The holiday season is here, and with it comes the stress of finding just the right presents for the ones we love. Gift giving is a ritual with which we express appreciation and care, but often the well-being our planet is neglected in the process, and even damaged by the increase of irresponsible consumption. This year, you can turn it around! Instead of buying gifts, contribute to a local or global environmental organization with a donation.
With a donation, you give a support to solving environmental issues you care about
The main and obvious reason you should consider giving a donation to any kind of charity is simple: to give support to a cause that’s important to you. By contributing to a non-profit environmental organization, you participate in helping communities that are negatively affected and endangered at this very moment, you prompt actions that lead toward a sustainable future for generations to come, and you enable those who pressure lawmakers to enact policies intended to save our planet. In short, you become a part of the solution. Helping the planet can make you feel good about yourself. And last, but worth a mention — donating may entitle you to a tax deduction.
How to find your way amongst multiple NGOs and charities
Decisions about donations are hard to make, especially when there are a lot of options. There are multitudes of environmental organizations working every day to make our planet greener and healthier. But you need not give up on choosing just the right one, as there are some ways to make the decision process easier.
Start by determining more specific causes that are important to you. Next, pinpoint a few specific organizations dealing with issues related to those causes. In order to ensure the organizations are trustworthy, do some research on their practices. Consider asking questions like, ‘’is the organization meeting its goals and promises? Is their business transparent?’’ The more notable NGO’s are already assessed by organizations such as GuideStar, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch, and BBB Wise Giving Alliance. These are great sources when searching for a donation-worthy nonprofit, as they provide answers to those questions and reliable information on the credibility of the charities. These websites are also a helpful search tool for narrowing down the possibilities, as you can search for organizations by categories or geographic area.
Let’s start with naming a few areas we believe deserve your attention when searching for a donation-worthy environmental NGO.
Climate change and sustainable development
Climate change and unsustainable development are the biggest issues for human civilization. If we don’t act now, it just might be too late to keep the Earth a hospitable home for humans. We as a business have started on an amazing journey in the last few years to help tackle the climate change challenges, and we invite everybody to help as well. A great way to support these types of activities is donating to organizations that act on climate change and sustainability.
Protecting and preserving the oceans
Oceans represent three quarters of our planet, and 97% of water resources and are home for millions of species. Oceanic pollution damages oceanic ecosystems and harms communities that depend on sea-related industries or coastal tourism. Additionally, oceans supply the atmosphere with one half of our oxygen and absorb over a third of CO2 emissions. Polluting the oceans means endangering all life on Earth. Organizations dealing with protecting and preserving the oceans are seeking solutions to pollution problems in our waters.
Local environmental organizations
To effectively approach environmental issues, it is necessary to act locally. Local environmental organizations have first-hand knowledge of the living conditions in afflicted areas. They understand how the local government and power structures operate, and they can build stronger relationships with the local population. It makes sense to donate to your local organization, as even though they are usually smaller, they deal with issues that are particularly relevant to you.
We have chosen some organizations that speak to us the loudest, but we believe their missions are relevant to everyone. There are, of course, many global environmental organizations widely recognized;, however, we intentionally focused also on some lesser-known NGO’s, since we believe their broad and noble missions deserve to be talked about just as much.
Healthy Seas Initiative
Healthy Seas — founded by Aquafil, the ECNC Group and Star Sock — is focusing on cleaning the oceans of abandoned fishnets and other sea waste that harm marine animals and giving this waste a new life in beautiful products. First, the waste fishnets are collected with the help of volunteer divers; second, waste nets are recycled into a sustainable ECONYL® nylon yarn; third, new sustainable textile products are created. The growing network of Healthy Seas partners represent a good support for their activities. You can choose to donate directly or via the 1% For the Planet foundation.
