Building with Nature Indonesia, EcoShape, Earth Matter!

by | Feb 27, 2023 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Building with Nature Indonesia, and EcoShape, plus, meet Earth Matter!



Recently, the United Nations recognized the Building with Nature Indonesia initiative to protect Indonesia’s coast against flooding as one of 10 pioneering efforts to revive the natural world. Indonesia, an archipelago of 17,000 islands, is replete with mangrove forests, which are a haven for wildlife. They also help shelter coastal communities from rising seas and storm surges, problems expected to become more severe as the climate crisis sets in. 

Through the Building with Nature Indonesia initiative, participants demonstrate the potential of Building with Nature as an integral and cost-effective solution for coastal climate change adaptation and mitigation along a 20km eroding coastline in Central Java. The intention of this approach is to transform the way in which the engineering community addresses erosion problems along mud coasts across the tropics, as an alternative to single-sided traditional mitigation measures such as hard structures.

Creating safe and adaptive coastlines will increase resilience for the 70,000 residents of Java’s Demak district. Why does the Building with Nature Indonesia matter to us? It can be scaled up to the entire coastline of Central Java. That potentially will help millions of people who will otherwise suffer from coastal flooding and erosion hazards in Northern Java, in the long term.

As Maude said, it’s a template that’s as applicable to the global South as it is to the gulf coast in the American South, or any low-lying delta coastline elsewhere on the planet. Another reason it matters to us is the training provided. Curricula is being developed that address rehabilitation of mangroves, construction of permeable dams, improving aquaculture; livelihoods diversification and Integrated Coastal Zone Management.

Also, restoring small river branches in the area promotes an optimal distribution of freshwater and sediment in the system to mitigate saline intrusion, enhances aquaculture and ensures sediment input into the mangrove greenbelt, which enables them to keep up with sea level rise. 




EcoShape develops and shares knowledge about Building with Nature: a new approach to hydraulic engineering that harnesses the forces of nature to benefit the environment, economy and society.Building with Nature is a network of organizations and individuals, working together to advance the application of, well,  building with nature in water related societal issues.

It advances a philosophy about the design and construction of water related infrastructure that harnesses the forces of nature for the benefit of nature and humans, thereby strengthening nature, economy and society. EcoShape is a foundation under Dutch law that facilitates the Building with Nature network. EcoShape coordinates, facilitates and orchestrates the activities within the Building with Nature network and community with the ambition to contribute to the realization of the UN Global Sustainability Goals. 

To make this possible we stimulate knowledge development via pilot projects, to demonstrate and monitor Building with Nature in practice (Nature-Based Solutions). Based on the monitoring results, guidelines for replication and scaling up are developed and disseminated through the website of EcoShape. EcoShape carries out projects and related applied knowledge development, and has concluded a consortium agreement with 15 parties (engineering consultants, knowledge institutes, contractors and NGO’s). Furthermore, EcoShape regularly collaborates with parties outside the signatories to the consortium agreement, e.g. with public parties and universities. EcoShape has a central organization (staff of 8, together 4 fte). Each pilot project has its own project organization staffed by EcoShape partners. All together EcoShape has carried out  EUR 70 million worth of projects since 2008.

Why does EcoShape matter to us?  It’s stimulated a change in thinking about hydraulic engineering solutions and showed that Building with Nature offers great opportunities to come up with innovative solutions. Those solutions created awareness which started field experiments.  EcoShape continues work on strengthening the knowledge base and developing tools to support the implementation and assessment of suitability of Building with Nature solutions.

DEEPER DIVE: EcoShape, Building with Nature, EcoShape YouTube, Wetlands International, Building with Nature



Does earth matter to you? If Earth does matter, then it’s no small matter to get to the heart of the matter, which is earth needs more matter. Good clean soil matter, that is. And that’s why Earth Matter exists today. The New York City composting and education company was conceived in spring 2009 to address the dual problems of resource recovery and healthy soils with a single solution: promoting the local composting of organic waste into a healthy soil amendment. Its founders, Marisa DeDominicis, Kendall Morrison and Charlie Bayrer, bring together many years of experience in urban community greening. They first combined efforts in the Brooklyn-Queens Land Trust (BQLT) healthy soils initiative (2007 to 2008).

Initially, Earth Matter evaluated soil health in 34 community gardens and promoted remediation by organic amendment. Concurrently, they were involved in organizing the Fort Greene Compost Project (2005-present), a community based, volunteer-led effort to capture residential food waste for composting in local community gardens. Earth Matter offers an online Compost Learning Center, complete with tips on composting and composting devices, educational compost videos and lessons on the importance of animal poop in composting.

Some of Earth Matters projects we can all learn from on the site include the Zero Waste Island Initiative,  Soil Start and the Lavender Field. Surf on over to and click on the Projects tab to find out more about these fantastic projects. Or Click on the links in the Deeper Dive section of this story at Why does Earth Matter matter to us? Because society needs to alter the way waste is treated as part of an integrated, long term solution to food, climate, and energy issues. Because transportation of waste far beyond the source unnecessarily despoils the soil, air, and water. And because organic waste should not be part of modern landfills because the waste of any process is food for other processes.

DEEPER DIVE: Earth Matter, Zero Waste Island, Greenwich Lifestyle