Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The spirit of Rio is alive in Central Europe - Delegation from Brazil visits Slovakia

“VAMOS –act now” could and should be the slogan for the Rio+20 conference. In fact it is the name of a project financed by the EU involving partners from Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Brazil working togeth-er on promoting a sustainable development and climate justice. Thus further strengthening the 20 years old climate alliance between European villages, towns, schools and enterprises and indigenous partners in the Amazon Region. Whereas the Rio conference is reduced to debate a green economy climate alli-ance members in their daily work act in favor of lifestyles, values and political frameworks that make a sustainable development possible.

In April 2012 Friends of the Earth-CEPA welcomed guests from Austria and the Rio Negro region in the Brazilian part of Amazonia at the occasion of the annual meeting Climate Alliance in Slovakia. Repre-sentatives of member municipalities discussed local energy self-sufficiency as a prerequisite for stable local economy. Juraj Zamkovský from Friends of the Earth-CEPA commented that energy self-sufficiency stops the needless flow of financial resources from regions brought about by energy and fuel import on the one hand and on the other it creates considerable income. Emil Benesch from the Austrian Climate Alliance introduced several small regions in Austria, which had been successful in gaining energy auton-omy.

Representatives of schools focused on different approach and experience in education about climate change and shared their experience with the foreign guests. Camila Sobral Barra, anthropologist from the Association for Social and Environmental Problems, presented community-based education in the Brazilian region Rio Negro. According to her, community-based education is vital for maintaining tradi-tional knowledge and cultural identity of inhabitants of this Amazonian region. Traditional approaches in agriculture, fishing, forestry, or even relation to the country could be inspiring for the so-called devel-oped world, which keeps getting into on-going and deepening financial crisis mainly incurred by its un-healthy dependence on material consumption and energy from fossil fuels.

Maximiliano Correa Menezes, vice president of the Federation of Native Nations in Rio Negro region (FOIRN) observed that the Amazon region is already suffering from the impacts of global climate change. The country is getting drier and extreme weather is more frequent. “Our destiny is closely con-nected to the way society works in the rich world including the European Union“, exclaims Menezes. He believes that the quality and complex awareness raising in the developed world is of great importance. It can help mitigate the influence of changing climate on the poor countries and their inhabitants.

For more information contact: Juraj Zamkovský (Friends of the Earth-CEPA), zamkovsky@foe.sk

Information provided by Juraj Zamkovský (Friends of the Earth-CEPA) and Emil Benesch (Climate Alliance Austria) 

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