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With the exciting launch of EIA’s new and improved website, our popular Investigator’s Blog has now moved to a new online home.

All previous content has been relocated, and our investigators and behind-the-scenes staff are writing regular updates for you about our many campaigns and activities.

Join in the discussions now and give us your valuable feedback – vist our new blog here.

Everyone who makes films has to be an athlete to a certain degree because cinema does not come from abstract academic thinking; it comes from your knees and thighs” – film-maker and documentarian Werner Herzog.

On Tuesday, September 6, three powerful new films chronicling EIA’s recent undercover investigations into timber smuggling, the ivory trade and whaling will make their world debut in the USA on Nat Geo Wild.

Paul Redman and Clare Perry filming in a Japanese fish market (c) EIA

Broadcast under the collective banner of Crimes Against Nature, Blood Ivory depicts the brutal horror of elephant poaching in Kenya and black market trade in the marketplaces of Hong Kong and China; Making a Killing exposes Iceland’s hunting of endangered fin whales to package and sell for consumption in Japan; and Chainsaw Massacre uncovers the Vietnamese army’s involvement in the widespread smuggling of timber from neighbouring Laos.

Each film follows seasoned EIA investigators in the field as they methodically piece together the clues of wildlife and forest crime and follow evidence trails leading to corrupt officialdom, organised criminal syndicates and grasping businessmen. Along the way, viewers will share the setbacks and successes in films rich with imagery both startling and haunting.

What they won’t see, and possibly won’t suspect, is the long year of preparations and often physically and emotionally demanding work behind the scenes to get three one-hour films in the can.

The project effectively began in 2009, following EIA’s tiger team in China and Nepal for a pilot film eventually broadcast early last year on Nat Geo Wild as Eco Crime Investigators – Inside the Tiger Trade.

The broadcast, first in the USA and subsequently worldwide (and it’s still in heavy rotation), was such a success that further programmes were commissioned.

On location in Kenya with Mary Rice and Dave Currey (c) EIA

Initial meetings with the London-based production company hired by Nat Geo to make the films focused on the likely scope of the three investigations, the probable shooting times and budget requirements for each, and a loose schedule around which investigators would have to fit all their usual campaign work and commitments.

It was in October 2010, when filming was concluded in Iceland and underway in Vietnam, that I was brought onboard as Project Co-ordinator; you could draw up a job description for the role which might run to several sides of A4, or you could just as accurately say my primary function was to help ease the process along as required.

Both EIA and the production company shared the same goal – to make the best programmes possible; naturally, both came at it with different considerations to the fore. The nature of conducting investigations in the field is that you never know what’s going to turn up and where it might lead; the nature of film-making is that you have to satisfy those commissioning the venture that they’re going to end up with a solid narrative arc and a substantial conclusion, preferably before shooting begins.

From the word ‘go’, EIA was adamant that its investigators would not serve as props, nor would they be mouthpieces for scripted lines which might in any way reflect poorly or inaccurately on the organisation, its methodology or its invaluable work. At the same time, we accepted that the film-makers needed to distil often-complex issues in a way that was accurate and wouldn’t leave viewers scratching their collective brows and reaching for the remote control. Looking at the finished products (and I believe I must have done so a score of times for each!), I think it’s fair to say this was achieved remarkably well.

In the field was where problems could most easily arise as directors fretted that they wouldn’t get the key shots they needed within the timeframe allowed, or when they were debriefing an investigator following an emotionally exhausting undercover filming session and needed the same kind of projected energy on take seven as was given the first time around. But our investigators are nothing if not troopers – and on many occasions during this project they were fixers and guides too – and the passion they have for their various campaigns all but radiates from the screen.

Julian Newman interviewed during filming in Laos (c) EIA

When location filming concluded by late March, it remained to fine-tune the narratives, film interviews with the key campaigners and nail down the voice-over and visual inserts such as animated maps..

With security the key consideration for EIA, this was also the time for me to go through each film with a fine toothcomb and ensure that the identity of our undercover Chinese investigator was protected at all times; you’d be amazed at how often somebody’s features can be fleetingly reflected in background mirrors and table tops.

All that remains now is for you to watch the films, and help EIA by spreading the word for others to do the same.

* After the US premiere on Tuesday, the three programmes are due to be broadcast on Nat Geo Wild in other territories, including the UK, later this year – watch our website and blog for details as we learn them.

