Restoring degraded landscapes one ecosystem at a time

A special edition of REVOLVE magazine dedicated to restoring degraded landscapes has been published in partnership with Meaningful client Ecosystem Restoration Camps (ERC).

Marking the beginning of the new UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030), of which ERC is an official Supporting Partner, the edition was published on 21 March to coincide with the UN International Day of Forests.

Ecosystem restoration is the “process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged or destroyed”. It’s an issue very close to our heart, so we were pleased to manage a 3-month media partnership with REVOLVE on behalf of ERC on a pro-bono basis. Helping to tell the story of ecosystem restoration is our way of giving something back to the projects and communities doing meaningful work for society and the environment.

The campaign included:

A photo competition to choose REVOLVE’s Spring cover image

37 stunning images were collected from 19 ERC camps around the world and readers were invited to vote for their favourite online. The winning photo, an inspiring shot from ECR’s Mainsprings camp in Tanzania, became the cover image for REVOLVE’s Spring issue.

A 16-page photo essay

When it comes to bringing ecosystem restoration to life, an image can be worth a thousand words. This photo essay showcases inspiring ERC images from around the globe in a special 16-page magazine feature.

A double-page interview with ERC Camp Coordinator and co-founder Ashleigh Brown

Ashleigh spoke to REVOLVE about the origins of ERC and how what started as a grassroots initiative has grown into a global effort to restore degraded landscapes and educate as many people as possible about the value of ecosystem restoration. The interview was published online as well as in print. Read an excerpt here.

Ecosystem restoration could solve a multitude of problems such as desertification, food insecurity and climate change. It can even help quell the flames of conflict in places where desertification has caused desperation.

Ashleigh Brown, camp coordinator and co-founder of Ecosystem Restoration Camps

Ecosystem Restoration Camps is a global movement of people working together to repair broken ecosystems and, in doing so, provide humanity with hope of a better future. With 37 camps currently active worldwide, ERC aims to bring one million people together by 2030 to restore degraded ecosystems in 100 camps around the world.

REVOLVE is an award-winning quarterly magazine with an international readership, focused on sustainability issues such as water, energy, mobility, ecosystems and the circular economy.

Discover the Spring issue of REVOLVE magazine featuring Ecosystem Restoration Camps here.


Telling an environmental story of hope

At a time when headlines about the climate crisis and the loss of biodiversity are rarely out of the news, there’s a story of hope waiting to be told by journalists and communications professionals and discovered by ESG investors.

Scientists are finding that land restoration can profoundly benefit communities, the environment, and even reverse the effects of climate change. Results include improved soil health, increased biodiversity, the return of native wildlife species, and the removal of carbon from the atmosphere.

The Meaningful team recently supported a journalist-only webinar to explore this exciting topic, hosted by the Resilience Media Project at The Earth Institute, Columbia University. Speakers included noted environmental author Judith D. Schwartz and ecologist John D. Liu, founder and chair of Ecosystem Restoration Camps, an international non-profit.

Still from the Webinar

“It’s empowering for people,” says Liu, “It raises them from desperate poverty and gives them agency. Because they are involved in the restoration, it allows them to see they are the method which changes their situation.”

Although land restoration alone cannot solve all the problems currently facing the natural world, it is quickly becoming a major tool for ecologists, farmers, and investors. But before a story of hope can be told, communities need to understand what restoration projects might mean for marginal lands in their area.

If people don’t know what’s possible, how can we begin to envision it?

“If people don’t know what’s possible, how can we begin to envision it?” says Schwartz. “Journalists can really offer a service in telling stories of how people are able to heal the landscapes of their communities.”

While large scale projects are an important piece of the puzzle, restoration can and does happen on a much smaller scale. In urban areas, the use of permeable footpaths can help to control runoff and flooding. Green roofs can help to retain water that otherwise would wash quickly down storm drains, and they also help to reduce the ‘heat island effect’ that keeps cities as much as 10 degrees warmer in the summer. And former brownfield sites can be reclaimed and turned into sustainable housing. In other words, restoration projects can be found everywhere – it’s just a case of knowing where to look.

A blog about land restoration is now available from the Earth Institute, including a complete writeup of the webinar plus some useful resources for journalists, PRs and ESG investors wanting to learn more. 

Access the webinar, blog and journalist resources

How one NGO is harnessing tech to save the planet

Ecosystem Restoration Camps has launched programmes on six continents.

Meaningful is delighted to have supported the production of a new Business Insider documentary, profiling our client Ecosystem Restoration Camps.

The video takes the environmental non-profit’s mission to a global audience, shining a light on its aim to bring one million people together to restore degraded lands in 100 camps around the world by 2030.

The film highlights how Ecosystem Restoration Camps is successfully harnessing technology and social media to build a fast-growing global network of volunteers and local people, bringing them together with experts and resources to deliver real-world change.

As the UN estimates that a third of the world’s soil is now depleted and with the situation worsening due to climate change, initiatives such as composting, planting native species and sculpting the land for water retention are educating people about healthy soil management and repairing ecosystems in a wide range of global contexts. The effectiveness of the approach has meant the non-profit has grown from just 3 camps in 2018 to 23 camps in 16 countries, with more camps due to open very soon.

Educating people about healthy soil management and repairing ecosystems in a wide range of global contexts.

We enjoyed working closely with the Business Insider team in New York to source original video content from around the world and arrange filming on location in California and Egypt, using local film crews to avoid the need for flights.

Business Insider has a significant international reach with 57 million social media followers and more than 300 million video views.

Want to learn more about this growing global movement to restore ecosystems and reverse climate change?

Watch the documentary