Environmental Causes

Alaska Conservation Foundation
Some of the world’s most urgent climate and conservation crises are being played out right now in Alaska: melting polar ice and permafrost that endangers human and wildlife habitats, under regulated resource extraction that threatens many of the area’s native species, and the warming and acidifying of the oceans are disrupting the marine food chain. The Alaska Conservation Foundation supports and funds initiatives that aim to mitigate these worsening situations, while working to build a consensus from some of Alaska’s more disparate groups: native tribes, conservationists, sportsmen, consumers and community organizations.

Antarctic Book
Photographer Sebastian Copeland’s grandly beautiful and sometimes terrifying portraits of melting landscapes in Antarctica are on display in this professionally-produced slide show and coffee-table book.

Like its namesake, Audubon is committed to the birds of America, and in these days of shrinking habitats, this venerable organization has become a leading voice for the preservation of natural ecosystems and the birds who live in them. One of the National Audubon Society’s oldest and best loved conservation/education initiatives has been the network of Audubon Centers and Sanctuaries that preserve avian habitats and offer an “up close” education to the public. The organization’s site posts news of Audubon’s many ongoing initiatives and their successes.

Audubon California
Part of a historic and influential society named for the French-American ornithologist, naturalist and painter, Audubon California gets out into the field with programs that protect bird habitat and to save endangered Califonia species. Education and helping connect to Californians to their beautiful natural surroundings are also priorities of century old organization.

Business Council on Climate Change
San Francisco's Business Council on Climate Change is a innovative business-to-government collaboration, promoting projects that help the city meet its climate goals. More specifically, the Council is a platform for public-private initiatives for sustainable transportation options, green building management solutions for tenants and landlords, and affordable solar power solutions offered through employers. An inspiring example of dialogue and leadership in the face of climate change.

The Climate Institute
As early as 1986, this non-profit was working to bring international attention to the idea of “climate protection.” Beginning with a climate conference that brought together scientists, policy makers and environmentalists and put the issue on the international agenda, the Climate Institute has been working to make climate change a priority for all nations. This is an organization that takes the long view of a complex and contentious issue; addressing current problems such as insuring that people living in the areas most affected by rising sea levels and extreme weather have a voice, while also preparing for future scenarios by proposing regulations for climate geo–engineering, for example.

The state of human and ecosystem health are the focus the California-based nonprofit research institute Commonweal. Working with a program of classes, workshops, and retreats as well as national and international initiatives, Commonweal addresses broad issues of health and the environment through targeted programs such as the Commonweal Cancer Help Program, the Institute for the Study of Health and Illness, the Commonweal Juvenile Justice Program, the Collaborative on Health and the Environment, Health Care Without Harm, the Safe Cosmetics Campaign, the Commonweal Biomonitoring Resource Center, and the Commonweal Ocean Policy Program.

Conservation Corps North Bay
In training youth to manage and conserve the San Francisco North Bay's natural resources, Conservation Corps aims for the most positive outcome; aged and employed youth building sustainable communities. This project emphasizes education and employment skills for youth based on career training and fieldwork in creek and trail maintenance, ecosystem monitoring, fire fuel reduction, and habitat restoration.

Cousteau Society
The legacy of famed French undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau is continued in the Cousteau Society’s mission to educate people in the understanding and conservation of the planet’s marine and fresh water systems. The Society’s concerns are wide-ranging and their impressive site tracks recent developments in marine, land, air, and even space environments. See the spectacular film clips and pictures from Cousteau’s long career of undersea exploration.

Earth Justice
“Because the earth needs a good lawyer” is exactly why a group of committed environmental lawyers have banded together to form Earthjustice, a non-profit public interest law firm that takes on the work of protecting natural places, resources and wildlife through the courts. Earthjustice provides legal council to those that seek to protect the environment, be they grassroots citizens’ movements or national organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council. Calls to action and inventive initiatives abound on the website, including a “public photo petition” to help stop mountaintop removal mining in Appalachia that will be sent to the EPA.