Paul Newman, Press OfficerPaul Newman

Press Officer

Day 3 at the CITES Standing Committee…

CITES Meeting August 2011

I was a bit late into the conference room in the morning, as I’d had a pre-meeting meeting (such is the nature of these events), with a government delegate who had recently visited Vietnam, and was horrified at the open sale of tiger meat and tiger bone products.

Mary Rice, EIA’s Executive Director was already plugged into the system in the nose-bleed section of the conference hall when I got to my seat, “you’re just in time to pack up your bags”, she said.

Typical! Elephant day (and believe me, they get an entire day to themselves!), at a CITES meeting is guaranteed to bring some kind of drama. And so it was that civil society was voted out of the room, on the pretext that governments needed to discuss “sensitive information” regarding ivory trade.

The delegate from Kuwait, as one of the regional representative of Asia said the majority of the region wanted it (Really? Hmm, read China and Thailand, cos certainly India wasn’t even consulted!). Voting with Kuwait in favour of evicting wildlife, conservation and trade organisations were Botswana, Iran, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica and Norway. Voting to retain some integrity for the UN and to keep civil society engaged were the UK, DRC, Bulgaria, Ukraine, USA and Australia, abstaining were Egypt, Uganda and Japan

Despite the simple majority vote, the UK put up a brave challenge on behalf of transparency and public participation. But alas there was nothing they could do, and with much shuffling of papers, mutterings of going back to the dark ages, some sideways glances at north London-based EIA to see if we were going to pull our hoods up and kick off, we all trooped out.

Then it was straight on to the phones; a frustrated huddle of NGOs tweeting, facebooking, press releases (much more civilised than throwing shoes / folders / chairs at delegates and facing down rubber bullets). If the intention of the governments that wanted us out of the room had been to prevent civil society, and by extension the media, making a fuss over their flaws, incompetence, corruption and failures to end ivory trade, well then, they rather shot themselves in the foot.

Their actions drew media attention, but more than that, the other CITES Parties quickly realised it was just a ploy and that nothing of a sensitive nature, that wasn’t already in the CITES documents, was being discussed and the record of the meeting would be public.

In fact, it appeared to be a tactic just to get a few of us out of the room so they could bad mouth the ivory investigation findings of EIA and Elephant Family. China apparently complained that we don’t share our information with them and that we’d probably not actually been to China.

Ivory Stockpile

 

Oh good grief! Yes folks, this is China’s enforcement strategy – rely on NGOs to point out where your problems are, so there’s no need to get off your backside and look for the bad guys yourself. Then whine when those pesky NGOs prefer to expose your incompetence

(insert also, negligence / corruption / complicity), rather than do your job for you.

Fortunately, after the lunch break we were all voted back in, Norway having come to their senses and realising that as signatories to the Aarhus Convention on public access to decision-making, it was a black mark on their record.

Mary used her intervention calling for China’s “approved ivory buyer” status to be revoked to ask the Chair of the meeting if she could also respond to comments reportedly made about the integrity of our work during the closed session. Denied. But the Chair suggested we circulate something in writing instead.

Score! Any government delegates who had never heard of EIA before, now certainly wanted to read our ivory report and our rebuttal. You can find them here (Ivory Report) and here (Criticism rebuttal)

That said, along with other key issues over which we had some well thought-out recommendations and suggestions there was no time available for substantive discussion. Gone are the days when NGO inputs from the floor will be taken into account. The agenda is too big and there are too many people at these Committee meetings, so it’s a “thanks” from the Chair and on to the next agenda item.

It was the same with our “asks” on tigers and other Asian big cats. Prior to the agenda item coming up (which was pushed back to late on the last day of the meeting), key government allies had essentially admitted they were not in a diplomatic position to confront China over their tiger and leopard skin trade, so it would be down to us to play the “bad cops”.

 

Ranthambore Tiger

So we did, check out our intervention here . We asked China to share with us the status of the registration scheme

  • How many skins have been registered under this scheme?
  • How many have been sold?
  • How many have been sourced from captive bred sources?
  • How many have been sourced from the wild?
  • How has legality been verified?

Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Resounding silence. Not one of the governments in the room asked them to respond. Nobody said, “Actually, yes, I’d like to know too”. Why can’t China just answer the questions, what’s so difficult about this? Is it because, if they answer the question they’re effectively admitting to the world that they have a legal trade in tiger and leopard skins, which contradicts Premier Wen Jiabao’s promises? Is it because, just as with the ivory trade control system, they really don’t have a handle on what’s going on outside of Beijing but don’t want to admit it?

