EIA volunteer Cara Clancy lets you in on what it’s like to help at EIA HQ

I first heard about the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) this summer whilst researching my thesis: examining the scope of environmentalism as a philosophical enterprise.

For as long as I remember, I’ve been captivated by wildlife and have wanted to probe the reasons behind the wanton destruction of the natural world. In the midst of writing – battling it out with Kant and Hegel – I had a bit of crisis, a need to put down the books and do something hands-on. It’s one thing theorizing about change and another thing making it happen. I know that I want to save the tiger; I want to save the forest; I want the natural world to be valued so much more when it is living and growing – not hanging up on a wall or strewn across the floor as home-décor.

So, exhausting as it was (repeatedly banging one’s head against the Critique of Pure Reason can leave you a bit dizzy), my work meant that I came across EIA and I feel pretty lucky for that. EIA is a small, independent organisation and so it took a few hits in Google for it to appear; but it was the word ‘investigation’ that grabbed my attention. Investigation is ultimately what I was doing with my thesis– enquiring into the social and political structures that make a movement like environmentalism possible, stripping information back to its core like peeling away layers to reach the juicy bits in the middle. Exposing this takes courage – there are a lot of environmental crime syndicates who would do anything to keep their name out of the limelight. I think it is incredible that EIA throw their weight behind achieving meaningful goals – goals which require patience and planning but ultimately uncover the real culprits of wildlife crime. Transforming information into evidence – that is what I like about EIA.

Roar, Imagine a tiger. Credit Sue Foll

Roar, Imagine a tiger. A fundraising event I helped out with this week. Credit Sue Foll

Work at EIA never stops. As fundraising volunteer, I’m working on a variety of projects across the fundraising spectrum; helping with events and communicating information for members, maintaining the database and making sure the post gets out when it needs to!

It is my first experience at an NGO and the job of fundraising is a lot broader than I anticipated. The fundraising and membership team need to have a good understanding of the latest issues and developments. Recently, I’ve been designing some membership material and it’s been a real pleasure. As a fundraiser, you have the creative freedom to send a heartfelt message to your members and rally their support for a much needed response.

Taking photos at the opening of the Asia House exhibition. Copyright EIA

Taking photos at the opening of the Asia House exhibition. Copyright EIA

EIA’s HQ is an immensely cosy one – I remember my first day being greeted by a cup of tea and a very excitable office dog! While the campaigners are quietly plugging away (except for the occasional passionate outburst), there is always excitable chatter from the fundraising and comms team about new fans on Facebook, new followers on Twitter and how best to inform supporters of the latest findings. There’s a lot of information out there and a lot still to find, so I really admire everyone here at EIA. It’s a real pleasure to be volunteering for them.

If you would like to find out more about volunteering at EIA, email Bill at [email protected].