The European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) has launched its online public vote to help the association choose which projects it will fund this autumn. In line with the current Plastic Free: Mountain to Sea campaign, all projects on the shortlist are involved with the issue of single-use plastic.
Each year, EOCA runs two funding rounds, which include two high profile online votes in which supporters of EOCA, its members and the projects looking for support take part, in order to choose which will receive funding. The first public vote of 2020, which was due to take place in the spring, coincided with the European-wide lockdown, crisis planning and uncertainties over budgets – meaning that the public online vote had to be cancelled.
Despite that, EOCA members were able to choose three projects to be funded, following a private members-only vote. This autumn, with funding more certain for the remainder of the year and partner organisations adapting to new ways of working, the association is able to stage its autumn public vote, in partnership with online magazines Mountainblog.it and Mountainblog.eu.
Projects have been divided into three categories – Land, Marine and Freshwater – depending on where the majority of the project work is located; all deal with the common issues of single-use plastic. This involves cleaning up habitats where plastic is already present and causing harm in environments and to wildlife.
Key is working with and educating communities and visitors to reduce the source of the plastic and stop it getting there in the first place. In many cases, this means introducing processes and solutions to leave an ongoing legacy to combat the problem.
Tanya Bascombe, Joint General Manager, said, “We are very excited to be able to run our public online vote again. It has been such a difficult year for everyone, and six months ago, with so many other things for people to deal with, the public vote was unthinkable. Now, it is great to be back with a good news story that people, passionate about conservation and the Great Outdoors, can get involved in.
“EOCA is delighted to have funding available, thanks to the continued support of its committed and forward-looking members. We have 14 really exciting projects, all addressing the threats caused by plastic pollution, looking for support at this vital time.”
The vote will run until 22nd October at 12 noon (BST) / 13.00 (CEST). Participants can vote once in each category per electronic device – click on the green ‘Make a Difference’ panel.