We welcome a new FMNR Champion – Josef Ertl

October 26, 2021

By Tony Rinaudo, World Vision Australia

Nineteen-year-old Austrian, Josef Ertl discovered FMNR on the web after almost despairing of finding any substantive solution to global deforestation and land degradation. Soon after he contacted Tony Rinaudo armed with a list of very perceptive questions: “due to my background and my enthusiasm about your work, I really want to help spreading the idea of FMNR, to make a positive change.  I have done a lot of research about Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration and regreening degraded lands. From time to time some specific questions came up…. Because the whole world is in quarantine right now, you maybe could find some time to have a nice FMNR-talk via Skype? Why not? It would be a great honour and very helpful for me.”

Following the talk, Josef wasted no time, completing the online FMNR training course hosted by World Vision International, establishing his own FMNR ‘Awaken Trees’ website  and creating a foundation dedicated to FMNR and supporting grass roots / local FMNR movements. His motto is apt: “Reviving Stumps – Stopping Deserts”. His foundation is already supporting the Forum for Natural Regeneration (FONAR), ably headed up by Mr. Sumaila Saaka. FONAR is the world’s first NGO totally dedicated to promoting and implementing FMNR, founded by the late Mr. Norbert Aakolbila. He has also started a new project together with LEAD foundation in Tanzania and both of these initiatives are focussing on the promotion of FMNR through the education of children and youth. Josef has just completed volunteering with the LEAD Foundation in Tanzania in a major FMNR project funded by Justdiggit.

Josef’s story gives hope – Josef belongs to a new generation of visionary leaders taking on the challenges of land degradation and climate change. Josef saw the need, researched, and discovered a solution, and importantly, decided to take action. It is people like Josef who will change the world.