Finalists chosen for prestigious St Andrews environmental award

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Credit: Wikimedia Commons

The finalists have been chosen for this year’s renowned St Andrews Prize for the Environment.

The three finalists were chosen from 400 entries worldwide. The winner will receive $100,000 and the two runners-up will each receive $25,000.

The Prize is a joint initiative by the University of St Andrews and the exploration and production company ConocoPhillips. It recognises significant contributions to environmental issues and concerns 2015 marks the 17th year in which the prize will be awarded. The prize focuses on sustainability, conservation, biodiversity and community development and it has always attracted entries on a wide range of topics like urban re-generation, recycling, health, water and waste issues and renewable energy. Submissions are assessed by a panel representing science, industry and Government, with the award going to the project they consider displays “the best combination of good science, economic realism and political acceptability.”

Of the three finalists this year, the first  is ‘Chimpanzee Conservation’ in Guinea, West Africa, a multi-level conservation project which aims to protect the largest remaining population of wild chimpanzees. The second is ‘Net-Works: From Fishing Nets to Carpet Tiles,’ from the Philippines, which was created to combat the environmental problem of discarded fishing nets in poor communities and fragile ecosystems, through a community-based supply chain which provides carpet tiles from the nets. The third is ‘The RIPPLE Effect – Integrated Conservation’ in Malawi. This project comprises the conservation of forested areas, introduction of fuel-efficient cook-stoves supplemented by tree planting and the conservation of fish stocks in Lake Malawi.

Lord Alec Broers, Chairman of the St Andrews Prize for the Environment Trustees said: “The prize rewards those who propose novel ways to preserve the environment and biodiversity. The ideas may be global or local, but if local should have the potential for broader application, and to make sure that they are practical and realistic the prize winners should understand the social and economic factors influencing the communities in which they are to be used.

“It is important that the prize money makes a significant difference to the success of the project. clean and efficient energy sources for small communities have been rewarded as have means of purifying water, cleaner sanitation and projects that preserve endangered species.

“A significant benefit to the winners is that they gain access to the expertise of the St Andrews Prize team and of past winners. This can help immensely in ensuring the success of their projects.”

The finalists’ presentations will be heard at a seminar at the University and the winner will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday 23 April 2015.

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