This Holiday Season Your Best Gift Can Be a Donation to a Nonprofit
If you care about the planet, you're probably thinking that the holidays are not a great time of year for the environment. There's more mail and package deliveries, homes and buildings are decorated with holiday lights, people travel more, and there's so much shopping as people buy presents for friends and family. So what's an environmentally conscious holiday-lover supposed to do?
The holidays are a great time of year to consider giving a different kind of gift: a donation to a nonprofit organization. Whether you make a personal donation on Giving Tuesday or you donate in a loved one's name instead of buying a present, you can still share the spirit of the holiday. To get your nonprofit gift-giving off to a great start, here the EcoWatch team recommends a few organizations we like and why these causes matter.
Jordan Davidson, Freelance Reporter
Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust supports the conservation, preservation and protection of wildlife habitats in East Africa. The Kenya-based organization safeguards the natural habitat of elephants and rhinos while protecting them from poaching. It rescues and rears orphaned elephants and rhinos. In fact, it operates the most successful elephant orphan rescue and rehabilitation center in the world.
Every year, my kids scroll through the orphans, watch a video about their rescue and pick one to foster. In return, we receive monthly updates on the animal's rehabilitation, including their diet, medical needs, how they socialize and the other elephants they have made friends with.
Olivia Rosane, Freelance Reporter
Indigenous Environmental Network
I first became aware of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) during the fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline, but the nonprofit dates back to 1990 and has been working for almost 30 years to resist environmental injustice and build sustainable indigenous communities. Sometimes, everything that's wrong with the dominant culture's relationship to the Earth feels overwhelming. IEN tackles all of it, from deforestation to toxic waste dumping to fossil fuel extraction, and it does so while centering an indigenous worldview that offers a real alternative.
This holiday season, I am giving a gift to the future and donating to support their work. "By attempting to fulfill our responsibility to defend our mother earth we are assuring the survival of our unborn generations," their Unifying Principles read.
Jordan Simmons, Associate Editor
Amazon Aid Foundation
The Amazon Aid Foundation is empowering individuals, NGOS and governments to protect and revitalize the Amazon rainforest. In projects such as the RIVER OF GOLD documentary, they risk their lives to enter the grounds of illegal gold mining in Peru's Amazon rainforest to provide a disturbing account of how illegal mining causes an increase in deforestation and wildfires. The foundation provides information and resources such as the Buyer's Guide that can be used to not only become more conscious consumers, but to spread this message far and wide.
To express my gratitude for having more of an open mind and an understanding of my role as a consumer of gold, I have begun a monthly donation to the Amazon Aid Foundation. I look forward to the day I take this gift to Earth a step further by traveling to Madre de Dios region of southeastern Peru to join their reforestation project.
Chris McDermott, News Editor
Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge
The Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge in Orlando, Florida helps injured, orphaned and abandoned wildlife to recover. They describe their goal as "rescue, raise, rehabilitate and release" and they save thousands of animals a year. They have been especially busy after Florida storms that disrupt so many habitats.
I've supported this organization and have brought injured birds and squirrels to the refuge. The people who work there always inspire confidence that they'll give them the best care.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Atmospheric researchers have pinpointed the spot on Earth with the cleanest air. It's not in the midst of a remote jungle, nor on a deserted tropical island. Instead, the cleanest air in the world is in the air above the frigid Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica, as CNN reported.
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Satellite data collated for the World Resources Institute (WRI) showed primal rainforest was lost across 38,000 square kilometers (14,500 square miles) globally — ruining habitats and releasing carbon once locked in wood into the atmosphere.
