Activity Update: Brazil, Politics, and a Documentary on Integral Sustainability

By: Barrett C. Brown

“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land, there is no other life but this.” – Henry David Thoreau

2012 has been a busy year to date, and I want to get you up to speed on some of the key developments here at the Integral Sustainability Center that I’ve personally been working on. In addition to developing this site and the larger MetaIntegral ecosystem, I’ve been doing quite a bit of work supporting leaders and change agents to apply an integral approach to sustainability, as well as advancing some significant projects.

Much of my work has been related to Brazil. I’ve done some recent work with a Brazilian multinational to help them embed an integral approach into their sustainability and innovation work. The executive sponsor of this work said to me that he sees an integral approach as the future of business. To him, integral is what sustainability was 15 years ago. This company fully embraced sustainability then, and is now a leading company in the sustainability movement, winning numerous global awards for their innovative practices and programs. Now, their lens has shifted to embedding integral – and an integral approach to sustainability – deep into their organization. Not an easy task, but a pioneering and valiant one for sure, that will pave the way for many organizations to come.

While in Brazil, I also met with leaders from the Institute for Democracy and Sustainability (IDS). I briefed them on an integral approach to sustainability and politics (with some support from Clint Fuhs on the latter). This organization is led by Marina Silva, a leading Brazilian politician who was Lula’s Minister of the Environment and ran for president last year under the Green Party, garnering over 20 million votes. She and a variety of other thought- and action-leaders have launched IDS to support the mainstreaming of sustainability into the political campaigns of all Brazilian political parties. Quite the high-leverage, meta-move.

I’ve also joined the advisory board of Integral Institute Brazil, which has a burgeoning community. On a Saturday morning in January, I presented to a packed house of 120 leaders and change agents from Banco Itaú and the Integral community, in the headquarters of Banco Itaú in Sao Paulo.

The hunger for an integral approach and the potential to mainstream it in Brazil is phenomenal. I’ll be offering the first Integral Sustainability Certification course (in Portuguese) in September in Sao Paulo, and bringing the course to the US in early 2013.

Sean Esbjörn-Hargens and I are also involved in the development of a documentary film about integral sustainability, led by Brazilian filmmakers Fernando, Paulo, and Carlos Schultz. It is slated to be made over the next 18 months and enter film festivals in 2014. While we’re still early in the design stages of it, I’m confident that it will offer a refreshing take on sustainability and human development.

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