‘Tipping the iceberg’ wins Pathways to Sustainability Award 2023

Winning pitch by Silja Zimmermann

Winners of the Pathways to Sustaianbility Award together with Henk Kummeling and Maarten Hajer
Award ceremony during the Pathways to Sustainability Conference 2023 - photo by Jelmer de Haas

With a convincing pitch by Silja Zimmermann about her research to ensure food security for Arctic Indigenous communities, her project 'Tipping the iceberg' won this year’s Pathways to Sustainability Award. As Zimmermann herself had to be in Canada to prepare for her next research visit to St. Paul, her promoter Dr. Ine Dorrestein proudly accepted the Award on her behalf. Zimmermann: "It feels wonderful to win this award and I am very proud that the audience voted for me. We are doing our best in the project to develop pathways to sustainability and when I feel this is recognized by so many people, it makes me very proud."

St. Paul, the research location for this study, is a small island community in the middle of the Bering Sea. Food prices on the island are extremely high, and many subsistence species suffer from climate change and overfishing. Silja Zimmermann, leader of this research project, set up a so-called Transformation Lab to learn about the food system to find solutions to the challenges the inhabitants face. Using inclusive and participatory approaches, like Indigenous storytelling sessions or engaging in subsistence activities, Zimmermann aims to find ways in which the community can create collective action to tackle the challenges they face and increase their food security. Zimmermann: "The 2,500 Euro prize money will enable me to do not only two but three field visits to St. Paul Island. During the third field visit, the focus will be to feedback our results back to the community. This is something that is often neglected - to the detriment of the communities."