The official Earth Day was last Sunday. More than ever, creation calls us to to make every day Earth Day. Small changes yield big results. If enough of us adjust our ways just a little, we can make a huge, positive difference for the natural creation that sustains all life on Earth. We can make small changes in what we buy, taking into consideration how it was made, where it was made, how it is packaged, and how it gets to us. We can reduce our use of plastic, recycle and purchase things made from recycled materials to encourage more recycling.We can also learn what others are doing and support their efforts. These are my five favorite organizations working to protect and preserve our natural resources. In alphabetical order they are:
The Audubon Society
http://www.audubon.org. Five star rating by Charity Navigator.
Two Massachusetts women, Harriet Hemenway and Mina Hall, were appalled at the practice of slaughtering millions of water birds to make women’s hats. They turned their anger into action and formed the Massachusetts Audubon Society in 1896. Within two years there were fifteen more state Societies, plus one in the District of Columbia. By 1901 the state Audubon groups joined to form a national organization which helped establish the first U.S. National wildlife Refuge in Pelican Island, Florida in 1903.
Their mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humans and the planet. Audubon works to protect habitat and partners with Congress, the executive branch, courts, and mass media to ensure our great natural heritage endures for generations.
This year the Audubon Society joins with National Geographic, BirdLife International, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in the 2018 year long celebration of birds.
Their website contains a wealth of information about their efforts, tips for birding, and information impacting wildlife. Members receive a quarterly beautiful magazine with success stories and issues needing our attention.
National Parks Conservation Association
https://www.npca.org Three star rating by Charity Navigator
We’re probably all familiar with President Teddy Roosevelt’s efforts to create a national parks system to preserve some of our country’s most pristine and breath-taking places for future generations. The mission of the NPCA is to protect and enhance our national parks. Established in 1919, it is an independent, nonpartisan voice working to address major threats facing the National Park System. They advocate for the national parks and the National Park Service; educate decision-makers and the public about the importance of preserving our parks and help convince Congress to uphold the laws that protect the parks. When necessary they fight attempts to weaken these laws in the courts.
Do we really want to see condos or mining equipment in the Grand Canyon? Without laws and people committed to enforcing the laws, we could well be the last generation to see such astonishing places in their natural splendor.
Their website offers information about the parks we own in common, the issues threatening them, and ways we can become more involved.
https://support.nature.org Not rated by Charity Navigator, but approved by Better Business Bureau
Formed in 1951, The Nature Conservancy works in partnership with individuals, local communities, government agencies, and private businesses to protect natural landscape in order to provide diverse plant and animal populations. When possible, The Nature Conservancy purchases land outright. In other cases they work with easements and partner with local agencies and other groups. They work around the globe to protect ecologically important land and water vital for the well being of nature and people.
Since its inception the organization has protected 119 million acres of land and thousands of miles of rivers. They operate over 100 marine conservation projects around the world. By the numbers: 65 year history of actively promoting sensible conservation. Supported by 1 Million members. Supported in their efforts by 600 scientists. Ensuring the health of 100 Million acres in 70 countries.
The Sierra Club Foundation
https://www.sierraclub.org Four star rating from Charity Navigator
John Muir established the Sierra Club in 1892. Today it is the largest, and most influential, grassroots environmental organization. Over 3 Million members and supporters enable the organization to protect millions of acres of wilderness. They played an active role in passing such laws as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Endangered Species Act. Recently they have been engaged in public work to promote clean energy options.
It is their mission to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places on Earth. It is also their mission to practice and promote responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources. They also focus on educating others to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment.
On their website you can learn about places they have protected, projects they are currently tackling, and ways you can go on trips with them.
World Wildlife Fund
https://www.worldwildlife.org Three Star Rating by Charity Navigator
By the 1960’s issues like the Cuyahoga River catching fire and concerns about the lethal impact of dumping raw sewage into our lakes, rivers, and oceans caught the attention of men and women who saw the immediate need for action. However, funding is always an issue when attempting to do right by the natural world. In 1961 a small group of global organizations, doing what they could to address conservation needs, lacked adequate funding. The Morges Manifesto was signed by 16 of the world’s leading conservationists in 1961. The Manifesto declared that the World Wildlife Fund be established as an international organization to work in collaboration with existing conservation groups to provide the funding required for a global conservation effort.
The WWF mission is the conservation of nature. Relying on the best available scientific knowledge, the organization works to preserve diversity and abundance of natural life. They focus on protecting natural areas, including populations of wildlife and plants. They promote sustainable methods to use renewable natural resources and encourage more efficient use of these resources for maximum reduction of pollution.
Their website provides information about protecting endangered species, addressing climate change issues, ways to get involved, and issues that impact the health and well being of us all.
Additionally, their logo is an adorable Panda. Who wouldn’t want to support that?
People, plants, and animals all share one planet. Think global. Act local.