29 Mar 2012

Brazillian Community Development Expert advises Stroud Greens

Stroud Green Party sought the advice of a Brazilian expert in community development during her visit to Stroud to explore what Transition Towns have to offer Latin American responses to climate change. Heloisa Primavera (see photo), a Professor at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, was in the UK as part of a conference exchange called Solidarity Economies North and South, funded by the British Academy. 

This blog is largely the press release that went out regarding her visit - it really was wonderful to hear her passion - and loved the Delibra system she shared - lots of potential....anyway here is the release:

Mayor John Marjoram, and District Councillors Molly Scott Cato and Philip Booth were fascinated to hear about how community engagement works in Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela. She demonstrated the method of Delibera, which involves the use of fans of different coloured cards. Support for a proposal can be indicated by a green or yellow card. Those who oppose the proposal can show a red card, but only if they make a new proposal of their own. The black card is used to indicate the need for more information.

Heloisa comments:

‘To do everything is impossible because we have different objectives. To achieve an agreement you have to hear everybody’s views. You cannot start with fixed questions. The attempt to achieve a false ‘consensus’ can close down debate. In fact opposing the proposal with a red card, which also involves making a proposal of your own, is the basis for development and growth. The most important thing is to engage with those who think differently.’

Local Green councillors would like to see improvements to the ways local people engage with key contentious issues like the core strategy/Local Plan. They are to propose to discuss more exciting methods of public engagement to enliven local democracy in Stroud.

While she was in Stroud, Heloisa Primavera found time to visit Springhill Co-housing, Stroud Community Agriculture and to participate in the Transition Show on Stroud FM where she told listeners that her mother, a trapeze artist, had taught her to be afraid of nothing.

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