There are a number of active ecological organizations around Czech Republic that promote environmental consciousness and help resolve local and global environmental issues. They educate the public, host events and opportunities to volunteer, and provide grants for environmental projects. All of them strive to protect and improve the nature around us in a variety of ways. Here are the most established and accomplished Czech ecological organizations you can support!
Hnutí Duha, also known as Friends of the Earth Czech Republic, is one of major Czech ecological organizations with a long list of accomplishments. Their primary focus is to influence local politicians and authorities, to deal with companies and help households. They serve as a platform for interaction between the public and local authorities, municipalities, and regions to settle public affairs. Their goal is to protect nature and provide a clean and healthy environment for life. Some of their largest projects are the protection of large wild carnivores in the Czech Republic, the protection of local communities from coal mine expansions and excavations, and the salvation of the Šumava National Park.
How to Contribute?
Hnutí Duha suggests that the best way to join them is to participate in some of their activities or volunteer. Hnutí Duha says “we try to approach every volunteer individually and together agree on a form of participation that feels most meaningful to us and to each volunteer. The volunteers have many opportunities and options to participate, whether they want to assist long term with one of our campaigns, help us remotely online from home, at one of our events, or directly on site. If you cannot become a volunteer, another great way to support our efforts is to donate. You can also sign our petitions and share our content on social media!”
We asked Hnutí Duha whether foreigners can volunteer. “There are plenty of opportunities to support us, as mentioned above. They can donate to us, sign out petitions and share our content. However at the moment we do not have the capacity to accept volunteers who cannot fluently communicate in Czech or Slovak”.
Hnutí Duha has a message to motivate potential volunteers and supporters; “perhaps the greatest motivation are the positive changes we have successfully made. Hnutí Duha successfully prevented extensive damage to the natural areas in Šumava, we convinced the government to stop importing waste for incineration, we enforced crucial changes to the forestry and hunting code that will help rejuvenate Czech forests, among others. None of this would be possible without the cooperation of the entire organization and the efforts of every individual who supports us. Sometimes we must wait to see positive changes, but eventually we always accomplish them together.” To find out more about what Hnutí Duha does go to their website.
The Czech Association for the Protection of Nature
The Czech Association for the Protection of Nature (Český svaz ochránců přírody) is a registered association with 7000 members founded in 1979. Their main mission is to protect nature and the environment, educate the public and promote a sustainable lifestyle. Their members include professional experts, experienced volunteers and nature lovers. The association is an umbrella association for a number of base organizations.
If you would like to join them in their quest but are unsure where to start check out www.csop.cz to find their information. The website is currently only in Czech, so some Czech language skills may be helpful. In addition, ČSOP recommends volunteering at any of the events they host across the country where you can experience hands-on work outdoors and meet like minded people. These events are held by ČSOP’s base organizations.
Ms. Stanislava Bartošová from the ČSOP administration shared with us the projects ČSOP is currently working on and what accomplishments they are most proud of, “We have many projects. One of the large projects I would like to mention is the National Program for the Protection of Biodiversity. Within this program we facilitate and support a number of projects aimed at the protection of nature, including the national network of wildlife rescue stations, zvirevnouzi.cz, and “místo pro přírodu a pozemkové spolky (A place for nature and land associations) mistoproprirodu.cz. Thanks to these projects we have successfully saved and protected many ecologically valuable areas and sites. We also value our work with children and youths and our educational projects. The majority of activities take place in our base organizations”.
How to Contribute?
Ms. Bartošová also shared insights on motivating those who would love to see positive changes but are overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness, “Changes take place in the long run. However, when it comes to the rescue of an injured animal that you successfully heal in a rescue station, the positive effect can be seen almost immediately. It is similar when you attend a clean up event such as “Ukliďme svět, ukliďme česko” (Let’s clean up the world, let’s clean up Czechia), there too you can see immediate positive results. When you take care of a threatened natural site the process takes longer but the joy when you see orchids return to a meadow after many years is immense. Even with seemingly small activities you can make great contributions to a good thing.”
The association welcomes all new enthusiasts including foreigners, “the only complication could be the language barrier, but many of our members are well versed in languages and for some activities you won’t need to do much talking” (laughs). The Czech Association for the Protection of Nature is one of the most established Czech ecological organizations, and joining them could further contribute to the positive changes they are making.
