9 Best Charities for Climate Change (Complete 2022 List)

9 Best Charities for Climate Change (Complete 2022 List)

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Carla Shaik

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Stay impactful,

It is estimated that our planet has warmed by 2.12 degrees Fahrenheit since the late 19th Century. This has caused ocean acidification, decreased snow cover, and a marked increase in the number of extreme weather events occurring worldwide. Environmental charities are now working hard to halt this trend and protect our planet for generations to come. So we had to ask: What are the best charities for climate change?

The best charities for climate change in terms of overall impact are Cool Earth and the Clean Air Task Force. Charities such as the Rainforest Alliance and Practical Action do amazing work training farmers in sustainable agriculture methods. 

Whether you want to invest in sustainable energy sources or protect wildlife and their habitats from the devastating effects of climate change, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for climate change are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Related: Did you know that you can make Amazon donate 0.5% of your purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. Sign up at smile.amazon.com, select the charity you want your donations to go to, and make Amazon donate a part of your purchases to your chosen charity at no extra cost to you.

Here’s What All the Best Charities for Climate Change Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements. They operate all over the world, from North America to the Arctic, advocating for the use of renewable energies and protecting the world’s most effective carbon-storing technology – rainforests. 

Many of the charities on this list focus their efforts on communicating with federal leaders to promote widespread change. Others focus their attention on working with indigenous and rural communities to implement sustainable farming techniques. Yet they all share the same goal – to stop climate change in its tracks and restore our natural world. 

These Are the 9 Best Charities for Climate Change

Below are our favorite charities for climate change:

  • Cool Earth
  • Clean Air Task Force
  • Union of Concerned Scientists
  • Carbon180
  • Greenpeace
  • Earth Justice
  • Rainforest Alliance
  • Practical Action
  • Earth Island

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

Cool Earth: Protecting the World’s Rainforests

Cool Earth was founded in 2007 by Johan Eliasch and Lord Field as the result of a shared desire to halt deforestation. Today, the charity is dedicated to addressing climate change through the protection of rainforests, by giving control back to the people who live in them. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Cool Earth holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity has yet to be scored by Charity Navigator.

“We champion the relationship between people, rainforest, and climate.”

Cool Earth

What they do: Cool Earth funds indigenous rainforest communities to tackle the root causes of deforestation and invest in projects that protect vital carbon sinks. The cash funds are used by local communities to run sustainability education programs which have led to the development of solar energy farms, bee-keeping projects, and sustainable waste solutions. The charities’ Rainforest Firefighters Campaign raises money to investigate how rainforest fires start so they can develop effective forest fire management plans for the future. 

What they’ve achieved: Alongside their like-minded partners, Cool Earth now protects around 105 million trees which have resulted in the storage of 48 million tonnes of carbon. The charity has also invested in 40 local community-run sustainability projects, from the Amazon to the Congo Basin. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Cool Earth through their website. You can also support the charity by purchasing items from their online shop or by organizing a fundraising event.

Clean Air Task Force: Reducing Carbon Emissions

The Clean Air Task Force (CATF) was founded in 1996 by Armond Cohen to enact federal policy that would force older coal plants in America to improve their emissions. Today, the charity is a global non-profit organization that works to safeguard against the worst impacts of climate change. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Clean Air Task Force holds the Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar as well as a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“To meet the world’s rising energy demand in a way that is financially, socially, and environmentally sustainable.”

Clean Air Task Force

What they do: Clean Air Task Force researches scientific-driven solutions to climate change. One of their missions is to advocate for the correct policy framework to ensure that proven carbon capture technologies can be widely deployed. In addition, the charity is pushing for zero-carbon fuels, such as hydrogen and ammonia, to be utilized in the transport and heating industries in America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.  

What they’ve achieved: As a result of the initial efforts of the Clean Air Task Force, coal plants have rapidly reduced their emissions which has saved an estimated 13,000 lives every year. In 2018, the charity launched an interactive map of U.S. Carbon capture project announcements which allows researchers and industry professionals to analyze the growth of this critical clean energy technology. In 2020, the charity helped secure $125 billion in federal funding to support climate change technologies. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Clean Air Task Force through their website. You can also sign up for the charities’ newsletter to keep up to date with their latest campaigns and achievements. 

Union of Concerned Scientists: Using Science to Make Change Happen

The Union of Concerned Scientists was founded in 1969 by a group of scientists and students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as they were appalled at the way the American government dealt with Cleveland’s heavily polluted Cuyahoga River during the Vietnam War. Today, the charity is fighting for a safer and healthier world through scientific innovation.

