Chapter Summary 2010
A Message from the Executive Director International – Yvette Taylor
2010 has been a year of unprecedented expansion for The Earth Organization (TEO). We opened 10 new chapters internationally; they are as follows:
- Cape Town,
- Democratic Republic of Congo,
- 2 in India,
- Ivory Coast,
- Pietermaritzburg (just outside of Durban),
- Kloof (a suburb of Durban, South Africa) &
The Earth Organization now has 20 chapters internationally and our presence is being felt. The head office in Durban has not only assisted all the chapters with their projects, but has had a number of projects of their own to manage. As the year draws to a close it was expected that the work load would diminish but this has not been the case, in fact we launched several new projects before the year was out.
It is with pride that I compiled this year’s summary report. Our chapters have been busy and fantastic gains were made. The highlight achievements have been summarised in this report.
Head Office Projects
As the founder of The Earth Organization it has always been a huge goal for Lawrence Anthony to expand the game reserves in South Africa and secure as much land as possible for conservation. This dream has gained huge momentum in 2010. The contracts that will expand Thula Thula from a 1,500 hectare game reserve to an 18,000 hectare game reserve have all been signed, the first fences have already been dropped and the Royal Zulu project is now 4,800 ha in size. The local tribes are very excited to be part of such a unique conservation project and progress has been rapid. The rehabilitation of the land is ongoing and there is currently a dam being built to bring hippos back into the area.
Not too far from this exciting project is the Mayibuye Game Reserve. This game reserve is ground-breaking for several reasons. The reserve is situated on land which was given back to local people by the government of South Africa, having been forcibly removed during the Apartheid era. The land owners realized that the land had little value as farm land but had huge potential for conservation and thus a relationship has been forged with The Earth Organization in order to facilitate the development of a game reserve. Mr. Anthony got busy and using his international network of friends and supporters, soon tracked down like-minded investors. The investors fell in love with the land and saw the potential of making it a successful conservation project that is sustainable and viable. Consequently, the making of a 4,200 hectare game reserve, with room to expand, is well underway. This urban reserve will see the reintroduction of wild animals to an area that hasn’t seen many wild species for over a century.
Recycling is one of the leading environmental solutions to some of the problems that we face on our planet. In many of the less developed countries recycling is not really utilized. Head office has launched a project with the Durban local authorities as well as an affiliated recycling company to put recycling into 1500 schools in the Durban area, with the intention of rolling this out to every school in South Africa.
The project will involve three role players;
- The local authorities, who will host workshops and seminars for all teachers and headmasters;
- TEO, who will train the teachers on pollution and recycling and equip them with materials to use in order to teach their pupils the value of recycling and
- the partner recycling company which will provide each school with large bins for the various recyclable items. They will then collect, weigh and pay the schools for their collected, recyclable waste.
As additional incentive there will be a competition between the participating schools to determine which school recycles the most waste per student. The winning school will receive sponsored prizes at the end of the project. The first training workshops for Educational Officers (government liaisons that facilitate between municipal projects and schools) and Educators will start in February 2011.
There was an enormous demand for environmental speakers this year. Lawrence Anthony spoke at a vast number of functions all over the world, from Korea to England to Johannesburg, addressing over 5000 people throughout the year. The Executive Director, Yvette Taylor, also spoke on a number of occasions, addressing over 1500 people throughout the year. Many of the functions were coordinated by head office and the conservation message was spread far and wide. The success of Mr. Anthony’s second book (The Elephant Whisperer) in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, The United States, Canada, Kenya, France, Italy, Germany, China and many more, has caused an enormous interest in Lawrence Anthony, conservation and The Earth Organization.
The Readers Digest published a condensed version of The Elephant Whisperer which has also been translated into Hungarian, Norwegian, Danish and others. Babylon’s Ark has been translated into Japanese, Korean and French.
Wildlife in war zones:
The Wildlife in War Zones website is finally complete and can be viewed at:
Its completion will be followed by a massive media campaign and extensive work to promote it internationally, using the internet.
