Jacek Bozek

Ashoka Fellow
Wilkowice, Poland
Fellow Since 1997


This profile was prepared when Jacek Bozek was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1997.
The New Idea
Jacek is fighting to preserve the ecological richness and diversity of Poland's rivers, particularly the Vistula River, the largest in Poland. His approach is based on his insight that the most important ingredient of a successful environmental campaign is local commitment, and he has discovered that by generating a sense of civic pride in a river and its ecosystem, he can begin to create such a commitment to save it. However, Jacek also realizes that cultural appreciation is not enough; he must also present viable alternatives to current development plans that provide the much-needed economic boost to many depressed small communities in the river basin. By doing so, Jacek believes that he will be able to guarantee the survival of Poland's rivers well into the twenty-first century.
He is achieving his goal though a multi-pronged approach, which is designed to educate and engage the general public, counteract the aggressive lobbying tactics of pro-development interest in Poland, build coalitions between various Polish citizens' organizations and river communities, and present alternative forms of development that will not harm fragile eco-systems. This project is one of the first times in Poland that such a comprehensive campaign to preserve the country's natural heritage has ever been undertaken.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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