Buy a patch of land, help save a dolphin! - Taiwan NGOs to present 'wet' land trust application to the government this Wednesday (7 July)

For the last three months, MFCU and other NGOs have been asking members of the public to pledge money to collectively buy 200 hectares of land along the Changhua County coast, where Kuo Kuang Petrochemical Technology Corp. hopes to 'reclaim' over 4000 hectares of important wetlands on which to build oil refineries. (See Taipei Times article and film overview containing images of the proposed reclamation.)

More than 26 000 people have now pledged money for more than 1.3 million shares, which were priced at only NT$119 (~UD$4) each (119 is the phone number for emergency services in Taiwan).

On 6 and 7 July (Tuesday and Wednesday this week) we* will hold two public events as we collect final pledges and deliver our land trust application to the Ministry of the Interior.

Event details and how you can take part:

On 6 July (Tues) we will parade past the Presidential Palace holding written messages from those who have pledged money, to ask President Ma to make good on his 2008 election promise to promote the use of environmental trusts to protect the environment. We will also hold a press conference.

We would like to invite all those who have already pledged money to join us in displaying these messages, which will also carry the names and numbers of shares of those who have pledged money – no other personal details will be printed on the forms!

When: Gather at 9.15 am on 6 July 2010 (Tuesday)
Where: Taipei Guest House, No 1 Ketagalan Boulevard, Jhongjheng District, Taipei (at the Ketagalan Boulevard/Gongyuan Rd intersection).
Who is invited: All those who have pledged to buy shares, and anyone else who would like to come along and make a pledge on the day or online now. Non-Taiwanese nationals in Taiwan and abroad can also make pledges, so please invite your non-Taiwanese friends to help save these wetlands!
What’s the plan:
1. 9.15 am: arrive at the meeting place promptly
2. 9.30 am: action starts, all hold up the pledge name list, then walk together along Ketagalan Boulevard to the Presidential Palace

-Feel free to be creative and design your own slogans, paste/paint them to your body, or dress up like a pink dolphin or another coastal/wetland species!
-Remember to bring drinking water and wet weather clothes if you think you might need them
-Traffic at the site can be busy, please take care!

On 7 July (Wed) we will present our application for the Jhuoshuei Wetlands Public Land Trust to the Ministry of the Interior and hold a second press conference. This will be the first time in Taiwan's history that the public will have collectively applied to buy land from the government in order to protect it. In this historic moment, we need as many people as possible who have pledged to buy shares to come and bear witness, and join us as we present the application to the government.

When: Gather at 10 am on 7 July 2010 (Wednesday)
Where: Ministry of the Interior, Central United Office, No. 5 Xuzhou Rd, Taipei City
Who’s invited: Everyone who has pledged to buy shares, and their families.
What’s the plan:
1. Gather at the meeting place at 10 am
2. Write down your hopes, wishes, blessings or other thoughts for the waterbirds, dolphins, oyster farmers and all others who depend on the Jhuoshuei Wetlands for survival.
3. Take part in a simple ceremony to wish well to all of the above (2)
4. 11.09 am (sticking with the 119 theme!) Together bear witness as an official from the Ministry of the Interior comes out to receive Taiwan’s first ever environmental trust application.

-Remember to take drinking water and wet weather clothes
-If you have kids, bring them along!

If you can come to one or both of these events, please write to us with your full name, number of people in your group and tell us which event(s) you can attend, so that we can estimate numbers.

Miss Wu of the Taiwan Environmental Information Center (the NGO that is managing the trust application)
Email: [email protected]

*NGOs participating in the land trust campaign:
Changhua County Environmental Protection Union, Taiwan Environmental Protection Union, Taiwan Environmental Information Center, Society of Wilderness, Matsu's Fish Conservation Union, Wild at Heart Legal Defense Association, Changhua Coast Conservation Action.