Department of Education of South Africa:
Head office developed a mutually beneficial relationship with the deputy Director for the Department of Basic Education, South Africa. This relationship will be extended in the New Year and TEO will design materials regarding conservation and environmental issues to be used in the South African educational curriculum. The Department has already loaded some of the existing TEO educational material on to their educational portal which can be viewed athttp://www.thutong.doe.gov.za/Default.aspx?alias=www.thutong.doe.gov.za/envirospace
In the first part of the 2010, The Earth Organization USA worked on the development and piloting of science-based environmental and conservation courses for children in Kindergarten through to 12thgrade. Significant forward progress was made on this campaign but unfortunately, it had to be put on hold temporarily when the disastrous oil spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico and all resources, by necessity, became focused on that.
The Gulf of Mexico’s Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig Blow Out:
On the 20th of April 2010, the USA suffered the largest environmental disaster in their history. British Petroleum’s (BP) Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico exploded and severed the pipeline to the ocean floor, leaving crude oil gushing into the Gulf. After several weeks it became clear that real solutions to the problem were not being utilized. TEO USA staff swung into gear to demonstrate to the public and government officials, the effectiveness of bio-remediation technology as an effective method to handle the oil pollution in the gulf waters. The purpose was to address the catastrophe and to see the implementation of a solution that would clean up the toxic holocaust that has become the Gulf of Mexico.
Bio-remediation is a cutting-edge technology which harnesses the power of naturally-occurring microorganisms by greatly speeding up the process that nature utilizes to clean up toxic areas, in particular, oil spills. Bio-remediation products use different methods of harnessing the power of naturally occurring microorganisms to breakdown the oil into non-toxic components, thereby neutralizing the harmful effects the crude oil and other toxic chemicals have on the gulf waters. What would take nature decades or centuries to clean up, can now be done in a matter of weeks with the application of the correct Bio-remediation method to a specific situation. Products that come under the scientific umbrella of bio-remediation technology are used around the world to clean up toxic situations and yet most people do not know about it. TEO US researched the various products which could potentially be used on this disaster and isolated the ones that would work. As an example, one of these products has cleaned up over 14,000 spills in the last 20 years and has been used by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), by all the US Military forces (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard), by British Petroleum (BP) on two earlier spills, and is being utilized in over 30 countries on spills, large and small.
Once TEO USA arrived in the Gulf area, it became clear that the situation was more serious than anticipated and that the only real solution to this situation was not being utilized. Companies which could have been effectively resolving the situation were running into massive, bureaucratic red tape in the EPA. It also became necessary to investigate why an extraordinarily toxic chemical dispersant, more toxic than the oil itself, was being used and why that was being illegally authorized by government agencies.
With the help of several TEO members and generous donations from the concerned public, a half-hour TV-documentary “Hidden Crisis in the Gulf” was produced, exposing the deadly dispersant and educating the public about a safe solution.
This can be viewed athttp://www.theearthorganizationgulfvideo.org/ . (If you have a slow downloading line, allow it to fully download before you begin to play it.) The purpose of the documentary is to educate the public about bio-remediation and thereby ignite a demand that bio-remediation be implemented immediately as a solution to the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico.
The program is currently airing on 35 TV channels in Louisiana and will air over 100 times in the coming months. The seafood and tourism industries, as well as all businesses that depend on clean Gulf water, must be salvaged by truly returning the Gulf to its pre-oil blow out condition.
TEO USA also gathered a consortium of scientists from different universities and research centers around the Gulf who are working with TEO to expose the truth about the unsafe qualities of the Gulf waters and the Gulf seafood. They are working with a variety of government officials to educate the public, and break down the barriers to getting safe, non-toxic solutions implemented.
A key way in which we can all help TEO US is by going to the website,http://www.agcrowe.com/ and signing the petition there related to this issue. It only takes a minute, but it is vital that we get as many signatures as possible. This is a global issue, not just a local one, as seafood from the Gulf of Mexico is sold to other countries around the world, and that seafood, for the most part, is now dangerously contaminated with highly toxic chemicals.