Earth Share
Developing the potential of workplace giving in the interest of preserving the environment, Earth Share has perfected an effective employer-backed system that allows employees to opt for a small donation to be made from each paycheck. Earth Share’s annual giving campaigns collect funds for 71 national organizations and hundreds of local groups in 19 states. The non-profit has earned top ratings for sound fiscal management from Charity Navigator, and the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance Accredited Charity ranking.

Earthwatch Institute
Personal involvement seems to be the core of Earthwatch Institute’s mission. The institute actually sends people around the world to do field research and education in aid of international environmental programs. Prospective environmentalists can select their mode of service by location or type of project.

Environmental Defense Fund
At once deeply committed to the environment and wisely pragmatic in its actions, the Environmental Defense Fund has a reputation for working with top scientists and economists in order to make a solid case for the environment with politicians, the business community and local interests. The site provides a record of the EDF’s history of game-changing initiatives, partnerships and legal victories that back up its impeccable reputation for effective consensus-made advances for our environment.

Global Greengrants Fund
A grassroots organization, Global Greengrants Fund empowers local community groups and groud-up campaigns to create positive change in their local environment. By supporting an international network of in-the-field change makers with small grants, the Fund builds momentum for social and environmental justice all over the world, one project at a time.

Global Green USA 
This group is part of a larger ensemble, Green Cross International, that aims to create a “global shift" in values in order to build sustainable systems for the future. Founded by Mikail Gorbachev in 1993, the organization’s main goals address climate change, encouraging green buildings and green cities and, interestingly, eliminating Cold War weapons stocks.

Golden Gate Audubon
The San Francisco Bay Area chapter of the Audubon Society celebrates a passion for birds through advocacy for protecting avian habitats, educational field trips for students and families and Eco-Education programs for school children from grades 3 to 6. If you really want a sense of this group's passionate engagement of with bird life, consult Golden Gate Audubon's home page, where bird sightings and avian events are described with loving detail.

Greenpeace International 
Still the most recognized international environmental activist group, Greenpeace’s site reflects their uncompromising, energetic and sometimes confrontational commitment to the environment. The group’s activities are listed in terms of battles and victories, with news of ongoing Greenpeace campaigns around the globe.

Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change
Created by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assembles, reviews and assesses a wide variety of data relating to climate change, and it is the broad scope and rigor of this analysis that makes the IPCC perhaps the most respected reference on the science of climate change. Information presented on the site, including the all-important Assessment Reports, is specific, detailed and written in a language that can be daunting to the uninitiated. But then, the general public is not the audience that the IPCC is targeting; scientists, policy makers and politicians rely on the IPCC for a clear, methodical distillation of the enormous amount of climate data available today.

National Wildlife Federation
Founded on the principle that wildlife conservation is a public trust, the National Wildlife Federation is a “big tent” organization that brings together such diverse conservationists as hunters, fishers, garden clubs and Scout clubs as well as academics and local preservation organizations. Now the largest conservation group in the U.S., NWF is an active advocate for legislative and grassroots action on conservation and environmental issues. The website tracks current wildlife news as well as updates on the Federation’s numerous initiatives, many of which invite local participation.

Natural Resource Defense Council
The Natural Resources Defense Council has been called “America’s conscience” when it comes to the environment, and the organization’s long list of victories, including unleaded gas and clean water standards, have sprung from its recognized expertise in environmental policy, law and science. The NRDC’s other strengths include their base, an engaged membership of over 1 million people who can be called upon for grassroots or e-activism, and a very visible and credible leadership that includes Frances Beinecke and Robert Kennedy Jr. The founder of this respected organization, John Adams, has recently been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy takes a long-term approach to protecting the environment. They monitor conditions in exceptional eco-systems all over the world and have what resembles a business plan for conservation success for each of them. The site reflects the Conservancy’s thorough, detail-oriented and ambitious goals for “The Last Great Places on Earth.”

