Communities Against Toxics (CATs) is 21 years old this month. CATs’ long life has been possible through the support of its faithful members and the three foundations that provided financial support. Since 2004 CATs has been without a major sponsor and has been operating as a volunteer-run organisation.

CATS emerged at a conference in Doncaster, held in May 1990, when Greenpeace brought together citizens and activists from Sweden, Belgium, Ireland, the United States and the UK living with or threatened by planning applications for incinerators.

Beginning as a campaigning organisation encouraging groups to share their experiences, CATs evolved into a highly effective clearing house supplying information on incineration, chemicals and health, endocrine disrupters, etc.

Information provided by CATs, together with the expertise of carefully selected contacts/professionals, has resulted in 44 communities and local authorities resisting planning applications for toxic, municipal, animal, crematoria and medical waste incinerators in the UK, Ireland and Europe.

Ralph Ryder
Ralph Ryder has been CATs’ Coordinator since 1993. He has delivered more than 50 presentations to groups in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Rep of Ireland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Romania, Malaysia, Bulgaria, Russia and the United States. He has lectured/held workshops at the University at East Anglia, Manchester University, Kingston upon Thames University, North East Wales Institute (NEWI) and Chester College.

Ralph began publishing CATs members bimonthly newsletter ToxCat in 1994 in an effort to provide activists and communities with the latest scientific and political information in an understandable format.

Ralph has had articles on incineration and dioxin published in: Red Pepper; Community Health Action; ‘The Tory Record, An Assessment” and the Ecologist. He was nominated for the prestigious British Environmental & Media’s “Andrew Lees Award” for ‘demonstrating painstaking research and investigation as a environmental campaigner’ in 1996. Twice voted ‘Environmentalist of the Year’ by the residents of Ellesmere Port, (Cheshire). He was presented with two awards by the Finglas Human Rights Group (Dublin, Ireland) for his work on ‘Environmental and Human Rights Education, Awareness and Action throughout Great Britain, Ireland and Europe’ at the Mansion House in 1996 after helping to establish community networks in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. He also helped establish a similar coalition between groups fighting landfills and incineration proposals in Portugal the same year.

He was a founder member of the European News network of anti-incineration groups in 1996. Unfortunately this network collapsed due to a lack of financial support. Ralph was also a founder member of a second European anti-incineration network (KITE) consisting of NGOs from 26 countries. This also collapsed due to a lack of financial support. Ralph was awarded a “Putting Out the Flames Award” by GAIA in March 2003 and is a graduate of the ‘GAIA Zero Waste Fellowship,’ March 7-26,Berkeley, California 2005. Along with Dr Paul Connett and Arne Schoovers (Holland) he gave talks in England, France, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic helping to stop a planned toxic waste incinerator in Slovenia.

In 2002 Ralph led a CATs team on a Small Environmental Project (SEP) organised by the British Council helping the community based DRONT organisation and other NGO’s from the Russian cities of Nizhni Novgorod, Novokuvbvshevsk and Yetkaterinburg working on public education programmes on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).

Ralph is a founder member and director of the Zero Waste Alliance UK (a Registered Charity) and a member of the Zero Waste International Alliance.

To gather information and establish a wide network of contacts useful to communities around the world CATs sent a representative to numerous conferences and summits, some of which were organised with input from CATs.

CATs are members of:
*Global Alliance for Incineration Alternatives/Global Anti-Incineration Alliance (GAIA).
*GAIA Europe.
*Health Care Without Harm Europe.
International Persistent Organic Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN).
*International Persistent Organic Pollutants Elimination Network (Europe).
*Zero Waste Alliance UK. (Registered Charity).
*The Chartists.
*The Fluoride Action Network (FAN).
(*denotes founder member)

You can e-mail Ralph Ryder for more information about how CATs can help you campaign: ralph.ryder@gmail.com

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