Photo: Yann Jacobsen
The following four projects have been approved for Founder Producers.
ChangeMaker - Dan Rubenstein
Small-farm agriculture and ecological imperatives are being studied at Princeton University. Since the introduction of chemical and industrial farm practices in the 1940s, most American farms have been driven by their markets to produce the highest yields per acre at the lowest costs on each parcel of farm land. Today’s ecological paradigm calls for regenerative agricultural practices that restore and preserve the biological integrity of land for the long-term health of crops, animals, farm families, and their communities. Can scientific experiments on small farms (drip irrigation, chemical-free fertilization, cropping schemes, etc.) move family lands from industrial standards to regenerative standards in a generation? Will urban markets support the transition? Can supply chains be made resilient? Our Principal Investigator Dan Rubenstein, with his team of NJ farmers and graduate students, offer an Original Pursuit with broad environmental, social, and community benefits.
ChangeMaker - Meg Lowman
The protection of global forests is a critical component to arresting the environmental devastation predicted with climate change. Tribal peoples who occupy the forests are raised on values of sustainability and dependent on forest biodiversity yet they have little education and market influence to impact important ecological debates in their countries. Changemaker Meg Lowman, a tropical biologist, believes she can build canopy walkways in five global forests and train local women and girls to operate canopy concessions, demonstrating what goes on in the high canopy and teaching others about the ecosystem services and biodiverse communities that live there. Her initiative will sustain local cultures while educating corporates, politicians, the media, and millions of future tourists about the economic and social values of saving tropical forests. She will demonstrate this from the canopy walkway she built in a state forest near her home in Sarasota, Florida.
ChangeMaker - Stephen Leatherman
People love their beaches. Sixty percent of world populations live within 60 miles of a beach. Commercial and residential investment in beachfronts exceed many trillions, over two trillion alone in Miami where seasonal tides have begun to invade city streets. Stephen Leatherman, a Fellow of Original Pursuit, has spent 40 years studying the geomorphology and integrity of US beaches and offshore islands, many of which will be lost to rising seas, storm tides, and beach erosion caused, in part, by deadly rip currents. We plan to spend a few days on Florida beaches with Dr. Leatherman to assess the fragile state of America’s wasting natural resource and explore potential research initiatives that might mitigate harm to local populations.
ChangeMakers - Ken Balcomb & Jim Youngren
Can an entrepreneur save a vanishing species? The southern pods of the iconic Orca (30-foot-long majestic sea mammals) patrolling the Pacific coasts are diminishing at an alarming rate, says marine biologist and Orca specialist Ken Balcomb. This is due to massive reductions in available Chinook salmon, their traditional food source. Teaming up with fish hatchery developer Jim Youngren, this pair of changemakers is planning to raise and barge 500,000 two-year old chinook smolts to feeding grounds in the Salish Sea near the San Juan Islands north of Seattle to impact the survival of Orcas. By illuminating the costs and possible benefits of this bold venture, Original Pursuit may galvanize coastal populations, shipping and fishing authorities, and the recreational fishing industry to support this one and only Seattle Sealift to preserve a neighboring species in distress.