Change the World Wednesday – 30th May


Up early.

Alarm clock suffered…

Need coffee!

I always need coffee. It has been suggested that I may well be addicted to the stuff; a charge that I deny.

I am merely a dedicated coffee drinker.

The aroma of freshly brewed Brazilian coffee wafting through the house can’t be surpassed at this ungodly hour of the morning.

Last week I resolved to fall in line with the challenge as far as possible. My week didn’t quite go as planned, but I did manage two days without cooking for lunch. Yesterday was supposed to be the third day, but I failed. I had a pack of cocktail sausages opened in the fridge and they had to be used. Another day and they could have become ‘food waste.’

However, I compensated for supper. I made a cheese board. I had some scraps of blue vein, Brie and a local cheese that I cut into cubes. That along with paper thin slices of cold roast pork from a scrag end drizzled with lemon juice accompanied by dry crackers. No cooking, and using left overs.

Oh, a can of beer too… (Didn’t cook that either) 🙂

So, I guess yesterday wasn’t such a failure after all.

The planned lunch didn’t eventuate, My students changed hours and it didn’t fit in with the plans. But rest assured, it will happen. I just love eating out.

Let’s see what Change the World Wednesday this week is all about…

This week, watch the following video. Then share it in some way … email it to a friend, share it on a social network, post it to your blog, etc. AND THEN … consider how you might affect change in your community. Of course … we want to hear all about it!

I have watched this before, in fact I think it was SF herself that Stumbled it.

It is poignant in many ways. Not only does it point out problems, it eloquently provides solutions.

The message is ‘community’ rather than the individual effort and while the individual can make small differences, once the community is involved the chances of meaningful changes increase exponentially.

It is this community spirit that we must foster. Once community efforts are spread around then the next step then the communities themselves can combine, and so on.

The message that I get from this is that it is very much directed at the corporations. It recognises that it is this corporatism that is destroying our world. The ideas generated are counter-corporation, returning to the ‘village concept,’ where the results of efforts are spent within the community rather than be sent off to some corporate headquarters where the 1% benefit.

This of course is the main gripe of of Occupy Wall Street, and why the movement should be supported.

If one castes ones mind back to 1970+/- there was a brilliant book written by Desmond Morris, The Naked Ape. One of the precepts of this book was that man is a tribal animal and we’re trying to live in a ‘super-tribal’ scenario. It doesn’t work. We don’t have the capabilities (social, character, disposition, etc) to live in communities beyond the size of the village. I have often harped on this point, because it reflects not only environmental survival, but all the social evils like stressful lifestyle, violence, respect for property, the need for policing, government intervention, etc, too many to cite here.

To demonstrate the point I am making, think of the city in which you live, now think of a small community/town nearby (No more than 2,000 people). Now look at the violence, theft, policing and political interference in each. The smaller community has less police/capita, the small community has no rape (or almost), the small community has no theft (or very little) and the lifestyle is far more relaxed. The biggest difference between the two is the community spirit; the neighbours in the small community know each other, the business people know everybody, people know the people across town, they interact with each other and the local politicians are part of the community. This doesn’t happen in the cities! Need I say more? I think not.

All this is the underlying tone of the video. A return to a social unit that is manageable for our own benefit, not that of the greedy bastards who are syphoning off everything the village produces; remember those holes in the bucket?

Because once the wealth (not just money, but work, energy and vitality all inc) is lost through those holes, it never returns. It’s gone!

The proposal is that we create smaller community divisions within the evils of the corporate sodden cities, to keep our wealth within reach, to return our labour to those around us as those around us return their labour to us.

Brazil, where football is religion, the church is a past-time and carnival is a fever but they still have no idea what real beer is

The ‘doing something about it’ is a little difficult because of my geographical dislocation from my native land. I am an ex-pat living in Brazil. I am not Brazilian and do not think like one; I still think like a first-worlder. So communication is often a problem. Oh, I speak Portuguese effectively, I make a few grammatical mistakes, I can swear effectively and I understand and use many colloquialisms; my grasp of the language surprises many. But, I don’t think like a Brazilian and that hampers communication, especially at a community level.

