Hello Ecosystem Restoration Communities!

Mar 2023

Written by Ecosystem Restoration Communities

From tiny shoots to mighty forests

In 2016, the first Ecosystem Restoration Camp was established in Spain by a small but pioneering group of earth restorers. Since then, we have transformed into a thriving international movement of more than 50 communities in over 30 countries worldwide, working together locally and globally on what our founder John Liu calls the ‘Great Work of Our Time’.

Along the way, we discovered many like-minded supporters who shared our vision for ecosystem restoration and quickly got behind us. Like a mycelial network, we started working together and despite living in a variety of landscapes and locations, we were united by the wish to restore ecological function around the world so that people and other living things can live together in harmony.

In summer 2021, in recognition of the incredible restoration work taking place around the globe, the United Nations made us an official supporting partner of their Decade of Ecosystem Restoration.

Growing and changing together

When we first started out, the term ‘camps’ reflected our aim to establish non-permanent camping sites on degraded lands where people from around the world could gather together to work on ecosystem restoration. 

Yet over time, our focus has increasingly shifted away from camps towards engaging with and mobilising local communities – an approach that not only supports lower personal carbon footprints, but is also in line with inspiring and attracting local people to contribute to regenerative practices and join the worldwide effort to restore degraded ecosystems.

We’ve also evolved considerably as an organisation since 2016, and the experiences now on offer are as varied as the communities that make up the movement. Beyond ecosystem restoration camp experiences alone, we now facilitate a wide range of educational courses, research & internship opportunities, a global knowledge exchange platform and more.

Since our focus, organisation and offer has shifted so significantly, it feels like the right time for our name to evolve too.

Why camps became communities

By moving from camps to communities, we want to demonstrate that we’re a living, growing, international community with common interests, ideals and goals.

We believe the word ‘communities’ is more aligned with what we have evolved into and it feels more expansive, inclusive and encompassing the diversity of work now taking place.

Our name change also represents what many earth restorers already know: that ecosystem restoration can’t take place in isolated camps, since this naturally symbiotic process is intricately entwined with local landscapes and lives.

In becoming Ecosystem Restoration Communities, we’re acknowledging the importance of these interconnected relationships and reaffirming our wish to work even more collaboratively in future.

Continuing the Great Work

Whilst our name might be changing, we’re still passionate about continuing the Great Work of our Time: empowering ordinary, everyday people to take the lead in restoring the earth and working together to repair damaged ecosystems.

In just five years, nearly 18,000 earth restorers have already planted around 2.4 million plants and trees in over 9 thousand hectares of degraded land worldwide. The collective ambition of restoration initiatives currently in the movement is to restore 3.1 million hectares, and this ambition will grow as our organisation expands. As a movement, our big goal is to have one million people come together by 2030 to reverse ecological destruction and restore biodiversity in hundreds of communities around the world.

We’d like to thank all our supporters, partners and earth restorers for joining us on the journey and all incredible achievements so far. As Ecosystem Restoration Communities, we can’t wait to see what we’ll grow together next!

Keen to support Ecosystem Restoration Communities? Here are four key ways you can get involved: