10 Best Charities That Fight to Protect Our Environment (Complete 2022 List)

10 Best Charities That Fight to Protect Our Environment (Complete 2022 List)

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Dennis Kamprad

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Stay impactful,

With human activity bringing a range of negative changes to the world around us that will reach catastrophic levels if left unchecked, it is now or never to stand up and defend our environment against further damage. So we had to ask: What are the best charities that fight to protect our environment?

The best charities that fight to protect our environment are the Global Footprint Network, Clean Air Task Force, the Coalition for Rainforest Nations, and Carbon180. Other charities, such as the Center for Environmental Law and the Citizens’ Climate Lobby provide amazing resources to empower communities and raise people’s voices about climate change.

Whether you want to lobby the government or fund research for innovative solutions or form grassroots organizations to protect our environment, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that fight to protect our environment 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 That Fight to Protect Our Environment Have in Common

They were also chosen on high transparency ratings and their high achievements with their available funds. They all share the same goal of protecting the planet and the people on it. 

The charities on this list unite their innovative approaches to protecting our environment with spreading awareness, sweeping political reform, innovative technological solutions, and protection of unspoiled land.

These Are the 10 Best Charities That Fight to Protect Our Environment

Below are our favorite charities that fight to protect our environment:

  • Global Footprint Network
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • Earthjustice
  • Clean Air Task Force
  • Coalition for Rainforest Nations
  • Conservation International
  • Cool Earth
  • Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
  • Carbon 180
  • Citizens’ Climate Lobby

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

Global Footprint Network: The Pioneers in Showing Up the Limits of Our Natural Resources

The Global Footprint Network was founded in the early 1990s by Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees. Wackernagel’s PhD research at the University of British Columbia developed into a metric to quantify human’s overuse of earth’s resources. Today, their tools and research are used in key decisions by major organizations. 

The Global Footprint Network holds a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator, including a perfect score of 100 for Leadership & Adaptability, and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Help end ecological overshoot by making ecological limits central to decision-making.”

Global Footprint Network

What they do: The Global Footprint Network compiles accessible data on ecological limits. They offer customized calculators, detailed Footprint data, sustainability campaigns, and sustainability assessments to governments and organizations, and offer actionable insights to reduce their natural resource consumption. Perhaps they are most famous for visualizing the Earth Overshoot Day, the day marks the date we have used all the biological resources that Earth regenerates during the entire year.

What they’ve achieved: Over the last two decades, the Global Footprint Network has collaborated with over 70 partners in 50 different countries. Their data is featured in leading economic reports, such the UNDP’s Human Development Report and the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report. Their awareness campaigns have hugely increased public awareness of energy overconsumption, with ‘ecological footprint’ now a household term. For example, in 2020, their Earth Overshoot Day engagement campaign received more than 4 billion media impressions from nearly 5,500 websites. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Global Footprint Network, calculate your own footprint, or subscribe to their newsletter. You could also donate directly to ‘move the date’ of the Earth Overshoot Day.

Environmental Defense Fund: Using Science and Technology to Get Results

The Environmental Defense Fund was founded in 1967 by a group of scientists and a lawyer in Long Island, New York to save osprey in the area from a toxic pesticide. Using scientific evidence, they achieved this goal. Today, they are a national nonprofit using science, economics, and the law to find practical solutions to critical environmental problems

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Environmental Integrity Project holds a 3-star rating from Charity Navigator and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“To preserve the natural systems on which all life depends.”

Environmental Defense Fund

What they do: The Environmental Defense Fund develops clean energy technology, including advancing methane safeguards to cut harmful pollution and working with vehicle manufacturers to reduce truck and bus emissions to zero. They research the economics of pollution, industry, rainforests, and conservation to find the best solutions. Their legal team works to block attempts to attack environmental safeguards and works with federal, state, and local governments to create environmental and public health policies

What they’ve achieved: The Environmental Defense Fund has protected 63 rare species across 4 million acres of land by giving landowners incentives to help wildlife. They have uncovered $1.6 billion in energy savings for top companies since 2008, and their work covers 28 countries where they work on the most urgent environmental problems. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Environmental Integrity Project on their website, or sign up to receive alerts on when your voice can help make positive change. 

Earthjustice: The Earth’s Lawyers 

Earthjustice was founded in 1971 by a group of lawyers in California to sue Disney and prevent their harmful development plans. Today, more than 180 expert lawyers have built upon that initial framework to fight key legal battles worldwide to protect earth. 

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

“We are here because the earth needs a good lawyer.”

Earthjustice

What they do: Earthjustice has offices in key regions across the US offering free legal representation in environmental cases. Their Policy & Legislation team has experts working on developing administrative policy to provide a 100% clean energy future. Other teams are split into specialist areas. They fight for environmental policies in hundreds of cases and at every level of the court system.

