Rapid economic growth within Brazil during recent decades has led to the emergence of a middle class and increasing consumption. Although a number of public policies have been developed to promote reductions in carbon emissions, there’s still a long road ahead in terms of changing individual consumption behaviour for the benefit of the planet. As changing behaviour is needed in order to shift consumption patterns and move towards sustainable lifestyles, education for sustainable development is understood as a critical component of such efforts.
But, in many schools in Brazil, there is a shortage of methodologies and incentives, especially when considering a practice-based perspective, to debate and learn about sustainability, climate change and about the link between individual behaviours and positive benefits of sustainable lifestyles. In order to help fill this gap, the Akatu Institute previously launched the Edukatu project, which was the first Brazilian learning network on conscious consumption and sustainability for educators and students. Based on an online platform and in-person workshops, the project targets children and young people from the 1st to the 9th grade. In the period 2013 to 2018, around 4,000 schools throughout Brazil raised the awareness of and mobilized around 9,000 teachers and 125,000 students to the concepts and practices of conscious consumption, which, in turn, influenced the consumption behaviours of around 300,000 people in their communities.
In Brazil, the national search will select five winning schools (one per region of the country), and one national winner among them, based on their plans to make their schools more sustainable. In addition, there will also be a focus on in-person workshops to train and engage educators and students from basic education schools from five regions of the country on the theme of sustainable lifestyles as a way to ensure (a) that the debate about sustainable lifestyles is stimulated within each school, sensitizing their teachers, students and scholar community; (b) that these schools are invited and stimulated to participate in the national search.
Following the selection, the Brazilian winner schools will participate of a period of international exchange with winner schools from other countries, including study tours and one international workshop. They will also receive a grant to implement the plans they submitted for the national search, and this implementation will be monitored closely by Akatu, which will help these schools to document their experiences for sharing for the benefit of schools across the world.
In addition, Brazil will be the host of a regional international exchange, using best performing Brazilian schools as an example and inspiration to countries across the region.