Monday, October 26, 2009

Terre et Humanisme (Earth and Humanism) and Colibris: Mouvement pour la Terre et L’Humanisme (Colibris: Movement for the Earth and Humanism)

Location: France
Year: 1994-2009 and 2006-2009
Founder: Pierre Rabhi

French writer, farmer and environmentalist Pierre Rabhi has been working for over 45 years to create a new form of North-South development aid. He has trained more than 150,000 farmers in France and West Africa to adapt and apply ecological practices to their land, dramatically increasing their agricultural yields while at the same time respecting and preserving the environment. Rabhi’s initiatives have helped counteract the intensification of agricultural industrialization in France, where two-thirds of farms are larger than 125 acres and employ countless quantities of pesticides and fertilizers. They have also help address the pervading underdevelopment of agricultural practices in Western Africa, a region which unlike Asia and Latin America did not undergo a “green revolution” in the 1960s but continues to maintain stagnant productivity.

The NGO Terre et Humanisme (Earth and Humanism) runs agroecology programs in France, Mali, Morocco, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Cameroon. In France, the onsite training programs are paired with the actions of the internet-based Colibris Movement, founded by Rabhi in 2006. This venture is centered on three objectives: to sensitize the public about the importance of sustainable land practices and the consumption of local, seasonal produce, to support citizen action in initiatives that have these goals in mind, and to facilitate exchanges between communities and their local farmers. Particularly interesting is Colibris’ interactive map of France that shows locations where organic and local produce may be purchased. In March 2010, filmaker Coline Serreau will release in partnership with Colibris “The Earth Seen From the Earth,” a documentary on ecologic agricultural solutions from around the world.

Pierre Rabhi’s impact is visible in the hundreds of thousands of farmers he has directly or indirectly helped shift towards a more sustainable and productive practice. With the public backing of figures such as French ecologist Nicolas Hulot, the Colibris Movement has grown over the past few years, currently totaling 7,500 contributing members. Rabhi’s efforts have received recognition both in France and internationally, earning him
in 2009 a fellowship with Ashoka: Innovators for the Public, a leading non-profit international organization supporting social entrepreneurs.

No comments:

Post a Comment