It's that time again. That time of year when people come together to laugh, love, and spend time with family. The time to give presents, gift cards, make treats and even our own homemade gifts, all in the spirit of the holidays. And some people even decide, in this season of giving, that they want to give up a little of their hard-earned money to a greater cause. It is in this theme of giving I wanted to center today's post. There are dozens, even hundreds, of incredible organizations out there that are looking for help. People putting their lives on the line to protect the environment. The job isn't for everyone, but each and every one of us has the opportunity to support them in their commendable efforts. So, today, I wanted to list a few of the best organizations that I believe would be well worth a generous donation this Christmas.
The Big Names
So, obviously there are a few large organizations that would be great choices. I want to get them out of the way first though because most if not all of these have their own advertising campaigns, so they are usually well funded (unlike some of the other organizations that I will be naming in this post).
The Rainforest Action Network - These guys are responsible for leading the fight against threats to our rainforests, namely the palm oil industry. According to their website, in order to accomplish this they, "Work with front line partners to investigate and document abuses, create public and media pressure to protect people and the planet, negotiate responsible corporate policies and practices, and track and monitor policies for implementation and on-the-ground impact" (https://www.ran.org/).
Greenpeace - Greenpeace might just be the most popular environmental advocacy organization out there. They focus on a variety of different issues, including saving the arctic, protecting forests, fighting climate change, saving oceans, and more. Their tactics vary, and include but are not limited to court pursuits, media campaigns, and direct nonviolent action. Certainly worth your donation.
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society - While they may not be as popular as they used to be, the Sea Shepherds continue to do amazing work. Previously the star of an unscripted, incredibly engaging reality TV show on Animal Planet called Whale Wars, the Sea Shepherds focus on protecting all forms of marine life. During the show, they were known for physically intercepting illegal Japanese whaling vessels, but since then they have expanded to include many other programs, including protection of the highly endangered vaquita porpoise, the ending of illegal fishing, the conservation of protected areas in the Galapagos, and much more (including both research and protection). These men and women have done incredible work, and they can definitely make good use of a donation.
Ecosia - I've talked about this organization at length in another post, but it warrants another mention. Ecosia is a web browser that uses 80% of generated ad revenue to reforest devastated areas of land all around the world, from Indonesia, to Africa, to Europe, to South America, and so on. And what's even better: you don't need to donate money to help! Downloading and using their app or Chrome extension helps them a lot. But, if you're looking to send some money out, they have some really great t-shirts and sweaters in their shop that are worth a look.
Lesser Known Organizations
But, if you're looking to donate to an organization with less money than the big ones listed up above, there are plenty of options too. The money helps no matter which of these organizations in this post it goes to, but it might be more meaningful to one of the following.
The Sunrise Movement - I've talked about these guys a lot over the past few weeks. They're the ones leading the charge in support for Alexandria Ocasio Cortez's Resolution for a House Select Committee on a Green New Deal, undoubtedly the best climate legislation we have had so far. They're pushing democrats to not only develop a clear, detailed plan to tackle climate change, but to implement it on all scales of government. They're currently experiencing rapid growth as an organization, and your money can certainly help them manage it.
Earth Guardians - I've mentioned this organization before too in my holiday gift list. Earth Guardians, much like Sunrise, specializes in engaging youth leadership. Their most notable current projects are campaigning to increase young voter registration and participation, sharing stories of successful young environmentalists to inspire other young leaders, and sponsoring a group of 21 youth plaintiffs who are suing the federal government for the right to clean water, clean air, and a healthy future. Check them out!
Greening Forward - I actually act as this organization's Outreach Manager (which I'll be talking about more in a post next week), so I can personally attest to the quality of this group. Greening Forward aims to educate and inspire youth to take action on pressing environmental issues through two main endeavors: first, they offer a wide variety of grants to students looking to start their own environmentally-friendly projects, and second, they host an international conference (called the Empowered Young Environmentalist's Summit) to bring together organizations and individuals who are looking to learn more about ways they can help protect the environment. They do great stuff, and your donation goes a long way!
If you're looking to donate to one or more of these organizations, the next question you're probably asking is: how do I decide which one? Well, other than following your personal preference, I really don't have any other advice. Just know that, if you do decide to donate, the money helps no matter which of the organizations listed above you choose to give it to. And it doesn't really matter how much you decide you donate. Just the simple fact that you care about an organization enough to give up some of your hard earned money says a lot, and it goes a long way towards making future Christmases a whole lot better, both for you and the environment. So, this Christmas, consider funding the future. It may just make your holiday a little bit brighter.
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