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3rd Eco Hero An Evening with John & Nancy Jack Todd, Ecological Design Pioneers

March 17 @ 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm


Santa Barbara Permaculture Network Eco Hero Award
An Evening with John & Nancy Jack Todd, Ecological Design Pioneers

TICKETS $10, $20, $40, & Friends of Eco Hero $100

Location: Lobero Theatre
33 E Canon Perdido St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Tickets on Sale Now: Lobero Ticket Office

Ecological design goes way beyond any other field of design. It taps deep into Nature’s operating instructions, organizing knowledge & ecosystems to serve human needs without despoiling the planet. John Todd

Please join Santa Barbara Permaculture Network as we celebrate our third annual Eco Hero Award honoring John & Nancy Jack Todd of Ocean Arks International, pioneers in the ecological design movement.

Beginning in the late 1960’s this unique and amazingly productive husband and wife team has shared a partnership journey over five decades committed to the emerging field of ecological design that uses human ingenuity to design a future in balance with nature, while healing broken ecosystems damaged historically, and by modern industrial society.

In 1969, John and Nancy Jack Todd founded New Alchemy, an innovative research institute on a twelve acre site in Cape Cod, MA, with the intention of “scientifically exploring strategies that could have evolutionary value to humanity and the planet’s future”. The New Alchemy Institute had an enthusiastic and talented young staff of scientists and innovators who pioneered among other things the Eco-Machine®, designed for biological waste water treatment using solar energy & living organisms. —- more here_– Also organic agriculture & aquaculture; and bioshelters that required minimal reliance on fossil fuels, while operating as a self-contained ecosystems.

With lessons learned from the New Alchemy Institute, they embarked on the Ark for Prince Edward Island, an ambitious project with support of the Canadian government, while in the midst of an energy crisis being felt around the world. The Ark was a bioshelter that generated its own electricity with wind generators, and used solar energy for space and water heating, tested purposely in Prince Edward Island’s cold northern climate. Despite the wintery weather with limited daylight, the Ark’s gardens and fruit trees provided food all winter long for its inhabitants.

Today John & Nancy operate Ocean Arks International, a nonprofit research and outreach organization founded in 1982. Ocean Ark’s stated mission is “to create planetary healing through promoting ecological literacy and the dissemination of vital eco-technologies”, with projects focused on the restoration of the worlds waters, using the tools of nature to heal toxic waste sites, oil spills, leaking landfills and severely damaged waterways. In order to provide consultancy services to communities and businesses John Todd Ecological Design was also formed with projects around the globe. Through the years, Nancy Jack Todd has been the chronicler of all their work, masterfully describing the scope of what they were attempting, while at times even predicting the revolutionary direction they were going. These publications remain potently relevant today.
Recently the Todd’s have joined forces with the ambitious Greening the Sinai project, along with John D. Liu, Santa Barbara Permaculture Network’s 2019 Eco Hero Award recipient. Headed up by the Weather Makers, a widespread group of international engineers and scientists, this project proposes altering the climate cycle in one of the hottest, driest places on the planet—to a cooler, moister one—as was successfully done in a similar historically desertified region of the world, the Loess Plateau in China. Since fresh clean water is a precious and limited resource in the Sinai, Dr. John Todd’s Eco-Machine® is an especially valuable tool as a natural system for treating wastewaters, and remediation of existing degraded water bodies.

The Santa Barbara Permaculture Network Eco Hero Award honors those individuals who have committed themselves to work in service of the planet and its inhabitants for more than thirty years, with actual solutions and concrete ways forward that benefit many, often on a global scale, while demonstrating pathways forward for future generations. Audiences will learn what inspired John & Nancy, how they made their projects happen, and what challenges they faced along the way—with time for the audience to ask questions, especially encouraging youth attending to interact.

Past recipients include John D. Liu, Paul Stamets, and Louie Schwartzberg. We are honored to have John & Nancy Jack Todd join us in person as recipients for our 2023 Eco Hero Award. A reception follows in the Lobero courtyard for ticket holders.


March 17
6:30 pm - 9:00 pm


Event Sponsor(s)
Santa Barbara Permaculture Network, Blue Sky Biochar, Bamboo DNA, Teeccino, AH Juice, Community Environmental Council (CEC), SBCC Environmental Horticulture, Explore Ecology, Regenerative Landscape Alliance, Island Seed & Feed, Orella Ranch-Gaviota Givings, Santa Barbara Aquaponics, Sustainable World Radio, The Optimist Daily, Quail Springs Permaculture, Hour Books, Mesa Harmony Garden, Wingnut Mushroom Farm, Rincon-Vitova Insectaries, Ojai Center for Regenerative Agriculture (CRA), and the Santa Barbara Independen
Name of the event contact person
margie bushman
Email of the event contact person


Lobero Theatre