Brazil SGI Hosts National Meeting of Environmental Agents, Launches "Seeds of Hope"
One of Brazil Soka Association (BSGI)'s numerous initiatives to promote education for sustainable development is the Environmental Agents' Movement, launched in 2001 by the Scientists Department of BSGI in partnership with local government and environmental organizations. Through this project, BSGI members learn about environmental protection so they can lead action for change in their local communities. A national meeting to review the performance and discuss the future scope of the Environmental Agents' Movement was held with project partners at the BSGI Culture Center in São Paulo on October 6.
The event brought together environmental agents, representatives from the educational and environmental departments of the municipality of São Paulo, local citizens and monitors of the Seeds of Change Project--BSGI's São Paulo-based local action program.
Among the speakers was Professor Luiz Antonio Farias who spoke on behalf of the Unified Educational Centers (CEU) of São Paulo. As manager of the CEU in the town of Uirapuru, Prof. Farias commented on the positive outcome of partnering with the Seeds of Change Project to bring environmental education workshops to the town. "For the first time at the CEU, we witnessed students training to become environmental agents who discovered the power and value in themselves and others," he said.
The Seeds of Change Project draws in students, teachers and members of the local community and includes the "Seeds of Change" exhibition, a Trail of Life Workshop, art for peace, environmental education workshops and the planting of tree seedlings. The project has reached 50,000 people and trained some 1,500 environmental agents in the municipality of São Paulo.
BSGI also displayed the joint SGI and Earth Charter International environmental exhibition "Seeds of Hope: Visions of sustainability, steps toward change" at the Federal University of ABC (UFABC) in São Paulo from October 16-20. The opening ceremony on October 15 was attended by 1,000 people, including UFABC Rector Helio Waldman, members of faculty, students and other distinguished guests. BSGI student members held a seminar on peace and sustainability at UFABC on October 17 in conjunction with the exhibition. Over the course of five days, 8,000 people viewed the exhibition, including visits arranged by about 40 schools.
BSGI's active promotion of sustainability-related issues dates back to 1992, with its participation in the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. It was in the same year that the Amazon Ecological Conservation Center near Manaus, Brazil, was founded by SGI President Daisaku Ikeda.
[Adapted from an October 28, 2012, article on the BSGI website (http://www.bsgi.org.br/noticia/72/), and articles in the April 2012, issue of the SGI Quarterly and the November 8, 2012, issue of the Seikyo Shimbun, Soka Gakkai, Japan; photos courtesy of BSGI]