Bolivia Has 80% Higher Loss<p>In its Global Forest Watch report, the WRI highlighted Bolivia, saying its removal of primary forest and surrounding woodlands — to produce soy and range cattle in 2019 — had been 80% higher than any of its previous years on record.</p><p>"Its highly biodiverse Chiquitano Dry Forest was particularly affected, with reports that nearly 12% of it burned," said the study.</p><p>Other countries with severe losses had been Peru, Malaysia and Colombia, followed by Laos, Mexico and Cambodia — from 1,620 square kilometers and 800 square kilometers in primal forest lost.</p><p><strong>Indigenous Rights Protect Forests Too</strong></p><p>WRI's Seymour said a "mounting body of evidence" suggested that legal recognition of indigenous land rights "provides greater forest protection:</p><p>"We know that deforestation is lower in indigenous territories," Seymour said.</p>
Pandemic Weakens Enforcement<p>The current Covid-19 pandemic had changed dynamics, said Weisse, weakening enforcement of forest-protection laws and leaving rural families desperate to feed themselves back home after losing jobs in cities.</p><p>In April, scientists grouped within the Global Carbon Project estimated that coronavirus-induced economic slowdowns would trim carbon dioxide emissions by more than 5% year-on-year.</p><p>It was "something not seen since the end of World War Two," said project chair Rob Jackson, professor of Earth system science at Stanford University, California.</p><p><span></span>But, recalling the aftermath of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, climate scientist Corinne Le Quéré at England's University of East Anglia, forecast in April that emissions were likely to rebound if structural changes were not instituted.</p>
Glasgow's COP26 Postponed<p>Last week, host Britain confirmed that UN climate talks due in Glasgow, known as COP26, had been postponed a year until between November 1 and 12 2021.</p><p>Experts involved in those long-running negotiations insist that global emissions must start dropping this year to avoid irreversible impacts, including polar melts, record hot weather, rogue storms, and ocean level rises.</p>
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Researchers have found that warm temperatures in the U.S. this summer are unlikely to stop the coronavirus that causes the infectious disease COVID-19, according to a new study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Disease.
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The glaring numbers that show how disproportionately racial minorities have been affected by the coronavirus and by police brutality go hand-in-hand. The two are byproducts of systemic racism that has kept people of color marginalized and contributed to a public health crisis, according to three prominent medical organizations — the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association and American College of Physicians, as CNN reported.
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By Jessica Corbett
With the nation focused on the coronavirus pandemic and protests against U.S. police brutality that have sprung up across the globe, the Trump administration continues to quietly attack federal policies that protect public health and the environment to limit the legal burdens faced by planet-wrecking fossil fuel companies.
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<iframe width="100%" height="150" scrolling="no" class="rm-shortcode twitter-embed-1267802127273005056" id="twitter-embed-1267802127273005056" lazy-loadable="true" src="/res/community/twitter_embed/?iframe_id=twitter-embed-1267802127273005056&created_ts=1591102556.0&screen_name=EnvProtectioNet&text=.%40epa%E2%80%99s+rule+change+is+a+blatant+attack+on+states%E2%80%99+rights+and+flies+in+the+face+of+decades+of+Supreme+Court+rulings%E2%80%A6+https%3A%2F%2Ft.co%2Fk42d4AgTL5&id=1267802127273005056&name=Environmental+Protection+Network" frameborder="0" data-rm-shortcode-id="a0d99172630e2eaea81fb529e2c93c87"></iframe><p>Hauter vowed that Food & Water Action "will be pursuing all avenues available—legal, electoral, and otherwise—to ensure that states have the right to reject fossil fuels as they see fit, and support vulnerable communities everywhere seeking to protect themselves from this malicious administration."</p>
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A video of an incident in Central Park last Monday, in which a white woman named Amy Cooper called the cops on African American birder Christian Cooper after he asked her to put her dog on a leash, went viral last week, raising awareness of the racism Black people face for simply trying to enjoy nature.
By Jodi Helmer
In Georgia there are just 213 game wardens to enforce state fish and wildlife laws, investigate violations, assist with conservation efforts and collect data on wildlife and ecological changes across 16,000 miles of rivers and 37 million acres of public and private lands. Statewide 46 counties have no designated game warden at all. The shortage could lead to wildlife crimes going undetected.