Brazil moves forward: Three steps forward, two steps back

When I moved to Rio de Janeiro about two years ago, I was dazzled by its beauty: the beaches and lagoons, the blue see, the green hills and small islands dispersed along the coast. Three months later I found myself disillusioned: I saw how the sea was polluted by sewages and oil winning activities, how the fish in the lagoon were dying because of poor water quality and how most of the people … [Read more...]

All eyes on Paris: Was the COP20 Summit really that disappointing?

It is 2015! The year in which the UN will set sail for Paris, where a new global post-Kyoto protocol agreement should be formulated. It is one month after the Lima Conference (COP20 and CMP10), and opinions are divided; skeptics and optimists beat the drums with their future telling and warnings. A major concern seems to be if the 2015 Paris agreement is going to be in the slightest bit ambitious. … [Read more...]

Forests in the spotlights: From TED Talks to REDD+ Talks

Two weeks ago, TED Global came to Rio de Janeiro. Four days in a row, speakers tried to enchant the audience with their stories on a variety of topics. Ranging from the future of the indigenous people in Brazil to the development of an encrypted email program for secure communication; Journalists, activists, scientists and artists all tried to squeeze the maximum out of their 3 till 18 minutes of … [Read more...]

The impact of Megaevents in Brazil, from World Cup to Olympics

Yesterday ten thousands of Germans celebrated their victory over Argentina. It was the last in a row of games and massive excitement, the finals of the World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. It brings an end to a much disputed event. Now that it is over, all eyes are already on the next event. The day of the finals it was the headline of the Brazilian newspaper Globo: “Faltam 754 dias para as Olimpíadas”, … [Read more...]

Seminar on Sustainable Development 2014

Last week I attended a 3-day seminar in the center of Rio de Janeiro. The goal of the seminar was to stimulate the debate around the challenges related to the sustainable development agenda in Brazil, including the establishment of the new UN goals and issues related to the strategies of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), an international platform which was launched by the … [Read more...]

Sustainable development in Rio de Janeiro

One of the main benefits of living in Rio de Janeiro is that you have access to all the resources and activities that a big city has to offer, while also having nature surrounding you. From my window I have a good view over Copacabana beach and the sea, Sugar Loaf Mountain and some other green hills. However, I came to realise how all that beauty is in danger. The blue waters look spectacular, but … [Read more...]

Never mind technology, keep it simple

Technology allows us to do magnificent things. Medical operations are executed with minuscule precision and we can travel around the world within a few days. We increase our efficiency by automation, and decrease it by being addicted to social media and smartphones. New technologies allow for travels, mass production and scientific discoveries. Yet, sometimes it is essential to take a step back, … [Read more...]

An integrated approach to increase charcoal production sustainability in Haïti

Charcoal is a main energy source for Haïtians.  Over 90% of the counties’ energy demand is met by firewood and charcoal. Also the millions of Haïtians that stay in the tent camps after the earthquake of 2010, cook predominantly on charcoal. Consequences are large-scale deforestation, soil erosion and land degradation. It makes Haïti increasingly vulnerable for extreme weather conditions such as … [Read more...]

The rise of megacities

Article from The Guardian, 4 Oct 2012. By Nick Mead and the Guardian Interactive team. By 2025, the developing world, as we understand it now, will be home to 29 megacities. We explore the latest UN estimates and forecasts on the growth of these 'cities on steroids', and take a look at the challenges and opportunities megacities present for the tens of millions living in Lagos ...       < Read … [Read more...]