350.org’s Nicole Oliveira reflects on her participation in challenge jury

‘WDCD opened my eyes to adaptation’


Published in Climate Action by

‘Participating in the Climate Action Challenge jury and WDCD Live has opened my eyes to the adaptation approach to climate change,’ 350.org’s director in Latin America Nicole Oliveira told WDCD.

350.org is a global grassroots climate movement founded by Bill McKibben in the US, that strives for keeping CO2 concentrations under the threshold of 350 parts per million that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide.

350.org uses online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions to oppose new fossil fuel projects, take money out of the companies that are heating up the planet, and build 100% clean energy solutions that work for all. 350’s network extends to 188 countries. In Brazil deforestation and fracking are other, though related, topics too.


‘We are generally focused on mitigation, on preventing CO2 getting in the air by campaigning to keep fossil fuels in the ground and stop fracking and so on,’ Oliveira says. ‘But that is all very technical and the processes are long term. Focussing on adaptation is a new perspective for me. I would want to bring some of the projects that I’ve seen in the Climate Action Challenge into my reality.

‘Our campaign against fossil fuels is very confrontational. We do achieve successes with it: we’ve been able to ban fracking in 370 communities and one state here in Brazil imposed a moratorium for ten years. We work with local communities for this because it is always best if local communities take their future in their own hand.’

Design thinking

‘But I also do want to work with solutions and these need another approach. I’m working with universities and try to incite them to start multidisciplinary projects in the field of energy saving and alternatives. The challenge and the event have made me revaluate the role design thinking can play here. We do work with design thinkers. But the process takes time. It takes time to understand the local needs, do research, test possible solutions and allow for mistakes to happen. I don’t have that time in my daily practice. I’m dealing with political realities and if I make too many mistakes I lose the battle.

‘But all the knowledge I gather by looking at the projects in the challenge is based on years of research and testing. It shows me that if I want to work with solutions, design thinking can be of great help.’

Top image: Nicole Oliveira and Richard van der Laken / all photos by José de Holanda

Nicole Oliveira in the jury of the Climate Action Challenge

Nicole Oliveira in the jury of the Climate Action Challenge

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