This prize is for individuals, communities, aspiring businesses or newly formed groups and organisations to help establish a strong foundation from which to grow.
Knowledge sharing, training and strategy development are ways in which we would hope for this money to be used. We are also open to other suggestions if they will help make an idea a reality.
In 2019 there are four prize winners, with each being awarded £10,000.
Below are the winners, short-listed projects and other nominees.
Apthapi Comunidades del Vivir Bien believes that we live in a time of imbalance between human beings, and between the latter and nature, such that our very existence is in danger.
It suggests that we need to regenerate and restore ways in which we can relate and coexist for greater natural and social equilibrium.
This gave birth to the idea of creating a space where it can teach and show that Vivir Bien (living well) is possible; a space where it can raise new generations that learn to respect and care for a more balanced way of life, known as the “Escuela del Vivir Bien” (School of living well).
The School is a new initiative of four organisations that are combining their experiences: Flor de Leche, Inti Phajsi, Casa Espejo and Wayna Tambo, and is carried out in the districts of Achocalla, El Alto and La Paz in Bolivia.
It will be used by groups of people organised under a collective, institution or association that can learn and then implement the proposed curriculum in their territories.
In this crucial time of climate, environmental, social and economic crises, Sicily is struggling to find an encompassing vision, to break free from widespread inertia and resignation, and align itself with its values.
The idea of Laboratorio Sicilia 2030 is to actively support individuals and organizations in Sicily to regenerate and grow sustainably following the UN 2030 Agenda. It is choosing to unite many often uncoordinated local initiatives in Sicily under the inclusive and organizing purpose of the Sustainable Development Goals.
It wants to collaborate with all sectors of society and facilitate multi-stakeholder collaborations.
For Laboratorio Sicilia, the time has come to enter into an era of shared responsibility and learning, co-creating a laboratory of solutions for planetary health and the benefit of all.
In August 2018, Ripanu’s founder conducted an investigation about the Sapara people and how they have resisted oil drilling. One of the communities visited, Ripanu, was interested in making an ecological tourism project as a strategy for halting oil drilling on their lands.
Hence, the idea was co-developed to build a centre focused on the conservation of the rainforest, the teaching of controlled dreaming, and the emotional, mental and spiritual healing and rejuvenation of visitors using ancestral and natural medicine.
The centre would consist of five huts for a total of 20 people. It would be built on Sapara lands, in the middle of the Ecuadorian Amazon, and promoted via a website using videos, photos and messages from the Ripanu community, inviting people from all over the world to heal, rejuvenate and dream in the midst of the rainforest of the Sapara lands.
The Sapara people are an indigenous ethnolinguistic Amazonian group at risk of disappearing over recent decades, despite the fact that UNESCO proclaimed their Orality and Cultural Manifestations as Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Only four elders speak the Sapara language. The project’s aim is to defend the ancestral lands of the Sapara people from the oil industry, regenerate the ancestral Sapara culture, and live in harmony and peace with the natural habitat.
Verdegaia is based in Vigo, Galicia’s largest city. In late 2017, a catastrophic wave of forest fires desolated Galicia and Portugal, killing over 120 people and burning over half a million hectares. The “Brigadas deseucaliptizadoras” (or “De-eucalyptization Brigades”) is a grass-roots, environmental activism project that emerged after this.
Eucalyptus is a highly invasive and pyrophile species that has been encouraged for decades by the pulp industry. Eucalyptus monocultures create a “green desert” with extremely reduced biodiversity, pushing back native forests to small fragmented patches.
After the fires a sense emerged that direct action needed to be taken instead of waiting for the government to lead change. Over 400 volunteers have signed up as brigade members, participating in more than 25 interventions since April 2018.
The “Brigadas” shows how people working together can bring about change in restoring landscapes and natural habitats and has transformed general pessimism regarding change into engaged participation.
Brickify recycles plastic waste bags into building bricks and lumber that are used to construct roads and build low-cost housing in Nigeria. It collects plastic waste dumped in drains, gutters and water ways and repurpose them to beautify the environment.
It also uses an inclusive model to collect its waste, whereby it rewards participating households and community members in cash or in kind as long as they submit the required level of waste.
The idea is motivated by the huge plastic waste problem in its communities. This problem leads to flooding, destroys the environment, harbours disease and causes other sorts of havoc.
Its bricks are durable, cheap, water and fire resistant, eco-friendly and heat resistant. They are available for sale to members of the public, but the project’s aim is to use them to build low-cost housing for the less privileged and homeless at a very cheap rate. There’s no need for cement to build the houses because they are used in a Lego like form.
