We are all aware of the sheer damage and destruction we have caused to the environment over the years. But little is known about the efforts of organizations to reverse pollution and prevent further natural resource depletion.
Yes, hundreds of nonprofit organizations worldwide have been our frontline soldiers in the battle with climate change. They have conducted research and invested human capital and resources to help us understand how our actions have changed the Earth.
I believe it’s essential that we acknowledge their contributions to save the planet. Here are the top 5 environment non profit organizations currently at the helm of this change and honorable mentions of recently formed organizations that are making great strides in this direction.
#1. Sierra Club
Established in 1892, Sierra Club is one of the oldest organizations fighting environmental conservation at the social and political level. Today, it has strength in numbers. Comprising of over 3.8 million members and supporters, it is the largest organization pushing a pro-environmental agenda in America.
The Sierra Club’s tireless environmental advocacy has been responsible for the closure of 300 coal plants and the establishment of 439 parks and monuments. In 2010, Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal campaign” worked alongside President Barack Obama to conserve more than 4 million acres of public land.
In addition to their environmental initiatives, the club also organizes a range of outdoor recreational activities that promote people’s interaction with nature, such as mountaineering and rock climbing. Sierra prides itself in enlisting the participation of over 15,000 kids each year in these excursions to deepen their connection with the Earth.
Are you interested in joining or volunteering? Click here to learn more about the Sierra Club.
#2. World Wildlife Fund For Nature (WWF)
Next on this list, we have the World Wildlife Fund for Nature, recognized worldwide by its famous panda logo. It was established back in 1961 as an organization specializing in preserving wilderness.
Today, the WWF follows the broader goal of curbing negative human impact on the environment, preserving natural resources that local communities rely on, and protecting endangered species. It does this by transforming markets and policies towards sustainability and protectionism in these six major areas: Food, Climate, Forests, Freshwater, Oceans and Wildlife.
WWF has had over 50 years of achievements and has grown into one of the world’s largest independent conservation organizations, active in over 100 countries and supported by over 5 million people worldwide.
Some of its notable achievements include increasing the endangered giant panda population to 1600, working with Brazil’s government in 200 to protect 12% or 60 million hectares of the vast Amazon rainforest from destruction, and Earth Hour in 2010.
Earth hour was a testament to the level of public support the WWF reached, where throughout the world, everyone switched off their power for an entire hour to demonstrate their support for climate correction.
Want to donate? Click here to go directly to the WWF Donations page.
#3. National Audubon Society
The National Audubon Society is a conservationist group dedicated to the restoration and preservation of natural ecosystems, primarily for birds. If you’re a bird lover, it’s likely your values align closely with Audubon’s credos.
Audubon seeks to protect natural habitats and their biological diversity so they may benefit humanity in the future. Formed in 1905, Audubon uses science, education, and grassroots advocacy to advance its mission.
Audubon is responsible for protecting the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and multiple other fragile habitats on the verge of losing its inhabitant life in the Everglades and the Long Island Sound. It has also contributed to the development of green (renewable) energy on millions of acres.
To learn more, click here.
In the 1960s, when the US planned to carry out nuclear testing on the tectonically unstable islands off Alaska’s coast, some 7,000 protestors formed and blocked the Peace Arch Border Crossing in protest.
This, however, did not deter the US from its mission. Although there was no ensuing tsunami or earthquake, the opposition to the US government grew after they announced they’d be testing a bomb five times stronger.
The leading voices of this opposition included Irving and Dorothy Stove and ex-navy veteran Jim Bohlen. Together they organized the first green peace protest, which laid the foundation for the organization.
Greenpeace is driven by the goal of ensuring that life on earth remains nurturing and does not lose its quality as a consequence of human activities such as climate change, deforestation, commercial-whaling, and nuclear warfare.
Greenpeace is responsible for raising environmental knowledge in the general public and private sectors and is one of the world’s most visible organizations. Its global network spans over 5 million people. It has become a robust deterrent to problems like nuclear testing and whaling.
Are you interested in supporting or volunteering for Greenpeace? Click here to visit the Greenpeace official page and become a member today.
#5. Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
The Natural Resources Defense Council or NRDC is a non-profit international environmental advocacy committee based in New York. It has offices across the globe in cities like Los Angeles, Delhi, Bozeman, and Beijing.
Since its formation in 1970, the NRDC has worked towards ensuring the right of all people to vital natural resources such as clean air, water, and healthy communities. The council comprises 700 employees, which include scientists, lawyers, and policy advocates.
They focus on protecting the climate and endangered species by concentrating most of their efforts on the legislative change conducive to such. The strategy is simple—put together the best brains in science to unearth evidence, and then use barristers and policy experts to draft laws based on this evidence.
In 1972, the NRDC helped pass the landmark Clean Water Act. Each year this act has prevented 700 billion lb. of toxic pollutants from power plants and chemicals from factories from entering the common waterways used by citizens. Under this act, a citizen has the right to sue a polluter even if they haven’t been directly impacted.
Want to learn more about the NRDC’s legislation? Click here.
Some Honorable Mentions
Here are a few more nonprofit organizations worth mentioning.
#1. 1% For The Planet
1% for the planet is an international organization founded in 2002. It encourages companies to contribute at least 1% of their annual revenue to environmental causes. Their mission is to rally and ally businesses under their commitment to creating a healthy planet.
Today, they have registered over 3000 companies in the private sector and raised more than $250 million for other environmental organizations working towards a sustainable future.
#2. Earth First!
Earth First is a global movement that unites radical environmentalists who want to protect the natural world. It stands out in its approach to people. For instance, they have no website, no hierarchy, no members (only believers of the cause), and are open to absolutely anyone.
Nobody within this organization is given rank because the movement strongly holds that all life on the planet is of equal value. The actions and events are informally organized, as are most of this society’s processes but range from demonstrations, civil disobedience, and protests to public education and organizing involvement in legal processes.
Their motto is “No compromises in defense of Mother Earth.” If you’re loud and passionate, this might be the right group for you.
#3. National Wildlife Federation
The National Wildlife Federation is a US-based not-for-profit environmental defense organization working with 51 local state agencies to preserve wildlife. It has a participation of over 6 million members and supporters. They believe that America’s breathtaking landscapes and wildlife are the country’s defining qualities and worth protecting at all costs.
The NWF focuses strongly on the preservation of domestic wildlife populations of both game and non-game animals from the threat of population decline. Some of their notable achievements include restoring the bison to critical public and western tribal lands, as well as their “Save LA’s Cougars” campaign to restore California’s mountain lion numbers.
A Few Parting Words
Saving the environment has never been simpler. On an individual level, we can focus our efforts on the small things that eventually add up—proper garbage segregation, recycling, mindful shopping, eliminating the use of plastics, reducing electricity consumption etc.
On a collective level, we can volunteer with or donate to credible environment non profit organizations that work toward protecting what we hold dear.