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Real People: Redesigning the Economy with Pedro Norton de Matos
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Real People: Redesigning the Economy with Pedro Norton de Matos

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Towards a Regenerative Economy

Pedro Norton de Matos is in love with life and with nature. He is an aware human being, one that understands mankind to be an integral part of our planet, being able to give back to the earth. «Nature is our essence and sooner or later we need to connect or re-connect with the essence of mankind. Nature is the result of four billion years of evolution, and all the answers (or almost) are there», reminds Pedro in the beginning of our interview to Fair Bazaar Real People project. He is this week´s chosen to feature as an inspiration to us all.

Pedro has been a mentor for Fair Bazaar and sees the brand as «a very good example of positive creative energy applied to fair-trade and business». Joana Cunha, the heart behind Fair Bazaar, «is an energetic entrepreneur powered by passion and that is a key ingredient to success» in the words of the Portuguese Green Entrepreneur.

Pedro loves the flora and the fauna and is a people´s enthusiast. Long walks in the wild nature, photographing landscapes and smiling are some of his favorite things to do. The entrepreneur sees in nature our big mother and the most intelligent of all. «Nature is a zero-waste machine and we need to learn from it, being less anthropocentric and becoming more humble», defends Pedro. «I hope and believe that through education, research and development we will mature a more holistic view and reconnect with nature as a whole».

The dream of a dreamer who makes dreams come true. Pedro Norton de Matos is the face of one of the biggest platforms for the green community in Portugal and, we can say, in the world. The Greenfest had its 12th edition this year and it was, once again, a great manifesting week for the ones wanting to change and in fact changing our perspectives.

«Greenfest is a movement and a platform, where the best sustainable practices are shared, amongst good willing people».

Pedro expressed that: «Throughout my life I have witnessed progress in many areas, the world changed a lot and became very advanced, but on the other side we witness the depletion of resources and destruction of the environment. We had GDP growth, but not happiness growth». We reached high but not within. «We have reached the moon and other planets, but we failed to reach many of our neighbors» says a conscious mind that understands that evolving requires change and willingness to do so. «I felt the need to become a more active citizen, believing that each and every one of us can be a change agent, capable of transforming the world, or at least the micro world where we live in». When we heal ourselves we heal the ones around us.

The model of the system we live in is obsolete, but consciousness is waking up and we know where to go. Humans resist in changing the habits and some don´t want to see how the change is urgent. This is a big message from the Greenfest movement. During the days of the gathering, people can learn and be informed about how they can contribute in the process and journey of cleaning the world. «We realize that we live in a tremendous waste economy. In fact, our current growth model generates a lot of waste. We waste water, food, energy and people´s power. Many people are not yet engaged and don´t realize the power that we have as citizens and consumers».

By changing our consuming habits, we are able to change the production and therefore protect our planet. This is another flag of the Greenfest, to gather people for a few days and raise awareness. «Greenfest involves all stakeholders and our intent is to increase awareness and empower people to take action and change the habits created in the hyper consumer market».

Pedro defends the urgency of starting now. The challenges will increase with the growth of the population. «We face many challenges, namely, to feed and shelter more people in the next decades. To find the right and fair balance, between symmetric economic growth, nature and people needs, is one of the biggest challenges». Pedro Norton de Matos as many thinkers and influencers is focused in redesigning our industrial system of production and consumption around the circular patterns of resource and energy use. In the age of awareness, scientists observe the insights of environment. «I am a strong believer that the circular and regenerative economy can guide us to achieve that vision. Its also key and an enabler to fight the climate change effects. As John Fullerton & Hunter Lovins wrote in their book A Finer Future, creating an economy in service to life: «the transition to a Regenerative Economy is about seeing the world in a different way a shift to an ecological world view in which nature is the model. The regenerative process that defines thriving, living systems must define the economic system itself»».

If we learn to understand wealth holistically rather than just in monetary terms, we will understand that by regenerating the health and wealth of our communities and ecosystems we are creating wealth for all. Its all part of a growth process into the light. «The other big challenge is to transform technology and apply it for the good and not the evil. In fact, if we apply technology as an enabler to fuel a regenerative economy, that will be great. However, the risks and dangers are also very high, to have technology killing empathy because that could be the end of human species».

We keep our hearts open and positive because that is the attitude to evolve. «You, like me, can make the difference in your own world. In our daily lives we can act and behave taking in considerations the social and environmental impact. We can change many routines, replacing old habits by new ones respecting nature and our fellow citizens. Our efforts multiplied by billions of people will make a new world». And so shall we keep thriving for meaningful change.

Blogpost written by Filipa Veiga Editor and Yoga teacher

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