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10 Environmental Charities Making a Real Difference

Global warming, air and water pollution, food shortages, climate change, and deforestation are just some of the environmental issues the humanity is facing today.  People are affected by different and challenging environmental issues every day. Some of them might be small in scale; however, some environmental problems might affect and change the entire landscapes we live in.

It should be everyone’s responsibility to protect our environment. Therefore, numerous charities across the world are working tirelessly to combat various environmental issues that put our lives in danger. From protecting oceans and wildlife to planting trees and teaching farmers how to sustainably grow fruits and vegetables, these charities are passionately tackling the issues that threaten our planet. Below are 10 environmental charities making a real difference in the protection of environment.

#1 Rainforest Alliance: A World Where People and Nature Thrive in Harmony

Who they are: The Rainforest Alliance is an international NGO that protects forests, improves the lives of forest and farmer communities, promotes their human rights, and helps them adapt to the climate crisis.

Their vision is creating a more sustainable world by implementing market and social forces to improve the lives of forest and farmer communities and protect the nature. The NGO works in 70 countries, and brings together farmers and forest communities, civil society, governments, companies, and individuals, all working together to protect the biodiversity.

What they do: The Rainforest Alliance focuses their efforts on four areas vital to global sustainability forests and biodiversity, climate, livelihoods, and human rights. They implement long-term community and conservation programmes in important tropical areas to ensure the well-being of rural communities.

The Rainforest Alliance is also a champion in certification. Their Rainforest Alliance Certification Program assists consumers to purchase ethically produced products. Consumers can easily recognize the certification seal. When you see a little frog seal on a product, it means that the product was produced in a sustainable way. Products with the Rainforest Alliance seal can be found in over 175 countries.

Their impact: Since their establishment, the Rainforest Alliance has supported over 4 million farmers and workers, certified 6 million of hectares of farmland, improved the business practices of 5 thousand companies, and covered 14.2 million of hectares of land by integrated landscape management programmes.

Ways to get involved: You can donate to the Rainforest Alliance directly through their website.

#2 Conservation International: All Comes from Nature!

Who they are: Conservation International (CI) was founded in 1987 to secure the critical benefits that nature provides to humanity.

Today, the NGO has a global reach with offices in more than 70 countries worldwide, as well with a network of thousands of partners. The aim of CI is to empower societies to care for nature, global diversity, and the well-being of humanity in sustainable and responsible ways.

What they do: The CI works globally to improve the lives of people by protecting forests, oceans, and other ecosystems. They employ several different strategies, such as innovation in science and finance, and partnering with indigenous communities and governments and corporations to advance the conservation practices.

From food stability to climate change and ocean protection, the CI works in several different areas. They support field projects, as well as scientific research to keep the nature safe across Africa, Americas, and Asia-Pacific.

Their impact: Since their founding, the CI helped protect more than 6 million square kilometers of land and sea. The CI’s conservation activities reached more than 3.8 million people and secured 2.2 billion metric tones of irrecoverable carbon from terrestrial and coastal lines.

Ways to get involved: To support the CI in their efforts you can opt for either a single or a monthly donation.

#3 The Nature Conservancy: Conserving the Lands and Waters on Which All Life Depends

Who they are: The Nature Conservancy is a global environmental NGO founded in 1951 in the US through grassroot action. They work in Africa, Asia Pacific, Canada, Caribbean, Europe, India, Latin America, and the US to create environments where people and nature can thrive.

Today, the Nature Conservancy is one of the most wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world. It has more than a million members, employs over 400 scientists, and impacts conservation in 76 countries and territories.

What they do: In their work, the Nature Conservancy tackles the climate change, protects ocean, land, and fresh water, provides food and water sustainably, and builds healthy cities.

The projects that the organization implements on the ground aim to protect the ecosystems from environmental threats such as deforestation. They work to safeguard biodiversity, reduce CO2 emissions, and support farmers and indigenous communities by securing their rights to resources.

Their impact: The work of Nature Conservancy impacts conservation in over 70 countries. They conduct over a hundred marine conservation projects, and since their establishment they managed to preserve 125 million acres of land, 30 million hectares of fresh water, and 4 billion hectares of oceans.

Ways to get involved: If you wish to support the Nature Conservancy you can donate directly through website or maybe join their team by applying for open positions.

#4 Friends of the Earth: Mobilize, Resist, Transform!

Who they are: Founded in 1969 in San Francisco in the US, Friends of the Earth has grown into an international network of 73 environmental charities. The Friends of the Earth secretariat is based in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and it has four representative countries- the US, the UK, France and Sweden.