In addition to this TEO USA also conducted 4 Eco Safaris this year to South Africa . One of them included the Grand Prize winner of an essay contest TEO conducted in the Los Angeles schools, and her parents joined her for the trip!
Along with all this, TEO USA also expanded into new offices in Van Nuys, California and gained several new staff members and very dedicated volunteers.
In 2009 TEO Cameroon collaborated with Dja to celebrate the year of the gorilla, this lead to a new project for 2010. With the help of renowned comedian, Mr. Daniel Ndo, 20 students were trained and certified in theatre skills. These students then went into the local area to visit communities around the Dja reserve and teach them about the value of conservation and biodiversity in the reserve, using theatre as a medium.
As Mr. Medjo is the President of The Earth Organization for Africa he has also started to assist other TEO African chapters in improving their set up. Mr. Bossendju N’Kanga of the newly formed TEO Togo traveled to Cameroon where he was hosted by TEO Cameroon. Together they discussed and planned future projects as well as creating a blog for Togo http://teotogo.blospot.com/ .
The New Year will see TEO Cameroon raising funds to host a Walk for Wildlife event with Madame Ingrid Solange of Miss Earth Cameroon. As well as starting a banana plantation, this is an ongoing project from 2009.
Tree Planting in Landes:
TEO France collaborated with Disney© to raise funds for a reforestation project in the Landes area. The area was devastated by Cyclone Klaus and a massive section of the forest was destroyed. Having raised the money last year it was tree planting this year and four hundred children helped to plant 8000 trees on 5 ha land.
Tree Planting in Picardie:
For the 5th year in a row TEO France have assisted the ANAF (Association Nationale des agents Forestiers) to reforest Pacardie. Seventy six Alner trees were relocated to a park where they can now be enjoyed by families
TEO France was involved in a project regarding amphibian transportation. At the end of the winter, in France, frogs start to migrate towards their mating and spawning grounds. Many frogs are killed in this process as they cross roads and their declining numbers put the whole eco-system at risk. Thanks to an experimental system of buckets and wires, in Picardie under the Forest National Office, 7306 amphibians have been saved from this fate and allowed to proceed to their mating and spawning grounds.
TEO France runs a very successful campaign to reduce the amount of printed promotional material produced annually. It is a simple system whereby participants display an approved sticker to prevent advertisers from placing their materials in mailboxes. This year alone, 10 tons of paper was saved; according to the Clean Air Council in the USA, Americans receive almost 4 million tons of junk mail every year, most of it ends up in landfills.
Wildlife in War Zones:
The Founder of The Earth Organization, Lawrence Anthony, spoke at an event hosted by TEO France in Paris this year (2010). The issue of Wildlife in War Zones was addressed and Mr. Anthony also spoke about his book Babylon’s Ark for which he won the very prestige French award, 30 Millions d’Amis (30 million friends) awarded to the best book regarding animals.
TEO France also assisted with a beach cleanup in the south, collecting an enormous amount of waste, all of which was fully recycled. This was backed up by a national advertising campaign to really educate people about the environment and the importance of recycling.
Park Clean ups:
The Earth Organization Hungary started the year with a clean-up of Budapest’s Markusovszky Square. Time was invested in rehabilitating the beautiful parks in the city.
Earth org members, along with another group of enthusiastic volunteers, participated in the clean up. The litter in the square was completely removed and 3 homeless sites were also removed and cleaned up. In addition, the team planted approximately 20 trees to beautify the square.
TEO Hungary then took on the Budapest Park in district 8 of Budapest. The clean up was arranged in cooperation with the City hall of Jozsefvos and the local Nap Klub (Sun Club) Foundation in May. TEO got everyone involved from Sun Club members, TEO members to homeless people and both Mathias Square and Sun Square were cleaned this way.
The newly formed Indian chapter started off with a function to raise awareness about plastic bags and the pollution issues surrounding their use. Sixty-five students made cloth bags which were distributed to local people and shops as an alternative to plastic shopping bags. Additional bags where donated by a group called ‘Small steps’. TEO India had great media of their event, even appearing in the leading national newspaper, Hindustan Times, along with great TV coverage.
