BRAZIL: GRAND ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION FOR A RECORD EARTH HOUR CELEBRATION
In the city of Campo Grande, state capital of Mato Gross do Sul in Brazil, Earth Hour 2011 was a celebration of inspiring environmental action beyond the hour with the city becoming the nation’s first to conduct a comprehensive analysis of its ecological footprint.
Located within the Pantanal Wetland, the world’s largest wetland system, the state of Mato Gross do Sul is home to one of the world’s most bio-diverse freshwater reservoirs, making Campo Grande’s ecological footprint study an important project for the protection of a fragile ecosystem containing around 4700 species. The significance of this study, however, is far more reaching.
A joint initiative of WWF Brazil and the municipal government, the mass environmental impact study evaluated the consumption habits of the entire city. The project aims to develop a management tool that will improve Campo Grande’s environmental performance by assisting government planning, promoting sustainable consumer habits and stimulating a revision of local business practices. Further still, the management tool resulting from the study will provide a model for sustainable development that can be adopted by cities right across South America’s largest country.
Early environmental outcomes
Already in Campo Grande, this innovative collaboration between WWF Brazil and the municipal government has resulted in some promising outcomes for the environment:
• 500 municipal teachers have been trained on the Footprint tool and Biodiversity themes in workshops and seminars organised by WWF Brazil in partnership with the Department of Education. As a result, around 45% of municipal school teachers have incorporated Biodiversity and Footprint themes into their school curriculum.
• Every municipal school has changed their food supply chain to ensure the beef in school lunches is sourced from certified organic cattle ranches affiliated with the Brazilian Organic Cattle Ranching Association. The result of a bidding process initiative exclusive to organic beef suppliers, this national innovation has created greater market incentive for organic production methods. In Campo Grande alone municipal schools acquire 11,000 kg of organic meat to feed 70,000 students attending 130 public schools.
In a record year for Brazil, Campo Grande was one of 125 cities to take part in Earth Hour’s global celebration of the planet in 2011. The centrepiece of Brazil’s Earth Hour celebration saw thousands of Cariocas entertained at Rio de Janeiro’s historic Arcos da Lapa aqueduct, which switched off for Earth Hour for the first time in the footsteps of the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue.
Photo credit: WWF-Brazil/Allison Ishy