Following a tumultuous year for everyone, the European Outdoor Conservation Association (EOCA) is thrilled to announce a partial return to normality with the launch of its online public vote this morning. The vote will help the association choose which projects it will fund this autumn, and, 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 includes 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 with partner organisations adapting to new ways of working, the association is delighted to be 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, but 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, working with and educating communities and visitors to reduce the source of the plastic and stop it getting there in the first place, and in many cases introducing processes and solutions to leave an ongoing legacy to combat the problem.