The second Indian chapter, which also launched this year, has taken TEO to all regions of India, having set up a website and grown a strong following for TEO in the sub continent.
Together with students and volunteers from other NGO’s they hosted a successful tree planting in support of Earth Day this year. The Neem trees were planted in the Rajeev Ghandi Zoo at Katraj in Pune, the volunteers also engaged day visitors to join the tree planting event .
The Earth Organization Nigeria has made giant strides in 2010 to consolidate their achievements of 2009.
TEO Nigeria moved into a new office in Thomas Estate, in Lekki Peninsula, Lagos.
National Media Campaign to Protect the Environment:
A series of national media campaigns were hosted by International Oil companies, to address the following topics; protection of the environment, climate issues and the destruction of the ecosystem of the oil rich, Niger Delta region.
The campaigns received media coverage on both National television and radio stations as well as being printed in the newspapers, and the TEO team made time to visit executives of the various media houses, around the country to promote the campaigns. The media giants include;
- African Independent Television (AIT),
- Galaxy TV,
- Channels TV and
- Ray Power radio station.
At the end of the media tour and campaigns, agreements were reached and signed by both parties to cooperate extensively on all relevant projects of TEO.
BBC visits TEO Nigeria 2010:
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in its worldwide coverage on the effects of climate change, in the aftermath of the Copenhagen global climate summit, dispatched their crew to 7 countries representing the continents. Nigeria was chosen to represent the African continent on a live worldwide debate and interview. TEO Nigeria was the only organization accredited to join the live program. The BBC crew flew into Nigeria from their London and Ethiopian offices to conduct live interviews and debate sessions, which lasted for over 4 hours.
In June 2010, the Pietermaritzburg team started their chapter with a passion and a desire to make a meaningful, leading contribution to preserving the earth. Following regular involvement in community projects over the previous three years the chapter kicked off with a positive start.
The project began at Eastwood Primary School with the introduction of recycling at a “Green Day” event held at the school. TEO Pietermaritzburg aims to replicate this at other schools within the Pietermaritzburg region in the coming year.
The Green Day event encompassed educational presentations to teachers and students focusing on pollution, conserving our environment and recycling in our daily lives. A tree planting was held to commemorate the event, and the trees were planted on the school grounds, providing a learning opportunity for the children as well as teaching the importance of trees in the environment we live in.
A “greening contest” was launched on the same day which extended over three months. The contest was aimed at showing how one can produce useful material from what we today deem as waste. The pupils took part in this contest as part of their educational subjects. The junior primary learners created posters about recycling and the senior primary learners created usable items for their homes or school from recyclable waste.
The commitment and desire to participate in the green day events and contest motivated The Earth Organization to arrange a mini recycling centre for the school. The recycling centre is an ongoing beneficial program between a local recycling company and Eastwood Primary School.
The recycling initiative and the display of skills, from the creation of the posters to the construction of models from recyclable items, was the highlight of the program at Eastwood Primary School.
The Earth Organization Uganda started their chapter this year. They are a highly motivated team of 20 volunteers who have a solid understanding of the urgent need for conservation in their country along with a driving passion to teach others about conservation. They started by teaching 253 students about environmental issues and conservation using TEO’s ‘Mission: Earth’ booklet which was an extremely successful project. They achieved a good pass rate and the top student from Nyarukoma Secondary School achieved 98%. TEO Uganda will continue the training program in new schools next year as well as starting a forestation program and teaching the community how to live with nature.
With the launch of new environmental law by the government of Zambia TEO stepped up to the challenge. TEO focused on the new laws regarding:
· Increasing public and political awareness and understanding of the need for environmental protection, sustainable natural resource utilization, conservation and management as incredible partners in development.
