Imagine you went to a festival, and it restored the land, rather than trashing it? Here's Ecosystem Restoration Camps
We’re delighted to run this piece from Ashleigh Brown, who is co-founder and Business Development Manager for the Ecosystem Restoration Camps movement. Ashleigh explains it below:
Ecosystem Restoration Camps is an idea whose time has come. Thousands of people around the world are watching the news of ecological collapse in horror, feeling a deep need to take action. And there are hundreds of farmers and landowners stuck in a cycle of land degradation that they want to escape.
Ecosystem Restoration Camps, the brainchild of documentary film maker and ecologist John D. Liu, marries the two. It gives everyday people the opportunity to restore degraded ecosystems and learn the skills needed that they can take home.
Campers learn these techniques and then implement them on land managed by farmers and landowners with the desire to transition to regenerative practices.
The journey began in September 2016, when John Liu created a facebook group called the ‘Ecosystem Restoration Cooperative’, to test his idea with the public. The group quickly become popular, and gathered together a group of individuals from all over the world who were keen to make the idea a reality.
The strategy was, if 1,000 people pledged to give 10 euros a month, the organisation would be formed. Hitting the 1,000 mark gave the organising committee the confidence to register the Ecosystem Restoration Camps Foundation as a non profit foundation in the Netherlands in February 2017.
The first camp is blossoming in the Murcian region of south eastern Spain, a region heavily affected by drought, desertification and climate change due to unsustainable industrial land management.
Accommodation, washing and eating facilities now exist at the first camp, with hundreds of people passing through to restore the region and a waiting list 5 months long.
A second camp is opening in Mexico in March that will give people the opportunity to learn how to restore degraded ecosystems through practical action at Regeneration International’s regenerative ranch, Via Organica.
Another element of Ecosystem Restoration Camp’s work, in conjunction with its partners, is the Re-Generation Festival concept - a music, dance and arts festival that restores degraded ecosystems. Festival goers plant trees, bushes, and shrubs as well as digging, composting and watering whilst dancing to music from live bands and djs from around the world.
We've been part of organising the first ReGen fest which took place in Spain in September 2018, and now we are planning the next in the UK, with a newly formulated organisation called Re-Generation Events UK, for March 2020. Together we've created our own prototype, with the idea loosely inspired by Greenpop's Reforest Fest. The festival in the UK is an idea that sprouted from the mother festival in Spain.
There is interest in opening camps all over the world. This truly is an idea whose time has come. This is a global movement of everyday people. Join by becoming a member, a camper, and start your own camp in your community.
Ashleigh has told us that their movement is very much a kindred spirit of the “Regenerative Hubs” concept promoted by Joe Brewer and Daniel Wahl. And it’s also part of our exploration in the civic and political power of festival and place in A/UK.