Latin America & the Caribbean 2019 Finalists

Anna Luisa Santos

View full bio
Turning rainwater into drinking water

Every two minutes, a child dies due to waterborne diseases. Aqualuz is a UN-recognized device that costs only US$125,00 and will reduce that problem. This is through a rainwater-harvesting system from the semi-arid areas of Brazil, but with potential for application in other countries. Applying the UNICEF and WHO recommended principle of solar water disinfection, we have developed Aqualuz, the only technology in the world for cisterns, which only needs sunlight to make rainwater suitable for consumption. It is a validated technology in the field, with many advantages compared to competitors including clay filter, chlorination and water boiling. The system can last up to 20 years and its components can be recycled; it is easy to maintain and clean using water and soap, and the indicator that changes colour when water is ready. Our technology is also low-cost, and in Brazil alone can serve more than 1.2 million families with existing cisterns. No chemical component harmful to health or nature are used, with the negative impact of chlorine use on water replaced by sunlight. We have already impacted more than 150 people with access to drinking water, and plan to reach 700 people by the end of 2019.

Barbara Schorchit

View full bio
Blockchain for better value chains

Inspired by the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing to the Convention on Biological Diversity, Genecoin was created. Its mission is to take advantage of blockchain and machine learning technologies to track the biodiversity used in products, allowing companies to gain confidence, legal certainty and transparency along their supply chain - and to map the origin, journey and impact of their supplies in an accessible and trustworthy manner. Furthermore, Genecoin aims to use blockchain as a tool to comply with Brazilian law, improving traceability. Combined with implementation of smart contracts, this will allow the distribution of revenue along the entire supply chain to ensure all stakeholders to be compensated in a fair, equitable and transparent way. Our platform was developed in partnership with local communities and is currently working alongside with the largest Atlantic Forest private reserve.

Bernado Andrade

View full bio
Constructing eco-houses from nature

The Brazilian semi-arid region is characterized by a dry climate and little rain, with long periods of drought. Families have limited access to water. The soil conditions also make it difficult to produce food that guarantees adequate nutrition and health, especially for children and houses are often constructed without technical support. Our bioconstruction project called “Casa do Semiárido” aims to promote sustainable local development, by constructing houses more suited to the Northeast region of Brazil. The houses mimic natural phenomena to enhance performance and are constructed entirely from natural materials, such as earth and wood, with natural lighting and cooling integrated. The principles of permaculture ensure that all elements of the design supply are recycled or reused, and food is also produced at the home, with water captured, stored, properly managed, and reused. We aim to bring together government, community, private companies and academic institutions to produce high-value food supplies for families. The Semiárid House will provide, clean water, food, comfortable shelter for the family, while bringing the community together by the shared knowledge and work.

Jorge Eduardo Lomeli Carrillo

View full bio
Clean couture: fashion from garbage and plastic

The textile industry is the second most polluting industry. Green Hug aims to create a sustainable brand and a green movement. As co-founder of Green Hug, our 100 percent sustainable clothing line makes clothes out of garbage: 50 percent from PET bottles, 50 percent from recycled clothing. Compared to conventional clothing, our environmental impact is reduced up to 90 percent. Our brand seeks to inspire young people to be part of the change. Our T-shirts are made from 100 percent recycled materials, saving 1,865 liters of water, 9kw of energy and 2.86 kilograms of carbon dioxide per garment. We support Mexican artisans through our online, and deliver all our orders in a 100 percent recycled cardboard box with an informational label that you can plant back into the soil. We have developed a story for children inviting readers to adopt a tree and we deliver an adoption certificate.

Macarena Guajardo Mavroski

View full bio
A new perspective on trash

In nature there is no such thing as something which has no value. That's why garbage in nature does not exist – it is a human invention and it is up to us to stop generating it, while improving our quality of life. Today our lifestyle of consumerism is making us stressed and sick – and pushing us into ecological overdraft. By incorporating a series of simple strategies in everyday life, a person can generate between 50 percent and 90 percent less rubbish. With these strategies, I started the Trash Foundation. My life has changed from taking an hour each day in getting ready for my day, to taking only 15 minutes. I went from taking 40 minutes to work to 10 minutes by using my bicycle, which helps me keep in shape and avoid getting sick. By using conscious decision-making about our lifestyle choices, we can all be part of the change. We are a community, and our partners contribute to the organization with a monthly payment. We send our community information and tips so they can start their own transition at home. We have already implement 14 socio-environmental training courses to empower young people from all regions of Chile, and published two books in English and Spanish that have been around the world.