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Za Zemiata (For the Earth) is a Bulgarian environmental non-governmental organization determined to work for self-sustainable lifestyles, for responsible personal and political decisions for our planet, while combating exploitation of people and nature.
Founded in 1991, it is among the oldest environmental NGOs in Bulgaria, having started work after the fall of the communist regime in the country. Za Zemiata has been an associated member of Friends of the Earth since 2012.
There are currently nine people working in the office. We are based in Sofia, but working in cooperation with citizens' groups throughout the country as well as with civil society organizations all over Europe, depending on the location and scope of the environmental conflict. Za Zemiata also has a substantial volunteer group of more than 800 supporters who participate in our field projects, help in information campaigns, mobilise for direct action and lend a hand with office work.
Za Zemiata currently runs campaigns and projects on the following topics:
- Climate change, including work on the National Climatic Strategy as well as involvement in the international climate debate at EU level.
- Environmental education at national level in secondary schools on the topics of climate change, energy efficiency, food sovereignty, waste minimisation, ecological construction materials and techniques.
- Food independence with a focus on sustainable food production, biological agriculture and the set up of food cooperatives. As part of our food independence work we are active in an anti GMO campaign at the national level.
- Aid for trade in the context of food production and distribution dealing with harmful subsidies, international trade agreements and the globalization of supermarkets and their negative impact on local development.
- Resource and energy efficiency at national and EU level aiming to direct EU public finance at energy and resource efficient projects, to pave the way for more community led projects on energy efficiency and to influence national energy policies towards environmentally responsible thinking and decision-making.
- Clean energy campaign promoting the use and growth of renewable energy sources and technologies while campaigning against fossil-based power production from coal, oil, gas and nuclear.
- Responsible extractive industries and local development focusing on gold mining conflicts in Bulgaria and the Balkans, but also dealing with environmental problems associated with the closure of uranium mining in Bulgaria.
- Zero waste is a campaign based on a strategy combining community practice, reuse, repair, recycling, disposal and composting with industrial practices such as eliminating toxins and changes in packaging design in order to establish a sustainable waste management policy in practice in the long run.
Our work is funded almost entirely by fundraising through grants applications with national and international private and public foundations, EU funds and donations by supporters.