However, on a personal level, I continue in my own small way. I point out the follies and foibles of the Brazilian psyche, and try to get them to see that there are better ways.

But, I am also very mindful of the fact, that if Brazilians adopted western ways, they wouldn’t be Brazilians any more and that is one of the reasons I am here – they are Brazilians and they are not bad people.

Many communities have sewerage flowing in the street and that includes the marvelous city of Rio

Brazilians are too worried about becoming first-worlders. They haven’t a hope in hades of achieving it. This is a country where 50% of the people don’t have basic sanitation, 50% don’t have access to drinking water, 50% don’t have adequate health care or education. A country where 66% of the federal and local governments are either convicted and appealing, under suspicion or investigation of theft, fraud and corruption.

They want to be first world. But are missing the point. If they are missing the point, then other less important issues are beyond their comprehension.

I have my hands tied. I am, however, not beyond knowing the issues and while Brazilians may be beyond redemption, there are others in the world who read my blogs.

9 responses to this post.

  1. Hey, I am in the opposite side of the spectrum a Brazilian expat living in the UK (but the child of British expats).

    I don’t know how old you are, I am 50. I have been going there and back between the UK and Brazil for some time, and I can tell you that the difference between the “Brazilian third world” and the “British first world” has decreased in my life time and I am sure it will continue decreasing until everything levels out.

    I am not a marxist but I believe that history is a great healer and leveler. For me there are no problemsin Brazilians trying ro be first worlders and first worlers trying to be Brazilians, these are concepts that are beggining to fade away and that in the long run will be obsolete.

    About corruption in Brazil: which nation could be a greater corrupter than the one who forced an empire by force in every corner of the earth? who traded on opium and slavery and who slaughtered anyone who dared try to stand up against them? and who still imposes its will on other countries by the gun?

    What does the “First” World have to teach the “Third” one?

    Sometimes I see ecologists as the last bastion of First world imperialism, with their “higher ideals” and their “lesson to teach” the “under developed” countries. I find this scary.



    • >lostsambista, we are indeed opposite poles of the magnet. I am 60 and I agree with much you have said. The difference between 1st world UK & 3rd world Brazil is decreasing, but more for the decline of the UK rather than to rise of Brazil. The corruption that exists in Brazil is different from the corruption in either UK or the US; the problem is the ethos, UK & US corruption are criminal, Brazilian corruption is a ‘right.’ You have to look at the origin of the corruption to answer the next question; by that I refer to the Catholic church.

      To answer the question about who teaches who what… Both can teach the other. In Brazil (Latin America generally) people think more with the heart, in the 1st world we have forgotten the heart exists and only use the head, hence we seem cold and calculating when compared to Latinos. I think that also goes some way to answering you last observation as well.

      I love Brazil and Brazilians and leap to defend them, but I am also critical, that’s not as crazy as it sounds, if it was, I wouldn’t be here. There are things I love and things here that I hate.

      In my mind there is only one way to rid Brazil of the corrupt politician and that is political reform. No 1st World country has compulsory voting, every 3rd world country has it. To me that smacks as to being the key. The removal of compulsory voting removes the people who don’t know how, why or to whom to vote for from the general equation and leaves the people who do to vote.

      But then Brazil would rise more quickly to the first world and cease to be, in essence, Brazilians. Catch 22.

      I do believe you and I could debate the issue ad finitum, but I will say thanks for your comment and views.




      • We are indeed on different sides of the pole. I hope you won’t mind if I disagree with you in several points.

        The first one is that for me Britain is not in decay, it is actually adapting better than any other European country to Globalization.

        The second one is that Brazil has improved. I lived through hyperinflation and a tremendous external debt. The country has paid the international community what it owed and has no inflation any more, this on its own is a victory. Further than that the lower classes have access to good that were only a dream for them only 30 years ago. The use of computers in Favelas is no big deal anymore, and young people have acces to jobs and a future, if this is not progress I don’t know what else is.

        The third one, is that Brazilians do think with their minds, and it is not by a miracle of nature that Brazil has overtook the British economy in terms of size.

