It was the second day of hearing the motors of chainsaws chugging that Susan McMillan realised she had to make a decision…
“Do I intervene and stop the illegal logging happening next door, or do I let it slide?”
With a brave voice, she shouted loudly through treeline, “I’m calling the police!” Fortunately, the chain-sawing stopped without confrontation, and never returned.
This incident inspired Susan to use her “Protect Our Waters” skills to share with the local community the importance of trees to the local watershed. Many trees had been cut down in Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica. The region now experiences the drier weather patterns that come with the impact of deforestation.
Susan teamed up with Janine Jordan from Green Wave Enterprises (and a Bloom Chapter Lead), and together they wrote an open letter to the neighbours about the crucial role trees play in the ecosystem. This was surprisingly well received, creating a conversation point for the neighbourhood. Local realtors read the letter and showed their interest as well.
Seeing an opportunity, Susan and Janine organised a meeting specifically for realtors so they could share more information about why trees add value to property. This deeper understanding within the property industry will go a long way to protect the local environment. The shared letter on Facebook received over 500 hits (which is massive for this small rural community). Enough money has been gathered together to create 3 large road sign posters to bring more attention to the habitat and tree removal. The open letter has also galvanised local environmental enthusiasts who are now starting to come together, creating a website and Facebook community to stay in touch.
So much positive change happening, stemming from one brave decision to speak up and make a difference! This is a great example of the impact we can have in our neighbourhood, local community and ecosystem if we take steps to educate and engage people around ecological restoration and the goals of regenerative culture.
If you want to find out about our Local Bloom Chapters and how they work, head here.
Part of the Researching Regenerative Practises Blog Series
Restoring natural water retention back into landscapes is an essential task to be undertaken. A scary 1/3 of Earth’s land has been desertified at the hands of humans, causing widespread hunger and thirst. This will only get worse if we don’t take practical action.
Water Retention programs restore the land to a natural form which brings back seasonal rains. By enabling rainwater to be stored on site, these retention zones strategically hold the water during the dry seasons. The water can then by used to to re-establish forests and restore the water ecosystems.
Many regenerative practitioners are designing water retention systems. There are only a few companies that work through the full process of creating decentralised water retention landscapes from start to finish. Elemental Ecosystems is one such organisation and they are seeing amazing results with their work.
“We can’t address climate change without addressing the water cycle disturbance” says Founder Zach Weiss. “Everywhere it’s the same story. The precipitation levels are much higher when it comes, and it comes less often. Large dams and reservoirs are very energy intensive. Smaller decentralised water retention systems are much more efficient. Zach concludes, “It’s not the climate that’s the problem, it’s actually human management” of the land that we need to change.
Elemental Ecosystems are seeing results beyond the land they are specifically working on. The Portugal Tomorrow Village didn’t have enough water when the project started. Now they have a surplus. In a project in Borneo, there has been a 10% increase in rainfall, not just for the local site, but also locations downwind from the site.
Zack’s next goals are to work on upscaling, using a teaching
model that will enable students to learn the process, and then franchise Elemental
Ecosystems around the world. It is his hope that water retention projects will
take off and regenerate water ecosystems on a worldwide scale.
Sparking our regeneration knowledge by collecting stories happening around the world.
Imagine transforming the survival rate of trees from 10% to
90%? The reality of reforestation work means that little tree seedlings need to
withstand extreme heat, dryness and sometimes big winds, in those first few years
as they establish their roots.
Without ongoing care, survival rate can be as low as 10%.
That’s where the ingenuous invention by Land Life Company comes in. The Cocoon is a doughnut shaped pot made from paper pulp that is strong and water tight. It is placed over the tree, set into the ground and filled with 25 litres of water. A lid is then placed on top, and the pot covered with soil. In windy places a structure is also wrapped around the seedling to keep it strong.
The result is a 100% nutrient-embedded, biodegradable pot providing
all the things a tree needs when it’s living in a health ecosystem. As the pot decomposes,
nutrients are released into the soil giving the tree extra food during the
first year of planting. Success rates of plantations using The Cocoon are between
80-95%! And this all happens without ongoing care or irrigation to the site.
The Cocoon has transformed the possibilities of reforestation,
and can give us an inkling on how switching into regenerative thinking will be able
to transform our culture and practises.
Find out more about the Cocoon and the work of Land Life Company
by listening to CEO Juriaan Ruys talking with Koen van Seijen (Senior
Manager of Toniic) on the Investing in
Regenerative Agriculture podcast.
FOOD FOREST INSPIRATION Recently Futuro Verde’s science students, led by teacher Javier, visited The Green Wave House to study the multi-stage food forest. Adriana Pal, Green Wave House’s permaculture expert, received the students and gave them the educational tour. Students were able to observe the first phase food forest which is now about two years old and contains all layers as well as observe the freshly planted food forest extension.
FUTURO VERDE AS THE FIRST COSTA RICAN SCHOOL TO INTEGRATE PERMACULTURE FORMALLY INTO THEIR CURRICULUM Green Wave, through the consulting work of both Janine Jordan and Adriana Pal, has been working on formally integrating Permaculture into the curriculum at Futuro Verde. Futuro Verde is a dedicated environmental school in Costa Rica with students pre-K through 11th grade. Symbolically we kicked off efforts on Earth Day with the ecobrick planter and ceremony which included the donation of a refrigerator for a seed bank and seed bank stock from The Green Wave House. So far a new chicken coop has been made from the donation of Green Wave and the expansion of their school (plant) nursery is in progress. The school has taken the recommendation of building a banana circle to combat the issue they had with grey water in one area of the school as well. Green Wave donated money for the purchase of gardening kits for the students and Adriana Pal has successfully completed two workshops for the students including a tour to Cabo Blanco National Park to observe Nature’s design for a forest, as well as the food forest tour at The Green Wave House.
#EMATRASH2TREASURE CHALLENGE Since Earth Day, Janine Jordan, head of Nicoya Bloom and Green Wave, has been running a “trash to treasure” challenge for the Green Wave project, Electronic Music Alliance. This challenge was to inspire thought within the festival community surrounding the creative use of trash into art and fashion. Applications are currently being accepted until September 30th.
There are cash prizes and publicity for those recognized from the amazing judging panel. For more details visit their site.