruits and vegetables in the local market, we have a scheme to fill this gap.”

Among other activities, the group discusses the collaboration with the local director plan and created the Identity Project, which spreads signs telling the history of important and typical places of the region. “Many people change to Granja Viana and do not know anything there. That way, what kind of relationship you create with the place where you live? “Questions.

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Board Identities project, carried out in the Granja Viana. | Credit: Reproduction

Community ties

Monica and Isabela agree that one of the major gains of the movement is the strengthening of community ties. “In Brazil, we have a lot of strength in working together. The Transition Towns rescues the community action and realize a global demand, which is to lead a simpler life, spending less non-renewable energy, “assures Isabela.

For Monica, the movement goes far beyond propose solutions to the environmental crisis. “The whole issue of resilience of a community undergoes a need to do together, and decide to live together.”

Open Methodology

They also emphasize that the methodology of Transition Towns is open to anyone interested in playing it in your community. Visit the Transition Initiatives Primer to learn how.

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