Back to Blog

Umbra Prof Publishes on Sustainability and Conviviality

That food is more than just a meal is not a shockingly new idea. Food studies has moved from a marginal field in academia to become a common ground for scholars across disciplines to analyze the symbols that food carries. What is a new idea is that conviviality—being together with others, especially for a meal—is important not only for maintaining social bonds but also for creating a more sustainable society. Umbra Institute lecturer Dr. Neto Leão recently co-authored a paper that explored this idea. 

The paper, entitled “Conviviality and sustainability: Case studies on the governance of natural resources in Brazil,” was written with the purpose of introducing conviviality as a conceptual tool.  Leão and his five co-authors, have been conducting field work in different areas of Brazil with different communities. In all cases, the relationship between the environment and society was at the core of the sustenance of these communities. For the authors, conviviality suggests the possibility of more autonomous and creative human interactions with the environment, opposing social forms of instrumentation, regulated standardization, dependence, exploitation, and impotence. The article was published in the most recent edition of the journal Ambiente e Sociedade, the most important journal for this area of research in Latin America.  “A communal sense taken back as a principle for political action can offer broader horizons for the sustainability of governance.” said Leão. 

At Umbra, Professor Leão teaches courses in Umbra’s program in Food, Sustainability, & Environment (FSE). His newest course launches for Spring 2025: it’s called “Spiritual Ecologies” and explores ecological thought across religious and philosophical traditions.

Follow Us on Instagram to Stay In the Know!