|Rio de Janeiro EDE, Brazil: 29 July – 28 November 2010|
November 28th saw the closure of the second Rio de Janeiro EDE. Run from August 2010, the Terra UNA Association held the course in partnership with the Botanic Gardens and the National School of Tropical Botany. An awesome 62 participants from around Brazil and four foreign countries (Germany, Argentina, Portugal and Chile) attended!
Rio is the host city of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games, representing a new challenge for the city – how to overcome old social and environmental challenges in a rather short time period. For those of us interested in a transition towards a greener and more secure city, these events have in fact made our work more complex: mainstream solutions have unfortunately been insubstantial and unsustainable.
EDE RJ has therefore exercised new possibilities of bridging and engaging with the complexity of the moment, searching for new answers in an attempt to deepen the values that move and connect us all as human beings. In this sense the EDE was a contribution towards the re-design of Rio’s transition.
By being present as a community, the Terra UNA ecovillage showed that engaging with these political issues has the potential to strengthen the spiritual presence in political life, and visa-versa. A sense of belonging was created among the participants through this collaborative process.
RJ EDE again included a balance of theory, activities and internships. Classes were held in the evenings on Thursdays and Fridays and daily Saturdays and Sundays.
The class was divided into 6 groups around differing case studies for which each group will be delivering a report. The 6 case studies included:
• A cooperative (COOPERCENTRO) of recyclable material collectors operating in central Rio
• A small favella where one of the local leaders was a participant
• NGO Verdejar which since 1996 has been working to protect a small fragment of forest placed in the middle of a high conflict and crowded suburban zone.
• An in depth study of municipal school children
• A Waldorf school
• A farm involved in a reforestation project in the Mata Atlantica ecosystem, used as a reintroduction zone to captured animals confiscated by the local government.
This year we were able to offer five different internships. The goal, unlike in 2009, was to provide an immersive experience. All internships were therefore offered in rural areas on projects that would allow an experience of cohabitation:
• Terra UNA Association: www.terrauna.org.br
• Uniluz: www.nazareuniluz.org.br
• El Nagual: www.artnagual.com.br
• Intuitive Technology Bioaquitetura (TIBA): www.tibarose.com
• Vila Yamaguishi: www.yamaguishi.com.br
The internships are currently taking place and will be held until 15 January 2011. Students will again be submitting reports.
The 62 students left the course with an awareness of the magnitude of the work to be done in Rio’s rapid transition and the possibility of each one of us contributing. We at Terra UNA are looking forward to receiving the reports and hearing how these new possibilities unfold.