02. FROM IGNORANCE TO KNOWLEDGE
We leave the information era and enter into the era of knowledge.
The goal here is to share experiences that help us as individuals, groups and society acquire the necessary competencies to begin working towards a green economy, renewable and clean energy sources, eradication of poverty.
Diverse visions, multidisciplinary paths and the goal of making a difference, sharing ideas to multiply actions.
Hélio Matter is the founder-director of the Akatu Institute, a non-profit organization that works to bring awareness to the population about consumption geared towards sustainability, considering using the idea of SER (social and environmental responsibility). The entity is recognized as one of the most competent in the world to work in partnership with private companies according to a report elaborated by the United Nations Global Pact.
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Akatu, the name of the Institute created in 2001 by Helio Mattar, ex-president of GE with a PhD in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University, means “good seed.” The NGO has been planting, in actions in partnership with the private sector, a new conscience about consumption and sustainability through the mobilization and education of society. According to Hélio, following the north-American consumption standard, we have come to believe that we are what we consume, that “having” makes us happy. “This brought us to an unsustainability of natural resources. At this rate, in 20 years, not even four planets will be enough,” he explains. The way out? A new consumption paradigm: consume to live. “Only in a context of the perception of abundance can the economy be subordinate to well-being.” What fruits are we going to collect?
Marina Silva, Brazilian environmentalist and politician, she was born in Acre, worked as a housecleaner and learned how to read late. She surpassed adversities and became well-voted politician which culminated in 20 million votes in the last presidential elections. She has won prizes, like the UN “2007 Champions of the Earth” prize as well as honors from WWF, the Sophie Foundation, Prince Albert II Foundation, among others.
Those who think that the big success of Marina Silva was jumping from being illiterate at 16 years old to senator, minister and Presidential candidate are wrong. The big step that this woman gave with her short legs – her grandmother told her that animals with short legs run in front – was to ask a question to a bishop one time. In response, she knew forever that her power was none and all, at the same time. And that the best way of making sustainable development work is by creating militancy. With the strength of a war, Marina launches her poetry (“Arco e Flecha”) in the direction on her target: mobilization.
Few things in this world mobilize people like a football. It was thinking about this that brought Jessica O. Mathews, with three other friends from Harvard University, to create the sOccket, a ball that generates and accumulates energy every time it is kicked. The idea was defined by leaders as “extraordinary” and won prizes around the world. But, for Jessica, innovation isn’t worth anything on its own, “if it isn’t contagious.”
The Nigeriam Jessica Mathews is a renewable source of thoughts “outside of the box.” With a group of friends at Harvard University, this social scientist looked to the most popular sport in the world, soccer, to provide an alternative source of clean energy: kinetic energy. And she discovered that sustainability can be a fun subject to work with. The rules of the game Soccket are simple: every time the ball is kicked, the energy is saved within the ball that is then an energy source for objects when they are plugged into it. It’s kind of like what happens when we connect with the ideas that Jessica took on and spread for the benefit of tons of people. Optimism straight to the blood!
The union between architecture and sustainability is almost a synonym to the name Viviane Cunha. With a Doctorate degree from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and from the University College of London, she is the director of the first company in Latin America to be licensed by the BREEAM seal to evaluate sustainable buildings and communities. The BREEAM seal is the oldest and most used sustainability seal in the world. All of her effort has resulted in being recognized as a reference in Latin America.
According to structural calculations of Viviane Cunha, that has dedicated herself for 25 years to studying the relationship between architecture and sustainability, 40% of our consumption of natural resources is due to civil construction. As is 70% of urban waste, that reaches 9 million tons/year. With this scenario and the threat of greenwashing, people currently consume more cement than food. Viviane believes that making people aware and mobilizing them to adopt alternatives is simple, with the substitution of gravel for refuse from another project or living roofs, it is a statistic solution. “In a world that is growing in population every day, this is the basis of a new reality.”