League of Environmental Voters
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) has a sharply focused goal of insuring that the environment is front and centre in the priorities of America’s elected officials. The LCV’s strategic campaign is mapped out on the site: explain the issues, identify the candidates and elected officials that support the environmental, help them get elected - and help defeat those that do not. In order to keep the public informed of the evolving political attitudes towards the environment, the LCV produces the National Environmental Scorecard and Presidential Report Card, which track lawmakers’ voting records on environment related bills and the quality of the president’s leadership on environmental issues.

Dedicated exclusively to “fighting on behalf of oceans,” Oceana aims to do nothing short of restoring the world’s oceans to their former health and abundance. Oceana works towards this goal through many targeted campaigns around the world that come together to address the larger challenges of marine preservation. All these efforts are laid out on the site’s busy home page that provides features, regular blog posts and news of “victories.” Although it is a relatively young organization, Oceana’s work has attracted the support of a who’s who of Hollywood star-activists and the approval of Charity Navigator.

Practical sustainabilty means redistributing resources from the people who don't need them anymore to the people that do. ReSource, the Cincinnati non-profit that practices this form of pragmatic re-use, directs excess corporate goods, such as furniture and office supplies, to a variety of local member non-profits. It's an initiative that exemplifies a positive relationship of giving and re-use between the for-profit and non-profit sectors that benefits the whole community and spares the landfill.

TakePart, formerly Participate, makes the activist in all of us want to get past our good intentions and take some action. TakePart presents issues related to current TakePart films such as sexual harassment, dependence on foreign oil, and the decline of the independent spirit of journalism. Each issue is treated as a campaign and articles and discussions about the topic are bracketed with ways to take action and links to supporting organizations. An outstanding example of e-activism.

Sierra Club
As they say on their site “The Club is America's oldest, largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization.” Founded in 1892, the Sierra Club has long advocated the promotion of environmental by first hand knowledge. By inspiring people get out into the nature that surrounds them and learn about it, the Club seems to have fostered generations of activists who act personally and locally.

Surfrider Foundation
“To protect and to surf,“ one of the Foundation’s clever credos, sums up this California-based, nation wide movement to protect beaches, waves and even oceans. The non-profit that started with a band of surfers and a concern for keeping beaches and water clean for the enjoyment (surfing) of all, has evolved into an effective grassroots environmental movement with many political, legal and educational achievements to its credit.

The activist cyclist movement is alive and well in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Umma Wa Wapanda Baisikeli, or UWABA, is an active the group that uses cycling and bycicle culture as a platform to advocate not only for better riding conditions, but also to raise awareness on such vital issues as sickle cell disease and climate change, often in partnership with other African or international groups.

Waterkeeper Alliance
The Waterkeeper Alliance site makes a passionate case for citizen-based activism and advocacy in defense of water systems all over the world. Organized into 2000 groups on six continents, Waterkeepers are people who have a deep knowledge of their local waterways, and who often act as educators, lawyers, and patrollers in defense of clean and secure watersheds. The organization’s campaigns include promoting clean energy, denouncing “dirty” power sources, working for regulation of run-off from farming and following up on the after-effects of environmental disasters such as oil spills.

World View of Global Warming
In what is being called a “dedicated climate change science and response documentation project,” photojournalist Gary Braasch, in constant collaboration with climate scientists, has made a long-term personal commitment to documenting the effects of climate change on the ground. World View of Global Warming, which is funded entirely by donations, book sales, grants and assignment fees, is the place where Braasch keeps a regularly up-dated record of his travels around the globe. His meticulously researched stories are searchable by region on the site, as are many resources pertaining to the science on global warming and its possible solutions. Braasch’s legacy may well be a time-lapse view of a rapidly changing global climate, and the creative attempts to cope with that change.

World Wildlife Fund
Working in over 100 countries and supported by 5 million members worldwide, the World Wildlife Fund has a tremendous scope of operations in its mission to protect the “future of nature.” Implementing local solutions for wildlife, habitat and resource conservation, the WWF also moves in global circles, negotiating with governments and businesses all over the world. Given this range of commitment, the website is packed with news about initiatives and projects, categorized by place, species, science and climate, not to mention the WWF’s clever campaigns for species adoption.