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Orality: The Tradition of Saving Memories and Telling Stories

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Published 07/03/14 at 12:00 PM envie a um amigosend to friend

We always think of orality as the sound that comes out of the mouth, what is vocalized, the voice. The voice is one of the elements of this cultural practice. Orality is present in the entire body and outside it. In the gestures we make, in the objects we touch and traditions we carry on. Each sound and each gesture record, in bodies and in objects, the memory of that moment. Mistakenly, we limit orality to traditional societies (indigenous or African), in their ritualistic practices. In these societies, orality is the force with which the body expresses itself in the widest sense: in speaking, dancing, the way of walking, etc.

For a long time, people without a tradition of writing were judged to be “people without culture.” However, this frail and unfounded concept was rejected long ago. Researchers and scholars already know that orality can be as reliable as writing when dealing with facts about the past in oral societies. According to Hampâté Bâ, in his classic text “The Living Tradition,” the “first archives or libraries in the world were men’s brains. Before putting their thoughts down on paper, writers or scholars engaged in inner dialogues with themselves.” This is why in oral African societies, “not only the function of memory is more developed, but also the relationship between man and word is stronger. Where there is no writing, man is linked to the words he utters. He is committed by them. He is his words and the words provide a testimonial of what he is. The very cohesion of society lies in the value and respect for words.”

Before writing, Western societies also used orality as an essential means of transmitting rules, teachings and customs from one generation to another. In some cultures, anyone can pass on stories; in others, only specialized storytellers performed this task, as is the case in Western Africa, with the Griot figure.

Our country was formed by people who had a strong oral culture, mainly those with indigenous and African roots. Some of these practices still continue in more traditional descendant communities, as well as in resignified traditions, such as Bumba-Meu-Boi, a lively folk dance, and Cordel literature, in which the acts of writing and reciting are combined.

Little by little, in modern societies, the practice of telling stories has given way to reading them. But reading “aloud” is also a practice of orality. Reading does not need to be an individual action. When access to books was difficult, and literacy was the privilege of few, it was also a unifying and collective element, to entertain and inform. Not only within the family, by candlelight, lantern or candelabra, but also in recitals in “living” rooms and city gazebos.

Do you remember your storyteller? Parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, teachers, brothers and sisters… Those who took you to a fantasy world, preparing you for the real world. Today, we know how much these moments deeply influenced our lives, not only due to the stories that are still within us, but also because of the relationship we establish with these storytellers. And this practice still remains very fresh in our memory, because it is an important link with the past. A tradition sometimes perpetuated. Sometimes abandoned.

By: Viviane Lima de Morais, a Bunge Memory Center historian

Black Awareness Day

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Published 11/20/13 at 10:45 AM envie a um amigosend to friend

November 20 is National Zumbi dos Palmares and Black Awareness Day. On this day, various cities in the country stopped activities to reflect on the history of Blacks in Brazilian society. Created officially in 2011, the date coincides with the death of Zumbi dos Palmares, one of the leaders of the Palmares Quilombo on November 20, 1695.

On this very important day, I present the readers of the foundation’s blog an article I wrote, published in October 2013, in the O MENELICK 2º ATO – AFROBRASILIDADES & AFINS magazine. The magazine is dedicated to appreciation of and reflection on the artistic production of the African diaspora, as well as Western black popular and urban cultural events, with special attention to Brazil.

In the article, I highlighted one of the most noteworthy practices of many African communities: the use of masks, mainly those of cows. The text discusses what this practice and this animal represent for these people, and describes some relations between these meanings in Africa and Brazil. Check out the complete text: http://bit.ly/1bN6rg2.

Viviane Lima, Bunge Memory Center historian

Youth’s Leading Role

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Published 11/13/13 at 10:45 AM envie a um amigosend to friend

The law that created the Youth Statute and will take effect in February 2014 was approved on August 5, 2013.

The statute can be understood as the legal framework for the establishment and strengthening of public policies focused on youth. However, it is important to emphasize that the legal instrument will not be sufficient to increase social equality between young people. Young people need to continue seeking and exercising their leading role.