What they’ve achieved: Earthjustice have represented over 500 clients in over 650 public-interest cases promoting the environment. Victories include being instrumental in forcing the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate carbon pollution from motor vehicles, which will prevent nearly one billion tons of harmful emissions entering the atmosphere. They have also saved nearly 50 million acres of pristine national forest from loggers and miners. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Earthjustice through their website. Or visit their action center to discover other ways of supporting the work they do. 

Clean Air Task Force: Pragmatic Solutions to a Rapidly Changing Environment

Clean Air Task Force was founded in 1996 by a small team of lawyers, scientists, and advocates to drive policy change that would lower harmful coal plant emissions. Today, the charity is a global organization focused on reducing emissions across industries through pragmatic design and effective policy change.

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

“Push the technology and policy changes needed to achieve a zero-emissions, high-energy planet at an affordable cost.”

Clean Air Task Force

What they do: The Clean Air Task Force advocates for changes that are practical and scientifically-backed to increase clean energy sources. They research and advocate for advancing nuclear power and zero-carbon fuels, accelerating the adoption of carbon capture technology. They also lobby to create limits on fossil fuel use and super pollutants.

What they’ve achieved: The Clean Air Task Force’s advocacy has resulted in many urgent policy wins for the environment. For example, their campaign calling for coal plants to lower emissions, has saved 13,000 lives every year. They have also helped to ensure provisions in the Energy Act of 2020, which authorized $125 billion for projects related to cleaner air. In addition, the charity designed the blueprint for the Global Methane Pledge, which was signed by 105 countries at the global climate summit, COP26, in 2021.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Clean Air Task Force on their website. Or, you can sign up to their newsletter to keep up with their latest innovations and achievements. 

Coalition for Rainforest Nations: Relentlessly Working to Stop Deforestation

The Coalition for Rainforest Nations was founded in 2004 by Kevin Conrad and Federica Bietta, to create a strategic campaign that used financial incentives to protect rainforests from deforestation. Today, the charity works with governments and businesses to implement programs to save the world’s rainforests. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Coalition for Rainforest Nations holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation”

Coalition for Rainforest Nations

What they do: The Coalition for Rainforest Nations strives to make trees worth more alive than dead. For this, they developed their REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation framework that helps rainforest nations gain economic value for preserving rainforests. Furthermore, they offer support to train these nations in calculating and reporting on the program’s results, and lobby internationally for further rainforest protection. 

What they’ve achieved: To date, The Coalition for Rainforest Nations has generated 9 billion tons of independently verified emission reductions through their REDD+ program. They were successful in making their REDD+ part of the Paris Agreement, a global climate agreement between the United Nations, in 2015. In addition, they boast a voluntary membership of over 50 rainforest countries across four continents. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the Coalition for Rainforest Nations directly on their website. Or, support their cause by buying a gift featuring unique artwork from their store.

Conservation International: Protecting Nature for Everyone’s Benefit

Conservation International was founded in 1987 by Spencer Beeb and Peter Seligmann, to start a movement based on rigorous science, practical economics, and large ecosystems of people and nature living together. Today, they have offices in over 30 countries and use innovative solutions to protect millions of acres of land and sea. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Conservation International holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and is yet to be rated on GuideStar.

“Conservation International empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the well-being of humanity.”

Conservation International

What they do: Conservation International works to restore natural ecosystems by minimizing deforestation and helping indigenous communities protect their land. Their Center for Oceans focuses on raising funds to support ocean conservation and on ending damaging seafood practices. They have 17 projects that pilot sustainable living and demonstrate its value. 

What they’ve achieved: Conservation International has helped protect over 6 million square kilometers of land across more than 70 countries. They have secured 2.2 billion metric tons of irrecoverable carbon from terrestrial and coastal sites, and have established or improved protections on 7 million square kilometers of ocean. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly on their website, sign up for their newsletter, or start a fundraiser for Conservation International. 

Cool Earth: Rainforests Experts are Found in the Rainforest

Cool Earth was founded in 2007 by MP Frank Field to create a way for individuals to leapfrog governments in mitigating climate change catastrophes. Today, they provide those living in the rainforest with funds and information to create the projects their communities need.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Earthjustice has a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar and the backing of the Effective Altruism movement. They have not yet been rated by Charity Navigator

“We exist to back people, to protect rainforest and fight the climate crisis.”

Cool Earth

What they do: Cool Earth empowers rainforest communities by giving indigenous people cash directly, allowing them to set up projects to improve their health and livelihood. They combine this inherited knowledge with big data by providing these communities with real-time data revealing rainforest threats. Finally, they invest in a number of climate adaption projects to help communities deal with the fallout of climate crises.

