7 Non-Profits Working to Save the Earth
With cooling April showers, vibrant pops of May flowers, and evermore excuses to get outside this time of year, there are already plenty of reasons to love spring. If you ask us, it’s the perfect season to pause and celebrate the spectacular and life-sustaining planet we call home. So it’s fitting that Earth Day always falls squarely in the spring.
What Is Earth Day?
First conceived in 1970 as an educational effort around sustainability, Earth Day has been celebrated for 51 years and counting, with over 1 billion people actively taking part each year. Today, the movement’s core mission is to drive awareness and advocacy for protecting the planet. And while its efforts are year round, it brings focus to a variety of global and local campaigns on one single day each year: April 22.
With Earth Day 2022 quickly approaching, we’re highlighting a few of our favorite non-profit organizations that are dedicated to protecting and improving the Earth—along with a few ways you can get involved, too.
Originally created to support the Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute—itself a non-profit organization dedicated to marine rescue and conservation—the Marine Life Rescue Project has a sizable mission. The org focuses on rescuing sick and injured marine life (particularly around Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico), researching vulnerable and endangered species, educating the public, and conserving delicate coastal ecosystems. While the group graciously accepts donations of any amount, it also runs an online store, for which 100% of all proceeds go directly to research and rescue missions.
Earth is 71 percent water, and as any beach lover will agree, every drop is worth protecting. Founded in 2001, Oceana has a singular focus on ocean conservation, and in fact, it is the largest international advocacy organization to do so. Its campaigns include science-based fishery management (such as catch limits), natural habitat protection, and an overall drive to make our oceans more bountiful and biodiverse. And with help from over 1 million activists and donors, Oceana claims to have protected almost 4 million square miles of ocean to date.
From wildlife preservation to clearing a path for clean energy, Earthjustice is a leading non-profit environmental law organization. In its own words, the org exists in the first place “because the earth needs a good lawyer.” And for the last 50 years, the team’s 150+ legal minds, seated in 14 global offices, have led the charge to protect endangered species, reduce pollution, restore wetland habitats, and more. In fact, Earthjustice has won dozens of landmark environmental cases, with over 630 active legal proceedings to date.
Millions of tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year. The Ocean Cleanup was born of a simple idea: why not just clean up that pollution? For such an enormous undertaking, the solution is far from easy. But by using technology and engineering to effectively collect and clear out the staggering amount of plastics at sea, this Rotterdam-based non-profit takes a two-pronged approach. The first is “turning off the tap” (that is, working to reduce the amount of plastics that are entering the ocean from river systems), and second, “mopping the floor” (removing legacy plastics that are already in the ocean). The Ocean Cleanup’s end goal? To effectively put itself out of business by finally ridding the oceans of plastic waste completely.
With a vast national network of chapter volunteers across the country, the Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to preserving and protecting our nation’s beaches and coastal communities. Foremost among its priorities: cleaning up plastics from shorelines and their surrounding waters, promoting clean water initiatives, and ensuring fair public access to beaches. The group also works on a wide variety of geographically diverse coastal preservation projects, such as combatting over-development and protecting against natural erosion. Whatever your nearest beach, there are likely volunteer opportunities available year round.
This global organization helps you put your money where your heart is, offering a stocked digital storefront filled with earth-friendly merchandise for the sustainable outdoor life: tote bags, beach chairs, insulated water bottles, and more. There are also 4ocean’s signature beaded bracelets, necklaces and tees for every beach lover in your family. The payoff? Every 4ocean purchase comes with a “One Pound Promise,” for the organization’s crew of full-time boat captains to pull one pound of trash from the nation’s oceans, rivers and other bodies of water.
Operating in 79 countries and territories today, this environmental non-profit focuses on conserving both land and water systems around the globe in an effort to support all human, animal and plant life. By donating, you can effectively become a Member and stay up to date on ongoing initiatives—along with receiving a few perks throughout the year, such as the award-winning Nature Conservancy Magazine. From confronting climate change and protecting wildlife, to proposing methods for developing healthier and more sustainable cities, The Nature Conservancy has aggressive goals to hit by the year 2030. By donating, you can be a part of achieving them.