Three finalists for the 2022 St Andrews Prize for the Environment have been selected, with each hoping to win the US$100,000 prize. The finalists were chosen out of hundreds of world-wide entries by a panel of experts in environmental conservation, sustainable development, engineering, and economics.
The three finalists are: Avani, a non-government organisation based in the Himalayas which seeks to “become a resource centre for plant-based colourants” and thereby reduce the impact of toxic colourants; Health for Harmony, who are working with Indigenous People and local communities to give them an active role in the regeneration of rainforest; and Misión Tiburón, a community-based project working to protect blue carbon sinks in areas of Costa Rica. The finalists were chosen based on their track record, as well as their intentions for the future, if they were to receive the prize.
The Prize was established in 1998 to “recognise significant contributions to environmental conservation”, according to the University of St Andrews website. Since its inception, the prize has provided over US$2 million in funding to recipients around the world, providing much needed funds for projects in sustainable development, energy, health, education, and more.
Dr Hayaatun Sillem, Chair of the Prize, stated, “The quality and range of the finalists for this year’s St Andrews Prize for the Environment continue to impress… each of these projects is delivering meaningful change in the communities in which they work”.
Previous winning projects range from animal conservation to combatting harmful chemicals injected into the environment. The winners come from many diverse countries across the world, from Peru to Zimbabwe. Last year, the prize was awarded to Snowchange Cooperative, a group of non-Indigenous and local traditional communities working to resolve cultural, environmental and scientific issues in the Arctic and Boreal.
Two runners up to first prize will each receive a US$25,000 prize for making the finals. The finalists will present their projects to a panel of judges and students on Tuesday 22 November, and the winner will be announced that evening. The prize will go to the project that the judges deem the greatest combination of science, economic realism, and sustainability. This is the first time the finalist presentations will be in person since 2019, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Each finalist has expressed their gratitude to the University and the board of the Environmental Prize for their selection, as well as outlining in greater detail the function and goals of their projects.
Illustration: Lauren McAndrew