Monday, April 9, 2007

Sustainability in Brazil: an Introduction

In Brazilian cities, favela’s and condo’s seem to be in a peaceful coexistence, but make the gap between rich and poor, the biggest in the world, painfully visible. This gap results in social tensions with an intensity that, according to the UN, is comparable to a small scale civil war. [1] São Paulo, Brazil's biggest city, is polluted and chaotic, the concretized market economy and the engine of South America, an organism that came into existence without any planning or policy. Nearby São Paulo lies Cubatão, in the 1980s the most polluted city in the world, with high percentages of miscarriages, deformed children and cancer patients. [2]


From this perspective it seems irony to be talking about a sustainable Brazil. In the northern hemisphere, it is at best seen as an emerging market, a country with potential but still Third World, and for a long time ignored because of hyperinflation of sometimes 2500% a year. [3] Brazilians are Indians, Africans, Europeans and Asians and the ethnic and social coherence of the population of Brazil is both her strength and her weakness. It is a country with extreme contrasts, between the rich and the poor, nature and industry, past and a potential future. Contrasts that may end up crises, but that also seem to trigger sustainable development.

This blog aims to learn from Brazil as a sustainable role model. Upcoming issues: Fuel, Aids, Software Libre, Intellectual Property, The Amazone, Movimento Sem Terras, Rodrigo Baggio, Coopa-Roca, etc. Contributions and meaningful discussions are welcome.

[1] The Accidental President of Brazil - Fernando Henrique Cardoso - Public Affairs Books - 2006
[2]In Acrid Brazilian Factory Zone, a Fear of Disaster - Marlise Simons - The New York Times – May 18, 1985
[3] The Accidental President of Brazil - Fernando Henrique Cardoso - Public Affairs Books - 2006


Mieke said...

Very nice site with interesting subjects. The subjects give you a lot to think about.

Well done Maurits !!

Jason said...

Very interesting information! Nowadays pollution is a problem of all big cities! But anyway I want buy in Brazil property, not in the city, but close to ocean, with it's fresh breez!