Although considered a catchphrase by the youth segment, the expression “leading role” remains irreplaceable when we highlight young people’s actions within the political scenario of their communities. Playing a leading role goes beyond taking on an important role – it means understanding and participating in the social conflicts of our society that are undergoing constant change. It assumes the exercise of political power and influence in the construction of citizenship.

The young person playing a leading role is open to differences and understands that this is necessary for dialogue between the diverse players in the public environment. Young people in society organize around actions that may be small, but are responsible for generating visibility and spreading the discomfort they feel.

The small actions can also express a young person’s potential for political participation and show how social achievements can be accomplished and shared. Perhaps the big challenge is not reflected by the scope of the ideas and initiatives proposed by young people, but mainly by what is being done to implement these actions.

Pedro Barizon, Bunge Foundation Project Coordinator

The Importance of Children’s Books for the Development of Readers

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Published 06/17/13 at 10:45 AM envie a um amigosend to friend

When I was invited to write about this theme, two things came to mind: First, the fear of writing nonsense, since I am not an expert in this area, just someone who is passionate about literature, especially children’s literature. The second was my belief that books do not only help develop readers, but also to develop people, real people.

The main role of books in childhood is to expand our horizons. They serve as fuel for creativity – which in childhood, let’s agree, is considerable – and, above all, encourage thinking, or better, free thinking. Books have to be our landing and take-off field for new adventures, new discoveries. Children who have their creative capacity encouraged and are prompted to think are happier, they relate better, and are better able to deal with the dilemmas imposed by life, such as loss, absence, challenges, and lack of love, for example.

Children do not need to receive finished stories. They only need a storyline in order to have the freedom to venture forth. They like the beautiful, the fun, the creative, since these are the basic elements for them to imagine their stories. That is why today in the bookstores now and then we come across books that after reading make us think: I wonder if children will be able to understand this? They are! In their own way, of course. But is there a right way to read a book?

My generation – when Brazil was mostly rural – grew up with the great stories of Dona Benta. Who did not imagine themselves participating in the adventures of Emily and company? Monteiro Lobato skillfully synthesized the imagination of an entire generation that dreamed about the beginning of school vacation to enjoy them at their grandparent’s home. Today – speaking of a more urban Brazil – we take our kids to Disney, put them in contact with other cultures at an earlier age. Access to information has expanded and content is often already finished. So books are essential to deepen thinking and at the same time develop sensitivity.

Books, in childhood, do not only develop readers. They develop people. People who learn to cry, to smile; to tell the truth and, from time to time – only from time to time – to lie; to be moved and provide others with the desire to serve.

Cláudia Buzzette Calais, Executive Director of the Bunge Foundation

Fudai, Tsunamis and Risk Management for Cultural Heritage

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Published 12/20/12 at 09:15 AM envie a um amigosend to friend

In the 1970s, when the mayor of the town of Fudai (Japan) decided to build a 15.5-meter-high sea wall to protect it from tsunamis, at a cost equivalent to 30 million dollars at today’s rates, his decision was strongly criticized as a waste of public money. He died in 1997, without having seen the use of that protection barrier... In March 2011, about 30 years after the conclusion of the project, an earthquake of great magnitude hit the region producing a proportionately large tsunami that devastated part of Japan’s northeast coast. Located in the area hit by the tsunami, where many cities suffered great losses, Fudai remained virtually intact and without victims. The gate was closed and efficiently blocked the destructive waves, proving to be an excellent measure to reduce the catastrophic risks of tsunamis, even if they are relatively rare.

The example mentioned above is perfectly applicable and can be found in many cultural heritage institutions, where risks of great magnitude are often unknown, are never a priority or are intentionally ignored due to their relatively low incidence, to the high costs of mitigation and to the low visibility and acceptance of their implementation, whose utilization may become necessary only many years later, probably in future administrations. The typically high risk of fire in cultural heritage institutions, relatively rare per institution and whose mitigation requires significant investment, is a good example of this situation.