The organisation was established by a group of permaculturists and transitioners who joined forces to communicate, and inspire people about, the message of regeneration in Greece. Compostopía is a co-created and interactive theatrical event about composting and upcycling.
Before each event, it gets to know the bioregion and establish a dynamic Bioregional directory. This is a community database that captures the wealth of each bioregion in terms of the: people (skills, needs, offers), surplus (products, services, tools, machinery), resources (waste materials) and community issues that can be addressed by pooling resources.
It integrates this information into a performance, which is delivered in conjunction with local communities. It engages and trains local youth in designing, organising and executing Compostop?a. It utilises wasted resources to make the stage/costumes. It integrates local organic farmers and producers by serving meals with their ingredients.
After the performance, it brings participants together to kickstart or present projects, all based on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, sharing resources, utilising waste and covering our needs with what it already has.
Earth Freedom Collective is a decentralized network of co-ops working in the domains of food, solar, housing, hemp/cannabis and health justice sanctuaries. Each co-op has a trauma-informed workforce development component, providing economic opportunity to society’s most marginalized.
The collective has access to over 700 acres of rural land in Northern California and a network of urban eco-villages in Oakland seeking to address issues of racial and economic justice, community health, sustainable housing and climate resilience.
It is working with diverse community partners to establish a hybrid model LLC cooperative and community land trust rooted in black and Indigenous land reclamation. These channels will provide practical pathways for large numbers of people to gain access to land, food and freedom from exploitation. It envisions the creation of numerous healing centers anchored by elders from various wisdom traditions that provide spiritual and practical support for marginalized communities.
ex aqua is part of Enactus, an international non-profit organization providing a platform for students to create community development projects with a social entrepreneurship approach. The project focuses on the Toliara region in southwest Madagascar where people suffer heavily from malnutrition.
More than 75% of the population lives below the poverty threshold of $1.9 per day. Additionally, 65% of the coral reefs in the region have died over the past 50 years, and decades of overfishing have decimated the fish stock. As a result, Madagascan fishermen are in need of an additional source of food and income.
Conventional marine bathing sponges are removed from the reef directly, but ex aqua has a sustainable approach to avoid further exploitation of the reef. Ripe sponges are halved and one part is left to regrow. ex aqua empowers fishermen to sustainably grow and harvest sponges and highly nutritious algae in the ocean.
ex aqua’s partner on site is Reef Doctor, a UK-based non-profit organisation that has been conducting conservation as well as social development projects in south-west Madagascar for 15 years. Reef Doctor’s experience provides an immense advantage for ex aqua in terms of regional knowledge, a very familiar contact with the locals, and the trust of the local community.
FREE aims to address a triple threat to the dignity, livelihood and ecosystem of a community in South Africa through providing the three most essential basic needs: water, energy and healthful food.
This idea was born from personal experience and observation of their rural village, where people have to walk kilometres to collect buckets of water; where kids can’t study at night due to a lack of light; and where, although they have plentiful land, most people live in a food desert.
Every home should have a rainwater tank, a solar panel and a permaculture garden. FREE plans to foster a culture of self-sufficiency by setting up a local company of young apprentices who will be responsible for the installation and maintenance of these systems. Profit can be reinvested to repeat the cycle.
“In 5 years time, I imagine looking over my wall to the hillside – currently degraded by erosion and litter – turned into rows of abundant, green, fresh, healthy vegetables, tended to by smiling women singing songs of gratitude, while kids play in the street, made safer, healthier and smarter by being able to study at night, drink clean water and eat good food.” Co-founder of FREE.
Being aware of challenges such as biodiversity loss, undervaluation of women’s labour in rural areas, and the overuse of agrochemicals motivated the development of LifePatch and the creation of Plantasia. Plantasia is an organization that connects local plant nurseries with communities promoting ecological regeneration in Mediterranean climates like Chile.
The project aims to regenerate ecosystems through implementing swarms of micro biodiversity hotspots, co-designed with botanical-wise local women and fostered by rural and urban communities. The idea draws inspiration from clusters of plants and cushion species, like Yareta, that nurse and shelter seedlings and other lifeforms in harsh environments.
A LifePatch unit is a selection of plants supported by a biodegradable base. In five years time, Plantasia expects to have implemented enough units of LifePatch to allow it to abstract the patterns and structures needed to replicate and consolidate the model in other regions as an efficient way to regenerate ecosystems.
