WISIONS of Sustainability

Our mission is to empower individuals and communities to transform the production and use of energy so that it effectively enables sustainable development. Read more about WISIONS activities, goals and background.

News Blog

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RedBioLACs working groups on biodigesters

News from WISIONS posted on August 19th, 2021

The recording of the online exchange on biofiltration of biogas is available on RedBioLAC youtube Channel. The exchange is part of the activities of one of RedBioLAC’s working groups [http://redbiolac.org/grupos-de-trabajo/], which focuses on the treatment and use of the effluents from biodigesters. In this exchange Dr. Emky Valdebenito of the Universidad de Concepción (Chile) presented (and discussed with experts of the region) advances in the research and development of biofilms for the removal of hydrogen sulphide from the biogas.Read moreMinimize

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

News from WISIONS posted on August 9th, 2021

We would like to spotlight the fact that indigenous communities around the world are leveraging decentralized renewable energy solutions to strengthen their livelihoods and protect their land. On the occasion of the International Day of Indigenous People, check out our project examples from Malaysia and Colombia on how advancing SDG7 can also effectively contribute to empowerment of indigenous communities.Read moreMinimize
One example is the “Integrating Watershed Development and Conservation” project which was implemented by our partners GreenEmpowerment and Tonibung in the Ulu Papar rainforest region in Malaysia: Here, three micro-hydro powered mini-grids were developed in close cooperation with the people of the villages of Pongobonon, Kalangaan and Longkogungan. More than 500 of the Orang Asal people living in 50 extended family households directly benefited from the project activities, which also included the building of pipe gravity and water filtration systems, training community members in systems operation, maintenance and administration, establishing finance mechanisms for small-scale agricultural processing, as well as developing a watershed protection plan for each village to preserve 2231 hectares of tropical ancestral rainforest. Besides such direct effects on their livelihoods, the project contributed to the political empowerment of the larger indigenous movement in the region, which eventually achieved a moratorium on the construction of a large dam in their territories.

Another example of how WISIONS aims to strengthen the role of community-based initiatives in promoting the diffusion of sustainable energy solutions in rural contexts is the conduction of research workshops on sustainable family farm practices in Colombia. In transdisciplinary formats, we aim to create spaces for the exchange and integration of knowledge from different perspectives, including representatives from farmer associations, NGO’s, research institutions, as well as local state institutions. Previous research by WISIONS on this topic has shown that the sustainable adoption of renewable energy solutions is often closely related to the level at which those energy solutions are integrated into the farming systems of rural households, and that community associations play a key role in that process.

We believe that promoting the appropriation of clean energy technologies does not only advance SDG7. It can also positively impact multiple dimensions of the development opportunities of indigenous people. In this way energy becomes a means for reducing inequality and marginalization.

Using biodigesters in wastewater management (Webinar)

News from WISIONS posted on July 28th, 2021

Following the launch of RedBioLAC’s webinar series, the second episode looked beyond the typical applications of biodigesters and focused on the function they can play in wastewater management. The invited lecturers were Raúl Botero (Costa Rica), an international expert in sustainable agricultural and livestock systems in the tropics, and Julián Andrés Giraldo (Colombia), a researcher at the Centre of Investigation in Sustainable Systems of Agricultural and Livestock Production (CIPAV) and a farmer.Read moreMinimize

Botero emphasised the significant potential in the tropics for biomass production and subsequently outlined its use in producing biogas and organic fertilisers for family farms. By combining a biodigester with the use of lagoons, it is possible to simultaneously recycle water and produce biogas: the wastewater from the barns can be used as fertiliser for aquatic plants in the decontamination lagoons which, in turn, recycle the water for reuse in the farm instead of polluting the river. Additionally, Botero put forward the use of human excrement as a biogas source; biodigesters work just as well using human waste as animal waste and this approach could decontaminate cities, bearing in mind that humans produce the same amount of CO2 as all the animals in the world. Another takeaway from Botero’s presentation is that one litre of deep-frying oil pollutes up to one million litres of water but generates 38 times more biogas than liquid cattle manure.

The second speaker, Julián Andrés Giraldo, shifted the focus of the webinar onto the role of knowledge exchange and participative experiments in the context of rural education. He explained how cultural traditions and values are no longer transmitted to the younger generation. Young people also lack experience in manual labour, with the result that they have lost a vital connection to the land. According to Giraldo, the integration of traditional knowledge and academia is an appropriate tool for tackling these failures. He referred to a project in the micro-basin “Los Sainos' ' in western Colombia that was initiated in the 1990s in response to the water crisis due to the emergence of monoculture in the 1980s. Instead of relocating, the 75 fincas there – one of which belonged to Giraldo’s parents – decided to take action. For this purpose, the campesin@s teamed up with local organisations and developed a strategy to rejuvenate the area and focus on environmentally-friendly methods of production. Biodigesters are one of the key technologies used to capture, filter and store rainwater. In a project at Giraldo’s parents’ finca, the effluent from the biodigester was used to cultivate aquatic plants in the canal; this decontaminated the water and created a source of food for birds and pigs. In 1995, this participative experiment won the “planeta azul” (blue planet) prize and is a prime example of how the combination of technical and rural knowledge can generate new technologies.

Click here to read the post about the first webinar.

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