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The demonstrations and actions carried out on September 21st in Porto Alegre, Brazil, gathered tens of activists from different Latin American countries against tree monocultures, agribusiness and transnational corporations, and in favor of small-scale farmers and food sovereignty.
The mobilizations also marked the closure of the 4th edition of the Sustainability School organized by Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean every year. This time, NAT-Friends of the Earth Brazil was in charge of the preparations, and the School was held in a settlement of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) in Viamao, near Porto Alegre.
Environmentalists from almost all Latin America and members of different local social organizations participated in the activities held on September 21st as part of the closure of the political capacity building space. “It was a symbol of the closure of a process and the opening of a path to continue working together”, stated Laura Tentori, from Friends of the Earth Argentina. “To see all of us marching on the streets of Porto ALegre with all those colors, diversity and ideas built by everyone at the School, was an enormous joy”, she said in an interview with Real World Radio.
The Sustainability School of Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean, which was held previously in Colombia, Uruguay and Costa Rica, aims to be a tool to build the political capacity of its members, to consolidate the theoretical knowledge about their struggles and to promote actions.
These past days at the School “were not only focused on knowledge, but was also a space of political organization to carry out specific actions”, said Tentori.
Friends of the Earth Argentina was strongly involved in the creation and growth of the Sustainability School. Tentori highlighted the focus made on Peoples´ and Environmental Education. She said: “this School has been a good example of Peoples´ Education, due to the collective work, the decisions made in small groups, the promotion of discussions based on the knowledge of each of us and our organizations”.
The activist also said that “education cannot be not political, we can´t think of an objective capacity-building, far away from the reality we are living in”. Tentori also recognized that more education spaces are needed within Friends of the Earth.
The Argentinian FoEI group is promoting a Regional Alliance against Soy and Tree Monoculture Plantations in the Uruguay River´s Basin. “We are proposing to address this issue and to join the organizations on the territories, in the different communities, that are suffering the impacts in a direct way”, said Laura Tentori.
Finally, she said that her organization is working with the communities, not only against monoculture plantations, and she highlighted the importance of the work on communication and education carried out by them. “Several of us in the campaign are educators and we work towards transformation. We try to open spaces for debate with educators, community leaders and peasants who are organized, so that this can grow”, she concluded.
Photo: Radio Mundo Real.
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