Visionaries from the global South


Visionaries from the global South

From the 20th untill the 22nd of June, Rio de Janeiro will be all about the big UN summit on sustainability, called Rio+20. During the summit heads of state and government will discuss their ideas about a transition to a green economy. Both ENDS and Cordaid believe that this economy should not just be green, but also social, offering equal opportunities and thereby banning poverty. This new economy should also respect the boundaries of ecosystems, making sure the earth will remain livable for future generations.

Unfortunately, ideas about how we should come to such a green economy, almost always originate in Western countries. Ideas and experiences from other parts of the world are barely seen. However, the combination of these two will lead to stimulating and inspiring thoughts. This inspiration will help us to truly change and be able to think 'outside the box'.

Cordaid and Both ENDS have gathered the views and insights of seven visionaries from developing countries.


The book containing the seven interviews can be downloaded in English, Spanish and Dutch.

  • Friday
    08 June
    2012: Encouraging life as farmers - “Your Own Tomatoes Really Are Sweeter”

    A healthy countryside leads to healthy cities. To arrest or at least slow down the seemingly unstoppable migration to the mega-cities requires increased investments in education, health care and transportation in rural areas, says Zenaida Delica Willison. "In the countryside, we can live a long and happy life." Once she retires, she will move to the countryside together with her husband as 'living proof' to manage a demonstration farm and lifestyle centre near the mega-city of Manila, in the Philippines.

  • Wednesday
    06 June
    2012: The Good Life: Each region as self-sufficient as possible

    Europe should get prepared for the worst, as far as Eduardo Gudynas is concerned. From now on, we'll have to manage without Latin American minerals and agricultural products. This leading social ecologist from Montevideo wants to selectively disconnect the continent from the global economy as a way of first sorting things out internally in Latin America. However, life in the near future will be much soberer than it currently is. "Luxury will be very, very expensive."

  • Monday
    04 June
    2012: The Miracle of Blue Skies - In search of the human dimension in China

    People are happiest when they feel connected to nature, claims Chee Yoke Ling. China has become increasingly aware that human well-being has been disturbed by enormous economic growth. Yoke Ling, has been on the international barricades for twenty years promoting sustainable development, which include her dreams of clean skies over Beijing and of revitalised rural communities. "Don't think it's just some distant ideal. China has exploited nature over many decades, often neglecting the environment, but it is still able to engage in revolutions: nowhere else can things change so drastically in so little time once the will is there."

  • Friday
    01 June
    2012: Experiencing the Sanctity of Life: Overcoming the crisis with care for nature and the environment

    A piece of land that is big enough to live off of for every peasant household and every landless peasant, which would lead to an end of the concentration of land in the hands of a small minority. That is the dream of Moema Miranda, the Director of the Brazilian Institute of Social and Economic Analyses (Ibase), a research institute in Rio de Janeiro. A redistribution of the land leads to increased food production for the domestic market. This will make life in the countryside more attractive, which will lead to more people deciding to stay there. "If we solve the problem of skewed land ownership, the whole country will benefit."

  • Tuesday
    29 May
    2012: “Seeds are the Very Source of Life and Women are the Ones who Manage that Source”

    "More and more people, particularly those who live and work in tall buildings, think that they can dominate nature." Farida Akhter believes this is a typical male notion. According to Akhter, a women's rights activist from Bangladesh, women have been traditionally closer to the source of life. They are also the pivot on which small-scale agriculture revolves. Large-scale agribusiness, on the other hand, excludes women and threatens nature at the same time. "Community-based organic agriculture is the only path to a healthy and rich future. Both for us and for the planet."

  • Tuesday
    29 May
    2012: Wanted: Brave people. Contemporary Palaver Supports Local Self-Government

    Who's looking for well-informed and engaged citizens? Not many politicians in Africa, in any case. So it takes courage to display one's sense of public responsibility. Janet Awimbo trains citizens and organisations in how to be brave. She believes this is absolutely necessary, because Kenyans who express themselves become creative and take better care of their surroundings. Her dream is to restore the ancient African palaver, but this time with the participation of women and today's youth!

  • Wednesday
    23 May
    2012: Unemployed Youth Regain their Pride as City Farmers: Green rooftops in Cairo
    When you gaze upon the metropolises of Egypt and the rest of the Arab world from above, you see a sea of flat, grey cement rooftops. In the future, these rooftops will be green. Unemployed young people who have been retrained as city farmers are using them to grow vegetables and fruit. The greening of the city is good not only for the city dwellers' pockets, but also for their self-confidence. And life in the city has become much more enjoyable: the green rooftops and the urban gardens cleanse the polluted air and regulate the climate. That is Emad Adly's dream. He was born and raised in Cairo, and he is a doctor but, more than anything else, a restless advocate for a green and sustainable Arab world.

  • Wednesday
    23 May
    2012: Searching for the good life

    Images are the engines behind change. Maybe we currently don't have enough images, and so we're unable to progress towards the building of a more sustainable and just world. Attractive ideas abound, but we still lack the vision to set us in motion. Or is our view simply too narrow, too limited? How about the images of people from other parts of the world, the very places where our raw materials and products come from, but too little inspiration? Do the thinkers and doers in other parts of the world have the visions that could help us think out of the box and, in turn, stimulate new ideas that can stir us to action?


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