Crowdsourcing clean streams

Crowdsourcing clean streams

The idea for the website and app comes from the Sustainable Business Network and is being built by socially-aware geeks network Enspiral.

The aim is to raise $30 million to fund the restoration, fencing and planting of a million metres of New Zealand streams by 2025.

SBN chief executive Rachel Brown says the idea was to find an easy way to connect individuals and corporates keen to support stream restoration, with organisations doing the clean-up and planting on the ground.

She believes this will be the first time environmental restoration has been funded using crowdsourcing anywhere in the world.

“We looked at the effort needed to fence and plant streams and we realized it’s a hell of an investment for farmers, but it is also a key thing for the economy,” Brown says.

“If our waterways are disgusting it affects tourism, fishermen and beaches, let alone New Zealand’s reputation and the brand value of our food.

“We wondered if we could create a mechanism to increase funding to the amazing group of people wanting to speed up waterway restoration.”

Donors will select how many metres of river bank to plant and whether to invest in the general fund or in a specific planting project. 

Funds will go to field partners, who approve and oversee the planting projects.  They will also provide progress reports (for example, location, a project description, photographs and simple metrics), which funders can link to on a map of New Zealand. 

The crowdsourcing project will also link to SBN's Carbon4Good programme, where businesses offset carbon emissions by planting native New Zealand trees. Over 130,000 trees have been planted since the programme began as a pilot in 2001. 

Brown says million metres streams was inspired by MillionTreesNYC, a project to plant and care for a million new trees across New York over the next decade.