        The fourth one is that, yes, there is corruption in Brazil, but have you heard of Rupert Murdoch? His proximity to the Prime Minister? But lets not go there, Dilma, Fernando Henrique and Lula are and were serious leaders, it does not take one minute to end centuries of corruption culture, but it is becoming less and less acceptable and yes, since Brazil has become a democracy, the news about corruption is published, and people are gradually choosing better candidates.

        Last but not the least, as someone who knows well both countries I can say that what differentiates the UK and Brazil nowadays is that Brazilians have hope, they believe that their lives will change, the government has ideals, the intellectuals too, the same cannot be said about Britain.


      • >lostsambista, as I said we could debate this for ever. I agree with you that the UK is in a better state than either Europe or the US; the collapse of either or both is a matter of when, not if. The rest of the world will follow, there are no life jackets. Brazil will also suffer despite Dilma’s assurances that it is protected; Brazil is the fourth biggest holder of US bonds, when the system collapses those bonds become valueless.

        Serious politicians, yes to all four, although Dilma has surprised me at her tenacity to combat corruption. At election time, I refered to her as the ‘Blonde Bimbo’ without an original idea to call her own, it appears I stand corrected and admit it.

        You have the advantage over me in that I have only been here since the impeachment of Color, I did not see the military regime, but I did experience hyperinflation.

        As long as Brazil has compulsory voting, it is not a true democracy.

        Brazil’s rise in the current world market is indeed admirable. But I must disagree, there is inflation here. The cesta basica is rising, despite some commodities becoming cheaper.

        The current rise of the BRL vs USD is already making the govt take counter measures and people and businesses are complaining about the cost of imports and value of exports.

        Of course, all this goes to demonstrate that while I live here, I am not Brazilian and to understand fully how the Brazilian thinks is beyond me.

        Now, while I respect your views and thank you for them, I must say that they and my responses are detracting from the original idea of the post which is a return to smaller communities protecting themselves from the corporate sangessugas and the resultant ecological and social improvements as a result.

        It’s good to have another view on the secondary issue of the post, gives readers a chance to form their own opinions. That’s what makes the world go round.



      • Can I suggest the following video?:

        That will give you an idea of what the hyperinflation was about.

        You arrived when I left 🙂 I never got Collor.


  2. Posted by smallftprints on May 30, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    One of the ideas that really fascinated me in that video was the concept of local currency. It would ensure that money stays within a community. Not sure how a community could make that happen … perhaps with some kind of bartering system. But it’s fascinating!

    I don’t know if I believe that Brazilians are beyond redemption. I just think that change comes slowly in some cultures. You have been employing “Transition Culture” for awhile … you talk to people about Eco-issues like trash, gardening, etc. And … you’ve seen some changes like the bar owner who put trash bins where patrons could use them. We might only see small little changes for a long time but we never know when the tipping point is hit and a grand “landslide” of change occurs. It’s a possibility!



    • >SF, I believe I have been successful in small things. I was rather talking about the difficulty in talking to a larger audience. I also don’t really believe that Brazilians are beyond redemption (it was rather a turn of phrase at the time of writing). Ecologically, there are some exciting things happening in Brazil. Today is the last day for the largest rubbish dump in Latin America to accept rubbish. At midnight the Gramacho nightmare stops, Novo Gramacho is designed to recover gas from the landfill, clean it, separate it and sell it. I blogged a couple of weeks ago about this. So Brazilians are catching up and being innovative. So I do believe there are brighter things ahead for Brazil; sometimes, I just get so frustrated. Watch for my post tomorrow, it will interest you.




  3. May I ask if you also blog in Portuguese to share your ideas?

    “Every little helps,”
    Said Wang Ching Lee,
    As he watered in
    The Yellow Sea.
    by the Dutch comic poet, John O’Mill

    (There is a quote from Gandhi that says something similar, but everybody knows that one already).



    • >CelloMom, no I don’t, and that’s a good question. You have me thinking now. My old blogs on Blogspot all had full blog translation, but WP doesn’t support it for free blogs, or it would be here too.

      Thank you for that.




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