|Born||29 January 1956|
May East (also known as Maria Elisa Capparelli Pinheiro) is a British/Brazilian educator, spatial planner, singer and songwriter. Over the years she has alternated voices of advocacy with voices of inspiration and considered herself an artivist.
Early Musical Career 1981 - 1992
East comes from a thriving artistic community stretching between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. May East's art, be it in film, video, installation or music, expressed a deep concern for Brazil's environment both in the major cities and the country's vast interior, specially the rainforests of the Amazon.
As a musician, May East started her career as a singer in the band Gang 90 & Absurdettes in 1981. Their songs mixed new-wave with beatnik poetry and a female choir, inspired by the new-wave band The B-52s. Gang 90 is considered to be the predecessor of all Brazilian new-wave bands of the 80s.
In 1984 she released her first single, "Fire in the jungle/Índio", in Brazil, The Netherlands and Japan with EMI. Fire in the Jungle became a soundtrack for the film Areias Escaldantes directed by the independent director Francisco de Paula.
Some months later, her first album, Remota Batucada was launched. The music was an original brand of electronica, folk music, and new wave pop and was coined as "tribal ie-ie". East also released the albums Tabapora and Charites. She moved to England and then to the Scottish community of Findhorn, where she focused on ecological activism and began giving lectures and seminars. In the late 90s she released the albums: Cave of the Heart (with the Findhorn Community Chorus) and Cosmic Breath (with her ex-husband Craig Gibsone); and 1001 Faces (solo album) in 2002.
Sustainability Educator 1995 - present
May East has played a prominent role in developing relationships between the United Nations and the Findhorn Ecovillage, culminating in the establishment of CIFAL Scotland in 2006. The United Nations Institute for Training and Research affiliated training centre for Northern Europe operated for 10 years as a hub for capacity building, leadership and knowledge sharing between local and regional authorities, international organisations, the private sector and civil society under May's leadership.
She is the co-founder and has served as Chief Executive of Gaia Education, an international consortium of sustainability designers and educators from research and development centers for carbon-constrained lifestyles. Gaia Education supports the delivery programmes in 55 countries, taking place in settings ranging from tribal and traditional communities to intentional ecovillages, and from urban slum to universities and R&D centres.
Since 2010 May East has developed a series of Project-Based Learning activities supporting indigenous and migrant communities and their traditions to survive in rapidly changing environments while enhancing their opportunities to become the designers of their desired future. The projects promote integrated approaches to land management for healthier soils, nutritional yields and enhanced climate resilience.
May was included three years in a row (2011, 2012, 2013) in the 100 Global Sustain Ability Leaders list, devised and produced by Ken Hickson, Chairman/CEO of Sustain Ability Showcase Asia and ABC Carbon. The list recognises 100 people around the world who have provided leadership in the field of sustainability.
May East received in 2019 the Women of the Decade in Sustainability & Leadership Award presented by the Women Economic Forum and All Ladies League. 
Spatial Planner 2000 - present
A UNITAR Fellow she has an MSc in Spatial Planning with specialisation in integrated approaches for the regeneration of abandoned towns in southern Italy, which makes the case for the reactivation of abandoned settlements, the so-called ghost towns in southern Europe, as an alternative housing solution that comes with embedded collective memory and offers ‘locally adaptable, culturally rooted’ opportunities for communities. She has contributed a chapter of her findings to the book From Conflict to Inclusion in Housing: Interaction of Communities, Residents and Activists.
May is one of the co-founders of the Global Ecovillage Network and has lived for 15 years in the Findhorn Ecovillage where she established a new strand of Education for Sustainable Development offered to numerous university and school groups as well as by professional organisations and municipalities worldwide. May supported placing ecovillages in the UN agenda by weaving institutional and technical alliances with UNESCO, UNITAR, UN-Habitat and ECOSOC. She is also co-founder and mentor of the ‘eco-bairros’ – eco-neighbourhoods movement in Brazil.
She was an active Transition Town trainer since 2008, conducting trainings in China, Thailand, Israel, Portugal, Brazil, India, Senegal, Italy, Chile and UK, and facilitating participatory scenario planning, back-casting and climate change awareness raising activities with fragile and marginalised communities.
As a spatial planner she investigates and promotes the revisited role of women in urban design and development and works with slums, tribal villages, hard to reach neighbourhoods and mining cities.
Since 2013 May East has been contributing articles to The Scotsman The Guardian, the Scientific Journal of the European Ecocycles Society and Sustainability (journal) published by MDPI
- "Ecovillages | Design at the Edge". Kosmos Journal. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "Gang 90 & As Absurdettes – 1981 – Perdidos na Selva – single". postpunkbrazil. 19 July 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "TVDO – Videobrasil". site.videobrasil.org.br. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "1981 – Programa MOCIDADE INDEPENDENTE". caetanoendetalle.blogspot.co.uk (in Spanish). 10 August 2016. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- "May East". elizabethdiariodamusica.blogspot.co.uk (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 23 April 2018.
