Restoring balance with nature

This challenge was open to entries In the months leading up to the COP26 Climate Conference in November 2021.  We received 77 films from 31 countries.

Film entries

Watch the challenge showreel and the shortlists below.

Visit our Stories Gallery and search by Region or Theme

The film challenge focussed on three themes: Protecting and Restoring Ecosystems, Protecting and Restoring Land, the Challenge of Climate Change.  A team of judges selected a shortlist and an online vote decided the people's choice for each category.

The jury also selected winners for the Impact Award and invited some of the filmmakers to attend an online Masterclass to help them develop their smartphone storytelling skills.

earthbeat challenge pokal yellow

Well done to all the winners!

The People's Vote:

The three films below were selected as winners of the People's Vote by receiving the highest number of views in the three YouTube playlists:

  • The dream of plastic - Deniz Dağdelen, Turkey
  • The new goddess of our century - Nana Minta, Ghana
  • Amod Aranya - Vikas Yadav and Nandini Dixit, India

Young Filmmakers Award:

This film received the highest number of views for a filmmaker between 14 and 17.

Do nothing farming - Ozan Küçükyavuz, Turkey

Impact Award

Six films were awarded an Impact Award. See below for details.

Protecting and Restoring Ecosystems


Ten films looking at how biodiversity and healthy ecosystems have a vital role to play in tackling climate change and in ensuring human health, well-being and security.

Films from young people in China, Liberia, Mauritius, Russia, South Africa, St Helena Island, Tanzania, Turkey, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.

The Challenge of Climate Change


Ten films explaining how action is urgently needed to keep increases to global temperature below 1.5C, the safe upper limit, and restore the planet's ecosystems that have been degraded or destroyed.

Films from young people in Botswana, Canada, Cameroon, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey and Zimbabwe.

Protecting and Restoring Land


Ten films demonstrating how land is key to tackling climate change, protecting biodiversity, conserving ecosystems and growing the food we eat and the fibre for our clothes. Healthy land is needed to support the trees, vegetation, micro-organisms, animals and people living on it.

Films from young people in India, Lesotho, Portugal, Russia, Tanzania, Turkey, Ukraine and Zimbabwe.

Bertha Foundation Impact Award


Ten films were selected for special mention in our Impact Award playlist. These films may not have been the best made, but the jury was attracted to something in the film, the project behind the story, or the storytelling skills.  Six of these were given an award, supported by Bertha Foundation.

Impact Award Winners:

  • Ayu Kusuma Pertiwi, Indonesia Floods
  • Emma Weaver and Danni Thomas, St Helena Island - Saving the She Cabbage from extinction
  • Lynette Tatenda Gonga and Denslow Christian D. Kisi.
    Zimbabwe - Trees for Mhondoro
  • Roberth Fuentes, Philippines - Plastic age
  • Tshepo Heqoa, Lesotho - Herale mushrooms
  • Yasar Sharief, India - Dangar chas

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  • Open to people aged 14–30

  • Films up to 3 minutes long

  • In English or English subtitles

  • Enter from any country

Air, water, and food. Clothes, medication and materials for construction and appliances. Energy to warm us, cool us, transport us and power our communications. Leisure, culture and inspiration for art.  Think about it - all the essentials of life come from nature.

The Ecosphere is the zone of life on Earth. It is the atmosphere, the land, the oceans, forests, soils and all the amazing plants, animals and microbes living there. All these systems and the complex interactions between them, create the planetary environment where people thrive.

Whether rich or poor, urban or rural, connected or remote, all human society is entirely dependent on nature. Whoever and wherever we are in the world, our prosperity, health and security all depend on the Earth’s natural systems. But human activities are throwing nature out of balance, putting ourselves at risk.

Humans have created the linked environmental crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation. To be successful in restoring the health of the planet, we need to tackle all three emergencies together, and urgently. Earthbeat is partnering with three United Nations conventions, which are working with countries worldwide to agree global action to protect climate, biodiversity and land.

photo of a small wind turbine

The challenge of climate change

Climate science shows that we need to keep new increases to global temperature below 1.5C, the safe upper limit.  To do this we must reduce carbon emissions by half by 2030, only 9 years away.