To make well-grounded, effective decisions related to long-term preservation, sustainable access and use of these cultural collections, collection managers need to provide a comprehensive vision of all the risks that affect them, as well as the frequency and rapidity with which they occur, and, in other words, the potential for causing loss and damages. These dangers range from catastrophic and typically more rare events (floods, landslides, fires of great magnitude, etc.) to a gradual and accumulative process of degradation affecting materials that make up cultural collections (metal corrosion, color fading, structural weakening due to different chemical reactions, biodeterioration, etc.). A comprehensive assessment of all the risks and their respective proportions allows the determination of priorities for action and allocation of typically limited resources, for the protection and enjoyment of our collections, buildings and sites in their appropriate context. This, in turn, allows for more transparent management and greater inter-institutional and inter-sectoral integration.

Risk management, a long-established and broadly used management tool in other sectors, such as environment, health, technology and economy, etc., and recently introduced to the field of cultural heritage, not only permits a thorough identification, quantitative analysis and prioritization of risks for a particular cultural collection, but also includes the development of effective measures and sustainable strategies for the mitigation of these risks according to their priority level. The systematic and comprehensive identification of risks to cultural heritage benefits from the use of conceptual tools such as the 10 agents of deterioration of collections (physical forces, criminal acts, water, fire, plagues, contaminants, ultraviolet and infrared light and radiation, incorrect temperature, incorrect relative humidity and dissociation) and the layers of the collection envelope (geographic region, surroundings, building, room, storage units, packaging and support material). Risks are identified according to each agent of deterioration and in the distinct layers of the collection envelope. Stages of risk control are another conceptual tool used in developing options to reduce and eliminate risks, including: to avoid (the source of risk), block (the agents of deterioration), detect (the agents of deterioration in the collection areas or their surroundings), respond to (the presence of agents of deterioration in a fast and effective way) and rescue (from the damage caused, according to necessity). Obviously, prevention is a priority focus for risk treatment. Nevertheless, responsible risk management can predict a level of redundancy in reactive measures, when those of a preventive nature fail. The measures revealed are critically assessed according to criteria that include feasibility, sustainability, cost-benefit ratio, complementarity or conflict among them, introduction to collateral damage, etc. This allows a well-organized selection of the most effective options, whose implementation can be structured as a Risk Treatment Plan.

Serious implementation and integration of risk management in our institutions and government agencies will certainly help optimize the use of available resources and significantly reduce future loss and damages to the collections, especially those resulting from lack of information and lack of serious criteria about prioritizing. In order to pass on our cultural collections to future generations with the least loss of value and the greatest possible accessibility, it is essential to avoid “guesses” and start making decisions related to the protection of these collections, based on well-defined criteria and on justifications based on reliable statistical and technical scientific data. Obviously, risk management implies management of uncertainty. We cannot predict the future 100%, but it is possible to make informed and certainly useful predictions to guide decision-making and maximize its impact on the preservation of cultural heritage. However, it is essential that managers and government officials be really willing to use this tool, even when it means organizing less visible activities, which are apparently costly and have no short-term results. We should follow the example of Fudai and start building a culture of risk management for our cultural collections.

By: José Luiz Pedersoli Jr., conservation scientist and expert on risk management associated with cultural heritage

Food and Nutrition Security in Brazil

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Published 11/06/12 at 04:45 PM envie a um amigosend to friend

Before the great world wars, the concept of food security was historically contextualized within the concept of national security and sovereignty, particularly with regard to food production in sufficient quantity to supply the consumption needs of the population.

Subsequently, Josué de Castro, with his great work “The Geography of Hunger,” began discussions that introduced the debate on the nutrition problems of the time, hunger, into the debate of social issues. By doing this, the admired Josué de Castro, an icon in this area, already envisaged Brazil’s current scenario of research with regard to food and nutrition security, looking beyond what is simply biological in the nutritional sciences.

However, in the 1970s, based on the world crisis at the time, the World Food Conference (1974) brings the focus of food security back to the product, and not to the human. Food sovereignty based on simple and quantitative calorie counting returns to characterize food security issues.

The thinking advances and what Josué de Castro had already pointed out decades ago returns once more, but this time for good, helping guide current concepts of Food and Nutrition Security (SAN). And so the talk now is about economic access as a cause of food insecurity, human rights as indivisible rights, and then, right in1986, the 1st National Food and Nutrition Conference in Brazil comes into being, taking a quality look at nutritional issues. We follow this line and move ahead with our discussions so that, in the new millennium, Brazil is now in a position to tackle the issue of food and nutrition security. Programs and public policies are launched and the National Council for Food and Nutrition Security is created.

From then on, Brazil stands out with a holistic and future-oriented vision, providing the most complete definition of Food and Nutrition Security, in the context of a national conference, as follows:

“Food and Nutrition Security consists of the fulfillment of the right of every person to regular and permanent access to quality food in sufficient quantity, without compromising access to other basic needs, based on healthy food practices that respect cultural diversity and that are environmentally, culturally, economically and socially sustainable”¹ (BRAZIL, 2006).

According to the above definition, SAN is not only designed to eradicate hunger, but it is also the exercise of the human right to adequate food. This means that people must have access to diets that not only have the appropriate amount of calories, but also have micronutrients and other compounds of nutritional value. And still more: It considers not only social and economic issues, but also the environmental and cultural context in which individuals are inserted, thus compulsorily giving an interdisciplinary and intersectorial connotation to SAN actions, putting Brazil, once and for all, at the forefront with respect to SAN.

Our progress is evident. In addition to this and aligned with the concept, SAN public policies were also developed, giving rise to various social programs. The National Food and Nutrition Security System (SISAN) starts its implementation. Notwithstanding the new historical character, the first results appear, and these show that great challenges will still have to be overcome. In spite of the great progress made in recent times, there is still much to be done. There is a collective and unanimous awareness in the holistic and encompassing point of view, but its implementation is still a great challenge. It is still popular to give a structuring character to measures until then considered of an emergency nature, in order to avoid welfare. In the same way, the intensification and consolidation of the intersectorial nature of the path chosen by our SAN definition is also on our to-do list. Making it possible to enforce the human right to adequate food, as a universal concept, is our ultimate goal. And all this within the context of sustainability. In other words, we have made a lot of progress! Are we at the forefront? Yes, but there is still a long way to go.

Fernanda Abadio Finco - Federal University of Tocantins/University of Hohenheim – Executive Coordinator of the Eco-Nutrition NoPa (New Partnership) International Cooperation Project.
Winner of the 2012 Bunge Foundation Award in the “Youth” category.

¹Art. 3 of Law 11,346 of September 15, 2006 – Organic Law of Food and Nutrition Security. 

Educational Assessment

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Published 09/24/12 at 10:30 AM envie a um amigosend to friend

Education can be observed from inside and from outside the school. The view from outside is that of the parents who want to know if their children are learning what they need for life and the view from inside is that of teachers who need to know if their students are learning what they are teaching them.

Educational assessment exists to meet both these needs. Learning assessment made by the teacher, who seeks to find out if the knowledge and skills taught are being absorbed by the student, answers the question: Is the student learning what was taught? And teaching assessment answers the question: Was what should have been taught taught?

I am speaking only of teaching assessment – less known, much criticized, but so necessary. This type of educational assessment deals with three problems: recording what is learned – today the main result of educational processes –, educational equity and the ability of the school to produce these results.

Learning by the student is a privileged expression of meeting the constitutional right to education. However, the right that is not confirmed is just a utopia. Thus, the importance of recording what is learned, something that can only be done when we are dealing with millions of students, by using various technologies, primarily statistics.

The recording of what is learned is used to verify that students learn enough and compare the situation of those enrolled in different schools or systems. But, beyond this, it allows understanding of differences in learning. Since we are talking about basic education, variations are expected, since no individuals are the same, but inequalities between groups defined by social and demographic criteria is unjust and should be combated.

The third issue that educational assessment allows us to study is the identification of schools that successfully help their students to learn, independently of their social and demographic characteristics. In Brazil, reflecting the time when schools were not available to all, the use of a standard pedagogy persists that is often not adequate for the students actually in the school. Consequently, it is very important to find out which schools are functioning well. This is summarized by the so-called “school effect.”

In Brazil, there are various initiatives for assessing teaching, at the federal, as well as the state and even municipal government levels. These systems, however, have not been able to adequately inform society and the schools exactly what the numbers obtained mean. This lack of dissemination of the pedagogical interpretation has impeded the more efficient use of the information provided by the assessments and has led to the rise of considerable resistance.

Francisco Soares – National Council of Education and Educational Assessment and Measurement Group of the School of Education of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG).
Winner of the 2012 Bunge Foundation Award in Educational Assessment – “Life and Work” category.

Intangible Heritage and Participative Public Policies

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Published 08/02/12 at 05:15 PM envie a um amigosend to friend

The concept of intangible heritage is recent. It was only in 2000 that government policy focused on the so-called intangible heritage was established in Brazil. But what exactly is intangible heritage?

According to the National Intangible Heritage Program, cultural assets such as celebrations, places, knowledge and trades, forms of expression, ways of doing things and living are considered Brazilian cultural heritage. UNESCO uses the expression “intangible heritage” to designate what we recognize as immaterial heritage, defining it as “the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and techniques – together with tools, objects, articles and cultural places that are associated with them – that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals, recognize as an integral part of their cultural heritage.”

Both in the case of Brazilian cultural heritage policy and in that of UNESCO, recognition of the importance of the cultural manifestation stems from the references that the cultural producers and agents themselves give to their actions. Consequently, based on the values of the cultural communities, the issue of intangible or immaterial heritage involves the active participation of civil society for implementation of actions to preserve its cultural manifestations.

The intangible heritage policy is also the result of the process of democratization in Brazil, with the 1988 Constitution as a symbolic milestone. In this sense, it is a policy that strives to promote social participation in its application. If it is the values of the cultural groups themselves that determine what is cultural heritage of an intangible character, the way actions are taken to preserve this heritage should also reflect the considerations of these groups and the broader Brazilian society.

Therefore, intangible heritage policy, while it is public policy in the strict sense of the term, has the challenge to involve the government, the private sector and civil society together to, in fact, implement a participative policy.

Simone Toji, a Social Sciences graduate from the University of São Paulo with a Master’s degree in Anthropology and Sociology from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. She currently works for the National Institute of Historic and Artistic Heritage (IPHAN – SP).

Enthusiasm and Commitment Is What Drives Volunteer Work

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Published 11/29/11 at 03:00 PM envie a um amigosend to friend

Historically, volunteering has been related to financial or social assistance policies, philanthropy and a work specially performed by the society ladies of charity.

It has been greatly influenced by religion, as charity is considered a virtue. In recent years, this work began to be seen as an opportunity for action to promote the general well-being, driven by different social causes.

Volunteering in today’s Brazil goes much beyond compassion and solidarity. It is a great power of social mobilization capable of organizing resources and promoting the strengthening of organizations based on social inclusion and greater social equity.

Although corporate volunteering in the country is still focused on serving at-risk populations, it follows the engagement trend in the promotion of ethics and citizenship. There is a concern with themes related to education, environment, health, culture and rights protection, in addition to ethics and social responsibility.

With the challenges caused by the world recession, volunteering seems to have become stronger.

The issue of social responsibility has emerged as a trend in the evolution of corporate volunteering. The acceleration of the globalization process requires action and engagement with the surrounding community, which goes much beyond the economic aspect. Volunteering is a great power of social mobilization and the trend is to increase more and more the strategic impact on the community for its capacity to change social reality.

On this December 5, created by the United Nations Organization (UNO) as the International Volunteer Day, it is worth noting how important volunteers are, and how, driven by their enthusiasm and energy, they contribute with their professional and personal abilities and skills to an increasingly just and equal society.

By Cecília Carvalho, coordinator of social projects at the Bunge Foundation

The Challenge to Expand and Integrate

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Published 09/26/11 at 03:30 PM envie a um amigosend to friend

The private social investment of the institutes and foundations tied to the private sector is facing a big challenge: to direct actions for the development of those territories where business units are located, avoiding what we call leakage of economic growth.