Nadace Partnerství was founded in 1991 and during that time they have contributed to more than 3500 projects and raised over 400 million Czech crowns. Their area of focus are urban and rural green spaces, green buildings, the rejuvenation of public areas, cycling and tourism, and traffic management. Nadace Partnerství provides grants and funding for other organizations and projects, schools, NGOs and municipalities.
The basis of their efforts is to establish connections between those with ideas and those with resources. Together they fight for the improvement of Czech nature. Nadace Partnertsví funded projects that planted trees for future generations and projects that created green spaces around the country. You can contribute to any of the projects they are supporting via direct donations to the cause or monthly donations at a value you determine. Nadace Partnertsví is a member of the international Environmental Partnership Association (EPA).
The founders of Nadace Partnerství believe that people are oversaturated with negative information, and wish to make impactful changes through specific projects. Their successes will motivate others to reach out and start making the changes they want to see to their immediate surroundings. Nadace Partnerství holds an annual competition for the tree of the year, where they find the tree with the most powerful story. Nadace Partnerství also hosts the annual Adapterra Awards, where they award the best examples of adaptation to climate change. Anybody can participate in these awards, from individuals to companies and organizations.
How to Contribute?
In 2020, 78 projects signed up for the award! You can follow the Adapterra awards under #jaknaklima. Nadace Partnerství is hosting an inspirational conference on adaptation to climate change on the 4th of October in Prague. For more information and to register check out their website. Nadace Partnerství also hosts and promotes ecological events and gatherings around the country. Find out more about what Nadace Partnerství does here.
Another Czech ecological organization is Hnutí Brontosaurus. Although they are based in Brno, they host events all across the country. They are divided into 40 regional chapters that each host events and activities. You can find your local chapter here. Hnutí Brontosaurus founded in 1974 and since then they have been combining leisure activities with meaningful experiences and impactful work.
How to Contribute?
They host an array of courses, workshops, gatherings and volunteer work. Every year they travel with volunteers to plant trees, maintain orchid meadows, or build a school in the Himalayas. Some chapters help maintain castles and chateaus, others help educate children. You become a volunteer if you attend any event and help out. You can help out at eco farms, go rafting, camp, and attend cultural events, among other things. You can attend any weekend event, summer camp or other volunteering opportunities or attend our clubs and one-time events.
Hnutí Brontosaurus is one of Czech ecological organizations with a very hands on approach. The biggest aspect is to meet people and have fun while working on various ecological projects. They even host an annual pancake day in Stromovka Park. Hnutí Brontosaurus participates in the European Volunteering Service, through which you can spend up to a year volunteering for an NGO abroad. Hnutí Brontosaurus is a Czech ecological organization that has something for everyone, so you can easily find what event suits you best. All you need to do is show up! For details more go to their Website or their Facebook page.
Arnika is a Prague based ecological organization aimed at nature conservation, representing the public in decision making about the environment, and reducing the amount of toxic waste in our environment. Arnika is a member of several international organizations and networks, including the European Environmental Bureau. You can contribute to their efforts by signing their online petitions or donating. Arnika is expat friendly as their website and their updates are also fully in English. You can read about the dramatic cases here.
Arnika hosts international events and conferences around Europe, as well as local leisure events and volunteer tasks. Arnika also hosts events where you can voice your opinions on Prague’s urban development projects. Their efforts reach as far as Ghana and Thailand, among others, where they fight for the welfare of the citizens and the environment. Arnika discovered and raised local awareness about egg contamination in Indonesia and Ghana, decreased toxic waste release into the environment in Armenia and Thailand, or successfully negotiated the reduction of a monstrous dam project in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
How to Contribute?
This Czech ecological organization also boasts a number or local successes, for example several video episodes raising awareness about toxins in plastic children’s toys and Christmas decorations. In addition, Arnika hosts a competition for the best tree alley of the year. Arnika is also active in Prague, where they conducted studies on how to adapt local urban spaces to climate change. To contribute you can participate in their events, attend conferences, donate or purchase one of their publications. Arnika is definitely a force to be reckoned with! Find them here.
With your enthusiasm and support and their experience, these Czech ecological organizations can help achieve the changes you most want to see in your local environment. Despite the challenges that arise from being an expat in a foreign country, you can still make powerful positive contributions to a good cause.