With more than 170 participating countries and over 1500 project submissions annually the Energy Globe Award is today's most prestigious environmental prize worldwide. It distinguishes projects regionally, nationally and globally that conserve resources such as energy or utilize renewable or emission-free sources. Award ceremonies are held all over the world. Prominent personalities as well as Energy Globe Ambassadors in 90 countries support the mission of Energy Globe. The activities of Energy Globe attract worldwide media attention - international TV stations report each year with approximately 1,000 hours of broadcasting time. The aim of the Energy Globe is to raise global attention on sustainable, everywhere applicable environmental solutions and to motivate people to also become active in this area.
National ENERGY GLOBE Award Lao People's Democratic Republic 2015
Vang Vieng’s dramatic change in the last two decades, from a quiet city to a backpacker party capital of Laos has resulted in uncontrolled development and large drug and social problems. While the tourist boom has created new opportunities and jobs in the tourism industry, it has also had a negative impact on the environment and culture. SAE LAO was founded to model a different way of living, encouraging the ideals of sustainability and local production. The agriculture dependent population does not benefit from the tourism industry but it does suffer the effects of depleted and damaged resources. Using traditional farming methods often produces comparatively low yields and foraging has long been used to supplement dietary requirements. Methods such as slash and burn are prevalent in local farming. Logging and clearing of land is negatively impacting local ecosystems. Every year the water level of the river is decreasing and logging causes fertile soil to erode and wash down the river. The use of fossil fuels in Laos, and hence carbon dioxide emissions, has risen dramatically in the last two decades as the country had developed infrastructure. The traditionally more rural population has increasingly migrated to cities for work. In the city, however, their lack of English or other factors often stand in the way of obtaining good jobs. The goal of the project is to provide a holistic model for sustainable development in order to manage the natural resources in an efficient, effective and equitable manner. The project consists of: An organic farm, a farm-to-table restaurant, a biogas station, generation of local employment, implementation of sustainable and environmental technologies, daily free English classes and a volunteer project for international visitors. Although around 20% of the local population is under the poverty line, SAE LAO helps to show families they can feed themselves without using chemicals, destructive farming techniques or excessive water. Four on-site buildings, constructed from mud brick, wood, bamboo, stone and other local, responsibly sourced materials, serve as an example in natural building. The biogas station on site ensures there is no sewage or methane waste, provides gas for cooking (2-4 kg of cooking gas is bought less per day) and creates compost for the gardens. With the biogas system now being replicated by five families, this is a potential reduction of 20 kg per day of methane being released into the atmosphere as well as the elimination of the sewage waste from these families.
Actions speak louder than words!
Vang Vieng’s dramatic change in the last two decades, from a quiet city to a backpacker party capital of Laos has resulted in uncontrolled development and large drug and social problems. While the tourist boom has created new opportunities and jobs in the tourism industry, it has also had a negative impact on the environment and culture. This year´s National Winner of the Energy Globe Award in Laos shows a different way of living, encourages the ideals of sustainability and local production. Congratulations to your great initiative!