Reflorestar Portugal came from the collective dream to empower human communities to enable natural regeneration. After the Portuguese wild fires in 2017, it began to call people for a collaborative event (the first Meeting for the Forests), where representatives from all over Portugal and other countries gathered to create bonds and solutions.
Reflorestar understands that it is a gradual process of gathering tools, techniques, economic resilience, and strengthening network bonds to facilitate conscious environmental development. It set about multiplying the number of regenerators. Its focus at the moment is to create seed banks and a tree nurseries network to enable reforestation projects, while educating and creating educational content to be shared.
Sharing experiences, and inspiring, connecting and nurturing people and projects, are key roles it has played on a national level. Its mission is to enhance the human potential to collaborate for the regeneration of planet earth and humanity itself.
Tarumim’s fundamental concern is helping communities build their adaptive capacity as the climate in Brazil becomes more hostile, both in terms of weather and politics.
In 2008, Tarumim’s director swam in a beautiful stream in Minas Gerais that has since dried up. Minas Gerais has lost over 90% of its Atlantic forest, and the disruption of the water cycle threatens the whole country, with floods in the north, major shortages in the cities of the south, and impacts around the world.
Syntropic farming can regenerate degraded land into bio-diverse agroforestry plots, returning springs to life and increasing rainfall, while its high yields provide food security and employment. There are networks in place, but the system is virtually unheard of in rural Minas Gerais, so Tarumim will channel funds from crowdfunding and businesses into fortifying and scaling these networks.
Since Carol Novaes (pictured) qualified as a Syntropic teacher and transitioned from conventional farming to agroforestry, several of the 42 agriculturalists’ projects in her area have also started experimenting. One of Tarumim’s projects is to fund her to hold free workshops and assist agriculturalists in the process of transition, and thereby catalyse a wave of community interest.
In 2017, three major hurricanes hit the Caribbean region, displacing hundreds of thousands of families. The recovery period began immediately after the disaster, but still basic support systems are limited and continue to stifle livelihoods, economic activity and overall development.
Feedback from hurricane victims from Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and Tortola indicate that some forms of support were slow to come by in terms of rebuilding livelihoods. Therefore, Team A.R.K. has designed The A.R.K. – Agri Recovery Kit.
The kit aims to empower users and communities to grow a portion of their own food during the months after a disaster, allowing room to secure other necessities and to rebuild.
The kit will contain food input materials – seeds (land varieties), organic pesticides and fertilizers, a compost block, degradable grow bags and solar battery, among other items.
It is supported with knowledge videos on practical actions for the recovery period, such as water purification and water catchment methods, food production techniques, and other sustainable living practices.
The Bee Camp’s vision is a future with cities in which people and nature co-exist in harmony. Its mission is to inspire and empower communities to make cities a better place for pollinators through education, awareness raising and a holistic approach to social change.
The mission starts with two challenges: 1. people living in the cities are disconnected from nature, and 2. the population of native pollinators is decreasing dramatically. Nearly one in ten wild bee species face extinction in Europe. More than 1,200 species of bees are found in Greece and The Bee Camp is committed to their conservation.
The project focuses on the future by providing hands-on workshops for children. At the same time, it creates city havens, or “Bee Spots”, consisting of bee-friendly flowers and insect-hotels, providing safe habitat for the pollinators. It is about to launch the “Athens Bee Path”, a safe pathway for the protection of urban pollinators, with the installation of a series of Bee Spots.
In 2016, the founder of YAKUM went to Ecuador to learn about deforestation and agroforestry. In 2017 he returned and found some local ethnobotanical experts, with whom he visited many indigenous communities.
The Shuars in particular liked the idea of regenerating pasture-land with the forgotten foods and medicines of their forefathers and mothers, and over six months, they set up 15 small sites in ten Amazon communities, using over 100 culturally important species.
They stayed with many families and talked for hours about needs, pressures, deforestation and cultural erosion. They often struck a chord when talking about food culture, nutrition and forest loss. They built a nursery in one community and it was incredibly successful. They built a couple more, and then a couple more. YAKUM now works with hundreds of community members in ten communities.
YAKUM wishes to bring together core members of different communities to deliver permaculture and agroforestry workshops, ensuring that it not only “reforests” with them but regenerates, ensuring high yields, less pests and rich soil.
The project’s vision is for these communities to become centres of excellence in Amazon agroforestry and conservation and lead the projects themselves, through capacity building and youth leadership development.