What they’ve achieved: With their partners, Cool Earth has over 105 million trees storing over 48 million tonnes of carbon. They are funding over 40 projects across the globe that allow communities to fight deforestation.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly through their website. You can also find out how to take climate action, or join their ‘Race for the Rainforest’ fundraiser.

Center for International Environmental Law: Promoting the Environment With the Power of the Law

The Center for International Environmental Law was founded in Washington in 1989 by Durwood J. Zaelke to advocate for law advancements to protect both the environment and human rights. Today, the charity is made up of a team of lawyers focused on developing legislation to protect the environment and defend human rights around the globe. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Center for International Environmental Law holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator and the Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“A world where the law reflects the interconnection between humans and the environment, respects the limits of the planet, protects the dignity and equality of each person, and encourages all of earth’s inhabitants to live in balance with each other.”

Center for International Environmental Law

What they do: The Center for International Environmental Law focuses on pushing governments and corporations to adopt policies to protect people and the planet. On an international level, they challenge and block laws that will strip us of our environmental protections, and lobby for changes that will protect our environment. They also assist communities devastated by preventable environmental disasters by helping them to develop the legal tools to fight back against destruction. 

What they’ve achieved: The Center for International Environmental Law constantly fights global legal battles to protect both the environment and human rights. For example, they worked on a legally binding global treaty to end plastic pollution, which has been adopted in 157 countries. They also successfully pushed the European Parliament to ban endocrine-disrupting chemicals in consumer products. In addition, they succeeded alongside other advocates in winning the UN Human Rights Council’s recognition of the right to a safe and sustainable environment.

Ways to contribute: You can donate to the Center for International Environmental Law through their website, or take a look at their featured actions to raise your voice for human rights and the environment.

Carbon180: Reversing Climate Emissions 

Carbon180 was founded in 2015 by Giana Amador and Noah Deich at UC Berkeley to research carbon removal. Today, they are forerunners in an essential tool needed to fight climate change. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: Carbon180 holds a 80/100 rating from Charity Navigator and the Silver Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Design and champion equitable, science-based policies that bring carbon removal solutions to gigaton scale.”

Carbon180

What they do: Carbon180 works directly with scientists to develop technology to remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere. They also campaign and work with governing bodies to secure support for carbon removal, and work to inform the public on this relatively unknown technology. 

What they’ve achieved: In 2019, they successfully advocated for tens of millions in federal funding for carbon removal. Their advocacy has played a key role in the inclusion of carbon removal in a number of bills, including the Energy Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and the Build Back Better Act.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Carbon180 on their website. You can also sign up for their newsletters, The Carbon Copy and The Deep End, to stay updated on the science and politics of carbon removal. 

Citizens Climate Lobby: Amplifying Ordinary Voices 

The Citizens’ Climate Lobby was founded in 1994 by Marshall Saunders who, after he attended his first lobby meeting on Capitol Hill with another advocacy group. The process prompted him to create an organization that could mobilize ordinary people into effective lobbying groups. Today, they have thousands of ordinary members of the public lobbying for climate change. 

Their impact and transparency ratings: The Citizens’ Climate Lobby holds the Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar and is yet to be rated on Charity Navigator.

“To create the political will for a livable world by enabling individual breakthroughs in the exercise of personal and political power.”

Citizens’ Climate Lobby

What they do: The Citizens’ Climate Lobby organizes hundreds of volunteers both internationally and across the US and provides them with the tools they need to lobby for change. They organize these members into effective local chapters to strengthen each group’s call and demand for change, and provide comprehensive training and education on how they can do so. 

What they’ve achieved: The Citizens’ Climate Lobby has now formed over 550 active chapters of volunteers across the world. They were instrumental in forming two bipartisan groups focused on climate solutions. They have built huge support for the first bipartisan carbon pricing bill in over a decade, with over 80 cosponsors and more than 1500 endorsements from prominent individuals, businesses, and organizations. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Citizens’ Climate Lobby, or follow one of their many avenues to take action, including lobbying, finding your local chapter, or joining a calling campaign.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities that fight to protect our environment. 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 protecting our environment – 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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Dennis Kamprad

Dennis is the founder of Impactful Ninja and passionate about enabling you to make a positive impact on the world & society. He started his professional career as a Sustainability Consultant and has worked on several social projects around the world. Outside of work, he is a passionate salsa dancer, fast runner, and multiple Ironman finisher.

Did you know that the internet is a huge polluter of the environment? But fortunately not this site. This site is powered by renewable energy and all hosting-related CO2 emissions are offset by three times as many renewable energy certificates. Find out all about it here.

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