From a total of 265 entries received for this year’s award, three individuals leading environmental projects in several countries across the world have been shortlisted for the prestigious 2007 St Andrews Prize for the Environment.
An environmental initiative by the University of St Andrews in Scotland , and the international integrated energy company, ConocoPhillips, the aim of the Prize is to find practical solutions to environmental challenges from around the globe.
Sir Crispin Tickell, Chairman of the St Andrews Prize for the Environment Trustees, said: “The Prize is now in its ninth year and we are delighted that it has become so well established and continues to attract such a range of innovative projects from all over the world. We are very much looking forward to meeting the finalists and hearing about their projects in detail.”
The finalists’ presentations will be heard at St Andrews University next month and the winner announced on 9 May.
This year’s finalists are:
River, Fibre and Power: Bringing lights and life to poor coconut farmers in remote areas
The principal objective of the River, Fibre and Power project is to bring sustainable lighting services and improved livelihood to poor coconut farmers in the remote, mountainous areas of the Philippines . Basic services including household lighting do not reach farmers in remote areas.
The low price of coconut oil has made it extremely difficult for farmers there who earn a maximum of only $200 a year.
However, in those remote areas, there is an abundance of coconut husks and water in rivers and creeks. The project uses water power to generate clean electricity that will power battery re-charging facilities. Batteries and lights, which greatly improve quality of life and enable farmers to work at night, are then distributed to even the most remote households.
In addition, the project has developed an innovative method of payment for the lighting services received. The farmers are trained to process coconut husks into fibres, which have a variety of uses including insulation, erosion control, and protection of newly planted trees from flooding and landslides. Those fibres are bartered for the battery recharging service and also sold to groups who use them in their own environmental projects, thereby generating an additional source of income.
As well as reviving the coconut fibre growing industry the additional money generated from fibre sales is injected back into the River Fibre and Water power project to increase the number of poor farmers being supplied with batteries, lights and a coconut fibre livelihood.
Satellite images for conservation in developing countries
A large number of satellite images have been taken and stored over time yet finding and using these can require specialised skills and tools. The objective of the project is to access this source material and make images available in a user friendly way for the support of conservation and other initiatives in developing countries.
The concept evolved from discussions which the eventual project director had with conservationists and wildlife park managers in several, southeast Asian countries. Those discussions highlighted the problems faced by those managers and how satellite data could help. That led to a system that creates collections of images in a common format and provides uncomplicated software to make viewing and using these images straightforward. The images and software were made available at no cost.
The collections included old and new images enabling users to monitor their wildlife parks, assess changes taking place over time, and to use the images to communicate problems in their day to day running.
The prototype was improved and images are now collected on a country by country basis and according to specific requests from conservation communities in developing regions. The project team continues to develop the viewer software so that it is more effective and easy to use.
The U.S Geological Survey operates the satellite data facility and provides the permanent home for the system, called TerraLook, which has a range of users in disciplines including sustainable development, education, urban studies and conservation.
The Seawater Greenhouse
The Seawater Greenhouse project has been developed to create an economic and sustainable way of cultivating high quality crops all year round in hot, arid coastal regions, through the use of solar energy and seawater.
The greenhouses are built of timber on a galvanised steel frame with polythene cladding, pipework and cardboard evaporators. All material are available locally, at low cost, and can be completely recycled.
This innovative project has reversed the traditional function of greenhouses, making them cooler and more humid inside than outside. It has also been discovered that to enable year round cultivation it is cheaper in capital and energy costs to cool a greenhouse in a hot country than to provide supplementary heat and light, through conventional hot house use, in a cooler climate.
The Seawater Greenhouse operates on the principle that air entering the greenhouse is cooled and humidified by an evaporator which provides good climatic conditions for crop growing. As the air leaves the growing area, it passes through a second evaporator which has hot seawater flowing over it heated from the greenhouse roof canopy. Fresh water condenses out of this hot and steamy air stream when it is cooled by water circulated through a condenser.
This technology provides pure distilled water and food which could benefit over eighty countries with arid regions in proximity to the sea. And, as the demand for water is increasing, areas of the world facing drought, salt infected soil, high temperatures and increasing shortages of groundwater may also benefit.
Now in its 9 th year, the St Andrews Prize for the Environment has attracted entries on topics as diverse as sustainable development in the Amazon rainforest, urban re-generation, recycling, health and water issues and renewable energy.
Submissions are assessed by a panel of Trustees (see below) representing science, industry and government, with the award going to the project the Trustees consider displays the best combination of good science, economic realism and political acceptability.
The winner receives $50,000 and a medal, and the two runners-up each receive $10,000.
