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Posts Tagged ‘Supporters’

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.

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System Failure: The UK’s harmful trade in electronic waste

Read EIA's report. System Failure: The UK’s harmful trade in electronic waste

Spend 3 minutes ensuring your MP signs the EDM on electronic waste.

What’s the issue? You can read more about the UK’s problem on e-waste or you can watch BBC’s Panorama Track my TrashThe Panorama programme features EIA and is based on our findings.

The illegal smuggling of toxic electronic waste is a massive problem, damaging the environment and ruining lives. If you live in the UK, please write to your MP and ask them to sign Early Day Motion 1992 on e-waste (and EDM is a kind of MPs petition). It really helps when MPs get emails or letters – they do respond!

Step 1: Find your local MP by entering your postcode on this site. And then click on your MP.

Step 2:  Draft your own email or use the template below

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I would like to draw your attention to the Early Day Motion number 1992 on ‘Electronic Waste Recycling’, from primary sponsor Clive Efford MP:

“That this House is concerned by the findings of the Environmental Investigation Agency’s report System Failure revealing that hazardous waste electrical and electronic equipment is routinely being illegally exported from the UK; notes the need for greater auditing and accountability of electronic waste streams at all stages of collection, handling and treatment; urges stricter regulation and monitoring of Producer Compliance Schemes to ensure illegal practices are stamped out; and urges support for the Environment Agency to enable it to tackle illegal trade in e-waste.”

This is an issue of great concern to me and one which I believe could be effectively addressed by proper regulation and enforcement in the UK to prevent our toxic technological scrap contributing to a serious human health and environmental crisis in the Developing World .

If you have not done so already, I respectfully ask that you give your support to this Early Day Motion at the soonest opportunity.

Yours  Sincerely,

****************************************

Step 3: Let us know of any feedback you receive from your local MP, share your experiences with us.

Step 4: Tell all your friends to follow in your footsteps.

Thank you for taking action,

From the EIA e-waste team.

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Elephant. Credit Jason ChengThere’s no romantic back-story for how I first became aware of EIA.  Back in March, I literally stumbled past them on a walk. After noticing the sign for EIA’s offices wedged between a few storefronts, I decided to search for the organization on Google. I liked what I saw and requested a volunteer application. Three months later, here I am, a proud EIA fundraising volunteer who can’t believe, firstly, that such a fantastic organization exists and, secondly, my own dumb luck that it had a volunteer position available when I applied.

By the time I found EIA, I had been looking for volunteer positions for months. I am very dedicated to the cause of animal protection and, back at home in the USA, I have donated my time to all manner of animal organizations. From cleaning kennels at the local dog shelter to spending a summer at a farm animal sanctuary writing promotional material, my heart belongs to animals and so does most of my time. When I first moved to London, I was optimistic that I would be able to find something to involve myself in, but while I found plenty of short-term opportunities, the longer term ones seemed to be absent or they weren’t the right fit for my postgraduate schedule. I was disappointed.

EIAHowever, EIA was the missing puzzle piece. Animals are a huge part of what they do – from conducting undercover investigations on the tragic international trade in tiger and elephant parts to protecting cetaceans from whalers out for a quick buck to taking part in conservation efforts on behalf of orangutans and their habitats – but that’s not all. While their work in that arena definitely pulled me in, I was also eager to expand my knowledge beyond my normal focus, to learn more about the illegal timber trade and deforestation as well as ozone layer and climate protection. Sitting in an office surrounded by enthusiastic campaigners and staff, I can’t help but be fascinated by all that they do, animal-related or not – their passion is contagious.

Downtime at EIA HQ

Downtime at EIA HQ

As you could probably tell by my gushing, I adore being at EIA. There is never a dull day at the office as all my tasks are interesting in some way or another. Currently, I’m assisting the fundraising team in researching and designing a fresh set of merchandise for the upcoming website and online store redesign, to be launched mid-summer (I hope you’ll love it). Before that, I was drafting our most recent appeal for assistance in releasing a report on the whaling of endangered fin whales in Iceland. Some of the smaller, more everyday tasks I’m asked to do include database manipulation and letter editing. Don’t tell anyone, but I even get a kick out of playing around with the database. I know… I’m a huge nerd.

Without a doubt, volunteering for EIA has been one of the most rewarding experiences of this past year. In few of the many places I’ve volunteered have I felt so at home while still learning so much. I’m honored to be a meager part of the great work that EIA does and hope that even once my volunteering tenure is up, I can continue to be involved in the work of this small, but incredibly tenacious and much-needed organization.

Have you got what it take to be a volunteer at EIA? We’re currently recruiting a finance volunteer, find out more here.