We won’t give up. Everything that we ask for in the documents we prepared for the meeting with the Wildlife Protection Society of India are still valid and you can read about them here

We’re going to need your help though. Between now and the next CITES Standing Committee in July 2012, we need to make sure that our questions and concerns are raised by governments and the CITES Secretariat. That means you writing to your elected representatives. Get in touch if you want to turn your government into a “good cop”.

 

What Did Happen at CITES Standing Committee:

The SC headed off a threat from the Asian region to fiddle with the text of the Convention in relation to Introduction from the Sea. It was quite amusing to watch delegates from China and Japan scuttling around the room queueing up their allies to speak in favour of fisheries giants. Foiled.

Ramin is no longer on the agenda, the SC was satisfied with reports from Malaysia and Indonesia that they’re successfully implementing ITTO-CITES projects to prevent illegal logging and trafficking of ramin species.

Thailand has until July 2012 (and the next SC meeting), to demonstrate greater internal trade controls and legislation over their domestic ivory market.

The UK will chair a Rhino Working Group that will identify additional measures that Parties can take to address the illegal rhino horn trade, including enforcement and outreach measures towards consumers.

UNEP and the CITES Secretariat are working with INTERPOL and others to co-host a World Congress of Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability in Brazil immediately prior to the Rio+20 summit in June 2012. Participants will include attorney generals, senior judges and chief prosecutors and is an excellent opportunity to get wildlife crime taken more seriously by the justice system.

The only decision taken in relation to Asian big cats was agreement that the Senior Experts Group of the International Consortium on Combating Wildlife Crime (ICCWC) should be tasked with reviewing and updating the guidelines for specialised enforcement units.

Efforts to undermine the legitimate listing of commercially valuable marine species were defeated with the SC rejection of a proposal to set up a working group to look at time-bound listings.

Formal summaries can be found here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debbie Banks

EIA Lead  Campaigner

 

 

Today is my last day at EIA. And this is my last blog post.

It only set in late last night; I’ve been so busy wrapping up the loose ends that I have not given myself time to think these past 3 weeks. It has come around so fast. This blog post is somewhat sentimental. If it’s not you’re thing skip here.

EIA is a special place. From the outside people often mistake us for a much larger organisation, or perhaps a governmental body and quite frequently The Environment Agency. I have taken many calls from grieving residents who have rats at the bottom of their garden!

EIA doesn’t have a large marketing budget, that’s why when I talk to new people about EIA they probably haven’t heard of us. In some respects, it’s a shame. We do such amazing things that I really believe more people should know about our work and what we’ve exposed over the last 27 years. But then, having that element of mystery, I think, quite suits us. And when you do speak to someone who has heard of us, their enthusiasm is insatiable. Our success is due to our loyal supporters, many of whom have been with us since our early days. It was a conscious choice to focus our efforts, and thus the majority of our income, on our frontline work. And, for the most part, rightly so.

From the inside, EIA skips between a hive of busy activity to a quieter hum drum as campaigners disappear for weeks at a time attending meetings or going undercover. EIA has some of the most fantastic people working together on a vast variety of issues. They achieve incredible feats but it’s also good to know that they like a pint or a glass of Pinot as much as the next person. And there’s the people you don’t see in front of the camera; the finance girls endlessly tire away doing accounting things beyond my comprehension; the films you watch take a long time to put together, it takes a team of people to bring it to life and in-house staff often compose the emotive music to accompany them; then there’s the fundraising team working to ensure we raise enough money for EIA to thrive and the communications team to do a fantastic job, all of us with limited resources.

So how can we successfully spread the word of EIA under the circumstances?

Using Web 2.0, that’s how. If you’re reading this then we’re obviously doing something right. The great thing is there isn’t a huge cost involved but it does take time. And over the last 18 months or so, we’ve been doing just that. Taking the time, when we can, and slowly building up momentum. Our blog gives our supporters greater insight into what goes on at EIA and allows for people to post comments and ask questions. We’re trying to start conversations and proactively engaging all you folk. And similarly, on Facebook and Twitter we’ve been actively sharing news and information on topics relevant to our areas of work. It wasn’t that long ago that we were only on 300 fans (as they used to be called); it requires a shift in mentality. And that’s why, two years on EIA campaigners are tweeting live from CITES meeting in Geneva. Just yesterday we hit 4000 Facebook “likes”.

