Following 74 project applications for funding this year, National Geographic Germany, Alpin (Germany), TGO (UK), Lift (Netherlands), Bike & Trekking (Netherlands) and Wider (France) all published details in their magazines and online to encourage their readers to vote for their favourite project in three separate project categories: nature, outdoor and alpine.
The public vote across Europe reached over 4 million consumers via print, online and social media. 100,000 unique visitors came directly to the EOCA site and a massive 55,263 votes were cast to help choose which projects would receive funding. The voting was nail-bitingly close at times – at one point in the nature category, there were only 400 votes separating the top 4 projects! A single post from the winning project from the outdoor category (Surfers Against Sewage) on FaceBook reached a staggering one million people!
Three projects were chosen in this way by the public. This was then followed by the EOCA member vote to choose a further three projects:
Tough EU Action on Marine Litter (Nominated by Patagonia, chosen by EOCA members)
The marine environment has become engulfed in marine litter, severely impacting marine species and habitats. The international network ‘Seas at Risk’ aims to directly influence the Marine Strategy Framework Directive process, the only European legislative instrument designed to protect the marine environment and reduce marine litter.
Restoration of the Kaiserjoch Trail, Austria (Nominated by Vaude, chosen by EOCA members)
An urgent project due to a huge rockfall that destroyed a major footpath in the Austrian Alps. Due to the constant danger of further rockfall, the trail needs to be re-sited on the opposite side of the valley, taking care to keep hikers away from sensitive areas, protecting wildlife.
Mountain Clean Up (Nominated by Keen Footwear, chosen by EOCA members)
Respect the Mountains organises clean ups, so called 'Envirotreks' each year in different locations in several countries to bring together locals and volunteers to clean up a mountain recreation area or ski resort after the snow has gone (locations in 2012 in France, Austria, Germany, Netherlands and the UK).
Coastal Protection Activists, UK (Nominated by Smartwool, chosen in conjunction with TGO, Wider, Lift and Bike& Trekking Magazine)
To involve and educate local communities in the protection of their coastal environment through beach cleans, talks and environmental action on marine and coastal pollution via the training of a network of regional representatives.