Their mission is to ensure environmental and social rights, respect for indigenous peoples’ rights, reversing environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources, and to raise awareness on all issues related to our environment.

What they do: Friends of the Earth are known for campaign on the most urgent social and environmental problems. They continuously challenge the present models of corporate and economic globalization and provide solutions to create socially just and environmentally sustainable societies.

Friends of the Earth implement and conducted projects in several areas-climate justice and energy, economic justice and resisting neoliberalism, food sovereignty, forests and biodiversity, gender justice and dismantling patriarchy. They also conduct a School of Sustainability  that deals with learning about the root causes of environmental and social injustice. The School of Sustainability is held annually in Latin America and the Caribbean, Asia Pacific, Africa and Europe and hosted by a different Friends of the Group each year.

Their impact: One of the most significant successes of Friends of the Earth was a legal victory in a case against the Royal Dutch Shell. In May 2021, for the first time in history, a company was ordered by the court to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement and reduce its CO2 emissions by 45%.

Ways to get involved: You can support Friends of the Earth by donating directly through their website or browse for open job positions if you are interested to work for environmental causes.

#5 Depave: From Parking Lots to Paradise

Who they are: Depave is an environmental charity based in Portland, Oregon, working with a mission to ‘’empower disenfranchised communities to overcome social and environmental injustices and adapt to climate change through urban-regreening’’.

They work in the US based on the idea of constructional destruction. Their goal is to promote workforce development and education, transform over-paved places, empower communities to build greenspaces, as well as to advocate for policy change to eliminate systemic racism.

What they do: Depave ‘’depaves for bees, children, rivers, and community’’. Their goal is to reduce the effects of sun as well as harsh winds, enhance air quality, reduce noise from the street, restore local habitats for birds, insects and other animals, and provide land for local communities to grow fruits and vegetables.

partners up with communities, schools, social service organizations, and small community-focused businesses to spread and implement urban greening projects. Right now, they operate in the Portland metro region and work in underserved communities, where an access to greenspace has a big impact on the community.

Their impact: In the last 12 years, Depaved removed over 236 thousand square feet of pavement. Altogether, their work has reduced annual stormwater runoff by 15.840.000 gallons. Just in 2021, Depave engaged over 360 volunteers in removing asphalt, installing native plants, and supplemental construction.

Ways to get involved: There are many ways to get involved with Depave. You can become a volunteer, a crew leader, or a Green Thumbs-monitoring greenspaces after completion of the project. You can also support Depave by donating directly through their website.

#6 OCEANA: Protecting the World’s Oceans

Who they are: Founded in 2001, Oceana is an only international organization focused solely on ocean conservation.

Oceana works in the US, Europe, Chile, Canada, Belize, the Philipines, Brazil, Peru, Mexico, and the UK to protect and restore oceans. All offices of Oceana work together to achieve outcomes that will help oceans become more abundant and biodiverse.

What they do: To achieve measurable goals, Oceana’s main activity is campaigning to restore oceans to former levels of abundance. They conduct their campaigns in countries that control around one third of the world’s wild fish catch, to deliver more seafood in the future.  Their other campaigns include protection of marine, as well as minimizing the effects of bycatch and non-intentionally caught fish and ending the discards of single-use plastics into the oceans.

Their impact: Since their founding, Oceana has protected more than 10 million square kilometers of ocean habitat. These include fishing restrictions, marine protected areas and no-take zones.

During their work they achieved hundreds of concrete policy victories for habitats and marine life, from protecting sea turtles from commercial fishing gear to stopping bottom trawling in sensitive habitat areas. Some Oceana’s campaign victories include the ban of shark fin trade in US, Amazon’s first public report on plastic packaging footprint, protection of sharks and other marine species from illegal trafficking in Peru and many more.

Ways to get involved: If you wish to get involved and support Oceana’s work, you can take action by signing petitions, shop their online store for sustainable products, make a symbolic adoption of a fish or a wild animal or simply donate.

#7 Earthworks

Who they are: Earthworks has been working closely with communities since 1988 to secure the protection of their health, land, water, and air from extractive industries. Earthworks operates across the US, as well as internationally-in Brazil, Indonesia, Guatemala, and Norway. Presently, Earthworks is an only NGO based in the US that focuses solely on preventing the destructive impact of the extraction of gas, minerals and oil.

The goal of Earthworks is to help humanity to transition from fossil fuels. Therefore, they work to minimize the harms of mining, gas and oil, stop their expansion and reduce methane emissions from fossil fuel, which deeply affects the climate

What they do: To achieve their goals, Earthworks partners up with communities, national and international advocates to campaign and push for the policy adoption against threats to natural resources on earth, biodiversity, clean water, and air. They also campaign to protect special areas from irresponsible digging, mining, and drilling.

