1999 to 2021 winners
Find out more about our innovative and inspiring former winners and how they are protecting the environment and encouraging a more sustainable society.
Originally founded in 2000, Snowchange Cooperative is a network of Indigenous and local-traditional communities working on cultural, environmental and science issues. They primarily support programmes in the boreal and the Arctic to advance Indigenous cultural issues and wellbeing, rewilding and ecosystem restoration, as well as landscape-scale restoration of community lands.
Using Indigenous and traditional knowledge alongside the latest science and research, their Landscape Rewilding Programme rebuilds community- and Indigenous-relevant lands, forests and waters into biodiversity hotspots, carbon sinks, carbon stores, and healthy environments.
The Arctic and the boreal ecosystems are hardest hit by rapidly advancing climate change, yet the northern peatlands and associated forests contain at least one third of the world's soil-based carbon. Using Indigenous and traditional knowledge alongside the latest science and research, the Landscape Rewilding Programme restores and rewilds landscape-wide degraded ecosystems, especially peatlands, in the boreal back to health. Biodiversity issues are immediately alleviated, carbon sinks start to refunction, and water pollution is reduced, improving the health and wellbeing of the communities.
"We bow humbly in receiving this Prize which we dedicate to the northern indigenous and community women who lead the Snowchange work. Rewilding landscapes in Finland using traditional knowledge and science matters for all of Europe because of the migratory bird flyways and large number of peatlands we can restore. Our work also ratifies Saami indigenous rights in practice, even though, unfortunately, they are still not recognised by Finnish Government. We hope the global society joins us in a broad alliance to protect the boreal forests and Northern ecosystems of Finland."
Tero Mustonen, President, Snowchange Cooperative
Conservation Through Public Health, Uganda
Conservation Through Public Health was founded on the belief that conserving wildlife must go hand-in-hand with the support of neighbouring communities. Applying a unique One Health approach, this visionary and innovative initiative bridges, synergizes, and integrates approaches addressing three of the world’s greatest priorities: 1. Biodiversity conservation; 2. Health advances; and 3. Livelihood improvements for local communities.
Together with other partners, Conservation Through Public Health has not only made a significant difference, but it also serves as a scalable example for others to follow. Ultimately, ‘Conservation Through Public Health’ shows that, despite pressures facing humanity and nature, bold leadership, unique innovation, and courageous action can yield hope for a sustainable future around the world.
‘It is a great honour to be selected first as a finalist and then a winner for this prestigious prize. This prize will enable Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) to replicate a community-based health and conservation model that we have been championing for 16 years with the endangered Mountain Gorillas of Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park whose population is now showing a positive growth trend, to a different sub species of gorilla, the critically endangered Eastern Lowland Gorillas in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The prize will enable us to improve the health and livelihoods of communities who share a habitat with critically endangered gorillas and raise the international profile of “One Health” as a holistic approach to achieving conservation and sustainable development.’
Dr Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, co-founder of Conservation Through Public Health
Saathi developed eco-friendly, 100% biodegradable and compostable sanitary pads, using agricultural waste from banana tree farmers as a raw material. The Saathi pads enable girls and women in rural Jharkhand to have access to clean, biodegradable menstruation products.
‘It's an honour to be selected first as a finalist and ultimately as a winner for this prestigious prize. It's one of the few prizes that focuses on the environment and has a long history of amazing projects from around the world. Winning this prize will help us get more international recognition, raise awareness about improving feminine hygiene in India and reduce harmful waste created by sanitary pads. The prize money will also give us a significant boost in being able to scale up and purchase new machinery to be able to increase our capacity and reach 30 times more women.’
Kristin Kagetsu, co-founder of Saathi
The Mountain Institute, Peru
Healthy mountain ecosystems help buffer the impacts of climate change for local communities, wildlife and downstream populations worldwide. Mountain people rely on their surrounding environment for water, food, pasture and the raw materials that are the foundation of their livelihoods. Further downstream, towns and cities depend on mountain water for drinking, agriculture and industry.
Efforts to manage, conserve or restore natural environments can help people adapt to climate change by taking advantage of a healthy ecosystem’s natural resilience.
In 2013, The Mountain Institute, Peru began working with communities in the Nor-Yauyos Cochas Landscape Reserve affected by increasing water scarcity. They discovered the existence of a vast, complex and partially abandoned hydraulic system to manage water in the alpine high-plateau, or puna. Initiated as early as 100 BC, these systems were used extensively until about 1532. Through a complex system of dams and open earth canals, the systems increased soil and ground water storage, creating niche plant communities for camelid herds, and improved water supplies to irrigation systems.
Based on the experience and evidence gained, the group propose to reduce the vulnerability of mountain communities to increasing water scarcity by restoring ancestral hydraulic systems and principles. Their objective is to increase the availability of tools, case studies, methods/information and building and strengthening the capacities of networks of scientists and indigenous organisations to co-design and implement the restoration of this ancestral water system.
