On 21st October the EU Green Week hosted the virtual 2020 LIFE Awards Ceremony.
The LIFE Awards recognise the most innovative, inspirational and effective LIFE projects in the fields of nature protection, environment and climate action.
The winning projects were selected from 15 finalists for their outstanding contribution to environmental, economic and social advancements. The awards honoured winners in three different categories from Slovenia (Nature), Portugal (Environment), and Hungary (Climate Action). A special award recognising successful adaptation to COVID-19 went to an Italian project for its work in the time of coronavirus crisis.
Life Award for Nature:
LIFE DINALP BEAR (Slovenia) – the team managed and monitored brown bear populations in the northern Dinarides and southeastern Alps. Overall, there has been a 43% reduction in sheep attacks, while the number of bears hit by traffic is also down by a quarter. Human-bear conflicts have also decreased, while attitudes towards bears have improved in the partner countries of Croatia, Italy, Austria and Slovenia.
LIFE Award for Environment:
Flaw4Life (Portugal) – Project partners created an alternative market for fruit and vegetables that were too small, too large or too ugly to sell in regular outlets. Their work has reduced food waste by more than 2 300 tonnes to date, a sum comparable to the annual amount of unused food from 13 000 people. This project was also the most popular among the public, earning it the LIFE Citizens’ Prize.
LIFE Award for Climate Action:
FIRELIFE (Hungary) – The team taught teachers, social workers, farmers and forest fire prevention experts to enhance forest fire prevention across the country. As a result, the number of forest fires decreased by nearly a third, and the size of the area damaged fell by nearly 90%. Other countries can follow FIRELIFE’s checklist to develop their own fire-prevention systems and tools.
Adapting to COVID-19 Award:
There is a clear link between human health, the environment and climate, and these interdependencies were the focus of several LIFE projects. A special, Adapting to COVID-19 Award, went to Italy’s PrepAIR project for its work in the time of COVID crisis.
LIFE PrepAIR set out to monitor and improve air quality for 23 million people in the Po Valley. When the pandemic struck, the team helped another Italian project to investigate the link between air pollution and the spread of COVID-19, as well as the impact of the lockdown on air pollution and greenhouse gases. The findings should increase understanding of the complex dynamics that cause pollution in the Po Valley. This will help authorities adopt better strategies to improve air quality in the region. The LIFE PrepAIR team also published its PrepAIRed! educational materials for use by teachers during the lockdown.