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Who benefits from environmental NGOs?

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Children on a Terra Cypria trip to the Akamas
We spread truth about environmental damage and suggest solutions

By Ourania Kyriakou

Have you ever wondered why there are so many environmental Non-Governmental Organisations (eNGOs) worldwide working for the protection of the environment? And why they ask for the public to support their work? Have you ever wondered who benefits from their actions?

As the environmental activist Wendell Berry said, “The Earth is what we all have in common.”

During the last century and after the industrial revolution we Homo sapiens have damaged numerous natural environmental processes of the planet. In a very short time, and through our actions, we have managed not only to cause climate change and massive extinction of flora and fauna but also threatened our own existence.

Of course, every day we hear politicians worldwide emphasising the need for immediate change in our lifestyle and our political systems to save our planet’s environment. However, at the same time we all know that there is a huge gap between words and actions. Even though everyone understands that no socio-economic system can thrive without a healthy environment, whenever there are serious decisions to be made, economic interests seem to prevail.

For example, it is widely recognised that fossil fuels should be imminently replaced by renewable energy sources, yet governments all over the world, including our own, tend to find excuses to expand their exploitation which worsens the effects of climate change. Also, even though every environmental scientist will agree that the more complex an ecosystem is, the more resilient it is to climatic changes, we see a tendency to allow developments and activities that damage and destroy flora and fauna species. This could be taking place thousands of kilometres away from our homes, like the Amazon forest, but also a few kilometres from us like the Akamas peninsula.

Here is where eNGOs come in, to objectively spread the truth about environmental damage and to suggest direct and pragmatic solutions to safeguard the wellbeing of us and future generations.

ENGOs are responsible for carrying out important research, and organising and running aid programmes, consumer, public awareness, and conservation environmental activities, demonstrations for environmental justice and various other activities. They serve no other interests other than the protection of our environment. Depending on their scientific orientation and their social character they encourage people to discover, appreciate and protect the natural world around them.

Environmental NGOs with their skillful and knowledgeable personnel can influence decision-makers towards environmentally friendly solutions and also inspire and motivate society to act and demand meaningful environmental protection.

One such eNGO is Terra Cypria – The Cyprus Conservation Foundation. It is one of the largest environmental NGOs in Cyprus working for the protection of the island’s biodiversity, climate change issues, sustainable agricultural practices, environmental education and research. Terra Cypria was established in 1992 as a charitable, non-profit organisation.

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Its aim is to promote environmental awareness and sustainability through environmental education, as well as through programmes that promote conservation, environmental protection and research. Terra Cypria employs 12 people and through its two centres, one in Limassol and one in Kritou Terra in Paphos, it educates, protects, acts and seeks to inspire.

All the above sound great, but how can we inspire people and empower them to become active citizens and demand better environmental protection?

Raising awareness through social media, newsletters and press releases are some of the means we use to interact with the public. We also inform the public with specialised groups offering lectures and presentations on specific environmental topics so everyone who is interested can have the opportunity to attend and interact with other like-minded people.

Finally, we have our supporters’ scheme. Terra Cypria’s supporters are our ambassadors to the broader society. They are the people who spread the word, our aims and actions to other people and are a fundamental strength of our foundation during our various advocacy campaigns.

Our supporters are people who care about the environment and want to protect it.

Below are the testimonials of two of our supporters on why they support our work:

“It’s like when someone says it’s just a plastic straw. But if 7 billion people decided not to use plastic straws then we would have a major achievement. When you are a supporter, you are not just a unit, because if thousands think alike then we are closer to our goal. At least I know I am doing the best I can about it”. Anna C.

“It’s the best way to act. I can’t change the world as an individual, but I can change myself. If everyone thinks the same way, then this is the way we make the change”. -Tasos K.

Supporting Terra Cypria helps strengthen its voice but also gives you the opportunity to interact with the environment through organised environmental excursions and lectures as well as through the monthly informative newsletters.

Today we are 250. By the end of 2023 we will be 500. Imagine the advocacy power our voice will have when we reach 5000 supporters, and even more.

Terra Cypria exists because this island needs environmental justice, it needs actions, it needs change.

If you want to become a supporter of Terra Cypria and support our work, visit our website at https://terracypria.org/become-a-supporter/ and enroll.

 

Ourania Kyriakou is the communications officer of Terra Cypria

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