Maria and I had a great day today catching up with our friend Alice. Alice, like Maria and myself is an alumni of Schumacher College, having been on the short course Systems Thinking in a Complex World with Peter Senge and Gunther Pauli. Alice is extremely interested in programmes connected with social change, and one of her main projects is running Youthful Cities São Paulo.
Youthful Cities is a programme which has been set up to evaluate the world’s top 100 cities from the perspective of young people (those under 30). São Paulo is a really interesting case, since it is a hot bed of artistic creativity, and especially Vila Madalena, the epicentre for the new excitement that seems to be building here. When you watch television in Brazil, especially during election periods that we are having right now, you see those who were in both power in the dictatorial period and who have been charged and convicted of vast and serious crimes of corruption blatantly telling us that they are the ones to clean up crime in this metropolis. This regressive thinking is killing Brazil, and therefore it was extremely exciting to hear about this new programming focussing on the youth of Brazil and São Paulo who are much more connected with the new global consciousness which is saying no to top down oppressive control and yes to connected, socially aware, open, emergent creativity.
I joked a little with Alice that she is a one-woman hub, referring to just how connected she is with so many other amazing projects in Brazil. I am hoping, if she has time in her insanely packed agenda, to write a little more about what she is doing here. I am looking for proactive and inspirational people like Alice to write for Transition Consciousness to really help people understand the true dynamics of Brazil, of which there are two in reality. The old Brazil is the one building new sports stadiums which have to be closed six years later due to structural defects, the one where there is a chronic underfunding in education, and one where the levels of inequality are still way too out-of-balance.
But there is a modern, progressive, proud, energetic, creative, and vibrant Brazil, one where an extremely large number of people, with their natural talents at networking and coming together, are saying no to the old Brazil. I myself have written about the Rios & Ruas project, which is connecting people with the ancient river systems which still run through São Paulo. I also had a very amazing week this week in Florianopolis, an island in the south of Brazil where I had been invited by the team at ÁgoraLab to facilitate a create workshop on developing their visions for smart cities in Brazil. I hope to be able to write a little more about this great project when the photos come through for the article.
So yeah, hopefully this year you will see a mix of articles written in both Portuguese for Brazilians and in English for the rest of the world showcasing the talent, projects and energy that is developing in Brazil. I myself have been working on some projects too, and I am getting ready to announce these in the coming weeks. Stay tuned, there’s some great stuff happening here in Brazil.