Today is Giving Tuesday -- the day we take a break from the crazy Christmas shopping spree and give back to organizations doing important work.
More than ever, I'm feeling the urgency to help protect the things I hold dear, so this year all of my gifts will include a donation to an important cause. Below is a round up some wonderful greenish charities and causes -- I say "greenish" because they are all related to the environment in some way, but aren't strictly environmentally-focused. I'm including those that help small farmers, protect pollinators, and more. There are big guys and little guys. And as with all giving, always be sure to do your own due diligence by checking with charity watchdog groups before donating.
For over 70 years, Heifer has been working to end hunger and poverty around the world by empowering small-scale farmers. Recipient receive animals, crops, and more, as well as training. But the gift doesn't stop there: a big part of the program is that people who have received help from Heifer then pass along the rewards by sharing the offspring of their animals and their new wisdom in their communities. You can make a general donation, which will go to the area of most urgent need, or you can give symbolic gifts of livestock (including honeybees), crops, clean water, and more.
If having a president who's a climate change denier scares the crap out of you, (and it really really should) NRDC is a nonprofit to check out. They have several foci -- from climate change, to protecting the wild, to making our cities and towns more sustainable -- and are adept at reminding us just how far reaching many environmental issues are. They're an advocacy group that's worked for nearly every major piece of environmental legislation. Something tells me they're going to have their hands full in 2017, so let's all help out.
This lovely organization is dedicated to the study and conservation of the monarch butterfly. They track the annual monarch migration, support the conservation of milkweed, the butterfly's only host plant, and they even sent butterflies to space! If you're short on cash, there are other ways you can help -- you can become a Monarch Waystation, which means you cultivate a monarch habitat on your property. You can also collect wild milkweed seeds and send them in. (Check out this little gem in their seed sending instructions: "If you do not process the seeds, please contain the pods or seeds so that they will remain in the container when opened and not fly about our offices.")
Bats hold a very special place in my heart. They're mysterious, and it always feels so special to see them. BCI works to prevent extinction of threatened bat species, address the most serious threats to bats today, and also awards research grants and scholarships. You can make a general donation, adopt a bat, or give to protect the Bracken Cave, the world's largest bat colony.
The CFA is a great group that's focused on promoting stewardship of forests and their ecosystems. They provide community education on forestry for wildlife, site visits, mushroom walks and more. We're members, and have had a great time and learned tons from this organization...including how to chop down a tree.
This one is another local Catskill organization. Rosemary Farm is a home for horses to be horses -- rescued from slaughter, abuse, or other difficult situations, Rosemary Farm is a safe forever home. Some horses are adopted out after rehabilitation, but that's not the focus. You can visit Rosemary Farm, meet the horses, and even stay the night. Your donation can be a general one, or you can select horse from the herds to sponsor. (I sponsor the very handsome Behr.)
As winter looms, the protestors at Standing Rock need our support more than ever. You can donate to the Sacred Stone Camp's GoFundMe page, and there's an Amazon wishlist here. And here's a list of what else you can do to show your support.
I'm making charitable giving a part of/all of every single gift I give this year, and I challenge you to do the same. If you're worried that you don't have enough to make an impact, know that every donation matters, no matter how small -- especially when you're giving to a small, local group. And, if you're thinking of making a one-time donation of say, $50 this year, why not consider breaking that donation up into a recurring monthly gift of $5? You wind up making a slightly bigger donation, but you feel it less in your bank account.