During the spring and summer months, the birdsong on Knepp estate is a glorious cacophony of sound.
Walking through the scrubland of this 3,500-acre estate in West Sussex in the south of England, it’s hard to believe the tangled thickets and rugged pastures were once orderly arable fields.
The estate, which includes a 19th century castle, has belonged to the Burrell family for over 200 years. Charlie Burrell inherited it in 1985, when he was just 21.
“I came out of agricultural college incredibly enthusiastic about farming,” he says. “We’d been taught that conventional farming can work.”
But by the late 1990s, with the farm producing low yields and costs rising, the estate was facing serious financial trouble.
Burrell realized that the farm occupied “very poor agricultural land” and was destined never to produce high yields.
“I got to the point when I just felt that I couldn’t go on, because we actually were beginning to lose serious money,” says Burrell. “I needed to change and to change radically.”
Burrell and his wife, Isabella Tree, decided to turn to nature for a solution and in 2001, set about “rewilding” the estate. Knepp is now home to an astonishing array of biodiversity and has become a celebrated conservation success story, attracting many rare species and transforming the landscape from English country farm to untamed wilderness.
“We were living in a biological desert,” says Tree. “Now, ecologists are blown away all the time by just the amount of life here.”
A spiritual community, an ecovillage and a learning centre – a unique laboratory for change.
The Findhorn Foundation is a dynamic experiment where everyday life is guided by the inner voice of spirit, where we work in co-creation with the intelligence of nature and take inspired action towards our vision of a better world. We share our learning and way of life in experiential workshops, conferences and events that take place within a thriving community and ecovillage.
The Foundation has two main sites. The Park, nestled amidst dunes and forest, bay and beach, is an ecovillage that is home to many of our staff and a larger community of people living with shared values. Cluny Hill is a stately Victorian former hotel, five miles away from The Park, which houses staff and welcomes participants in our workshops and events. Our retreat house on the island of Iona, and the satellite community on the neighbouring island of Erraid, also welcome participants for life-changing experiences on the wild, wind-swept west coast of Scotland.
The Findhorn Foundation is an NGO associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information, holder of UN Habitat Best Practice designation and is co-founder of the Global Ecovillage Network and Holistic Centres Network. The Foundation is at the heart of a community of more than 500 people who every day support and live the vision of creating a better world by starting with themselves.
People in more equal societies live longer, have better mental health and have better chances for a good education regardless of their background. Community life is stronger where the income gap is narrower, children do better at school and they are less likely to become teenage parents. When inequality is reduced people trust each other more, there is less violence and rates of imprisonment are lower.
If we want to build a better society, it is essential we take action. The Equality Trust is working with others to build a social movement for change. We analyse and disseminate the latest research, promote robust evidence-based arguments and support a dynamic network of campaign groups across the country.
The Solution Library is first of all a directory of solutions. This means that it provides short descriptions of sustainable solutions available on the web, providing links to more information. It is a place where solutions from all over the internet are gathered in one easy-to-browse platform to help create a more sustainable world.
Our understanding of sustainability has five dimensions: Environmental, Social, Economic, Cultural/Worldview and Whole System (which integrates all four other dimensions in one). The SL’s solutions can be browsed by these dimensions through GEN’s signature mandala, and/or by geographic region.
Additionally, the Solution Library provides the possibility to share experiences with solutions, enriching the knowledge available about the solutions in the library.
And the Solution Library creates a global community by enabling members to connect with one another, or with projects where solutions are used. This way the SL facilitates direct knowledge exchange around sustainable solutions, making it easier for people to co-create a more sustainable world.
Atlas of the Future is an online resource mapping innovative, future-focused, socially impactful projects and people around the world. Our mission is to ‘democratise the future’. This means making sure developments are understandable and entertaining – not just in science and tech, politics or culture, urban planning or education, arts and design – but stories in every area of human activity.
We are not a large group, just concerned citizens who believe everyone should have a share in the way the world will be.
It is true that we face daunting problems and that our obsession with the short‐term has caused a global financial crisis and created environmental disasters. But it is because we believe in the future that we are optimistic. ‘Optimism is a strategy for making a better future,’ says the American intellectual and activist Noam Chomsky. ‘Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.’
If you agree, then help us make it so by bringing together the most ambitious and inspiring projects for the future in one place. It can be your own project or someone else’s. It might be a technological innovation, an environmental advance, a medical breakthrough or an ambitious social programme. We don’t mind. As long as it is an innovation for the greater good, then please share it with the Atlas of the Future.
We are providing quality reporting that focuses on progress and possibility. Owned by our readers and journalists worldwide, Positive News is also the first global media cooperative financed through crowdfunding. As a magazine and a movement, we are changing the news for good.
Media has a powerful influence on our world. We believe excessive negativity in the press is destructive for society, so instead we are working to create a more constructive and compassionate media.
The news can only ever capture a tiny fragment of reality, and it tends to focus on humanity at its worse. Positive News helps you see the bigger picture, keeping you informed without leaving you feeling cynical and hopeless. Be informed, be inspired.
Drama, blame and conflict-focused news stories can often divide us, but positive news stories can foster a sense of community.
Research has shown that negative news can lead to mental health problems, while positive news can boost your wellbeing.
The world’s first tidal energy farm could power 175,000 homes
Off the northernmost tip of Scotland, in an area called the Pentland Firth, the world’s first large-scale underwater energy farm is being built.
Whereas wind turbines use the movement of air to turn the blades and generate power, the new set of submerged turbines will be turned by the ocean’s tides.
The project, called MeyGen, is expected to have a power generation capacity of 398 megawatts – enough to power 175,000 homes in Scotland, according to Atlantis Resources, the developer of the project. The first four turbines are expected to be installed by the end of 2016 (though that’s contingent on tidal and weather conditions), and projected to start delivering power by early 2017.
An iconic, world-first infrastructure project in South West Wales
Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will be the world’s first tidal lagoon power plant.
A tidal lagoon is a ‘U’ shaped breakwater, built out from the coast which has a bank of hydro turbines in it. Water fills up and empties the man-made lagoon as the tides rise and fall. We generate electricity on both the incoming and outgoing tides, four times a day, every day.
Due to the incredible tides on the West Coast of Britain, by keeping the turbine gates shut for just three hours, there is already a 14 foot height difference in water between the inside and the outside of the lagoon. Power is then generated as the water rushes through 200ft long draft tubes, rotating the 23ft diameter hydro turbines.
Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon received planning consent in 2015 and will comprise 16 hydro turbines, a six mile breakwater wall, generating electricity for 155,000 homes for the next 120 years.
The 320MW pathfinder project provides a scalable blueprint for our programme, opening up the option of a fleet of larger UK tidal lagoons to generate renewable electricity at a scale and low cost not seen before.
Our aim is to start construction works on site in 2017, with the marine works (construction of the breakwaters/bund walls) commencing in early Spring 2018. Construction of the entire project will take a maximum of five years to complete.