‘The Mountain Institute (TMI) is honoured to be the 2018 winner of the St Andrews Prize for the Environment. The award is recognition to the urgency to find solutions that, rooted in local cultures, secure mountain peoples’ water and livelihoods. Our project will expand now to cooperate with dozens of communities in the Andes to restore ancient water technologies and mountain ecosystems. This is recognition to the work of a network of partners who are part of this effort, like the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) of which The Mountain Institute, Peru is a proud member. With the financial support that comes with the Prize, TMI will continue working with communities in the Nor-Yauyos Cochas Landscape Reserve, archaeologists and wildlife experts to scale-up the restoration of ancestral water technologies all over Peru and in other countries of the Andes in the future.’
Dr Jorge Recharte Bullard, Director of the Andean Programme, The Mountain Institute, Peru
Led by the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International (CABI), Plantwise is a collaboration working with over 200 partners worldwide at a local, national and global level to increase food security and improve livelihoods whilst improving the environmental outcome for farming.
By establishing networks of local plant clinics, where farmers can obtain agricultural advice from trained plant doctors, they can maximise their crop yields and farm incomes. Another objective is to reduce the amount of chemicals used by the farmers and the offshoot of the clinics is seeing a marked decrease in the amount of hazardous pesticides in use.
The clinics are reinforced by the Plantwise Knowledge Bank, a gateway to actionable on and offline information. The Bank collects data about the farmers, the crops and the pests affecting them, which is then shared with national stakeholders. This quick and cyclical flow of information means everyone can improve their knowledge and benefit from new discoveries, including Plantwise who can then develop targeted best-practice guidelines for managing crop losses.
Plantwise has to-date reached over 9.8 million farmers in 34 countries, with 79 percent seeing their crop yields increase after their clinic visit. Their aim is to be established in 40 countries by 2020. With plans to roll-out tablets to plant clinics in multiple countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas,
Plantwise is trying to improve the quality of the recommendations given to farmers, and the speed of data collection, allowing them to track outbreaks of pests, in real time.
“It’s a privilege and an honour to win the 2017 St Andrews Prize for the Environment. The prize money will help scale up the use of our digital tools and applications, enabling plant doctors to make quicker and better diagnoses and recommendations. Improving the speed of data collection will help the both the farmers and the environment and more countries will be able to respond to emerging crop pests more promptly.
“We are grateful to our existing donors, whose support has enabled us to improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers through sustainable agricultural practices on a global scale. The St Andrews Prize for the Environment represents an exciting opportunity to scale up our digital innovations without restrictions.”
Dr Washington Otieno, Plantwise
Liter of Light, Brazil
As many as 1.3 billion people in the world and more than 3 million people in Brazil suffer from energy poverty. Liter of Light is a global open-source movement that provides sustainable lighting, free of charge to simple dwellings around the world. The simple device consists of a plastic bottle filled with water and bleach, fitted through the roof of a home to refract sunlight. The device provides the same amount of light as a 55 Watt light bulb and produces zero carbon emissions. The technology can also be upgraded with LED bulbs, solar panels and batteries to provide low-cost lighting at night.
There are still around 600 communities in the Amazon without a regular electricity supply and Liter of Light aims to bring its project to the riverside communities of Dominguinhos, Bararuá, Jacarezinho and São Jorge do Membeca in Brazil.
“We will now be able to expand our efforts in Brazil and bring light to those who need it most – families living in isolated riverine communities in the Amazon. Sometimes we don’t realise how important light is for our lives, how it makes it possible for a child to read a book during the night, for parents to cook a meal or a doctor to treat the ill. This support from the St Andrews Prize for the Environment will help us improve peoples’ lives and it will make a real difference within these communities.”
Vitor Belota Gomes, President of Liter of Light Brazil
Winners 1999 to 2015
- 2015 Chimpanzee Conservation, Guinea
- 2014 Blue Ventures, Madagascar
- 2013 Elephants and Bees, Kenya
- 2012 Lion Guardians, Kenya
- 2011 BioLite, India
- 2010 Arsenic Removal From Water, Bengal
- 2009 SolSource, Himalayas
- 2008 Elephant Toilet, Malawi
- 2007 River, Fibre and Power, Philippines
- 2006 Maya Nut, Guatemala
- 2005 Pump Aid, Zimbabwe
- 2004 GPS Territory Mapping, Peru
- 2003 Barefoot Engineers, Himalayas
- 2002 Rice Farm Insecticide Spraying, Vietnam
- 2001 Lake Victoria Community Education, Kenya
- 2000 Olive Oil Waste, Palestine
- 1999 Reversing Environmental Degradation, South Africa