I am really excited to say that our new website is nearly finished. It’s been a long slog but it will be going live soon, incorporating more comprehensively our groundbreaking reports, powerful images and emotive films. More than that, our blog will be a part of the main site, so whatever area of our work you’re interested you’ll be able to read a range of information on Illegal Wildlife Trade for example, an informal blog, the latest press release or a detailed report. Well, we aim to please.

So I’m leaving EIA knowing that their communications is heading in right direction, coming on leaps and bounds on social media and on the cusp of a fantastic website. I don’t think that’s too bad.

Sophia Cheng

Fundraising & Communications Officer

Michigan State University visit

Michigan State University visit

The following post is written by seven Michigan State University students who recently visited EIA while participating in a study abroad program in the UK.

Environmental Science, Policy, and Criminology in Scotland and England

In a university that prides itself on having among the largest offering of study abroad courses in the U.S., our study abroad program is very unique in that it is composed of students from three different Colleges within MSU: Fisheries and Wildlife, Criminal Justice, and James Madison College (essentially Public Affairs). Our course is structured around site visits and discussions with conservation leaders in the UK. Our topics range from study of the physical and biological dimensions of the many different ecosystems, the criminality side with the prevention and persecution of offenders featuring heavily, the policy being enacted by the EU, UK and Scottish governments and how that is actually being carried out in the field and finally, the conservation and sustainability of ecosystems. We spent three days in London, meeting with the EIA and Chris Smith from the Environment Agency. From there we traveled up the coast to spend a week in Hull. While in Hull we spent the majority of the time focusing on the conservation, sustainability and restoration elements. We met with many different scientists and fishermen on these controversial topics. We continued this trend up on the shores of Loch Lomond as we spent a ten days at the Scottish Centre for Ecology and the Natural Environment. We’ll be ending the trip in Edinburgh as we switch over to the policy side and begin to take a closer look at how the Parliaments and EU work on these issues.

Greg Brown, International Relations, 2014

Why Visit EIA?

Because our program has a multi-tiered approach in its study of Environmental Policy, Science, and Criminology, our visit with EIA fit in very nicely. Because of their efforts to expose the environmental dangers resulting from environmental crimes, EIA needs to work with policymakers and criminal authorities. Since we first visited EIA early on in our trip, we have heard many of the foundations to the organization echoed across the United Kingdom. The need for cooperating between governing bodies is particularly important. This is because some organizations, like EIA, can do things that other organizations, like the EA, are unable to do. When these groups work together it makes attempts to expose and punish environmental crimes much easier. Still, EIA also played a strong role in relaying the frustrations that are associated with thwarting environmental crimes. Even when environmental criminals are exposed, their punishments are often weak given the nature of their crimes. We have explored this idea throughout our program; many times, judgments against environmental crimes are difficult to rule on, and when they are, the consequences are minimal.

During our visit, we discussed the following EIA campaigns: Illegal Logging, Tiger Trade, Intelligence Led Enforcement (I2 software), Ivory Trade, and E-waste.

Jonathan Dworin, Environmental Policy, 2012

Illegal Logging

When we visited EIA, they discussed with us their current campaign to help expose and stop illegal logging in Indonesia. Illegal logging causes deforestation, which has major negative impacts on numerous species of wildlife as well as the surrounding people. The trade in illegal timber is large scale and controlled by powerful people, who often have the power to influence officials to avoid enforcement of logging regulations. Indonesia in particular experiences extensive illegal logging, and so as part of their campaign against illegal logging EIA investigated illegal logging in Indonesia. In order to expose how illegal timber is harvested and sold in Indonesia, EIA undertook an investigation in which they documented with film every step of the process in harvesting and trading illegal logs in one national park in Indonesia. With this evidence, they can incite action against illegal logging and help direct enforcement efforts. This campaign has helped expose corruption, has helped support communities in Indonesia to take action to protect their forests, and has helped provide evidence to pressure governments to respond to the illegal timber trade.

