A few months ago, in Rio I met Jillian Exton, the amazing co-founder of ChemFreeCom, the first global community for sharing and promoting chemical-free products and services.
Jillian is a breast cancer survivor. In her recovery she realized that so many of our modern health issues are caused or related to the chemicals in the products we consume such as our food, cosmetics or detergent, but also in the services we hire such as a gardening, hair dresser, pet care.
This observations is what led her to create Chemfreecom.com, a website that will serve as a global e-directory of chemical free products and services, as well as a worldwide community of people who want to share information about this topic.
Last week TEDGlobal happened in Rio and it was truly amazing.
When you watch the TED talks online you notice that there is a special energy about this event, that they have great speakers and a formula to make technical topics sound exciting and inspirational.
Well the TEDGlobal program lived up to these expectations, rich in emotions, wisdom and courage: from Robert Swan who talked about his exploration of the two poles and his fight to protect Antarctica through his project 2041, to Alessandra Orofino of MeuRio, who made a great case for Brazil’s new forms of political expression led by ordinary citizens, or Ethan Nadelmann saying that the war on drugs has to end, and many more (see full program here)
Being physically present at the conference however, takes you to a whole other level. You realize that this alchemy is also present off stage. During the week in a theatre created from scratch on the Copacabana beach, I realized that the people who attend TED are just as diverse and fascinating as the speakers. During coffee breaks, I found myself chatting about future of personalized healthcare with a businessman turned health expert after surviving cancer, I sat down for lunch with a young man who uses drones to make short films, and I stood in line with a woman who had created a TEDx in Siberia ! and the list could go on… My whole week was made up of such encounters.
But the real reason why this conference was particularly special to me wasn’t actually what was happening in Copacabana Continue Reading →
Iberico, a restaurant serving traditional Spanish food with a modern touch in the Jardim Botanico neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, stands out for its commitment to the 3 pillars of sustainability: economic, social and environmental.
Regarding the environment, they invested in eco-friendly technology and renewable material. They built an organic garden Continue Reading →
São Paulo is a city that has been called many things, but usually “green” or “pedestrian-friendly” isn’t one of them.
However, a project lead by Suzi Bolognese, a Brazilian-born Italian designer (Sb Design Studio) has been transforming parking spots of São Paulo into « parklets », which are mini-parks for pedestrians. The parklet concept and experience started in San Francisco in 2010, with the goal to make cities more human-centered, green and pleasant. It was a big success and was replicated in other cities of the US, Mexico and now Brazil.
Parklets typically take up the area of a few parking spaces and feature grass, benches, table, trees and spaces for bikes. They are leisure space for the city’s inhabitants. A pilot project had been introduced in the Brazilian business center during Environment week in 2013 and has proven so popular that the city intends to integrate more in the city landscape.
Could this be the beginning of a new effort to turn São Paulo into a less car-dominated capital?
Half way into the 2014 World Cup, one looks at Brazil and thinks what a missed opportunity for sustainability this mega-event turned out to be.
Despite the commitments of FIFA and the local government to making the 2014 World Cup one of the “greenest” ever, it has underperformed on the three aspects of sustainability :
Yes, features such as solar panels, waste reduction and energy efficiency measures have been implemented in the new stadiums and in the refurbishment of the epic Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro. However, stadiums have been built in cities which will only host a handful of matches during the World Cup Continue Reading →
A while back, when I wrote a post about the recylcing effort of Instituto Coca-Cola in Brazil, I had mentioned the difficult reality of “catadores” (wastepickers) in this country. A few weeks ago,a great sustainability website site called Reset wrote a series of interesting stories about sustainability in Brazil, one of which presenting how BVRio is supporting the catadores and working on creating a Credit Market for waste. I have decided to re-post this story here. Feel free to check their website to read the other ones.
REVERSE LOGISTICS- A HOPE FOR WASTEPICKERS
With the expected influx of 600,000 foreign and 3.1 million Brazilian soccer fans in the coming weeks, World Cup organisers estimate that 320 tonnes of solid waste will be generated from the June 12 to July 13 FIFA World Cup. Solid-waste management is a major challenge in urban areas throughout the world. What is the role of Reverse Logistics in waste management in Brazil? Continue Reading →
For anybody who knows the business “Centro” of Rio, the RB12 project will seem truly amazing. Conceived by Triptyque, an architect office based in São Paulo and Paris, with over ten years of experience in sustainable architecture and smart building, RB12 will be located at number 12 of the famous Avenida Rio Branco, the main street of that business neighborhood.
The RB12 project, executed in partnership with Natekko a construction company also specialized in sustainable building, is revolutionary for two reasons. Continue Reading →
Esse final de semana, nos dias 9-10-11 de Maio vai acontecer um evento muito importante em todo o Brasil . Todos os voluntários e apoiadores do TETO sairão às ruas para denunciar a situação de extrema pobreza em que milhões de pessoas vivem no Brasil.
TETO é uma organização presente na América Latina e Caribe, em mais de 19 países, que busca superar a situação de pobreza em que vivem milhões de pessoas nas comunidades precárias, através da ação conjunta de seus moradores e jovens voluntários.
Uma grande amiga minha trabalha como voluntaria com eles há alguns meses e eu tenho visto o poder que TETO tem para mudar a vida das pessoas. Não só a pessoas que recebem uma casa mas também (e até mais) dos voluntários. O trabalho do TETO é muito importante, muito humano. Eu quero comunicar sobre esse evento porque eles buscam doações para projetos de melhora da vida das comunidades.
Eles também ainda precisam de voluntários aqui no Rio de Janeiro, INSCREVA SE para a COLETA!!! através do link aqui. Para saber mais sobre o evento, se pode dar uma olhada nessa vídeo ou aqui no site do TETO.
A few months back, I had attended and wrote about the OuiShare Rio Conference at Comuna in Botafogo, which was also organized by Karen and directly influenced #ColaboraRio. I found it interesting to discover various players of the shared economy in Rio. (see official summary of the event here) The #ColaboraRio weekend however made me realize that this was a real movement, a force of change in Rio, and perhaps in Brazil.
The air is heavy with fresh moisture and the mingled chirping of birds. Community members pad serenely past a tangled heap of dogs playing on the floor. There are ten of us scattered around the hillside in wooden bungalows. Guests are left to their own devices. On my first morning as a volunteer at Pedra do Sabia I was given the day off, so while everyone had breakfast at eight I rose later and helped myself to four exquisitely delicious bananas and a cup of coffee and then sat on the terrace to write. Stepping stones wind down the lawn to the pavilion where Qi Gong sessions are held every morning, and beyond it I can see the River Contas sweeping through lush tropical rainforest.
Hugo, a quiet Frenchman, founded Pedra do Sabia in 2008, 15 kilometers away from Itacare (Bahia, North of Brazil) in a Private Reserve of Natural Heritage. I asked him why he decided to leave Europe. He looks at me over the large frames of his spectacles and speaks slowly through a thick accent:
“I always felt there was something wrong with the way of life in Europe, all that waste and stress. I wanted to build a place where I could live in harmony with the natural cycles of nature.” They grow much of their own food here and prepare three delicious vegetarian meals a day. Fruits of all shapes Continue Reading →