- Revista IstoE. Barril da mãe natureza. Mother Earth Barril 24/11/1999 (in Portuguese)
- De musa da new wave a ativista, ela defende e encarna um mundo em transição. From new wave muse to activist she promotes a world in transition. 23/11/2011 Revista Trip (in Portuguese)
- CIFAL leader wins international recognition (in English)
- Worldwide crises need global solutions – 01/07/2013. The Scotsman (in English)
- 100 Global Sustain Ability Leaders 2013 Published in ABC Carbon Express issue 202 (25/11/2013) (in English)
- "Sustainability campaigner and former pop star wins top award". Retrieved 27 April 2019.
- East, May (2017). "5" (PDF). In Cairns, Graham; Artopoulos, Georgios; Day, Kirsten (eds.). From Conflict to Inclusion in Housing : Interaction of Communities, Residents and Activists. University College London: UCL Press. pp. 87–102. ISBN 978-1-7873-5033-5.
Integrated approaches and interventions for the regeneration of abandoned towns in southern Italy
- "Worldwide crises need global solutions". Retrieved 7 May 2018.
- "Sustainable cities become a fit place for everyone". Retrieved 7 May 2018.
- "The world is not enough for all our needs". Retrieved 7 May 2018.
- "Family farms can fight global food crisis". Retrieved 7 May 2018.
- "New social contract to boost our ecology". Retrieved 7 May 2018.
- "Deep decarbonising can still happen". Retrieved 7 May 2018.
- "Building the future in face of adversity". Retrieved 7 May 2018.
- "It's a year to rebuild, from the ground up". Retrieved 7 May 2018.
- "Push climate game changer over the line". Retrieved 7 May 2018.*"Mountain to climb in solving world's problems in a sustainable way". Retrieved 27 April 2019.
- "Do-it-yourself ideas take root in the fertile minds of India's hill peoples". Retrieved 27 April 2019.
- "Setting goals for a sustainable future is the starting place for global changes". Retrieved 27 April 2019.
- "Transformation can be achieved without huge investment, intervention or tech". Retrieved 27 April 2019.
- "The role of women in urban development as planners, builders, city dwellers, is crucial". Retrieved 27 April 2019.
- "Sustainability campaigner and former pop star wins top award". Retrieved 27 April 2019.
- "Where bees are the buzz-word for building a healthy rural economy". Retrieved 11 January 2020.
- "Women tackle the root causes of poverty – with a dash of turmeric". Retrieved 11 January 2020.
- "Slums to some are homes to others – and hope is driving change for residents". Retrieved 11 January 2020.
- "COP26 must be springboard for change". Retrieved 13 March 2020.
- "Brazil's indigeneous peoples are seeking their own solutions to the pandemic". Retrieved 1 July 2020.
- "Women's role in political global leadership is growing". Retrieved 22 October 2020.
- "We must breathe new life into our planet's increasingly fragile ecosystems". Retrieved 7 January 2021.
- "Forgotten families embrace the future". Retrieved 14 April 2021.
- "Chance to honour our city's women". Retrieved 10 June 2021.
- East, May (31 October 2014). "How one Brazilian slum is blurring the boundary between forest and city". the Guardian. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
- East, May (22 December 2014). "Bringing 'handmade, slow-made and well-made' back to Christmas giving". the Guardian. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
- East, May (2018). "Current thinking on sustainable human habitat: The Findhorn Ecovillagecase". Ecocycles. 4: 68–72. doi:10.19040/ecocycles.v4i1.107.
- East, May; Mare, Christopher (2018). "Community-based solutions to locally-sourced food production systems featuring the revival of indigenous knowledge". Ecocycles. 4: 32–40. doi:10.19040/ecocycles.v4i1.96.
- East, May (2018). "Regenerative Strategies for Climate Justice". Ecocycles. 4: 1–6. doi:10.19040/ecocycles.v4i1.95.
- East, May (2016). "Community-led approaches and interventions for the regeneration of abandoned towns in Southern Italy". Ecocycles. 2. doi:10.19040/ecocycles.v2i1.40.
- East, May (2018). "Rising Cities: Continuity, Innovation and Deliberation of Vauban District of Freiburg, Germany". Ecocycles. 4 (2): 58–74. doi:10.19040/ecocycles.v4i2.106.
- East, May (2019). "Mapping the 'presency' of women in cities". Ecocycles. 5 (2): 1–5. doi:10.19040/ecocycles.v5i2.144.
- East, May (2020). "Design for sustainable cultural landscapes - A whole-systems framework". Ecocycles. doi:10.19040/ecocycles.v7i1.185.
- East, May (2021). "Sustainable entrepreneurship and the Sustainable Development Goals: Community-led initiatives, the social solidarity economy and commons ecologies". Ecocycles. doi:10.1002/bse.2706.
- Giangrande, Naresh; White, Rehema M.; East, May; Jackson, Ross; Clarke, Tim; Saloff Coste, Michel; Penha-Lopes, Gil (2019). "A Competency Framework to Assess and Activate Education for Sustainable Development: Addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals 4.7 Challenge". Sustainability. 11 (10): 2832. doi:10.3390/su11102832.
- East, May (2019). "Maximising the Edges of Natural and Human Systems: The Case for Sociotones". Sustainability. 11 (24): 7203. doi:10.3390/su11247203.