Projects, staff and our need for your support

Dear Wild Supporters

Things have been getting busier and busier and as a consequence we would like to expand. However, we have almost used up all of our main supporter's savings* and our monthly stipend/donations just won't cover everything. In addition to ten full time people in Wild we also support a full time person working in Yunlin county on the Hushan Dam and other related projects, a full time position monitoring issues and helping coordinate key issues in the Taiwan legislature, a part time editor of an activist journal, and from time to time we pay for the legal fees of other environmental groups (e.g., Yunlin incinerator litigation, Tainan industrial waste landfill litigation). While we will be able to keep up most if not all of these projects for the foreseeable future, we could do so much more for each of them if we only had the resources.

Here's what we would like to do and for which we need more financial support:

1. One more native English speaker for additional work on international awareness, the Wild at Heart websites, and fundraising and coordination between Wild at Heart and other NGOs, in particular coordination of Wild projects with the Taiwan Environmental Action Network, an organization of Taiwanese professionals recently returned from overseas or living overseas, who are concerned about environmental issues in Taiwan (see www.tean.org). Estimated costs for first year: NT$4-500,000.

2. Local one year position to 1) investigate and put together and action plan on roadside trees in Taipei City. See the story on our website) start a network of environmentalists concerned with mining issues – there has been a slew of applications for mining permits recently in Miaoli and Sinjhu Counties – all of these involve areas of just under 2 hectares, the cut off point at which an environmental impact assessment is required, and 3) assist with our cooperation with the publisher Third Nature. Wild has sponsored the publication of Chinese versions of the following books in Taiwan: Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken, Strangely Like War by Derrick Jensen and George Draffen, The Continuum Concept by Jean Leidloff, Beyond Civilization by Daniel Quinn and a series of six books from the Northwest Environmental Watch on core environmental values. In process are Midcourse Correction by Ray Andersen and a collection of essays by Ivan Illich. We work with the publisher on promoting these books that do not sell very well but which convey important experiences and messages from the west and give balance to the otherwise largely homogenized mainstream foreign media diet that finds its way to Taiwan. Estimated costs: we have identified an extremely well qualified candidate who, if the funds can be raised, will work partially from the office, partially in the field and partially from their home. Estimated costs for first year: NT$600,000. We have already raised NT$100,000 towards this position through the Anti-mining Alliance.

3. Hualian field office. We have been hoping to set up a field office in eastern Taiwan for some time to support our efforts in Hualian and Taidong, two counties where the majority of Taiwan's indigenous peoples reside, areas that are relatively unpolluted, but which are increasingly threatened with a slew of tourist hotels, hydro electric projects, roads and other projects that are taking Taiwan down the path to becoming one giant used parking lot/slag heap.

Current projects underway in Hualian include observation and follow up on: a hydro electric project that involves cutting through traditional farmlands of the Bunun tribe; assisting 66 Truku landowners assert rights to their ancestral lands, which were taken by Asia Cement; prosecution ina criminal case against Taiwan Cement for illegal dumping of waste oil and associated defense work for an employee who blew the whistle, against whom Taiwan Cement has filed criminal charges; assistance to Amis tribe activists in conjunction with land negotiations with the Taiwan Sugar Corporation; monitoring and evidence collection against officials whose past actions indicate collusion with businesses in national parks; a number of other projects involving marble mines, gravel quarries, cementification of coastline, and several "tourist development" projects on public lands. Estimate cost for first year: NT$600,000 and we currently have NT$50,000 toward this project.

4. Full time Oceans Coordinator. This person would serve as a bridge between domestic and overseas groups involved in ocean species and habitat preservation and groups that are advocating on issues involving offshore development of natural gas mining, radar testing, offshore industrial parks, fishing port construction, waste treatment and so on. Specifically we envision this person's support as being useful to individuals and groups that are following discrete development proposals before government agencies, e.g., the Taiwan EPA and groups that are providing input to government agencies on fishery and coastal protection, proposing laws on the national commons and so on. Because of limited space at Wild this person is likely to work out of office but have regular meetings at Wild. This position has been inspired by the active efforts of two researchers, one foreign and the other local based, that we have recently met. Estimated cost for first year NT$5-600,000.

5. Green business coordinator. This is being done in conjunction with the Green Party Taiwan. I am a member and coordinator of the "Green Business Initiative". We are looking at a number of business possibilities including a restaurant, food stores, local farm produce distribution, construction (roof greening), tourism (eco-friendly), and language teaching, where the businesses would be set up with two principles in mind: 1) provide meaningful employment in positions that 2) have less adverse impact on the social and natural environments than conventional business ( with and ultimate the target of zero adverse impact). We will likely use a coop structure (under Taiwan's cooperatives law) and all profits will go to NGOs working on social and environmental projects. The first stage of this project is anticipated to take six months during which we will solicit ideas, carry out feasibility studies for fundraising and design initial business plans. The Green Party will provide office space and support will be split between Wild and the Green Party. Estimated funds required for six months: NT$200,000 (this has already been funded, but we would hope to raise additional funds ASAP).

6. Legislator watchdog coordinator. Given the very deep involvement of legislators, local representatives and other elected officials with construction and development firms we have decided to try and put together a database of legislator/representative voting records, business ties, and contacts with various government agencies. This person will be a window to collate efforts that have begun on this in the past and collect, verify and clear information provided through numerous channels. The person will reach out to media and will also coordinate lobbying efforts to further implement the recently passed Freedom of Information Act by getting government agencies to take a more active approach to providing data and information on their websites. Estimated cost for the first year: NT$500,000.

If you would like to donate and specify a particular project please feel free to do so. If no specification is made we will use the funds for the project we believe to be most urgent.

Thank you.

Robin Winkler

Please click here to donate online (the best way to avoid large bank charges), and send us an email at comment@wildatheart.org.tw if you have any questions or wish to specify the project you would like to support.


*Wild Expenses and Funding

Taiwan Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association is a not-for-profit association organized and registered in 2003/4 under the Civil Organizations Act of Taiwan with the Taiwan Environmental Protection Agency as the competent authority in charge (all registered associations are required to be "under" a government agency's "supervision". There are ten people working full time for the association and we sponsor a number of other people working in other associations. The monthly expenses of the association are on average between NT$400,000 and 500,000 (rough estimate, details to be provided soon). This currently comes from donations and the savings of Wild members. Additional support comes from the law office Winkler Partners in the form of personnel support, office space and administrative services.

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