Whitney Belaski, Fisheries and Wildlife, 2012

Tiger Trade

“If India didn’t want wild tigers, there wouldn’t be any wild tigers left.” This is the quote that really resonated inside of me as we learned about the various environmental issues EIA tackles on a daily basis. It shows that there are groups of people, like EIA, all over the world willing to fight for the environment. It seems as though the ongoing battle to protect the tiger is always a case of the few versus the many. The many are the people fueled by greed and corruption. They profit from the illegal trade of tiger fur and tiger body parts. Tiger populations across Asia are decimated by this drive for profit. EIA represents the few and are determined to stand up for the wild tiger. Although they do not necessarily have the resources to match those who make millions from dead tigers, EIA’s ability to inform is the ultimate weapon. As the EIA continues to raise awareness about the illegal tiger trade market and dwindling populations, the pressure placed on governments and people mounts. Awareness can turn the few into the many and give the wild tiger a fighting chance.

Michael Petlak, Political Theory, 2012

Intelligence Led Enforcement (I2 software)

Please click on image to see a larger version

When we visited EIA, we learned that by being intelligence led EIA is able to step back and see the “big” picture. Being intelligence led assists in producing their order of priorities, ensures their resources are used efficiently and allows them to understand the size and scale of the problem from start to finish. This intelligence is not information, but rather information that has been checked and compared with other information and can then be used in decision making. The I2 software helps the agency with this goal of being intelligence led, by using source data in a web-based collaborative framework to help analyze the data, and by using server side analytics to unleash the potential of the data. After seeing how the I2 software works first hand, I think it makes so much sense to use this intelligence software, in order to help stop environmental crime.

Erin Smith, Criminal Justice and Psychology, 2014

Ivory Trade

While we are at the height of the global ivory trade, it is important to expose the growing industry and reduce future poaching through increased enforcement. The vulnerability of African elephant populations combined with the lack of enforcement across Central and Western Africa foster the illegal ivory trade. EIA’s work to uncover raw data and images of elephant killings provide first-hand accounts of the atrocity to the outside world; bringing the crime to everyone’s attention. The indiscriminate act of poaching targets both genders and elephants of all ages. Working hand-in-hand with NGOs and lobbying for the protection of elephants, they pressure governments to better regulate and persecute ivory traffickers. EIA also works to expose those not only poaching the elephants, but also those selling the ivory. From this approach, EIA can try to reduce the demand by targeting the suppliers and breaking off their business. Using their extensive intelligence software, EIA can target the central figure within the operation which is crucial to dissolving the operation. All in all, EIA is an important tool in education, the collection of first-hand data and the exposure of central figures within the operation. They have been successful in many operations and there is no reason why EIA cannot successfully tackle the challenge of the illegal ivory trade.

Amy Lueken, International Relations, 2011

E-waste

In learning about the EIA electronic waste (e-waste) campaign, we learned how sophisticated their program has quickly become. They explained in detail how old television sets are being exported to countries in Africa where they are broken down, exposing the people of Africa to hazardous chemicals both directly and indirectly. We learned that electronic waste exportation from the UK is such a problem because people in Africa are willing to pay for used electronics whether they are working or not which has created a market for such products. It was wonderful to see that EIA now has some funding to place GPS trackers in old televisions to follow their path. This has given EIA definitive information that companies who are responsible for the safe disposal of electronic equipment are actually exporting the electronic waste to Africa which contradicts company reports. This is very detrimental to not only the people of Africa but to the environment as well. Therefore, even though electronic waste may not be directly affecting the environment of the UK at the moment, it is wonderful to see that non-governmental organizations, such as EIA, are actively involved in trying to reduce the UK’s contribution to this growing, global problem.

The staff members at EIA are extremely knowledgeable, passionate, and dedicated to their work and I would recommend visiting their facility to anyone who is interested in learning about, protecting, and conserving the environment.

Katie Kelel, Social Relations and Policy, 2014

Environmental Science, Policy, and Criminology in Scotland and England Program Instructors: William Taylor, Ed McGarrell, Norm Graham, Abigail Lynch (program assistant)

It’s the last day of the OEWG and time to take a step back and see what we’ve achieved.

The EIA team hard at work, do we look like we're posing?? Courtesy of IISD.

Many aspects of the negotiations here have been frustrating, and it’s hard not to feel depressed that while India and China are digging their heels in over the HFC phase-down proposals, HFC use in developing countries is skyrocketing. According to the Scientific Assessment Report presentation yesterday by Professor Ravishankara, HFC emissions could represent up to 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and these proposals could save tens of gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions over the coming decades. With frequent warnings that we are heading towards a climatic tipping point, you would have thought that initiatives like these would be welcomed with open arms.

