I came to Rio expecting the unexpected to be the best part of the journey. So far, so good.
Since I’m not able to collect credentials for entry to the UN event that were kindly offered to me by WiserEarth until Friday morning, my first trip to Rio Centro, was a near miss. That is, until I stepped off of the City bus, and asked a passerby for directions into the event. He just happened to be a journalist for Ethical Markets, whose founder, Hazel Henderson, was corresponding with me last week. While we walked a mile together, I told him the stories I’ve been wanting someone ELSE to tell (about chemical companies and Big International NGOs in Brazil) about what’s happening in the state of Sao Paulo. We’ll follow up next week, and he’s already made a great introduction for our project.
I had intended to listen to the talk of a new colleague, Yara Valverde – a biologist, ex-president of Rio’s IEF (Instituto Estadual de Florestas), about reforestation in Mata Atlantica. That was the missed appointment due to my missing credentials. But kind Brazilian guards prevailed. They got me inside the venue far enough to see a vast trade show like exhibit, and welcomed the opportunity to improve my Portuguese pronunciation! Shall catch up with Yara tomorrow, and surely will be writing about her work in the days ahead.
During the bus ride out of the enormous venue on a shuttle, a traditionally dressed woman from Senegal sat with me. We chatted in French all the way back to Barra de Tijuca, about her heart’s desire to start a reforestation project there. People are hungry, the land is parched, and she wants to plant a food forest. I just made an introduction for her, to WeForest, who I hope can help her get it started. Meeting Marieme was one of the richest gifts of my day.
And, I’m noticing that the part of my brain that loves languages seems to be flourishing more than the part of my brain that writes in English today. So I’m not sure what’s coming out right now, just wanted to be sure and make a post about June 21, 2012 at Rio+20.
June 22 – Hilary Clinton arrives. The highest hope many of us hold, is that she will take the position that the US must #EndFossilFuelSubsidies. That would be a miracle, and I do believe we’re due for at least one coming out of this summit.
Photo credit: The Guardian – Felipe Dana/AP