Have you ever thought about what it costs a company to hire employees in regions far away from industrial units? Or what it means to look for suppliers in other states for maintenance of machinery, for example? When this happens, it means that the community is not right for the business since the resources it is able to offer are scarce – many times restricted only to natural resources. On the other hand, it also means that the company is not right for that community, since it is unable to create jobs and taxes, increase per capita income or attract new investors, for example. This relationship becomes predatory and unsustainable since good business has to be that which benefits all parties involved.

In other words, when a company, through its institutes and foundations, defines, in an integrated manner with the municipalities, investments in health, education and development of entrepreneurs and infrastructure, it is not only supporting the development of the places where it is located and contributing to the quality of life of the local population, but also expanding business development since it increases the ability to attract and maintain labor, the possibility to rely on local suppliers and, primarily, to rely on employees from the region.

In the interior of the state of Tocantins, the Bunge Foundation is working with this model of social investment with the Integrated Community project, developed in the municipalities of Pedro Afonso, Bom Jesus de Tocantins and Tupirama. This is a program for sustainable territorial development which carries out socioeconomic assessment studies, as well as develops an Integrated Management Plan, in order to guide private social investment in a coherent and integrated manner with the communities and needs of each region, with actions developed on three fronts: relations with the community, human and social development and support for public administration. All this work is planned and developed with what we call the Consortium Working Group. It is made up of representatives of the local communities who help us define and implement the improvements they want for their regions.

And anyone who thinks the communities do not know how to set goals, roll up their sleeves and say what they want, is wrong. What they lack is opportunity.

By Cláudia Buzzette Calais - Bunge Foundation Executive Director

The Importance of Memory in the Management of 20th and 21st Century Companies

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Published 08/29/11 at 10:45 AM envie a um amigosend to friend

In stable environments, when companies were defined and managed as machines, corporate memory was important for recording history, for storing and retelling; this because a stable environment ensured that the future would be a projection of the past. It was a nice thing to have. It was this way until the end of the 20th century.

To ensure their futures in unstable and unpredictable environments, organizations need the skill of rapid adaptability so that the organizations can provide a guarantee to be everlasting, that is, when the future is no longer a projection of the past, corporate memory has to move beyond the recording of the past to ensure a consciousness of corporate identity as a living system in evolution, learning and adapting over time. It is a must have.

Thus, in the 21st century corporate memory becomes a guarantee of continuity and change, like human memory: A relationship in time that produces a living identity capable of adapting rapidly to new and unpredictable environments, a strategic skill that has a great impact on the organization’s market value, because this means that it has the conditions to guarantee future deliveries in an environment of uncertain future.

Time and memory have no strategic significance for machine companies. But they are vital to living systems companies.

By Ricardo Guimarães, president of Thymus Branding, recognized as a pioneer of the branding concept as an approach to the management of companies in markets undergoing constant change.

Sustainable Construction

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Published 06/10/11 at 02:15 PM envie a um amigosend to friend

Buildings – in their form, use and function – are part of a social, economic and cultural context that is constantly changing. Since the changes in housing brought about by the industrial revolution, new construction concepts have appeared which consider health, functionality, flexibility and building processes.

Due to recent historical events, like the current debate over the limits to growth on the planet, building projects have begun to incorporate one more aspect: that of sustainability. This is not surprising considering that 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide are currently associated with civil construction.

Understanding of so-called sustainable development (and of the very concept of sustainability) is becoming more widespread every day. It is no longer restricted to the problem of global warming or energy use resulting from civil construction. On the contrary, every economic sector is expected to make its contribution. This is why it is more and more common to have technical chambers organized by sector. The penalty for omission tends to be severe, with the possibility of a strong downturn in global social and economic activity.

In the case of housing construction or less complex services (like schools that do not need specialized applications), a minimum reduction of close to 20 percent of emissions is possible by applying concepts of rationalization to materials, energy and resources. The establishment of a conceptual design based on aspects of sustainability, even before the architectural design, tends to optimize these results.