Lex Berko - Fundraising Volunteer at EIA

Lex Berko

Fundraising Volunteer

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Okay. I’m going to spare you all the ubiquitous yew-turn jokes and get right on with it. After a massive public campaign, the Government has wisely scrapped its plans to privatise and sell off England’s public forests. There were three strands to this and they have backed down on all of them. The consultation on selling the entire 258,000 hectare estate has been scrapped. The plan to quickly sell 15% of the estate (the legal maximum without changes to the law) is on hold, and the clauses in the Public Bodies Bill that would allow the sale of the whole thing have been removed.

It’s a rout.

It’s great news and I congratulate them on seeing sense.

Oak tree Snowdonia - Credit Jason Cheng

Does this mean that England’s forests are now safe and happy? Not quite. The immediate danger has passed but there are a few things to keep our eyes on. First, there is going to be a Commission set up to look into the whole forestry question. This will include the forestry industry and some big NGOs. Yet despite repeated questioning the Minister responsible refused to confirm that it would be held in public and that grass-roots campaigners would be included.

New style of campaigning

Why does this matter so much? Well, the big NGOs were pretty slow and ambiguous on this whole thing, and many have potential conflicts of interest as large landowners. Also, this was not a victory for established NGOs, but a victory for the new style of campaigning – fluid, fast and decentralised. A campaign made up of local groups, loose affinities and co-ordinated through on-line media. EIA made its views clear and we did a little behind the scenes, but this was run largely by ad-hoc groups. The brilliant 38 Degrees helped start the ball rolling but no one outfit can claim the result. It is a new and exciting world for the campaigner.

So we are going to have an enquiry. We will need to watch closely to make sure it doesn’t come up with something just as bad as the abandoned plans.

UK flora and fauna. Credit Jason Cheng

UK flora and fauna. Credit Jason Cheng

But we also need to be positive. We have an impoverished environment in this part of the world, beautiful though it is. We need to improve it. England and the rest of the UK, needs wilder, larger and more biodiverse forests. We need some that are worked for timber and some that are simply left alone for nature to decide what happens. This is a golden opportunity to start having those debates and working out how we can build a better future, for people and wildlife.

EIA already attends many of the meetings and grouping where these things are discussed and we will do what we can to influence the outcome!

Beavers in Scotland

On the subject of British wildness, I thought you might be interested to see this Facebook Groups about wild beavers living free in Scotland. They are escapees and are being rounded up, although they do appear to be a native species. EIA does not have an ‘official’ position on this, but you can check it out and make up your own minds!

EIA Campaigner

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Do any of you  remembers EIA’s awarding winning TV series “Animal Detectives” which was first shown on the UK  ITV network way back in 1995 and subsequently repeated on numerous cable channels since?  Well I started at EIA as a part time volunteer in 1994.  Needless to say our very cramped office in Pear Tree Court was a hive of activity.

EIA started back in 1984

Over the intervening years much of my time has been spent logging our income from our members and supporters.  Although EIA is a small charity keeping this information on filing cards has never been an option whilst I have been at EIA.  Keeping mailing addresses up to date is mundane but vitally important so we can communicate what we are doing and we know who is supporting this work.  Without the latter we would not have the funds for our ongoing investigations!  Our computer database has grown in complexity as time has gone by to try to ensure efficient use of time and resource eg the Gift Aid scheme that was introduced back in 1990 and greatly expanded in 2000.  Rather than having to calculate how much money we can claim back from HM Treasury our database records and automatically generates the figures we need with a few taps of the keyboard.

Can you help me?  Well yes in two ways:

Firstly, moving house is very stressful but please try to tell us your new address.  It might help you to look at your statements’ (bank and or credit card) or your cheque stubs to try to ensure you have not over looked us or any other charity.  Whenever we send information out I always receive a pile back with ‘gone away’ on it.

Secondly, if you want us to communicate with you differently, more, less or differently then please do get in touch eg you would like everything sent to by email or you would like us to stop using email and return to a paper format.

I know 2011 will be another very busy year for EIA.  So please check back from time to time to see what we have done  If you are a paying member of EIA I am sure the Spring edition of the Investigator magazine will be jam packed with investigations that you have helped to fund – thank you.

Philip Godfrey

Philip Godfrey

Supporter Services

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New Year Greetings one and all.  Here we go again. But before we do, I want to say a big ‘Thank You’ to all of you – members, supporters, Facebook followers and Twitter fans – for taking an interest in EIA’s work and for lending your support wherever and whenever you can as EIA could not do this without you.

I can’t believe we’ve already said goodbye to another year.  Where do they go?  I have to admit that it’s been a struggle to drag my brain kicking and screaming back to the fray; the seasonal interlude seems like a distant memory already.  Business as usual and certainly our inimitable brand of investigation and campaigning will once again be in big demand. Operating as independent eyes and ears, prepared to say what needs to be said, constantly raising the bar and setting new benchmarks and expectations for key governments and decision makers, we have a number of key targets for the coming year.

