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Peki Way: ReThink ReCycle - What is Sustainability?

Note from Jaime Lerner

Jaime Lerner, a Brazilian Architect Urban Planner, a three-term mayor of Curitiba, and twice Governor off the State of Paraná. He has sponsored and championed many innovative urban projects for sustainable and livable communities around the globe, and he is one of Peki’s Friend and Advisor, a reference, inspiration and a dear friend of mine.

He explained to me that sustainability was an equation, and the effectiveness of the process is to educate the children in a recreational way which could also influence their parents.

“Sustainability = an equation between what is saved and what is wasted.”

Sustainability Lesson Focusing on Children First

How to promote sustainability effectively in a


As Jaime notes:

“We decided to teach kids in all schools for six months to separate garbage, and then children taught their parents. So then we started a campaign to encourage recycling, and Curitiba became a city with the highest indicator or garbage separation in the world for 20 years: 70% of the population separates garbage.

A sustainable city is the one that integrates housing, work and leisure, while preserving its history and investing in public transportation." With this idea in mind, Jaime Lerner had turned Curitiba, capital of the Parana State in Brazil, into one of the greenest cities in the world.

I have an interesting story to share with you: Two years ago, while on vacation in Brazil, I met a young lady, Daniela Beraldi, who told me that Lerner’s campaign had impacted her life—and probably her entire generation—forever. Daniela reflects: “When Jaime was the Mayor of Curitiba for his first term, I was seven years old, and I still remember the recycling campaign that he launched to separate the garbage.” Daniela then begins singing a song with a childish smile on her face, as if she was now that seven year old child: “Garbage is not garbage, it does not go to the garbage se-pa-ra-te-it (Recycle it)… I believe that like me, most of the kids remember that until today.”

Jaime was absolutely right when he told me that he believed that he had to use his resources to invest on involving the kids first to succeed on his plan. He has also told me that it was very difficult to convince his team to do it, because initially, it sounded a bit foolish to spend time and money creating a slogan and music to educate the children in a fun way. Regardless, it worked very well, he involved the children, educated them and helped them become conscious adults.

My Work on Sustainability and Recycling so far:

  1. Public: Community BPCP (Programming Department - Environment Education and Art Programs) since 2016

  2. Private: Peki Experiences (Workshops - Parties - Lessons) since 2005

  3. Private School - (Guide for the Sustainability and Wellness Committee) 2016

  4. Social Work : Philanthropy/Fundraisers Events since 2005

  5. Public/Private: Sustainabilty Forum: Integrating The Americas & Sustainability Council of The Americas 2009

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