|Brazil – Education and social change|
|Brazil – RIO+20: mine of ideas vs final document|
(ANS – Rio de Janeiro) – At the United Nations “Rio+20” Conference the governments of nations and the international organisations made few practical decisions to safeguard creation and respect nature. It is therefore up to every “upright citizen,” to make his own small contribution to respect for the environment and to the education of the younger generations.
At “Rio+20” – given that name to recall the twenty years since the last similar gathering in 1992 – delegations from all the countries of the world tried to reach a common agreement on current issues regarding sustainability and the so-called “green economy.” Before and during the meeting there was an alternative Forum entitled “Cúpula dos povos”, open to representatives of civil society, members of NGO and young people.
Massimiliano Schilirò, a former volunteer and collaborator with two Salesian NGO – the International Volunteer Movement for Development (VIS – Italy), and Jugend Eine Welt (JEW – Austria), decided to put into practice some of the techniques and information learned thanks to “Rio+20” and “Cúpula dos povos”. In the last week of June he worked as a volunteer in a Salesian school - “Alberto Monteiro de Carvalho” in the Jacarezinho favela, one of the biggest in Rio.
To make the pupils aware and to encourage them to do something practical to protect the environment, and helped by the school authorities, he organised 17 workshops and two joint presentations which involved all the classes in the Salesian Institute. In this way about 300 boys and girls aged between 4 and 15 learned about sustainability in general and the UNO Conference in particular.
During the week the pupils put into practice what they had learned in the workshops: they separated and recycled metal, plastic, paper and organic rubbish. With the help of their parents they also collected dozens of litres of used cooking oil; and the money made from selling tin cans and the used oil was used to buy plants for the school and so make it “more green.” They also came up with many other ideas to take small but important steps to improve the state of the hygiene and the rubbish collecting in the Jacarezinho district still facing great problems.
The initiative had the merit not only of making the pupils aware and very enthusiastic but also of involving their families. Every contribution no matter how small towards protecting the environment and making the world a more just place, is very important and it opens the way to a more sustainable future from not only the ecological point of view but also economic and social.