Borderlands Restoration in Arizona is both an NGO and a network of organizations along the USA-Mexico border working to build a regional economy based on ecological restoration. Its initiatives include a native plant nursery, landscape planning and watershed restoration projects, paid restoration internships and leadership experiences for local youth, and a permaculture farm. Visit their website for more information about the network’s activities and members.
Based in Kathmandu, Digo Bikas Institute (DBI) is a research and advocacy organization devoted to promoting ecological sustainability and social equity at both the policy and the community level. A lot of their work revolves around climate justice, and highlights the fact that economic growth and increased technology and “development” from the Global North — even supposedly “green” development — will only increase Nepal’s carbon footprint and contribute to the breakdown of its remaining communities and social fabric. Meanwhile, the local knowledge that, for generations, has allowed Nepalis to live sustainably is being lost. DBI is interested in the ways that this knowledge can not only benefit people in the Global South, but can also contribute to systemic change in the North. To learn more, visit http://www.digobikas.org. Photo by DFID (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
>When a drought wiped out nearly all the livestock in Dalmas Tiampati’s Maasai community in Kenya, and predatory businesses moved in to try selling food at exorbitant prices, Dalmas made a promise to protect his people from disasters both ecological and economic. So he founded the Maasai Center for Regenerative Pastoralism, which addresses the root causes of vulnerability by promoting holistic grassland management, ensuring water security, and preserving the traditional pastoral way of life. More at the Maasai Center for Regenerative Pastoralism website.
The Mesopotamian Ecology Movement works in the Kurdish autonomous region of North Kurdistan, in Turkey, to integrate ecological principles into the regional movement for political freedom and women’s rights. Its network of “ecology councils” is part of the broader movement for regional autonomy, and it has its work cut out for it –embargoes from surrounding hostile governments, the depredations of ISIS, and an influx of refugees from Syria are only a few of the challenges the Movement faces. Nevertheless, the Movement, with help from the international Terra Madre network (a project of Slow Food), has promoted seed saving, traditional construction techniques, and food security, all within the context of a radical communal political structure that is as democratic as it is revolutionary. Turkish speakers can check out the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement’s website to learn more. English speakers can take an extended look at the Mesopotamian Ecology Movement through our article on Medium, ‘Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East‘. Photo by Kurdishstruggle (CC BY 2.0)
Native Seeds/SEARCH (NS/S) is a nonprofit organization working to promote seed diversity and food security in the southwest region of the United States. Founded in 1983 as a humble operation with seeds stored in chest freezers, NS/S now preserves nearly 2,000 varieties of indigenous desert seeds, including many rare and endangered species. To learn more, visit Native Seeds/SEARCH’s website.
Pun Pun is an organic farm and intentional community, as well as a center for seed- saving and sustainable living and learning, just north of Chiang Mai, Thailand. Members of the Pun Pun community also run two restaurants in Chiang Mai City, where they serve local, organic, GMO-free food, created to highlight the value of the diverse traditional seed varieties grown and saved at Pun Pun. Read more about Pun Pun’s work in this Medium article.
Located in a protected Important Bird Area on Fiji’s Natewa Peninsula, the Sisi Initiative provides training for the local community in sustainable farming, beekeeping, baking, basketweaving, screen printing, jewelry-making and other handicrafts. Each of these projects is designed not only to build the resilience of the human community of the Natewa Peninsula, but also to serve as a reminder of how essential the biological community of the Peninsula — threatened by logging — is as well. In 2012, the Sisi Initiative won the Equator Prize, a biennial award given to community-based, rural sustainable development organizations. To learn more about the Sisi Initiative, read theirEquator case study.
What would ecosystems look like if management plans were based on local indigenous knowledge? The Snowchange Cooperative, based in northern Finland, brings traditional communities’ unparalleled knowledge of place into both scientific research on climate change and the governance of Finland’s natural resources. Through the Cooperative, native Sámi fishing and herding communities collaborate with governments and international scientific organizations to monitor fisheries, forests, and weather patterns; assess the ecological impacts of climate change and industrial activity; and develop management plans for rivers, lakes, wetlands, and watersheds based on traditional knowledge…
Tarun Bharat Sangh works with communities in semi-arid Rajasthan, India, restoring traditional water catchment systems to revitalize rural communities and ecosystems. After successfully restoring the water table in Alwar Village in 1985 by rebuilding a disused johad (a crescent-shaped dam to capture rainwater runoff), the organization went on to restore groundwater and forests in more than 750 villages in Rajasthan and beyond. Read more about Tarun Bharat Sangh and similar initiatives in our article series on water sovereignty. Photo by ecotippingpoints.org