EOCA – Enjoy the great outdoors and preserve its existence.
Since OutDoor by ISPO took place in Munich at the beginning of July this year, Leadership & Sustainability has become a member of the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA).One thing of significance about this association is that it invests one hundred per cent of its membership fees in nominated projects that are voted for by the members themselves.
“The outdoor sector and the millions of people who enjoy the great outdoors are active champions for the conservation of nature and wild places.”
According to EOCA, wild places are non-urban environments and ecosystems which, due to their location and use, occur in as natural a state as possible.
So far, EOCA has…
- Repaired trails in the Eastern Tyrol and Scotland
- Protected raptors in Bulgaria and Georgia
- Safeguarded brown bears in Spain and squirrels in the UK
- Preserved forests in Sweden and planted trees in Indonesia, India, Madagascar and Uganda
- Removed metal and plastic pollution from mountains and beaches in the Alps, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, the UK and Guatemala
And the list goes on.
At OutDoor by ISPO, EOCA promoted one project in particular: Plastic Free: Mountain to Sea. After the success of the Two Million Trees Project, EOCA launched this initiative with a mission to clean up plastic waste and pollution from 3000 km of trails, habitat and beach over the next two years.
The omnipresence of plastics is nowadays commonly acknowledged. EOCA states that 80% of marine plastics descend from land sources likely carried there by the wind- and water streams. Moreover, about 100,000 marine mammals and one million seabirds suffer due to light-weight and deceptive materials each year. The degradation of plastics is another problematic feature as they do not disappear and may release toxic chemicals instead (1).
Threats to wildlife, food safety, human health and climate change – they are all part of the chain.
EOCA sees it as its mission to counteract this situation. In fact, we are all a part of it. Along with collective cleanups, EOCA engages in educating and inspiring outdoor enthusiasts to combat this issue. To do this, they created the Plastic Pledge that the exhibitors of OutDoor by ISPO, for instance, signed to reduce single-use plastics during the show and beyond. EOCA has seized the chance of starting a movement that is not only indispensable for nature and wildlife, but also for human beings themselves.
Over the last 13 years, EOCA has funded 105 projects in 44 different countries (2). With every new member joining the association, the impact EOCA can make grows.