As the Year of the Tiger draws to a close in February, it remains to be seen whether the adoption of the St Petersburg Declaration and the Global Tiger Recovery Program in November 2010 will set tigers in the wild on the road to recovery, doubling the tiger population by 2022 which is the ambitious goal. EIA will continue to monitor and assess whether the political promises made have been turned into action or whether they are just lip service.

2011 Year of Forests. Credit Jason Cheng

Will forests be smiling in 2011?

Whilst 2011  has been earmarked as international Year of Forests, we have our work cut out for us in pushing through EU legislation to ensure that the wood products that reach our markets are indeed legal and not laundered as is so often the case. 2011 should also see the publication of our extensive investigation into Britain’s illegal e-waste trade with the aim of campaigning for change in the way we handle our e-waste and for improved enforcement of existing regulations. And of course our work combating illegal trade in ozone depleting substances continues, as do our efforts to protect Whales and Dolphins… Elephants continue to be under threat from poaching and illegal trade… EIA will be releasing the findings of a recent on-site investigation in China

Ivory products. Credit EIA

Ivory products.

which will demonstrate that large amounts of illegal ivory continue to flood into China – despite the fact that the Chinese authorities secured 60+tonnes in the official one-off stockpile sale back in 2009. Initial analysis indicates that rather than curb the market, the demand has actually increased. I’m tempted to say “told you so”, but that would be churlish. The list goes on…and whilst it may sometimes seem that we are simply plugging a hole in the dam, it’s important to remember that all efforts, no matter how small, do make a difference.

Save the Wild Tiger Forum - Dec 2010. Credit EIA

Save the Wild Tiger Forum - Dec 2010.

Keep an eye out for forthcoming events; following on from the RGS evening in there will be a Gala dinner on the 3rd March at the Mandarin oriental in Knightsbridge.  And following on from the success of the National Geographic film on EIA’s work on the Tiger Campaign, there are three more films in the pipeline.  Watch this space.

So, in signing off and in the words of Mark Twain, “New Year’s Day:  Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions.  Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.”

Here’s to the year of the Bunnies.

Mary Rice. Credit EIA

Mary Rice

Executive Director

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I first heard about the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) this summer whilst researching my thesis: examining the scope of environmentalism as a philosophical enterprise.

For as long as I remember, I’ve been captivated by wildlife and have wanted to probe the reasons behind the wanton destruction of the natural world. In the midst of writing – battling it out with Kant and Hegel – I had a bit of crisis, a need to put down the books and do something hands-on. It’s one thing theorizing about change and another thing making it happen. I know that I want to save the tiger; I want to save the forest; I want the natural world to be valued so much more when it is living and growing – not hanging up on a wall or strewn across the floor as home-décor.

So, exhausting as it was (repeatedly banging one’s head against the Critique of Pure Reason can leave you a bit dizzy), my work meant that I came across EIA and I feel pretty lucky for that. EIA is a small, independent organisation and so it took a few hits in Google for it to appear; but it was the word ‘investigation’ that grabbed my attention. Investigation is ultimately what I was doing with my thesis– enquiring into the social and political structures that make a movement like environmentalism possible, stripping information back to its core like peeling away layers to reach the juicy bits in the middle. Exposing this takes courage – there are a lot of environmental crime syndicates who would do anything to keep their name out of the limelight. I think it is incredible that EIA throw their weight behind achieving meaningful goals – goals which require patience and planning but ultimately uncover the real culprits of wildlife crime. Transforming information into evidence – that is what I like about EIA.

Roar, Imagine a tiger. Credit Sue Foll

Roar, Imagine a tiger. A fundraising event I helped out with this week. Credit Sue Foll

Work at EIA never stops. As fundraising volunteer, I’m working on a variety of projects across the fundraising spectrum; helping with events and communicating information for members, maintaining the database and making sure the post gets out when it needs to!

It is my first experience at an NGO and the job of fundraising is a lot broader than I anticipated. The fundraising and membership team need to have a good understanding of the latest issues and developments. Recently, I’ve been designing some membership material and it’s been a real pleasure. As a fundraiser, you have the creative freedom to send a heartfelt message to your members and rally their support for a much needed response.

Taking photos at the opening of the Asia House exhibition. Copyright EIA

Taking photos at the opening of the Asia House exhibition. Copyright EIA

EIA’s HQ is an immensely cosy one – I remember my first day being greeted by a cup of tea and a very excitable office dog! While the campaigners are quietly plugging away (except for the occasional passionate outburst), there is always excitable chatter from the fundraising and comms team about new fans on Facebook, new followers on Twitter and how best to inform supporters of the latest findings. There’s a lot of information out there and a lot still to find, so I really admire everyone here at EIA. It’s a real pleasure to be volunteering for them.

Cara Clancy, our fundraising volunteer

Cara Clancy

Fundraising Volunteer

If you would like to find out more about volunteering at EIA, email Bill at ukinfo@eia-international.org.

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