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Union of Concerned Scientists holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar as well as a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator.

“To use rigorous, independent science to solve our planet’s most pressing problems.”

Union of Concerned Scientists

What they do: The Union of Concerned Scientists addresses the world’s most significant environmental issues. They do this by connecting the scientific community with advocates, educators, and businesses to combat climate change, promote sustainable energy sources, and prevent the use of nuclear weapons. For the last 30 years, their main focus has been to hold major fossil fuel companies accountable for their actions and advocate for the world to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.  

What they’ve achieved: Since its inception, the Union of Concerned Scientists has continued to advocate for a cleaner world. In 2016, the charity successfully advocated for a change in fuel efficiency standards for large trucks which requires all new trucks to use 37% less fuel over the next decade. This will reduce oil usage by 2 billion barrels and prevent 1.1 billion tonnes of global warming emissions over a truck’s lifespan. In 2019, the charity was integral to the passing of a Californian bill that requires 100% of its electricity to come from clean, renewable energy sources by 2045. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Union of Concerned Scientists through their website. You can also offer your support by becoming a member of the charity. 

Carbon180: Zero. Then Negative.

Carbon180 was founded in 2017 by Noah Deich and Giana Amador to advance carbon-absorbing technologies. Today the charity is a leading climate policy non-profit in Washington D.C and the only one that is solely focused on carbon removal.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Carbon180 holds the Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. The charity has yet to be scored by Charity Navigator. 

“To create a world where climate change is halted and economic prosperity is driven by innovative farmers, foresters, and businesses pulling carbon from the sky.”

Carbon180

What they do: Carbon180 works with scientists, businesses, and policymakers to build a world that removes more carbon than it produces. Their Carbon Economy Consortium brings together leading experts from all over the world to share resources and develop new pathways towards carbon removal solutions. The charity also works closely with farmers to accelerate the adoption of agricultural practices that store carbon to help tackle climate change, through their Leading with Soil initiative. 

What they’ve achieved: Since its inception, Carbon180 has remained dedicated to developing technologies that remove harmful carbon from our atmosphere. In 2019, the persisting advocating of Carbon180 led to the release of $70 million in federal funding for carbon removal research and development. In 2020, the charity successfully advocated for the authorization of the first research program dedicated to carbon removal, funded at $60 million

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Carbon180 through their website. Or you can keep up to date with developments by signing up for the charity’s newsletter; The Carbon Copy

Greenpeace: Defending the Natural World

Greenpeace was founded in 1971 by a small group of passionate people, who set sail to Amchitka Island, Alaska, to stop a US nuclear weapons test. Today, Greenpeace is a globally recognized charity committed to defending our natural world from destruction. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Greenpeace holds the Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar. According to their financial report, the charity spent 37.16% of its income on campaigning, 19.22% on international project grants, and 15.19% on fundraising. 

“A greener, healthier and more peaceful planet, one that can sustain life for generations to come.”

Greenpeace

What they do: Greenpeace investigates and exposes the main causes of environmental destruction in over 40 countries around the world. Their peaceful methods include advocacy, lobbying, promoting renewable energy sources, and community engagement. They also run several global campaigns including their Protect the Arctic initiative, which calls for a strong Global Ocean Treaty to protect the Arctic ocean from further damage caused by climate change. 

What they’ve achieved: After decades of campaigning by Greenpeace and other like-minded organizations, the OSPAR Convention came into force in 1998. This historic legislation has made it illegal to dump toxic waste, scrapped oil rigs, and other industrial equipment into the North-East Atlantic ocean. In 2020, Greenpeace activists prevented the expansion of Sweden’s biggest oil refinery which has prevented a further one million tonnes of CO2 from entering our atmosphere each year.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Greenpeace through their website. You can also support the charity by setting up a fundraising event or by signing one or more of their petitions.

Earth Justice: Because the Earth Needs a Good Lawyer

Earth Justice was founded in 1971 by Phil Berry, Fred Fisher, and Don Harris, to fight for the voice of green groups in court. Today, the charity is the premier non-profit environmental law organization in America; committed to protecting our wildlife and combating climate change. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Earth Justice holds the Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar as well as a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator

“To fight – and win- for our planet in court.”