That’s a huge challenge, but much action has already started. For example, the growth of sustainable energy or the move to electric transport or community tree planting are some examples of the changes we need to make.

Urgent action is also needed to restore the planet's ecosystems that have been degraded or destroyed.

We have to speed up our efforts and do much, much more – to reduce emissions, restore natural carbon storage and adapt to higher temperatures.

Everyone from multinational corporations to local communities to private individuals all have an important role to play.

We want your 3-minute video stories on what you are doing to meet the challenge of climate change in your communities.

photo of a balanced pile of stones in water

Protecting & restoring ecosystems

Protecting and restoring natural habitats and ecosystems is key for diversity of species and ecosystem services including regulating climate. Forests, mangroves, grasslands, croplands, peatlands, wetlands, inland waters and marine and coastal ecosystems give us food, recreation, fibre, clean air and water - they also store carbon and help protect against extreme weather like droughts and floods. It is crucial to preserve them.

Healthy ecosystems can provide reliable and cost-effective natural infrastructure. Coral reefs and mangroves protect coasts against flooding that are expected to increase with climate change. Urban greenery can collect surface water and support resilience against storms and erosion. Green infrastructure such as parks bring a better quality of life in cities.

Biodiversity and healthy ecosystems have a vital role to play in tackling climate change and in ensuring human health, well-being and security.

We want your 3-minute video stories on what you are doing to protect and restore biodiversity and ecosystems in rural, urban or peri-urban areas.

photo of a soil and small seedling

Protecting and restoring land

Land is key to tackling climate change, protecting biodiversity, conserving ecosystems and growing the food we eat and the fibre for our clothes. Healthy land supports the trees, vegetation, micro-organisms, animals and the people living on it. Land and the life it supports store huge quantities of carbon and take it out of the atmosphere.

Land can be degraded through unsustainable agriculture management or changes in the climate. We now know that land restoration can help to turn even severely degraded land to be green and productive again.

Sustainable land management and restoration can protect land and bring benefits to ecosystems as well as farming, job creation and the reduction  of disaster risk.

Restoring the soils of degraded ecosystems can store up to 3 billion tons of carbon annually.

We want your 3-minute video stories on what you are doing to protect and restore land and soil and the life it supports.

Awards and Prizes

Our international team of judges viewed all entries and selected films to showcase online and at international events to help develop public understanding about the climate and nature emergencies.

We recognised outstanding films with prizes and invitations to participate in discussions and special online training.

Showing films during COP

Judges will make their selection for films to showcase during international meetings, starting with the climate change COP26 in November in Glasgow, UK. We are currently organising screenings and events during the COP and arranging online digital events.

Judges will select films which best showcase the issues relating to the climate and ecological issues at the international meetings.

People’s vote

The film which had the highest number of value views in each of the three categories was judged to have won the People's Vote.  The filmmakers each received:

  • receive special recognition
  • be invited to participate during the climate COP26
  • attend an online film making masterclass
  • be given film making equipment (such as external microphones and smartphone software).

Young Persons Award

Special recognition was given to the highest rated films in the 14-17 age group.

Impact training

The jury looked for stories and films which have an important message which they feel should be shared more widely to benefit both local and international communities.

We work with filmmakers to help them reach a wider audience and greater impact for their film.

The Impact Award is supported by Bertha Foundation.

Smartphone kit worth around $150

The prize kit included help vlogging and interview equipment to help with smartphone filming:

  • High quality external microphone
  • Tripod for keeping your camera steady
  • Strong grip for professional results
  • On-camera LED light

Filmmaking training

The jury looked for filmmakers who displayed a hidden potential for making films.

We will provide an online film making masterclass to help make better films using a smartphone. The selected participants will join a small groups of filmmakers from around the world who will receive training through our online education programme.

The 2021 Restoring Balance with Nature Challenge was supported by: