We all know that climate change is the biggest threat to environmental health and the planet as we know it.
Our natural resources are being consumed at a rapid rate and we must reduce greenhouse gas emissions if we want to survive as a species.
That's why more and more people are choosing environmental charities as the focus of their own charitable efforts.
If you want to get involved fighting climate change has never been easier to take part in.
Here's what you need to know.
What Is Green Giving? A Focus On Climate Change and Environmental Health
Charities, in the arena of environmental protection and environmental justice such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, play a huge part in tackling challenges globally including the climate crisis but if they want to be able to carry out the scientific research and activism they need financial contributions and contributions of time and other resources.
Many organizations involved in environmental protection struggle to raise the funds they need to stay afloat and that's where you come in with green giving.
Why Should We Make Our Donations Sustainable?
There are good reasons for giving green donations:
- Cutting edge high impact activities – charities in this sector lead the development of solutions and new tech.
- Strict sustainability standards that are responsive to change. These organizations are experts at identifying new environmental issues and then responding to them – with a focus on higher quality of life for all.
- Environmental philanthropy means organizations are donor-driven – not only are they extremely effective when compared to governments but they are working tirelessly to deliver on the expectations of donors.
- Expertise – most founders pledge their time and effort based on years of experience and high levels of qualifications. It's why they're so good at finding cost-effective solutions to many issues.
- Resilient – existing outside of the government power structure allows many charities to have their main focus on causes that don't get sufficient attention from the system.
How To Find Environmental Organizations To Donate Goods To
If you've got a ton of stuff you don't need any more laying around at home then donating it can help in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and combat air pollution too.
You can give:
- Books – just make sure they're clean and presentable, pop them in boxes (ideally with lids), and then pass them on to organizations such as Books for Soldiers, Books for African students, and Operation Paperback.
- Clothing – try and find a charity that will sell your donations locally, if you want to influence climate policy, it's best not to use a charity that intends to ship your clothes across the world. Then give them a wash and send the clothes on.
- Bottles – a bottle drive is when you get a note from a charity collector asking for bottles or cans. Sure, this means losing the deposits but it means they go to a good cause, instead.
- Thrift stores – most thrift stores have a charity they support, find one that supports something like the Sunrise Movement Education Fund or Extinction Rebellion or the Rainforest Alliance and then donate your items to them.
How To Give Money To The Right Organizations
You may already have a charity such as the Clean Air Task Force in mind when giving but if you've not already drawn up a shortlist then you can use resources like Charity Navigator and Charity Watch to better understand how the charities you're interested in operate and how they use your donations.
Charity Navigator is our favorite as it allows you to examine, at a glance, how a charity is performing with regard to financial health (concerned scientists prefer to work with financially healthy organizations on emissions reductions, etc.) and how transparent they are in their efforts to combat environmental issues.
It's also worth noting that donations to most charitable organizations are tax-deductible, so you can tackle environmental issues and save some cash from the arms of Uncle Sam too.
You might also consider investing in carbon offsets to help reduce the impact of your own use of fossil fuels. Carbon offsets are not without criticism, mind you, but it's better than nothing.
If you want to make a profit, instead of donating, you might want to invest in green bonds which allow good causes to raise cash for projects in ecologically vulnerable areas, and if they don't turn a profit, they do at least return your principal, unlike a donation which is gone for good.
If you're interested in green bonds, we recommend that you talk to a financial advisor, there are always risks with investments and we're not qualified to separate a good bet from anything else. But a financial advisor can use rigorous analysis of the factors involved to determine the best use of your money.
We're also fans of taking part in crowdfunding projects and micro-loans to make the most impact but again, this isn't “giving” as you either get paid interest or products in return.
How To Give Your Time To The Right Causes
Finally, if you don't have stuff laying around or cash on hand to bring about a carbon-neutral, clean energy (we're getting there – check out these solar statistics!) world then you can always help with a little movement-building, instead.
There are tons of green charities that you can volunteer for. Use Charity Navigator to find somewhere that you might like to get involved with or do a little research using services like Volunteer Match, UN Online Volunteering, or the Points of Light Network.
Final Thoughts On Green Giving: Stopping Global Warming
Green giving is a matter of supporting the future today.
You find an organization and it doesn't have to be a household name that is aligned with your environmental concerns and then either donate your time, money, goods, or a combination of them to have a real impact on the climate and reduce environmental problems for future generations.
One idea that we love and would recommend people get involved with is the simple impact of planting more trees to reduce climate change. Check out A Trillion Trees to see what we mean.