International Project Award Winners 2021
Local residents of Tamborine Mountain, Toad Dell and Guy Ritani of PermaQueer, were recent prize recipients of the International Project Award: Lush Spring Prize 2021. The prestigious award ‘celebrates and rewards outstanding and ongoing contributions towards environmental and social regeneration’ on an International level. Against a contingency
of much larger contestants, Guy and Toad ‘scooped the field’ with their ‘Permaculture Design Course’ which supports Cultural Capacity Building with a focus on Sustainability and Regeneration methods in relation to Food and Housing Security its accessibility by marginalised communities.
Inspired by the beautiful and natural environment of the mountain community, Toad and Guy are striving to make meaningful change, to become a beacon to guide others through their social regenerative work.
Toad said they “feel really grateful to be recognised and to be given support to make a more meaningful impact.” They both said it felt “very surreal to win the award” to be able to make life changes, noting that it was “awesome to see other people working in the field” as it is “quite a difficult area in which to see progress of people doing regenerative work”.
Toad and Guy both agree that when building a clean green sustainable environment, there is no such thing as ‘self sufficiency’, rather it is ‘community sufficiency’, saying it is “not just about the plants, but the people as well!”.
To this end, Guy said “culture is the bedrock of behaviour” and noted there is “a lot of change which happens within younger generations towards arts, eco tourism and business”, and that therefore “change can be made in a ‘transformative way’ to both benefit and connect the community”.
Guy and Toad say the reason for their recognition can be broken down into easy steps, where they have addressed: connectivity as an issue of response for climate change; and how to connect the community for support – an extremely important factor because “the whole world depends on climate”.
Toad and Guy further talk about the importance of integration and connection through organisations such as Earth Care, Community Care, and Fair Share – all paramount in order to understand cultural heritage of the landscape.
In Toad and Guy’s quest for cultural change towards regeneration and sustainability, they have created TEDx Talks events for PermaQueer. At the end of the month, they conducted ‘TedX PermaQueer – Cultural Responses to Climate Change’. For over three days, attendees listened to speakers about ‘the cultural shifts needed to help mitigate climate change’. The event was met by a huge positive response from the local community.