A positive example of this approach is the design of a sustainable school for the Bunge Foundation developed by the Indio da Costa AUDT office with our assistance. Starting from a clear and predefined concept, it was possible, without undermining the need for comfort and quality, to develop a design that generates minimal waste during construction and use (solid waste, greenhouse gas emissions, liquid effluents, energy, manpower and maintenance). In the conceptual design of the school, we address the following aspects:

• A balance of mass and energy on the building, defining the potential for reduction of residual gas emissions, energy consumption and liquid effluents;
• Appropriate construction materials, respecting sustainability aspects;
• Optimization of the use of natural resources by improving the building’s relationship with its surroundings (water and energy);
• Minimization of emissions – GHG, gas, liquid effluent and solid waste;
• Comfort and quality.

The end result reached through application of the concept achieved a reduction of 50 percent, compared with normal buildings, in the rate of carbon gas emissions for construction of a school building – very promising results. This difference shows the real possibility of reducing emissions in civil construction, as long as new building models are adopted, contributing significantly to the reduction of global warming.

By Renan Lindner, a chemical engineer for OA Engenharia
Collaboration: João Maró, an architect in the Indio da Costa AUDT office

Intellectual Property Rights in Digital Media

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Published 04/25/11 at 10:30 AM envie a um amigosend to friend

Why should we protect intellectual property rights? To reward the efforts of authors, whether it’s in the field of recognition (moral rights) or remuneration (property rights). But does it make sense that this protection last the author’s lifetime including a 70-year period after death? If we think about the time when it was common for an author’s work to only be recognized after death, then yes, it makes total sense. But what about in today’s Digital Society, where everything is characterized by the phenomenon of instantaneousness?

Author’s rights have two opposing facets – that of the creator, and that of the user of the work created. In this sense, the law obligates the end user to verify and cite the source of the work. In other words, taking content off the Internet without knowing if it’s protected or not, exposes the end user to legal risks. This is especially true if the content is professional or corporate, or a form of publicity.

Schools are already teaching about Intellectual Property and Image Rights, since students are increasingly completing schoolwork based on Internet searches. The time has come to learn how to properly use and cite content in order to avoid plagiarism and unauthorized use of images, in order to fit into an increasingly restrictive legal reality.

When using digital sources, it’s important to analyze the following factors:

- Where it was found (source)
- Purpose for its use (clear, legitimate end-use objectives)
- Context (properly included)
- Reach (target audience)
- Time (how long will it be used – will it be re-used?)

If we are unclear as to the origin of specific content, or if it carries intrinsic legal use implications, we should avoid its comprehensive use in indeterminate time frames. It’s one thing to footnote a piece of schoolwork as a mere academic reference, it’s quite another to construct material wholly based on digital content and then to distribute it. Citing and distribution are different. Even cultural institutions have to be careful, especially with risks related to the moral rights of authors (such as not being given proper authorial credit).

To avoid the risks associated with use, digital content should be verified through more than one source. If it were a citation from Wikipedia, it’s wise to consult another source to see if the information remains consistent. In the case of photo or image use, which is even more personal, much more care must be taken, since an open search on the web may yield results without authorial protection (ex: versions with “creative commons” licensing). It’s also possible that the person photographed or filmed did not authorize the use of the image, in spite of its presence on the Internet. Especially if the image is of a minor (18 or below) according to the Statute of Children and Adolescence and the current Civic Code, written, formal authorization is required from those legally responsible.

It’s common to find digital content interesting but to be uncertain of its authorship. When this happens, we must always list “author unknown”, and to continue this citation until someone disputes or confirms the authorship. When citing sources, complete links should always be provided, along with time and date since content changes quickly on the Internet, making its validity relative to the time of collection. Those who use online content should keep alert and use best practices in order to avoid legal risks, which could damage far more than just reputation – financial risks and lawsuits could follow. In Brazil, intellectual rights violations have resulted in lawsuits of between R$10 and 100 thousand.

By Dr. Patricia Peck, attorney specialized in Digital Law. (Twitter: @patriciapeckadv)

Once there was...and always will be

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Published 04/05/11 at 10:30 AM envie a um amigosend to friend

According to the Dictionary Houaiss of Portuguese Language, a volunteer can be defined as “ the one who dedicates himself to a work without a link of employment , providing help when necessary”. More than that, to be a volunteer is to be available to share time and knowledge, based on the experience that each one brings within himself.

