Brazilian Jeanne Martins didn’t join a Green Team, she set one up. Together with some fellow law students from Rio de Janeiro she started the Green Law Project to raise the environmental flag in one of the world’s most biodiverse countries … but where the environmental message doesn’t always get through. She told Tunza about what she and her colleagues are doing, and what they have achieved … so far.
“A group of us became aware of local people’s lack of environmental knowledge, which has led to a lack compliance with environmental laws and a high rate of environmental crime, both where we live here in Rio de Janeiro and throughout Brazil. And it’s getting worse, so with some colleagues and friends, I decided to try and change things. The need for action in Brazil really is urgent!
“But it’s not easy to raise the environmental flag in a country that still needs to fully accept the environmental imperative, and especially when many people still don’t get it, and embrace the cause. But the goal of Green Law – our project – is to change that, particularly where it is affecting the sustainability of our rapidly growing cities. People notice that! We believe that we can transform Brazil, and before it is too late, through environmental education. But time is short.
“The Green Law Project provides free legal advice on environmental issues – no so easy, as Brazilian environmental laws are quite complex. Part of what we do is raise environmental awareness through lectures, events in schools and the production of educational materials – for World Environment Day, we produced a booklet with games and plenty of information for use in Rio’s schools.
“The project is still small, but it’s already showing real, tangible results. Since we started out just a year ago, and working as a team with others, we’ve managed to reduce the level of environmental crime in Rio by 15 per cent! That’s just one place and just one year… our goal is to reach out to more and more people, promote environmental education and teach people about the importance of observing environmental laws. That way we can start realizing our dream of a green world!”
Jeanne Martins (third from left in the picture) was a Bayer Young Environmental Envoy in 2013.