National Geographic: SOIL Wins the UNCCD Land for Life Award
Written by Lauren Ward for National Geographic on July 6, 2012
SOIL (Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods) won first place at this year’s UNCCD’s Land for Life Award ceremony and will receive $40,000 to support the development of an integrated agricultural livelihood learning center and demonstration farm located near Cap-Haitian, Haiti.
Co-founded by Emerging Explorer Sasha Kramer, SOIL was selected for their innovative linkage between human health and soil health and is the first ever recipient of the award.
The Land for Life Award was created by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) to recognize and support initiatives that help secure the health and productivity of soil for the well-being of present and future generations.
As the name of the convention would suggest, soil health faces growing attention as every minute, land equivalent to the size of a football field becomes unproductive, lost to degradation through desertification and drought.
Since 2006, SOIL has been working in some of the poorest areas of Haiti to develop an integrated approach to the issues of inadequate sanitation, declining soil fertility and extensive soil erosion. SOIL has found ecological sanitation (EcoSan) to be an affordable and environmentally sustainable technology with which to simultaneously address these problems. EcoSan is a process by which wastes from specially designed toilet facilities are converted into safe, nutrient-rich compost that can be used to increase agricultural yield, improve the viability of reforestation programs and regenerate depleted soils.
The winners were announced by Miss Universe Leila Lopes from Angola at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20 in Brazil.