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Thursday, November 20, 2008


The Earthwatch Institute is an international non-profit organization that was founded in 1971 near Boston (USA) to promote action and understanding necessary to sustain the environment. The institute supports scientific field research and education by offering volunteers the opportunity to join research teams around the world, recruiting about 4,000 people every year to collect field data in the areas such as wildlife conservation, rainforest ecology, marine science and archaeology.

By paying to spend time (ranging from a few days to several weeks) working with scientists on their projects, people support the work financially and with their manpower to gain first hand experience of conservation issues. Thus the Earthwatch Institute aims to create a systematic change in how the public views science and its role in environmental sustainability, working under the premise that conservation decisions should be based upon solid data from the field. Earthwatch also advocates sustainable tourism and the shift to low-carbon or sustainable energy sources.

Organization and History

Earthwatch is currently raising approximately $15 million a year from individuals, institutions, governments and corporations. It has expanded from North and South America to Europe (especially the United Kingdom), Asia (especially Japan), Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Earthwatch has more than 150 employees, located in its headquarters in Maynard (Massachusetts), as well as in offices in Oxford (England), Melbourne (Australia) and Tokyo (Japan).

Since 1971 the worldwide organisation has recruited over 81,000 volunteers in support of 2,800 field research projects in 118 countries. These volunteers have contributed over 10 million hours to essential field work. It supports over 140 research projects in 50 countries by providing funds and paying volunteers. It offers members of the public opportunities to work as volunteers alongside leading field scientists and researchers - no special skills are required (except scuba certification for diving projects). An arm of the Earthwatch Institute is the Corporate Environmental Responsibility Group (CERG), a platform for enhancing good practice amongst the business sector.

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