The Green Squad is a section (forum) of non-political, independent, non-governmental and non-profit veterans’ association VIDRA – Veterans and Social Action, established with the purpose of fighting for the environment and natural resources of Croatia.
Since 2018, Green Squad has been working in an organized and intensive way to prove and stop criminal activities of organized devastation of Croatian forests. Our investigations have since expanded to cover forest, water and waste management in Croatia. Our structure consists of 12 members of the Operational Team, 60 active members and more than 200 activists from all walks of life.
We conduct field investigations and collect, analyze and publish documents proving the illegalities, irregularities and non-transparency of institutions responsible for management of Croatian natural resources. We work with institutions, including the European Parliament, on pursuing legal actions against the individuals and organizations responsible for the ecocides. We organize public actions to bring visibility to the issue and pressure the decision-makers to act in the common interest. Our Rapid Response Team responds to whistleblowers’ and citizens’ alerts to Eco Patrol Green Number and immediately goes into the field to record and publish criminal activities in real time. Our Media Task Force combats misinformation and spins spread by various actors.
The Green Squad is the recipient of the 2020 SozialMarie award for social innovation.
Member of the European Parliament and Co-chair of the European Greens
“Healthy forests and close-to-nature forestry is key for European biodiversity strategy, it is key to European Green Deal, it is key to our future transition – if we want to leave oil and gas in the soil – we have to do close-to-nature forestry. And we have to stop clear-cuts because clear-cuts are destroying the landscape, they are destroying the soil and they are destroying the ability of forests to sequester CO2 and to deliver sustainable forms of wood-toise . But there are still clear-cuts going on: a lot of that here in Croatia. Huge landscapes are just chopped-off, huge hills are blank under the Sun. We need to stop that urgently if we want to deliver to citizens what we promised on the side of the European Union. And that’s why I came here in Croatia to support civil society, to support Green Squad in their battle for their national heritage: the close-to-nature forests that still exist in Croatia but are disappearing day by day. Join them, support them – let’s save what we can save! “
Forest Defenders Alliance
EU Policy Director at Partnership for Policy Integrity
“At a time when the destruction of the environment escalates in almost incomprehensible ways, it is so encouraging to see organizations like Green Squad standing up as a force for nature. Green Squad is an old-school, ‘get out from behind your desk’ NGO that plants itself firmly in between nature and those wanting to destroy her. Not many people know of the beauty of Croatia’s forests, and less so, the intensive destruction that is occurring there. Green Squad’s commitment to forest protection is unwavering, its aims for respect of nature are insistent and its rigorous investigation of the drivers of forest loss in Croatia is seemingly the work of an NGO twenty times its size. Green Squad is taking the forest fight to the European level and needs all the support it can get. If you are Croatian and care about your forests, please get in touch with Green Squad and support in any way you can. If you live in Europe and care about forests, please help Green Squad’s forest fight in the corridors of Brussels.”
Former CEO, Survival International
“Keeping old-growth forests is a far more effective way to protect the atmosphere than planting new trees. It’s also the only way to maintain the special biodiversity unique to woodland environments in a world where biodiversity is – everywhere – under threat. Vast areas of Europe were once covered in forests. They were home, and provided sustenance, life itself, to countless species, including our own. Stopping their further destruction is one of the most important tasks of our century and I commend Green Squad for taking on this vital fight for Croatia. I also applaud them keeping alive a spirit of altruism without gain – something once seen as important but often now viewed as “amateurish”. May Green Squad prevail for the forests which benefit us all.”
for Social Innovation (2020)
Appreciation of the Jury:
“VIDRA is one-of-a-kind veterans´ association: the Croatian organization advocates for change neither from nationalism nor conflict, but from a commitment to society and the environment.
Its section Green Squad stands strong as a complex social innovation. Its numerous public campaigns and precise documentation of the state-owned forestry denounce corruption, as well as the destruction of forests/natural resources and the livelihoods of small family communities.
Green Squad serves as a beacon for other because it cooperates with similar initiatives in neighboring countries with which it shares a common struggle for ecological and social goals.”