Earth Justice

What they do: Earth Justice utilizes its 170+ lawyers to litigate hundreds of environmentally-focused cases free of charge. For example, in Alaska, the charity is actively safeguarding the nation’s largest rainforest (the Tongass) from destructive logging and mining practices. In several states, including Chicago and New York, the charity’s lawyers are working towards ending the nation’s dependability on fossil fuels by promoting clean energy technologies through their Coal Program

What they’ve achieved: Since its inception, Earth Justice has been integral to the passing of many of America’s environmental laws. In 2020, the charity won the last remaining lawsuit defending the 50 million acres of roadless national forests. In the same year, Earth Justice assisted the Governing Board of Southern California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District in passing a rule that requires all oil refineries to install pollution controls. This is projected to improve air quality for thousands of people and prevent 370 lives from premature deaths annually.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Earth Justice through their website. You can also support the charity by signing one of their environmental petitions to strengthen their cases in court. 

Rainforest Alliance: Fighting Deforestation and Climate Change

The Rainforest Alliance was founded in 1987 by American environmental activist Daniel Katz, to create a more sustainable world and tackle climate change. Today, the Rainforest Alliance is an international charity dedicated to making responsible and sustainable business the new normal.  

Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, the Rainforest Alliance spent 79% of its income on program services, 17% on management and administration, and 4% on fundraising. The charity also has a 100% Encompass rating from Charity Navigator

“We envision a world where people and nature thrive in harmony.”

Rainforest Alliance

What they do: The Rainforest Alliance works with farmers, forest communities, and businesses to improve land management practices and train farmers in climate-smart agriculture methods. Their innovative Rainforest Alliance Certification Program helps consumers make smart food shopping decisions, as the certification seal is only placed on products that have been made using sustainable methods. 

What they’ve achieved: To date, the Rainforest Alliance has certified over 2.3. million farmers around the world and protected more than 3.5 million hectares of critical land through their management programs. Over 5000 companies now work with the charity to source certified ingredients for their products, which are available to purchase in more than 100 countries.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Rainforest Alliance through their website. You can also support the charity by ensuring you only purchase products with the green frog certification seal or by choosing a Rainforest Alliance Certified hotel for your next holiday. 

Practical Action: Big Change Starts Small

Practical Action was founded in 1966 by economist and philosopher E.F. ‘Fritz’ Schumacher. For years he advocated against the transfer of modern, large-scale technologies to poorer countries as he didn’t believe they could cope with them. Today, Practical Action works with poor communities around the world to develop long-lasting solutions to climate change and poverty.

Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, Practical Action spent 91% of its income on charitable activities and 9% on fundraising. 

“A world that works better for everyone.”

Practical Action

What they do: Practical Action works with communities in underdeveloped countries to create long-lasting and locally run solutions for food poverty, water and waste and management, climate resilience, and clean energy. In Sudan, the charity is beating the drought caused by climate change, by empowering local communities to plant seedlings on grasslands and installing solar pumps to irrigate stored rainwater on farmland. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Practical Action has remained dedicated to giving poorer communities the tools they need to build their own sustainable businesses. Between 2020 and 2021, the charity spent $36.4 million on 96 projects across 12 countries that directly impacted 2 million people. This included an $8.9 million investment in renewable energy sources and an $11.6 million investment in sustainable farming methods. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Practical Action through their website. You can also support the charity by purchasing items on their wish list or through fundraising.

Earth Island: Standing up for Wilderness

Earth Island was founded in 1982 by renowned environmentalist David Brower to address the environmental challenges that threatened our world’s diversity. Today, the charity is one of the leading environmental activist organizations in America.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Earth Island holds the Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar and a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator

“Earth Island supports environmental action projects and builds the next generation of leaders in order to achieve solutions to environmental crises threatening the survival of life on Earth.”

Earth Island

What they do: Earth Island provides administrative and marketing support to start-up environmental action projects that tackle environmental issues such as climate change and wildlife protection, through their Project Support Program. Their Indigenized Energy Initiative works with American Indian communities to develop effective solar-power technologies to diminish energy poverty and mitigate climate change. In addition, the charity runs the New Leaders Initiative to honor and support budding young environmentalists.  

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Earth Island has supported over 200 environmental projects and honored 135 youths through their New Leaders Initiative. One of the projects they supported in 2019 was the WISE Woman’s Clean Cookstoves Project which has resulted in 13,000 Nigerians breathing cleaner air and using less firewood.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Earth Island through their website. You can also support the charity by volunteering. If you are a researcher or activist with a well-worked out environmental project proposal, you can apply for support from the charity. 

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for climate change. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarise yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to climate change – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

Sources

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Carla Shaik

Carla is passionate about animal welfare and our natural environment and is on a mission to give you the knowledge you need to help protect our planet and all of its inhabitants. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare, is a teaching support officer at the College of West Anglia, and also works as a cat sitter in her local community. Aside from writing, she has a love of music, teaching her daughter how to play piano, and enjoys getting creative with craft activities.

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