1% For the Planet
1% For the Planet is connecting businesses that wish to donate at least 1% of their annual profits to an environmental cause. They link their member businesses to vetted sustainability focused NGOs and take care of the donation process. By taking the burden of finding trusted and like-minded NGOs off their shoulders, 1% For the Planet encourages the business community to choose environmental causes more frequently, thus increasing the amount of money directed to environmental causes.
The Ghost Fishing Foundation was formed on the basis of a local team of divers who were cleaning wrecks in the Dutch North Sea. After being faced with the enormous problem of lost fishing gear they decided to connect with like-minded initiatives and work together towards the goal of ridding the sea of this harmful waste. As a partner of Healthy Seas, the Ghost Fishing Foundation joins the Healthy Seas Initiative on diving missions. Other than joining and helping their partners on diving trips, Ghost Fishing also gives educational presentations to diving clubs and other interested parties, as they believe in sharing best practices with similar organizations.
As the name suggests, the objective of Medasset — Mediterranean Association to Save the Sea Turtles is to protect sea turtles from extinction and improve their living conditions. Their activities span across different geographic regions, and range from awareness raising, lobbying and advocacy campaigns, education and training, to supporting scientific research in the field.
Ocean Conservancy is likewise aiming to improve the health of the ocean and enrich lives of those who are depending on it. The International Coastal Cleanup — the largest volunteer effort to clean the oceans and waterways — is one of the ways Ocean Conservancy works to bring people with the same goal together. They put the emphasis on bettering the conditions for millions of people who earn a living from the ocean, so when you donate to them, you are helping those communities as well.
Global Green USA
Global Green USA is a part of the Green Cross International (GCI). Its local focus in the USA is mainly on creating green buildings and cities. On a global scale, its efforts are targeted toward providing clean drinking water and eradicating weapons of mass destruction. Much like the other organizations, Global Green USA strives to create a more sustainable future by connecting local communities and through targeted advocacy. One of the annual methods of raising awareness about sustainability is generating attention of citizens with the help of celebrities at the Pre-Oscar Party. We are proud to have been a part of this great event with our “green carpet”, manufactured by Milliken using Aquafil’s sustainable ECONYL® nylon yarn.
Surfers Against Sewage
Surfers Against Sewage is another organization that employs creative techniques to bring awareness to the problems of marine and beach litter, but on a local level. Based in UK, they strive to improve the state of UK’s coastline by influencing both public behavior and government policies. Among their supporters is the British royal family, which helps raising awareness of marine litter further of local communities.
Friends of the Earth
Friends of the Earth is a global network comprised of 75 grassroots environmental organizations in 75 countries. The primary focus of their work is on advocacy campaigns, with which they aim to influence policy makers to enact environmental friendly laws and reforms. The widely built network and a 47-year-old history enable Friends of the Earth to speak up and persuade governments to make steps toward a sustainable and just society. The joint programs of the international member groups span across a range of areas such as energy, food, forests and biodiversity, water, and social justice issues.
The Rainforest Alliance
Uncontrolled deforestation of rainforest areas is a major blow in a fight against climate change, not just to reducing the CO2 in the atmosphere but also to regulating the movement of heat and water. Therefore, it is crucial to keep them alive. The Rainforest Alliance’s mission is to conserve biodiversity and promote and enable sustainable lifestyles in rainforest area. Besides motivating citizens to adopt sustainable practices, they also equip farmers and foresters with training. By supporting those who preserve the rainforest, you contribute not only to the lives of people and animals depending on it, but of the whole planet.
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
Although relatively young, Leonardo DiCaprio’s LDF is one of the most famous environmental foundations today and has reached significant successes since its beginning in 1998. The LDF’s media initiatives and social media campaigns have an extensive public reach due to Leonardo DiCaprio’s worldwide fame, and the scope of his social media followers grew to over 25 million in 2015. The LDF uses this advantage to get the fans involved in numerous nature conservation projects and demand politicians to act responsibly toward climate change.
Let’s keep the planet safe in 2017 and years to come! Happy New Year!
Have you decided to make a donation to an environmental organization this year? Share your thoughts and picks in the comments bellow.