Information about the St Andrews Prize is available on www.thestandrewsprize.com
University of St Andrews
The University of St Andrews was founded in 1413 and is the oldest university in Scotland . By the middle of the sixteenth century the University had three colleges - St Salvator's (1450), St Leonard's (1511), and St Mary's (1538): the buildings of St Mary's College and St Salvator's Chapel both date from this period.
For almost six centuries, the University has upheld the tradition of academic excellence, attracting scholars of international repute and students from all over the world and today, continues to offer the latest in teaching and research.
ConocoPhillips is an international integrated energy company with approximately 35,800 employees and operations in more than 40 countries. Headquartered in Houston , Texas , ConocoPhillips is the fifth largest integrated energy company in the USA based on market capitalisation and proven oil and gas reserves, and production.
ConocoPhillips is committed to conducting its business to promote economic growth, a healthy environment and vibrant communities wherever it operates, now and in the future.
For further media information, photographs, and to arrange interviews please contact Doug Allsop or Dick Mutch at:
Barker Mearns and Gill Public Relations
7 Carden Place
AB10 1 PP
Tel +44 1224 646311. Fax +44 1224 631882
Email firstname.lastname@example.org ; email@example.com
Previous winners of The St Andrews Prize for the Environment
- An innovative programme, which has resulted in rural women in Central America harnessing the benefits of the Maya Nut, and thereby improving family and environmental health, won in 2006.The programme is successfully re-establishing the Maya Nut, a nutritious, delicious and easy to harvest tree seed native to lowland rainforests, into the Central American diet. In Guatemala , Nicaragua and Honduras micro-enterprises formed by groups of women are producing and selling Maya Nut products, which have been lauded as successful models of sustainable development.
- An innovative pump, providing some of the poorest people in Africa with reliable and sustainable water supplies, won in 2005. Three Zimbabwe-based teachers, Ian Thorpe, Tendai Mawunga and Amos Chitungo, developed the Elephant Pump in direct response to the deaths of three of their pupils from contaminated drinking water. Using simple technology and built from locally available materials, the Elephant Pump is easy and cheap to install and maintain.
- In 2004, British anthropologist Conrad Feather won the prize for his work which has enabled the Nahua people of Peru to map and signpost their territory using the latest GPS, photographic, radio and video equipment. The project involves the active participation of the local community, local NGOs and forestry authorities providing a basis for future sustainable management and development.
- The 2003 Prize was won by Bunker Roy, the Indian founder and head of the Barefoot College of Rajasthan, who has brought much-needed solar energy to remote Himalayan villages, using so-called “barefoot engineers”.
- In 2002 Dr Monina Escalada, and colleagues at the International Rice Research Institute of the Philippines , received the prize for an initiative aimed at persuading a million rice farmers in North Vietnam to stop spraying harmful and unnecessary insecticides.
- In 2001, George Odera Outa of the University of Nairobi, Kenya, won the prize. His project related to the environmental hazards that are choking Lake Victoria and threatening the livelihoods – and the health – of the four million people who live around it. Through traditional African theatre of song, dance and drama, Odera Outa made the community more aware of what is happening and what they can do about it.
- The joint winners for 2000 were two Palestinian academics, Prof. Hikmat Hilal and Dr Amer El-Hamouz, who proposed to turn waste from olive oil production into valuable by-products.
- Daniel Limpitlaw, an environmental engineer from Johannesburg , won the first St Andrews Prize for the Environment in 1999. His project to reverse the damage caused by environmental degradation from early mining developments is now receiving commercial backing.
St Andrews Prize for the Environment Trustees
Sir Crispin Tickell (Chairman) - Director of the Policy Foresight Programme at the James Martin Institute at Oxford University and former Convener of the British Government's Panel on Sustainable Development.
Dr Alun Anderson - Senior Consultant, The New Scientist
Sir Neil Chalmers - Warden, Wadham College , Oxford
James Currie - Consultant in EU and US Public Affairs
Professor Sir Howard Dalton - Chief Scientific Adviser, DEFRA
Keith Henry - Former Chief Executive of Kvaerner Engineering and Construction
Baroness Howe of Idlicote – Chair, BOC Foundation for the Environment
Archie Kennedy - Managing Director, ConocoPhillips ( U.K. ) Limited
Lord Krebs – Principal, Jesus College , Oxford and former Chairman of the Food Standards Agency
Dr Brian Lang - Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of St Andrews
Professor Jacqueline McGlade – Executive Director, European Environment Agency
Anita McNaught – Freelance Journalist and Broadcaster
Sara Parkin - Director of Forum for the Future
Robert Ridge - Vice President, Safety Health and Environment, ConocoPhillips
Paul Warwick – President, Europe and West Africa , ConocoPhillips
President Dr Kjetil Stuland - Rogaland Research Foundation, Stavanger