Environment East Gippsland Inc. is the longest running community forest group working solely for the protection of Victoria's last and largest area of ancient forest and surrounding natural environment.
EEG has been working to protect East Gippsland's natural areas and wildlife for almost 30 years. As a locally based group we play a vital role in information gathering on the local logging industry and badgering our 'forest managers'.
We also network closely with both regional, state and national environment groups, feeding vital information as far and effectively as possible.
History of EEG
Environment East Gippsland:
- began in 1982 in response to a proposal to build a large pulpmill in Orbost (it would have required over 1 million tonnes of wood a year)
- has a membership of over 400 and a supporters base of over 700
- is a non-profit group which operates on donations and memberships only. It is run by volunteers (membership is $15 concession and $20 waged)
- has an annual operating budget of about $12,000.
Environment East Gippsland aims to:
- promote conservation values and environmental awareness about East Gippsland
- promote sustainability in environmental, economic and social terms
- make representation to Government re land use and management
- undertake research relevant to the above
- adhere to and promote principles of non-violence
- Cooperate with other groups having similar objectives.
What We Do
- We began by writing letters to government ministers, writing submissions and dealing with government departments and processes. We realised that many of these processes were set up to legitimise what the government intended to do anyway. Public opinion was often held in contempt but the government had to be seen to be 'consulting'. There was a disproportionate amount of valuable time spent 'playing nice' in these processes compared to the often poor and predictable outcomes.
- We now focus more on exposing things like mismanagement, economic insanity of logging, the woodchip 'mafia', climate links and so on.
- We liaises closely with larger state and national groups such as TWS, EV, ACF.
- We carry out wildlife surveys to identify threatened species in areas due for clearfelling.
- we do on-ground work assessing logged coupes, analysing local information, showing up inconsistencies, documenting breaches of environmental codes etc.
- We campaign to make the logging industry truly sustainable which to a large degree involves a shift into existing plantations.
- We help in the wider campaigns of company boycotts.
- We are involved in legal challenges when funds permit.
- We constantly challenge the government and logging/woodchip industry to come clean.
- We hold an annual Easter Forests Forever Ecology camp which attracts over 100 people. Botanists, ecologists and conservationists lead walks and discussions about natural history and the threats to our forests.
- We publish a highly regarded, no-holds barred, satirical and clearly spoken 12-16 page newsletter covering issues relevant to East Gippsland's environment and wider forest related stories.
- We assist where possible with blockades of controversial areas, by doing such things as sending out media releases, talking to journalists, speaking on radio etc.
Environment East Gippsland is unique in that it does not rely on government funding to pay for staff, rent, phones etc. So we don't have to worry about biting the hand that feeds us. We are regional but are big enough and well organised enough to have a significant influence on the forest debate.
Due to this our independence and professionalism, we're able to target government with more gusto than many mainstream groups who rely on funding from governments.
We are neither 'feral' nor super-professional. We are local people rather than city-based giving us the ability to carry out work city groups are not able to; speaking with foresters, hearing the local ‘goss’ about the industry, being able to document evidence of environmental breaches and so on. We can then feed this onto larger groups who have a better ability to gain media attention on forest issues.