School name

Escola Estadual Antonio Olegário dos Santos Cardoso

Year

2011/2012

students

249 students

date

09/04/2012

Class

High School

Location

Sao Paulo

Country

Brazil

In this rural area of Brazil, the consequences of the traffic are also visible. But the pupils of the local school decided they could do something to avoid pollution and accidents: change their minds first and alert their fellow citizens.

The ideas

“It is possible to change”, this motivational school motto emerged following a series of classroom debates. The participating students arrived at the conclusion that a sustainable way of life is entirely possible - provided that people commit to responsible consumption. The school may be located in a rural area but cars are occupying more and more public space. This situation concerns the students, who voiced the urgent need to rethink transport in the area. In their eyes, vehicles should be comfortable but should also contaminate less, which means using renewable energies. They also posed the question of whether we all really need to have individual vehicles. Why not use collective vehicles or just rent them? They also expressed the need for cars to be improved on a technical level in order to reduce the risk of death on the roads. The students summarized their ideas through the 4R-formula: Rethink, Reduce (the waste), Reuse and Recycle.

The Initiatives

The students concluded that changing their own minds was a crucial first step to changing behavior among community members. Following the debates, they created a questionnaire and circulated it within the neighborhood. They asked each household how much garbage it produced, with the aim of discovering the level of awareness of waste-related issues among local families. Based on their findings, they decided to organize an exhibition. In order to prepare it they conducted research via books and magazines, and built a suggestions box inviting interested parties to submit ideas. They also took photos of contaminated places. The resulting exhibition served as a platform from which they could creatively explain their ideas and visions of the future. The exhibition logo was the tree, which symbolizes life. Finally, they went a step further and wrote and delivered a letter to local politicians in which they expressed the need for concrete policy changes.

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