All posts in Project News

The Lonely Himalayas – project at editing stage

StFF beneficiary – The Lonely Himalayas team – reports on progress so far.

A small grant was made to help enable Ryan Stock and his team film a documentary to explore climate change, industrial farming and urban migration on remote Himalayan landscapes.

Click here for the update.



Rachel Sussman – Feature

The Online version of the weekly magazine, The New Yorker, provides current articles, cartoons, blogs, audio, video, slide shows, an archive of articles and abstracts back to 1925.

Its latest issue carries a feature on StFF beneficiary, Rachel Sussman and her ‘Oldest Living Things in the World’ project and contains the shocking news that:

Of the thirty ancient living things that Sussman has photographed, two have since died.

The article is headed ‘Survivors’ and  is written by Raffi Khatchadourian.  Read the article here.




Winner of ‘Beat Waste Startup Challenge’ growing

Founded by Parag Gupta, Waste Ventures works in India to incubate solid waste management companies that are owned and operated by waste pickers.  The company provides the tools to environmentally process the waste and in the process enables them to generate a much better living from selling recyclables,  biofertilizer and earn carbon credits.

In 2010 Waste Ventures was the winner of StFF funded ‘Beat Waste Startup Challenge’ and is now becoming an extremely successful company:

Waste Capital Partners, Inc. Completes its Convertible Note Offering

The Impact Enterprise Will Use Proceeds of Oversubscribed Round to Scale Model in India

San Francisco, CA: On August 29th, Waste Capital Partners, Inc. completed its convertible note offering. The round of finance led by the James Lee Sorenson Family Foundation will be primarily invested in its India operating company, Waste Ventures India, to streamline existing projects and dramatically expand the footprint of the Indian company in South India.

Parag Gupta, Founder and CEO of Waste Capital Partners, stated, “We were thrilled to be oversubscribed in commitments by investors. It is validation of both an extremely important issue that touches upon climate change, sanitation, livelihoods, and agriculture as well as the confidence in our company’s potential to profitably solve this challenge.”

Jim Sorenson, Founder of the Sorenson Foundation, stated, “The James Lee Sorenson Family Foundation is pleased to invest in Waste Capital Partners and its innovative model that cleans up cities in emerging markets while creating much needed compost for farmers.”

Other investors in this round include the Marshall Foundation, the Cordes Foundation, and Impact Assets. The Peery Foundation has also renewed its earlier investment.

About Waste Capital Partners, Inc.: Waste Capital Partners, Inc. environmentally processes waste in emerging markets to form nutrient-rich compost it sells to small farmers. Its efforts currently affect more than 240,000 residents and have been recognized by the United Nations and the Indian State Government of Andhra Pradesh. It is a Village Capital Winner and a Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) ‘Innovation Against Poverty’ Awardee.

Read more here.

The End of Disposable Plastic Bags in France?

StFF beneficiary, Surfrider Foundation Europe, reports that there is the possibility that a ban of disposable plastic bags in France could start in January 2016.

This news is a big step for the Surfrider campaign against plastic bag and they are delighted, but remain mobilized to ensure that the bill receives parliamentary approval.

Surfrider hopes that this first victory in France will bring Europe a step closer to the introduction of a general ban.

Please find more information in Surfrider’s blog article :




Akaroa Marine Reserve Opened on 8 June 2014

Sunday 8th June, World Oceans Day, was a very appropriate date for the formal opening of the Akaroa Marine Reserve.  Twenty years is a long time to consult, develop, apply and campaign for a marine reserve so it was a very happy day for the Akaroa community to finally see the reserve come into existence.


The Akaroa Marine Reserve is 512ha and covers the south-eastern area of Akaroa Harbour and extends eastwards towards Damons Bay.  The coastal scenery adjacent to the marine reserve is spectacular and the 275m Dan Rogers bluff dominates the landscape.

Banks Peninsula now proudly has two marine reserves.  Pohatu Marine Reserve is 2.25km away and the opportunity for scientific study of the two closely situated marine reserves is unprecedented in New Zealand.    As yet, there are no other marine reserves on the east coast of the South Island.

Hon Dr Nick Smith, the Minister of Conservation, and Hon Amy Adams, MP for Selwyn, officiated at the opening.

Pupils from Akaroa Area School prepared and displayed a colourful banner advocating for more marine reserves.  Bridget White, a pupil from Christchurch’s Ao Tawhiti Unlimited Discovery School, spoke passionately about the need to protect our oceans and to protest about the National-led government’s oil exploration activities off the New Zealand coastline.

Members of the Akaroa Harbour Marine Protection Society, supporters, community representatives and Department of Conservation staff were also in attendance.

In his opening speech, Dr Nick Smith resolved to review the Marine Reserves Act so that it becomes “less clumsy”.  However, any new marine reserve will inevitably require a political will, not just a “revised process”.

Many tributes were paid to the hard-working core of campaigners who didn’t ever give up on their vision of meaningful protection within Akaroa Harbour.

The support from around New Zealand from marine reserve advocates and scientists is very much appreciated.  This hard won reserve would have been impossible otherwise.

StFF congratulates the Akaroa Harbour Marine Protection Society.  Read more here.



Oldest Living Things in the World

Read this great review of Rachel Sussman’s book – very well deserved.


Changes at the Natural History Museum, London

dippy6This wonderful museum, Winner of Best of the Best in the Museums and Heritage Awards 2013,  has received an amazing donation of £5m towards its redevelopment plans.

British-Australian businessman and philanthropist Sir Michael Hintze has made a donation of £5 million to the Natural History Museum through the Hintze Family Charitable Foundation. It is the largest single donation the Museum has ever received. The renamed Hintze Hall is probably best known as the home to the Diplodocus, Dippy, which was unveiled to the public in 1905.

This redevelopment is the first part of a long-term plan to improve the Museum’s overall visitor experience and to continue to support the research of 300 scientists who work here, much of which impacts on global research into biodiversity and climate change.

A record 5,356,884 visitors came to the Museum in 2013, an increase of 6.7 per cent year on year.

Read more here.




The Oldest Living Things in the World – Rachel Sussman

Rachel Sussman’s book of The Oldest Living Things in the World project, supported by StFF, is out now.

Click here for link to publisher.

Aurora Robson – Recycling Plastic Into Art

Aurora Robson is an StFF beneficiary artist – see the Waimea Ocean Film Festival project.

In this video, Aurora explains how she artistically ‘interrupts the waste stream’ to make beautiful sculpture from waste plastic.


Oldest Living Things Project – Book

Rachel Sussman’s ‘Oldest Living Things’ project was supported by the Foundation and the book is due out on 22 April 2014 in both the UK and the US.


Go to Rachel’ site to read more.