Five teams of finalists were selected to compete in The Lab’s 2020 Sustainability Prize program at EARTH University.
Each year, The Lab awards the Sustainability Prize to the student graduation project at EARTH University that best exemplifies The Lab’s five core principles of sustainability. The prize consists of $10,000 to be used for project implementation, with $1,000 allotted for the high school attended by the prizewinner.
Third year students at EARTH University are exposed to an extensive sustainability curriculum, which encompasses The Lab’s definition of sustainability and five core principles. To enter the prize competition, third year students present their project ideas to EARTH University staff, students, and community members during the annual Sustainability and Innovation Forum. This year’s event was attended by over 100 people. The judging panel consisted of Dr. Michael Ben-Eli, founder and director of The Lab; Ignacio Barrientos, entrepreneur and founder of the Costa Rican start-up Bambu Pallet; Germán Jiménez, engineer and one of the founding partners of Balanced Energy Costa Rica; Michael Gucovsky, a Lab board member; and Victor Eduardo Acosa, Costa Rican entrepreneur. Eleven teams participated in the event, of which five were selected as finalists to compete in the 2020 Sustainability Prize competition.
EARTH University students and faculty, community members, and the judging panel at the Sustainability and Innovation Forum
The five finalists are as follows:
Francely Concepción Flores (Guatemala), Juana Suar Domínguez (Guatemala), and Mónica Alejandra Montoya Grajales (Colombia), for the project “Llamabrick”. This project addresses issues of deforestation through the development of paper briquettes, which would replace firewood used for cooking in Guatemala and various other countries in Latin America. The paper would be sourced from re-purposed community waste.
From left: finalists Francely Concepción Flores, Mónica Alejandra Montoya Grajales, and Juana Suar Domínguez
Lourdes Andano (Guatemala), Julio Leiva (Paraguay), Yulyana Duarte (Costa Rica), for the project “BioMetabolitos”. This project involves the development of an organic herbacide, which could replace chemical herbicides currently on the market. It would be developed for use in various countries.
From left: finalists Julio Leiva, Lourdes Andano, and Yulyana Duarte
Bleck Tita (Cameroon), for the project “Gunacam” This project addresses food waste in the guanábana industry in Cameroon, where a great quantity of these fruits are grown. Guanabana plants rot quickly, which poses barriers to exportation. The proposed project involves the creation of juice from guanábana plants, which could then be exported.
Finalist Bleck Tita
José Andres Charpentier (Costa Rica) and Dasha Montcalm Álvarez (Costa Rica), for the project “Ancestral Agriculture” This project involves the utilization of existing open space in cities in Costa Rica’s central valley for the creation of community gardens and other green spaces, which would increase food security in cities and engage students in sustainability related projects.
From left: finalists José Andres Charpentier and Dasha Montcalm Álvarez
Javier Abdelnour Suarez (Costa Rica) and Jorge Luis Tomala (Ecuador), for the project “Agroforestal System” This project involves the development of an integrated farm with various cultivations via an agroforestry system, to be implemented in Limón, Costa Rica.
From left: finalists Jorge Luis Tomala and Javier Abdelnour Suarez
Each finalist is provided with funding from the university to support the implementation of these projects throughout the year, with the guidance of EARTH University faculty. Finalists will be hard at work throughout the year to implement their projects, and the 2020 prizewinner will be announced in December 2020. Congratulations to all of the participants for their entrepreneurial efforts, and we look forward to seeing what the finalists achieve in the coming year!
The 2020 finalists for The Lab’s Sustainability Prize at EARTH University