Context: this article has been written during my Pole 2 Pole 4 Charity trip, where I was documenting green initiatives around North and South America.
Never knew a KFC could be the scenery of exchanging interesting ideas. When I met Vitor de Carli in Anchorage (Alaska) we hit the ground running immediately, giving each other a brief presentation of our ideas and ourselves. Vitor’s ambition and mission inspired me to write this article. I can write a few 1000 words about his plan, but I won’t, because these days people don’t read anything longer that a few paragraphs.
An introduction and a brief summary of Vitor’s thoughts, taken from my interview with him:
What we need to do and why
For over 100 years, environmental and societal conditions have alerted human beings about the damage caused by their own behavior. The intensity of these warning signs has increased progressively with population growth and the technology boom. The current measures being taken to change our path are too isolated and humble to overcome the power of small ruling groups.
But it is also possible that there is still time for action, ambitious and broad enough to be worthy of a rational species, taking place in the records of their own history. Vitor’s thoughts on how we should accomplish it:
If you would describe your vision/mission about how to make the changes necessary to save the planet in 3 sentences, what would that be?
- We need leadership
- We need synergy
- We need a sustainable revolution
What are the steps that you have taken so far to complete your mission?
I started with a deep analysis approaching the environmental education in the business administration degree. I concluded that my University was violating a national law and international human rights. I went to the public ministry in Brazil, trying to bring my findings to a higher level.
Concerned with the time that we have, which is not much, I decided to start working on a new solution that I believe could be one of the few solutions to save our civilization.
We need to make the movement for sustainability strong enough to overlap the small amount of ruling groups that are breaking it. For that I believe that we need an organization to connect NGOs, people and volunteer companies around the globe, providing guidelines and creating synergy.
I designed an idea called “Earth’s Army – A non-violent movement” and I have been trying to reach out to our global leaders looking for the support that could make it happen faster. I started contacting people based on a list released by The Guardian in 2008: “50 people who could save the planet”.
Who are you going to contact on your mission and whom have you already contacted? What were their reactions?
I’ve hitchhiked all around the USA, from LA to D.C and from New York to Seattle to contact people from Guardian’s list. I’ve reached (either directly or their staff):
- Marina Silva
- Peter Head
- Terry Tamminen
- Monica Howe
- Robert Hertzberg
- Leonardo DiCaprio (staff)
- Eric Rey
- Amory Lovins (staff)
- Al Gore (staff)
- Andrew Kimbrell
- Craig Venter (staff)
- Gavin Schmidt
- Cormac McCarthy (staff)
- Gisele Bundchen (staff)
- Vik Muniz (staff)
- Peter McBride (photographer)
- Chelsea Congdon (movie producer)
The reactions? 60% of them restricted themselves in saying that it is a beautiful view and solution and gave me advice to keep going. 20% were indifferent and 20% gave me pretty bad reaction, trying to avoid me or telling me to go away.
What are the next steps that you will take to complete your mission?
I concluded that, sadly, it takes too much time and energy to reach our leaders and to make them understand that we need more ambitious actions and a better strategy.
I was accepted in the Environmental Sciences program at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and I’m looking forward to building a team in the academic environment and starting the Earth’s Army project as a grassroots’ movement. It is going to take time, which unfortunately we don’t have anymore. There is a possibility that I’ll continue to follow the 50s list but that has proven not to be the priority at the moment.
Recommended reading / viewing by Vitor
- Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization (Substantially Revised) by Lester Brown
- Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World by Paul Hawken
- 50 people who can save the planet according to The Guardian
- Successfully cleaning up Estonia in 1 day: “Let’s do it” (video)