However, while someone I spoke to yesterday qualified progress at these talks as ‘glacial’, it would be wrong to suggest that nothing has moved forward at all. At various stages in the Plenary discussions, negotiators have remarked upon the relatively constructive spirit that has reigned here over the past week. And while some of the bigger developing (or in Montreal Protocol jargon ‘Article 5′) countries have been less than constructive, others such as Georgia have made repeated and energetic interventions supporting an HFC phase-down and acknowledging the intrinsic link between ozone depletion and climate change. The presence of a number of climate ministry representatives is the sign of a subtle but significant shift in attitudes, even among the more recalcitrant countries .

It’s surprising that the link between climate change and ozone depletion is the subject of so much controversy, given the plethora of scientific reports and assessments that have established this.

Having attended last year’s climate conference in Cancun, it’s been a bit surreal to sit here and listen to some delegations defending the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol so forcefully – I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that it would be nice to see that enthusiasm translate to the climate negotiations. With the next Montreal Protocol meeting taking place just prior to the Durban climate talks no one is expecting any ground-breaking progress this year, but we will be looking to the 25th anniversary meeting of the Montreal Protocol in 2012 to see if it really deserves the accolade of the world’s most successful environmental treaty.

For a more detailed report of the proceedings here at OEWG 31, take a look at the IISD website. And just because in the midst of so much serious debate, it’s important to have a bit of light relief, here’s an example of the coffee art we were treated to every morning as we prepared the day ahead. Pas mal, as they say in Quebec.

Coffee Dragon

Ah, summertime …

The season to wonder where the spring went so quickly, to flirt with heat stroke on long meandering rambles into the countryside and to duck with stoic tenacity between downpours on traditional day trips to the British seaside.

Weird & Wonderful Wood

Weird & Wonderful Wood

For me, it’s also an opportunity to hook up with old friends at wood festivals around the country, and there spread word of the Environmental Investigation Agency to the curious.

Before I was ‘EIA Press Officer’, I was more widely known as ‘The Soap Lady’s Husband’; my wife Stephanie and I (although, in the interests of honesty, I should admit it’s mostly Steph) have for more than a decade run a small handmade soap business from our home.

We mostly sell through local health food stores and at farmers markets, but in recent years we’ve become regulars on the summer wood festival circuit, a gentle round of traditional wood crafts, smoky campfires and starry nights under canvas.

Steph’s a native New Yorker with enough pizzazz to singlehandedly power the national grid at Christmas, so in the early days there wasn’t much for me to do beyond skulking at the back of the stall with my head in a book, selling the occasional bar of soap while she got on with the more useful business of attracting punters and giving lively talks on the history of soap-making.

Steph at her palm-oil free soap stall

Steph at her palm-oil free soap stall

We’ve always made a point of not using palm oil in our soaps because of the devastating impact palm oil plantations are having on South-East Asia’s forests, but it wasn’t until I fell into a long conversation with a customer at Weird and Wonderful Wood in Suffolk a few years ago that a light bulb flickered on as to how we could perhaps do some good for EIA and spread a little awareness of the issue at the same time as enjoying a delightful weekend in the country.

The customer in question was completely unaware that palm oil was even a cause for concern and, after chatting with her, she was very keen to know more and asked if we had any suggestions as to what she could best do to help. We pointed her in the direction of EIA.

Smelling sweet and raising awareness about EIA & palm oil

Smelling sweet and raising awareness about EIA & palm oil

Since then, our soap stall has added a second string in the form of a display table for EIA reports such as Up For Grabs, growing steadily each year to incorporate copies of Investigator magazine and membership forms. And I get something more constructive to do than working my way through a stack of old paperbacks.

EIA is a small, hardworking NGO and what’s most heartening is the generally enthusiastic response to word of its work, not just in relation to its hands-on campaigning to prevent deforestation around the world but also for its practical efforts to effect meaningful change and proper enforcement in the other issues on which it focuses.

Many people attending wood festivals have a general awareness of conservation issues but often express frustration at trying to turn that concern into something more concrete, wanting to put their money where it will actually do some good.

With that in mind, it’s always a pleasure and never a chore to advocate EIA and its work at the cutting-edge, even more so when converts return year after year to ask for verbal updates on campaigns.

Paul Newman, Press Officer

Paul Newman

EIA Press Officer

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