And the winner of the 2016 Buckminster Fuller Challenge is… the Rainforest Solutions Project, a Tides Canada initiative from Greenpeace, Sierra Club British Columbia, and Stand.earth. The Rainforest Solutions Project helped create a 250-year agreement that prohibits logging in 85 percent of the 15 million acre Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia, Canada. The project has also helped protect the rights of indigenous people and preserve large swaths of land where rare spirit bears reside.
The Great Bear Rainforest is “one of the largest old growth temperate rainforests on the planet.” The region is also home to around 18,000 to 20,000 First Nations peoples, whose spirituality and identities are linked to the rainforest, according to Rainforest Solutions Project. Spirit bears, or Kermode bears, also make their home in the rainforest, and it is the only place in the world where they live, according to the Save The Great Bear Rainforest Facebook page.
The Rainforest Solutions Project team said in a statement, “The problems we faced are very common, although the ecosystems and First Nations cultures are unique. The process for the parties to move through conflict to collaboration required alliances and cross-cultural relationships, while holding firm to key principles. This helped us all navigate through complex issues to bring the art of the possible into being at a meaningful scale now and into the future.”
According to the Buckminster Fuller Institute, the agreement the Rainforest Solutions Project team helped develop is “historically unprecendented” and is “one of the most extraordinary approaches to conservation, social justice, and indigenous rights in recent memory.” Fuller Challenge Review Committee member Bill Browning said in a statement, “Selecting the Rainforest Solutions Project as the 2016 Winner is a provocative point in the evolution of the Challenge, as design is being recognized as an integral part of business and society.”