Volunteering represents the redemption of some of the values essential to humanity, as well as the redemption of the cultural value of work-the one that hasn´t anything to do with guaranteeing survival, but is a way to contribute to the well being of society.

Many are the motives that make people start a volunteering work. Starting with the wish to help to solve social problems and inequality, acting through charity and helping the next stimulated by diverse religions, by the need to feel oneself useful and valorized, by the desire to do something different in the day to day, or even to retribute some help that may has been received in the past.

Fact is, that there´s no higher reward than the one for altruistic work. The experience of offering your effort and your knowledge for a bigger cause without claiming for anything in exchange, is enriching, generates personal as well as professional growth. Nothing substitutes the satisfaction of knowing that you are contributing in making a more human world, just and solidary, less inequal, and with more opportunities for everyone, and because of that, there´s a saying that once that a person makes voluntary work, it never can stop again.

A more and more common type of voluntary work is the so called corporate volunteering, in which the company gathers volunteers among its employees around a common objective, with focus, goals and expected results. With this orientation, and counting with the personal involvement and commitment of each volunteer, the work flows in a more efficient way and the company has conditions to achieve results and make a difference for society.

The Bunge Foundation invests and believes in corporate volunteering through projects such as the Educational Community, a sustainable school program that articulates the work of corporate volunteering with the formation of educators. This way, the program contributes to the formation of citizen-students, able in reading and writing, conscious of their role in the present and commited with the future.

Between April 08 and 10, the Bunge Foundation will hold the V National Encounter of Volunteers – Educational Community. The theme of the meeting is “ Once there was...and Always will Be “ which exactly redempts thiss essence of volunteering – the power of making things happen, the consciousness that, through its trajectory, it will be helping to write other histories and becoming part of them.

The Encounter is one of the actions planned for 2011, with the objective to stimulate the volunteering work spirit between its collaborators. The goal of the Bunge Foundation is to increase between 20 and 30% the numbers of volunteers of the Educational Community.

By Cecília Carvalho – Coordinator of the Educational Community


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Published 03/01/11 at 11:00 AM envie a um amigosend to friend

We are in an Era of Information and Knowledge in which technology is part of life for millions of people of all ages. Easy access to technology and the inadequate use of such resources has opened the doors to a type of aggression known as Cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying or “virtual bullying” is a type of bullying that uses modern means of communication and the most advanced technology to harass, humiliate and mistreat the victims, most of whom are teenagers. It is a type of silent violence that may seem harmless to some people, but which can lead to serious consequences for those who suffer such attacks.

Cyberbullying is increasingly turning into a concern for parents and teachers due to the devastating results and the multiplying suffering it brings to victims. It is a violence that goes beyond the walls of schools and the spots where teens meet and socialize. In cyberbullying, the victim cannot identify the aggressor, who uses their identity as powerful ally to perpetrate vicious attacks.

What teachers and parents must understand is that the psychological consequences of this type of violence are incalculable. A teen who is a victim of cyberbullying cannot escape unscathed from the attacks to their name and image in the web, before their family and society as a whole. Depending on the level of aggression, the person's self-esteem is shaken and surrounded by feelings of fear and anxiety, and may even fall into depression, thus compromising their school performance and becoming isolated.

We can see this type of aggression continues to grow in several nations and, as a means of prevention and awareness, the school, parents and educators must join forces to face such form of violence.

The school must offer the necessary information to educators through training, so they may identify, act and prevent bullying, whether it is physical or virtual. The school cannot be omissive and must use the information acquired to solve cases in a fair and legal manner, without any false accusation. This can be done in partnership with authorities, such as special victims units and other agencies.

Parents have the mission to guide their children on the conscientious use of technology based on moral values and respect for other people. Monitoring Internet use and the equipment used by teens is a way to defend cyberbullying victims and also to act in case the child is the aggressor.

By Denise Marcon, Psychologist and Education Portal Tutor

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