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ECOLISE was established in 2014 to facilitate closer collaboration between community-led initiatives for action on climate change and sustainability. By focusing on citizen engagement in community-led action, the network aims to support the transition to a regenerative society and economy.
ECOLISE facilitates a collaborative platform for knowledge sharing and developing awareness of existing initiatives. It also advocates for policy development that will nurture, not hinder, grassroots, community-led action.
ECOLISE currently has 43 member organisations based in 18 countries. Members include international networks of community-led initiatives, such as the Transition Network, the Global Ecovillage Network and the Permaculture movement, as well as other local and regional networks such as ICLEI.
Flagship projects include: the European Day of Sustainable Communities; the Knowledge Commons, which encompasses the ECOLISE wiki; and the Sustainable Communities Programme, which works to create an enabling environment for community-led action. Through these activities, ECOLISE aims to support systemic change.
FEASTA is a think-tank with a mission to identify the characteristics (economic, cultural and environmental) of a truly sustainable society, articulate how the necessary transition can be effected, and promote the implementation of the measures required for this purpose.
It takes a systems-oriented approach, believing that we can cope with complexity through self-organisation and popular participation.
Some of the ideas that FEASTA has been promoting since it was established in 1998 are becoming increasingly mainsteam. In particular, the need to get beyond GDP as a measure of progress and the proposal that the atmosphere should be managed as a commons are increasingly recognised.
The name ‘Feasta’, meaning ‘henceforth’ in Irish, is closely associated with an 18th-century poem that expresses profound grief over the deforestation, biodiversity loss and mistreatment of the vulnerable that marked the colonialist period. The poem ends with a strongly-expressed desire for restoration and preservation, including the regeneration of community bonds.
Founded in 1995, Fern is an organisation based in the heart of the EU, dedicated to protecting forests and the rights of people who depend on them. It was established out of the need for an organisation to explain how the EU worked and coordinate NGO inputs to forest policy discussions.
It identifies the threats facing the world’s forests and works with affected peoples, social and environmental organisations, and policy makers to devise and deliver solutions where the EU can make a difference.
Fern’s successes include defining a unique policy that bans illegal timber from the EU market and improves the rule of law in highly forested countries. Another of its campaigns led the EU to set incentives for European forests to remove 3 billion tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere between 2020 and 2030, the equivalent of the EU’s total emissions for one year.
Fern believes that it is essential to address the social dimension of environmental conflicts; that strong coalitions are more likely to achieve lasting change; and that presenting ways forward is more effective than highlighting problems.
GRAIN fights for a better global food system, based on biodiversity, agro-ecology and short circuits, and under control of local communities: a food system good for people and for the planet. It fights against the corporate-controlled industrial food systems, which destroy the environment and local communities.
GRAIN began in the early 1990s, challenging the dramatic loss of seed diversity on farms. That work soon expanded into a larger programme including struggles for land, seeds, agroecology and climate in active collaboration with others.
GRAIN now works in support of small farmers and social movements for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems. This takes the form of independent research and analysis, networking at local, regional and international levels, and fostering new forms of cooperation and alliance-building.
Most of its work is oriented towards, and carried out in, Africa, Asia and Latin America, and it works directly with grass-roots partners in those regions.
It has played a role in creating better understanding of issues such as land-grabbing, control over seed and the role of industrial food in the climate crisis.
Karambi Group of People with Disabilities was founded in 1995 by a group of people with disabilities in response to the discrimination, isolation and exclusion faced by people with disabilities (PWDs) within Ugandan society.
Karambi Group of People creates a model of inclusion for persons with disabilities by promoting human rights, accessibility to social services for PWDs, economic empowerment and skill development; ensuring availability of food and increased income among persons with disabilities; and respecting nature by involving them in environmental conservation.
It has rehabilitated 350 PWDs, economically empowered over 140, and trained 75 in permaculture.
On its six acres of land, it has established a food forest, permaculture gardens and an irrigation system that is enabling it to produce organic foods in all seasons throughout the year.
It also operates a skill training and demonstration centre and has scaled down permaculture to primary schools, so that young people can learn how to work with nature while producing the needed nutritious foods.
PEACH was set up in 2013, in the London Borough of Newham.
It takes a community organising approach to its work, building the power of its community so that it can influence or make the decisions that affect it.
It began using the term ‘regeneration’ to refer to the urban regeneration process for which its neighbourhood has been selected. It looked at other sites of ‘regeneration’ in London and was worried by what it saw: communities broken up, new developments totally out of the financial reach of existing residents, and communities completely shut out of the decision-making processes.
This inspired it to want to change the meaning of regeneration in its Alternative Regeneration Plan.
Its plan is holistic and regenerative, thinking not just about how to demolish and rebuild, but how to maintain and grow a community, protect the social connections that provide support networks, provide relevant economic and social spaces, and improve its health and environment. It’s turning regeneration from something destructive that is being done to us into a positive opportunity for change.
SPNL is one of the oldest environmental NGO in Lebanon. SPNL was established around two issues: to promote the concept of protected areas, and to manage the hunting situation in Lebanon. SPNL has a long experience in research, education, advocacy, networking and community development.
Its mission revolves around the protection of nature, birds and biodiversity, and SPNL has succeeded in solving the problem of illegal killing of birds and wildlife, especially when it came to law enforcement around hunting. SPNL also works on the promotion of sustainable use of natural resources, through the Hima approach.
SPNL’s history is full of innovative solutions to difficult problems, such as promotion of the concept of protected areas during the civil war, and environmental awareness when it was not a priority; as well as the revival of the Hima approach, and empowering youth and women within patriarchal society.
Its Hima Farm Programme includes organic agriculture, permaculture, sustainable use of resources and no hunting. It raises the capacity of locals, provides jobs for locals and refugees, and conserves native plants & herbs.
Much of Survival Internation’s work is concentrated around pressuring governments, multinational corporations and other organisations to respect or uphold tribal rights, and most importantly, land rights. It also funds self-help and indigenous-led projects and challenge racist or prejudicial stereotypes of tribal peoples in the media.
It has achieved hundreds of successes over the years. In 1992, after 20 years of campaigning, Survival secured the demarcation of the Yanomami tribe’s land in Brazil, which together with Yanomami land in Venezuela, is the largest area of rainforest under indigenous control to this day. In 2006, its fight against mining and ‘development’ projects without Bushmen consent resulted in the first court victory where ‘native title’ was recognised in Africa.
Tribal peoples have vast botanical and zoological knowledge and a unique understanding of sustainable living. Eighty percent of the planet’s biodiversity is found in indigenous territories, which is no coincidence. Many areas regarded by outsiders as “wilderness” have actually been carefully managed and shaped by people for thousands of years.
Secure land rights are key to the resilience, mental and physical health, and livelihoods of many tribes around the world. In advocating for the land rights of tribal peoples, Survival supports their regenerative practices.
SVR was established in 2012 with the purpose of improving the standard of living of people in the rural areas of Kenya by training them in sustainable agriculture. Its goal is to help farmers to build resilient soils.
It conducts permaculture sensitisation campaigns and lobbying to influence thinking and public opinion in support of regeneration through work with orphans, the disabled, refugees and coffee farmers, and in local schools and its five established permaculture systems. It works on capacity building of agricultural extension officers and farmers in regenerative polyculture food production systems, which require no digging, pesticides, insecticides, weeding or watering.
Its thinking is that perspective of the current problems facing the world has been lost as a result of deliberate, externally inflicted, and deeply entrenched modern, conventional thinking. This has shifted people from accumulation and dispensation of wisdom and intelligence to accumulation of illusionary worldly material wealth.
It aims to change the context in which people are working, thinking and living to help build and strengthen the regenerative movement locally and internationally.
ZIMSOFF was established in 2002 as the voice of the peasants struggling for social justice in Zimbabwe. ZIMSOFF is farmer-owned and farmer-led and envisions improved livelihoods of organized and empowered smallholder farmers practising sustainable and viable ecological agriculture.
It seeks to reduce dependence on low and increasingly erratic rainfall and to conserve the remaining soil. In order to maintain participation, ZIMSOFF organises field days, seed and food fairs, organic food festivals, and exchange visits.
It is using farmer-to-farmer training to hone and spread proven techniques, including water harvesting, degraded wetland rehabilitation and organic agriculture, in a most drought-afflicted region.
It is developing living examples on managing living soils, seed and water in order to provide evidence for its advocacy work. Walking the talk on regeneration ideas means setting up convincing actions that make sense.
It is campaigning to influence policies and public awareness towards agroecology and smallholder farmers’ rights on access to healthy soils, clean water and seed.