Now in its 51st year, Earth Day is an annual event that began in 1970. Since then, more than 190 countries around the world mark today’s date as a means of raising awareness for environmental challenges and concerns that the world is facing. One of the easiest ways to help the planet is by giving back or pledging support to a charity whose focus is on doing good for the planet.
In celebration of Earth Day 2021, here are five environmental charities that are making a difference through their various earth-friendly initiatives.
5 charities that can make a difference
There are many charities in Canada that allow you to give back to the planet, whether they focus on travel, food, clean water, land protection, or wildlife conservation.
Here are five charities that can make a difference at the environmental, societal, and cultural level:
The world’s oceans are home to some of the oldest life forms on the planet, but they continue to be plagued by plastic pollution, overfishing, and climate change at an alarming rate. Oceans also absorb the world’s carbon, and without them, the future looks bleak. According to conservation.org, eight million metric tonnes–or 17.6 billion pounds–of plastic waste is dumped into the world’s oceans every year, and at the rate we’re going, by 2050, the weight of all that plastic will outweigh every single species of fish. Founded in 2014 by Cristina Mittermeier, a conservationist, and Paul Nicklen, one of National Geographic’s Canadian photographers, Sea Legacy’s mission is to create healthy and abundant oceans for people and the planet. SeaLegacy is a disregarded entity of Only One, Inc, a 501c3 registered charity and organization based in New York, USA, but operates worldwide. Through a combination of powerful photography, storytelling, and concrete action, Sea Legacy’s goal is to have one billion people engaged in ocean conservation. To date, the organization has led a number of campaigns and projects, including voicing support for North Vancouver’s First Nations communities against Atlantic fishing farms. Sea Legacy has a number of options in place for those looking to make a difference for the world’s oceans and the marine life they sustain, including joining The Tide with the option to give monthly, make a one-time donation.
No Canadian should go hungry. That’s the idea behind Second Harvest, which is the largest food rescue organization in Canada. What does that mean, exactly? Food rescue refers to the recovery of perfectly healthy, unsold food, with a focus on protein, dairy, and produce, that would otherwise end up in landfills across the country. Last year alone, Second Harvest recovered 22.3 million pounds of food, which was then redistributed to 2,300 social service organizations. Founded in 1985, the organization makes roughly 62,000 meals per day and to date has delivered more than 177 million pounds of food. This translates to blocking more than 75 million pounds of greenhouse gasses from entering the atmosphere. Second Harvest makes it easy to give back, they have a volunteer form listed directly on their website if you’re interested in donating your time when it is safer, due to COVID-19 restrictions, to do so. The organization also supports the volunteer initiatives of local high schools across Canada, where students require a minimum number of hours to graduate.
Perhaps one of the best-known charities, The World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) has been making it easy to give back to the earth’s wildlife and their habitats for more than 60 years. WWF operates in more than 60 countries by working to create sustainable solutions for communities and the people and wildlife that live there. The organization’s work is centered around six pillars: food, climate, forests, freshwater, oceans, and wildlife. Those looking to support the WWF’s efforts and ongoing projects can do so in a number of ways, including making a one-time donation. There are a number of other ways to take action by joining WWF’s Activist Network. Here, those interested can sign a number of petitions and pledges, participate in upcoming events and fundraisers, and even apply for ambassadorship. There’s also the option to start your own wildlife fundraiser, send free e-cards, adopt an animal, and even give the gift of a donation or WWF membership. In every scenario, all proceeds go towards making the planet safer and healthier for the animals that call the earth home.
Nature Conservancy of Canada
Canadians love the great outdoors, and because of indoor restrictions from COVID-19, we’ve all been spending a lot more time outside lately. The Nature Conservancy (NCC) is a national nonprofit conservation organization that protects our big and beautiful backyard. Since 1962, the organization has worked with Canadians to help protect more than 2.6 million acres (1 million hectares) of some of Canada’s most beautiful environmental regions, including forests, wetlands, and grasslands that are home to hundreds of unique species of flora and fauna. The NCC is also partnered with the Government of Canada, through which it has raised nearly one billion dollars towards conservation efforts. There are a number of ways to make a difference via the NCC, including becoming a conservation volunteer, making a donation, or even planning your legacy, which enables you to provide a gift in your will to the Nature Conservancy of Canada. Gifts can include land, stock, RRSPs, life insurance, and more.
Travel continues to be one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions. While travel is currently limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, when travel returns, it is important to be mindful of the impact on the environment. With a slogan that reads “Make Travel Matter”, the Treadright Foundation is a non-profit organization created by The Travel Corporation’s family of brands. The Travel Corporation currently owns 40 travel brands including tour operators, hotels, and transportation companies, and operates in 70 countries worldwide. Annually, the company serves approximately 1.9 million globetrotters. Though travel has the ability to connect us to new cultures, stories, and people around the world, the act can also have a devastating impact on local communities, wildlife, natural resources, and the people that live there.
Since 2008, The TreadRight Foundation has supported more than 55 sustainable tourism projects worldwide to date. The Travel Corporation, TreadRight’s corporate arm, is also partners with other major sustainable leaders, like Oceana and the World Conservation Society. Completely free of charge, those intending to travel are invited to show their support to a more sustainable travel style by taking a pledge in support of the planet, its people, and its wildlife. All 40 of The Travel Corporation’s brands currently contribute to the TreadRight Foundation on an annual basis and fuel a number of sustainable projects at a grassroots level, which means travelers who opt to travel with these brands are supporting sustainable travel practices, from the places they dine at, to the hotels they stay in.
Celebrate Earth Day, today and every day
Deciding what charity to support can be a tough choice to make. Fortunately, most charities allow their supporters to show support in a number of ways, whether that’s through financial donations, contributions to a local food bank, volunteer work, or even community activism at the grassroots level.
Though their objectives and business models may differ, all of these charities share one common goal, which is a happier, healthier world.
Are you ready to stand up for the planet?