Earthworks ‘’opposes harmful extraction while advancing policy solutions that hold polluters accountable and protect communities’ rights’’. To achieve this, Earthworks conducts several activities such as supporting frontline communities, educating media and policymakers, reforming government policies, holding corporations accountable, and changing industry practices.

Their impact: In numbers, in 2021 Earthworks conducted 33 field investigations using optical gas imaging, filed 135 regulatory complaints filed, opposed 20 mining projects in U.S., and internationally, delayed 6 fossil fuel and petrochemical infrastructure projects in the Gulf Coast, and held 7 regional workshops on tailings mine waste safety across North and South America, Africa, Europe, and Southeast Asia.

Ways to get involved: You can support Earthworks by directly donating through their website.

#8 Rainforest Action Network: Fighting for People & Planet

Who they are: Rainforest Action Network (RAN) is an environmental charity working with a mission to ‘’preserve forests, protect the climate and uphold human rights by challenging corporate power and systemic injustice through frontline partnerships and strategic campaigns’’.

RAN became known after organizing their first campaign in 1987 when they succeeded to convince a global fast food chain Burger King to cancel rainforest beef contracts that damaged the Central American rainforests. The worth of the contracts was around 31 million dollars. Since then, RAN operates as a collaborative organization that drives positive change by challenging corporations and exposing unjust institutional systems.

What they do: RAN is known for working closely and supporting frontline indigenous communities in their struggles to have access to their native lands. They support these communities by providing them with small grants to protect the habitat of their ancestral lands.

They also use pressure tactics to convince large corporations, such as Disney, to develop and implement policies that would end their presence in rainforest destruction.  They also provide research and analysis regarding the surrounding environmental issues, which easily can be read on their blog.

Their impact: So far, RAN provided funding to more than 300 frontline and indigenous communities in 40 countries on all continents.

RAN is considered to be a pioneering environmental charity in corporate campaigning. They conduct campaigns targeting some the largest corporations in the world such as Home Deport and Chevron, with an aim to initiate conversations and pressure them to change their policies. Therefore, in over 35 years of their existence, they secured hundreds of victories for the environment and indigenous communities worldwide and helped protect millions of acres of rainforests.

Ways to get involved: If you want to support RAN in their actions you can opt for joining the movement, support a campaign by signing a petition or donating.

#9 Trees for the Future: Plant Trees and Change Lives!

Who they are: Trees for the Future or just TREES was founded in 1989 by Dave and Grace Deppner, after they witnessed the link between poverty and deforestation while they were volunteering in the Philippines.

TREES believe in a world in of productive lands and sustainable practices left as a legacy of farmers. Therefore, their mission is to ‘’improve livelihoods of impoverished farmers by revitalizing degraded lands’’. TREES works with thousands farmer families across 9 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

What they do: TREES conducts hands-on agroforestry trainings and provides resources to farming families and communities. Their programme Forest Garden Approach gives an opportunity to farmers to plant trees that impact the soil’s fertility, after which, framers can grow a variety of fruits and vegetables. This process not only saves the environment, but also produces an income and provides access to food to farmer communities.

Their impact: Until today, TREES had impacted the lives of 300 thousand people by sustainably restoring the lands that offer a regular supply of income and food, restored 60 thousand acres of degraded land, and planted 250 million trees.

Ways to get involved: If you wish to support TREES you can donate directly through their website.

#10 International Fund for Animal Welfare

Who they are: Founded in 1969 by Brian Davies whose goal was to stop the commercial hunt for seals in Canada, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) has grown to be a global NGO that saves animals in over 40 countries worldwide.

IFAW is known for rescuing, rehabilitating, and releasing animals to their natural habitats. To achieve that, they partner up with governments, NGOs, local communities, and businesses. Together, they pioneer new and innovating ways to help all species thrive.

What they do: IFAW implements international programmes in collaboration with their partners. All programs are science-based, conducted in local communities, economically viable and long-term. IFAW’s programmes include wildlife crime, disaster response and risk reduction, policy recommendations, marine conservation, community engagement, wildlife rescue, landscape conservation, and marine mammal rescue and research.

Their impact:  In the period from 2000 to 2019, IFAW rescued, treated, and sheltered 275.598 animals. IFAW’s work directly impacted both animals and communities, from developing a new technology to safely release marine mammals back into the ocean instead of euthanizing them, to finding unvaccinated dogs as a cause of sickness in Bali.

Ways to get involved: If you wish to support IFAW in their efforts to save the wildlife, you can donate directly through their website.