There is a new level of bliss that we feel when spending time outdoors. Being surrounded by trees, listening to nature calls, paying attention to the ecosystem and forming a stronger bond with Mother Nature leaves us feeling happier and more alive. It is also scientifically proven that spending time outside has a lot of health benefits like getting more vitamin D and fresh air – except that nine out of ten people around the world inhale polluted air. The air in some regions is so polluted that around seven million people die each year from exposure and our children the ones most at risk.
The United Nations World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated every year on June 5 and this year’s theme is #BeatAirPollution to shine a light on the toxic fumes millions of people are breathing in, how it puts their health and lives at risk, and encoring people to care so that they may find ways to help alleviate the issue.
We all share this planet we call home, yet human activities are the sole reason why the Earth is getting sicker – and why some humans are dying of air pollution.
However, protesting, hassling politicians online for favourable environmental policies and continuously sharing about environmental issues and ideas is time-consuming and sometimes mentally exhausting.
If you don’t have the time to go on a climate march, attend a coal-free protest or share posts about transitioning to a carbon-free, electrified future, supporting an environmental organization or climate activist group is a great way to contribute to these causes.
Here are nine environmental organisations you may want to support and donate to:
This group is the world’s largest grassroots environmental network and one of the most renowned. Friends of the Earth International currently has 66 member countries and over one million associates all of which have come together for one cause – to support campaigns that help improve our environment.
To learn more, visit foei.org.
GetUp is an independent community that was launched in 2005 originally as a form of internet activism. It is now one million member strong all driven to fight for a just and progressive Australia. This movement’s agenda taps on a lot of different issues in the fields of environment, human rights, economic fairness and democratic integrity.
One of its focuses is environmental justice and they run multiple campaigns under this umbrella – campaigns that encourage people to join the movement and take action. Bottom line is they fight for a just world, a healthy environment with a safe climate, and a beautiful natural world that can sustain our children and our children’s children.
Check out getup.org.au for more information.
350.org is a global grassroots climate movement cofounded by renowned activist Bill McKibben, author of the classic environmental book The End of Nature. This group fights to stop climate change through protest marches, raising awareness via social media campaigns and organising petitions all in the name of a greener, better future. Their mission is to solve the climate crisis and achieve a fossil fuel free world by advocating for all economies to transition to 100 percent renewable energy.
For more information about campaigns, visit 350.org.
It all started in 1892 with a naturalist named John Muir and his group of nature-loving friends who came together to keep the mountains of California safe and accessible to everybody. Now, with over three million members, Sierra Club is the most influential environmental grassroots movement in the United States. This organization has built a community of volunteers, environmental advocates and grassroots activists to defend our right to a healthier world.
Check out sierraclub.org for current campaigns.
We can’t protect our climate simply by saying ‘no’ to bad ideas. We must also shout ‘yes!’ to better ideas.’Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director
This non-profit environmental law organization represents the Earth. With human activity destroying our planet, our home needs a good team of lawyers to support and fight for its justice, and that’s what Earth Justice does; they use their knowledge and expertise in making sure that relevant organizations adhere to the rules regarding air pollution. This organization actually got its start last the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund and evolved to become its own stand alone organisation.
To learn more, visit earthjustice.org.
According to scientists, the highest safe level of emissions should be around 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Right now, we have reached 400.
Greenway International Foundation is a youth-driven environmental protection organization based in Ghana that focusses on the slowing down the negative impacts of climate change by focusing on alternative solutions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions such as planting fruit trees. Through this, they hope to lessen the atmospheric concentration levels of carbon dioxide to a sustainable state by the year 2030.
For more details, visit greenwayin.org.
Founded in the late 90s, this citizen’s group was established to support children, who are most at risk of exposure to air pollution. Many of the lawsuits focussed on air quality, public health, environmental and climate health. Our Children’s Earth Foundation is committed to educating the public and creating awareness about health risks caused by air pollution. They empower people to take action and push for public policies that will significant reductions in greenhouse gases via air-related lawsuits and other forms of advocacy.
Visit ocefoundation.org to learn more about the clean air campaigns.
Climate Reality Project is dedicated to finding solutions to address climate crisis which is driven by fossil fuels. They are aware that the time to act is now so they make urgent action a necessity by educating and empowering everyday people to become climate activists.
The organisation, led by former US Vice President Al Gore and CEO and President Ken Berlin, provide volunteers and students with the tools, knowledge, training and skills to fight for climate solutions, curb greenhouse gas emissions and accelerate the global shift to renewables.
To learn how to become a climate leader or to support the organisation, check out climaterealityproject.org.
California’s Coalition for Clean Air has been tackling the state’s air pollution problem since 1971. To protect public health and prevent climate change, it monitors air quality and advocates for policy that reduces smog and health risks caused by vehicles, ports and others modes of transport. For over 45 years, they have succeeded in improving air quality and protecting public health by encouraging the early adoption of new technologies such as electric vehicles, advising businesses to comply with clean air practices, educating the public on air pollution solutions, among other things.
To support their work, visit ccair.org.
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Feature image of Joseph Rotella and Aravinda Ananada holding a 350 sign at the melting glaciers of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Credit: 350.org via Flickr.