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The Environment
Rio+20: Itaipu shows its environmental education results
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12/06/2012

Itaipu Binacional will present in the Rio +20 Conference, from 13 to 22 June in Rio de Janeiro, the experience and the results of nearly 10 years of environmental education implemented in the Paraná Hydrographic Basin - Part 3 (region covering the rivers connected with the hydroelectric reservoir). During this period, the Cultivating Good Water program has involved more than 22,000 people in various fronts of environmental education, from sensibilization lectures to teacher training.

At Rio +20, Itaipu will be present in the events connected with the Earth Charter and the Treaty on Environmental Education for Sustainable Societies and Global Responsibility (this made during Rio 92). "Both are documents that support the educational actions undertaken in the Cultivating Good Water and covering formal education (in schools), non-formal (out of school) and diffuse (in educational materials, websites, etc.)," explains the director of Coordination and Environment of Itaipu, Nelton Friedrich.

The binational will also participate in the events of the Brazilian Network of Agenda 21, sharing the methodology of Local Agenda 21, which is prepared in a participatory way in each of the communities and their micro hydrographic basins are served by the program.

Currently, there are 135 micro basins in the region that are resetting their environmental liabilities, with collective actions such as restoration and protection of riparian areas, the refitting of rural roads and the implementation of community water supply, and also individual actions, such as adoption of new ways of being , feel, live, produce and consume.

"The environmental education plays a crucial role in the set of projects Cultivating Good Water program, since it is by means of sensitization, awareness and mobilization of people that the achievements are reached by the community, which happens to feel co-responsible for socio-environmental quality in their place of the planet", said the program manager Leila Fatima Alberton, Itaipu.

How the program is implemented

Sensibilization actions are central of the implementation methodology of the Cultivating Good Water program in a micro hydrographic basin and its respective community. Therefore, it is the responsibility of environmental education, which in turn is managed by Educators Collective, which brings together 69 institutions spread across 29 cities that are part of the Paraná Basin 3.

In all micro basins, this sensitization occurs through the Future Workshops, which are inspired by the concepts of Paulo Freire. It is a participatory diagnosis, in which the community is encouraged to think about its own condition, to imagine the wishes for the future and to effect solutions to the faced problems.

This practice was named Local Agenda 21 and is distributed in four stages. The first is the Wailing Wall, where the entire community dialogues on social and environmental problems. Then passes to the second phase, the Tree of Hope, where participants explain what they dream to place where they live.

In the third stage, the Way Forward, the goals are defined for corrective actions and, finally, it is signed into a commitment to care for the water, the Water Pact, in which community leaders and government sealed partnership sustainability. The 52 agreements already signed a total audience of 19,700 people, mainly formed of farmers from the family character.

Another area of environmental education is the training of educators, through a methodology known as Cycles of Learning. At each stage, the circle of participants expands and those completing that stage have the commitment to bringing new participants. Thus, 115 learning communities were formed, contributing to the formation of 7,200 popular environmental educators.

This methodology interested the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), which signed a cooperation agreement with Itaipu, in 2006, which resulted in the creation of the Social-Environmental Information and Protection Center of the Prata Basin. The center, which is based on the Itaipu Technological Park and will also be present in the Rio +20, acts similarly to training educators in the five countries that compose the Prata Basin (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay). Currently, the center is concluding the training of 4,500 people in the region (900 per country).

Valuing the Heritage

Itaipu has another initiative aimed to raise awareness about the socio-environmental themes and acts in line with environmental education. It is the program Valuing the Institutional and Regional Heritage, which originated with the creation of the Ecomuseum, in 1987, one of the measures to mitigate the impacts of hydroelectric construction.

With over 1 million visitors since its founding, the Ecomuseum is now part of the Itaipu Tourist Complex and has permanent exhibition space, exhibitions, and attend local schools in educational activities. It is also the center of the Regional Networks of Museums, Memory and Natural Heritage and with the participation of representatives of 29 municipalities of the region.

With this network are coordinated actions such as the Water Festival (music festival around the water culture) and training of people to act in the management of cultural and natural heritage."It's the community that guides the actions of the program in a participatory way," summarizes the program manager, Maria Emilia de Souza Medeiros.

For more information and interviews, please contact:

Press of Itaipu Binacional
imprensa@itaipu.gov.br
55 45 3520-5230