- To mobilize initiatives and resources in the private sector, NGOs and CBOs to archive sustainable environmental management
- To involve civil society in general and local communities in particular, in environmental planning and actions at all levels; and community participation, empowerment, social and economic benefits from natural resources are guaranteed
TEO Zambia is thus engaged in coordinating monthly environmental forums where different environmental issues are discussed in order to achieve these objectives. The first topic of discussion at the forum was ‘Challenges of Environmental Management in Zambia’, it was officiated by the Mayor of the City of Kitwe, His Worship Elias Kamanga, who stated; “The Local Government will give the forum its full support,” he added; “In order to effectively protect and manage our abundant resources, the local government will formulate by-laws in line with national policy on the environment that was launched by the government.” The Mayor thanked TEO Zambia, for putting together the forum and hosting the event.
The Executive Director of TEO Zambia, briefed the attendees about the environmental issues faced by the Copperbelt, stating; “Heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and other industrial chemicals have contaminated streams and the main Kafue River. Waste dumps that scar the landscape, are prone to erosion and are highly unstable. The tailings dams, which are polluted with potentially toxic waste, provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes and a variety of air pollutants, like sulphur dioxide, are pumped into the atmosphere from smelters and acid plants, killing vegetation. Systematic health surveys are a luxury that Zambia, a heavily indebted poor country, cannot afford, but exposure to this kind of toxic cocktail is associated with birth defects, cancer, respiratory problems and a weakening of all forms of life. Though the picture may look gloomy, I am glad that we are able to meet and are determined to find solutions to the environmental problems.” The function, which will become a monthly event, was a resounding success.
Vegetable gardens in Kankoyo Township:
TEO Zambia is also currently in discussion with Mopani Copper Mine, the owners of the adjacent copper smelter in Mufurila Town on the Copperbelt of Zambia, and the Municipal Council regarding the establishment of backyard gardens in the township of Kankoyo. Currently it is not possible to grow vegetables in this area because the soil is so contaminated by toxic emissions.
The copper smelter adjacent to the township has extensively contaminated the soils making it impossible to grow back yard gardens. Cramped mining environments and a host of other problems make planting directly in the ground problematic. These gardens offer solutions to the contaminated soils of the Township.
The Kankayo gardens will be built above the ground that is contaminated, with a circle of loose waste rock of about 2 metre in diameter. They will be filled with a rich mix of top soil, wood ash, old vegetation and manure (compost) piled up in a conical shape to about 1.5 metre high, which will allow vegetables to be grown in clean, fertile soil.
Zambians bid at CITIES to down list the elephant :
TEO Zambia opposed the Zambian government’s bid to down list elephants from appendix I to II on the CITES list. The Minister of Environment, Tourism and Natural Resources gave presentations at the Conference of Parties to the Convention on Endangered Species of World Flora and Fauna (CITES) to offload the Zambian ivory stock piles at the international market.
TEO Zambia submitted to the Zambian delegate that it opposed the Zambian proposal to offload the ivory on the international market because there is a clear link between one-off sales and the rise in poaching. The sales revive dormant markets by sending the message to consumers that it is OK in general, to once again buy ivory and makes it difficult to differentiate between legal and illegal products. TEO Zambia has made it clear that they will still oppose the sale in future and are still planning to lobby CITES regarding this matter.
When a tanker carrying an undisclosed amount of acid overturned along Sabina-Mufulira road, TEO Zambia sprang into action. The acid was spilt into the Tukula Mutima stream which feeds into the Kafue River, the main source of water for Copperbelt Province residents; the stream is also the only source of drinking water of the Salamano community.
The Earth Organization sent a team of environmental experts to assess the extent of the impact on the community and the environment for the purpose of commencing legal proceeding against Mopani Copper Mines and the transporter for compensation of the communities that were affected by the acid spill.
The Earth Organization Zambia was instrumental in advocating and engaging Konkola Copper mines to de-silt the pollution control dam in Chingola. After months of advocacy Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) finally unveiled a US$40 million pollution program to improve infrastructure to treat pollution. TEO Zambia was invited to KCM plant in Chingola on a conducted tour of the planned pollution control program. TEO Zambia are delighted with the progress made in this area.