It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving is the official kick-off for the holiday shopping season and we’re already being inundated with steady streams of commercials, advertisements, and sales meant to entice us to spend our money buying gifts for our loved ones.
It’s hard for me to articulate the conflicting feelings I’m having as I prepare for Thanksgiving with my family tomorrow. One one hand, I’m reflecting on what I’m thankful for and looking forward to sharing a beautiful meal with my loved ones; on the other hand, I’m grappling with all of the uncertainty that our future holds in the wake of the presidential election and also the fact that celebrating Thanksgiving while Native Americans are actively under assault by law enforcement in North Dakota seems a bit insincere to say the least.
As I reflect on what I’m thankful for, I’m also reflecting on what needs to change and how to impact change in not only being a voice, but also carefully choosing where I spend my money.
Recently, Alden Wicker, founder of Eco Cult and co-founder of The Ethical Writers Coalition, asked me and my fellow EWC members where we were asking for donations to in lieu of holiday gifts, or that we actively donate to already. Below is a list of our responses, which include so many incredible organizations, some of which I had never heard of before.
It’s nice to give lovely gifts and to receive something you’ve wanted, but may not have necessarily purchased for yourself; however, I’m excited to ask for donations to organizations doing important work for the environment, social justice, civil rights etc.
So embrace the true spirit of peace and love for the holidays and send this incoming administration a message by helping to support organizations who fight for our rights and the planet every single day.
I’ll be asking for donations to Earthjustice, the nation’s largest nonprofit environmental law organization. Earthjustice works tirelessly in and out of the courtroom to fight for wildlife, clean energy, and healthy communities, representing all of their clients for free. In recent cases they’ve protected threatened coral reefs in Florida, defended the waters in West Kauai from pollution by agribusiness, are fighting to convince the E.P.A to ban neurotoxic pesticides that are harmful to people, and are representing the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in their fight against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Earthjustice is the organization behind many landmark environmental victories and we’ll need them now, more than ever, given the incoming administration’s anti-environment and climate-change-denying stances. So much is at stake, but I feel confident knowing that an organization like Earthjustice exists and will continue to demand accountability for those who break the law, and ensure that our planet and all her inhabitants are protected.
In addition, I ask that friends and family become more active in the causes that are important to them. One way to do this is to call your government officials to demand they block Trump and his administration from hateful and divisive policies and to protect policies already in place regarding civil rights and the environment. As we’re gearing up for Thanksgiving, I am specifically requesting that friends and family call officials in N. Dakota to demand that law enforcement stand down in their abusive treatment of peaceful protestors.
Alden of EcoCult
It’s hard to narrow it down from the dozens of worthy charities, but I’m asking for donations to the Environmental Defense Fund. It seems like the most appropriate for the situation, because the environment will need the EDF’s pragmatic, science-based approach in the next four years. They help craft bipartisan legislation, fund educational initiatives, and partner with corporations to make incremental changes that ripple across the business world to make a huge impact. They also have a score of 95 in Charity Navigator, which is excellent.
Of course, I should also add that I’ve had a recurring donation to Planned Parenthood for three years, and that is not going away. I believe giving families and women the tools to only have children when they are ready emotionally and financially is the key to raising the next generation of engaged, healthy, and responsible citizens. Planned Parenthood is under threat from VP elect Mike Pence. So do him a favor and make the donation in his name, with his office’s address, so he knows how you feel.
Nichole of Green or Die
The day after the election, I set up automatic monthly donations to three organizations who I feel need our help now more than ever. I have become a member of the Sierra Club, the grassroots organization that helped pass the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act, because I trust they can (and will) get things done (with our help). Earthjustice is a non-profit that takes on legal cases to help protect the environment. Their slogan reads “Because Earth needs a good lawyer,” and in today’s political climate (pun intended) that could not ring more true. Thirdly, the Anti-Defamation League is one of the leading organizations fighting anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hate crimes the U.S.A.
Catherine of Walking with Cake
I’m a native Texan and we’ve seen a lot of our basic rights threatened or disappear over the last few years. I love my state and support local and grassroots efforts here, in an effort to improve things where I live. Battleground Texas, Texas Democrats, and Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas are on my regular contribution list. I’m also an advocate of independent news and support my local public radio and television stations, as well as The Guardian. Finally, as the mother of two young children, I’m concerned for their future. Their local school is a wonderful resource in our town, and I give my time and money to support it. I encourage everyone to support your closest public school, whether you have children or not, because you’re directly investing in the future.
Leah of StyleWise
On a local level (Charlottesville, VA), I’ll be asking for donations for the Shelter for Help in Emergency. Through my work at a local charity shop, I’ve seen firsthand the great work they do providing survivors of domestic violence with emergency necessities like clothing and household goods, and I also know that they do an excellent job finding long term, safe housing for their clients quickly and efficiently. I’ll also be personally contributing to and asking for contributions for the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU is well respected for their broad and impartial human rights work – they have a 94% score for efficacy on Charity Navigator – and given the current political and social climate, there’s no doubt in my mind that their work will continue to be vital to building a kinder and more just America.
Holly of Leotie Lovely
At this present moment in time, apart from us ripping each other to pieces through wars and disagreements, us little Earthlings have – for the most part – avoided talking about the biggest threat humanity has ever faced. Despite popular belief, that threat isn’t Isis (you have more chance of being killed by an asteroid than a terrorist), it’s a much bigger and badder bag of worms soon to be unleashed in all its fury due to the global warming process. Thus far, America’s trumpet President-elect has called global warming a Chinese hoax and threatened to scrap the regulations put in place to reduce US carbon dioxide emissions – including the Clean Power Plan. He has also vowed to to get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency entirely and repeal all federal spending on clean energy. Without the United States leading the world with fortitude and passion into alternative energy sources and reduced meat and dairy consumption, we’re headed towards huge ramifications which can only be described as apocalyptically troubling. The rise in temperature we’re due to see if our habits aren’t reversed and policy is not put in place is set to put 30% of animals at risk of extinction, will cause oceans to acidify, wildfires will get bigger, droughts more severe, and drown entire countries due to sea level rise. Donald Trump has tapped a climate change denier as his environmental advisor and thus donating to projects which protect your health and that of the planet through their work is paramount in fighting the evils put in place for profit over people. Thus, I’m asking for donations to EPA/EWG, and THE DAVID SUZUKI FOUNDATION (which is Canadian but has a huge influence on research and education worldwide), and EARTHJUSTICE, all of whom research, educate and lobby for the greater good in law and policy.
Elizabeth of The Note Passer
The most pressing cause for me is supporting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who are on the front lines protecting their land and everyone’s water from the Dakota Access Pipeline. Watch this video to find out more about the situation in North Dakota. Similarly, these charities are helping the people of Syria right now. Next, I want to support all vulnerable displaced people through organizations like Refugees International and the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. Third, a climate denier in our highest office means we have to support environmental work directly. Everybody Solar creates a ripple effect of change; they promote solar infrastructure by gifting solar power to nonprofits which eliminates their electricity costs so they can maximize their total impact. Solar One helps New Yorkers move in the direction of energy efficiency and greater sustainability through school programs, green job training, building efficiency programs, and solar panel installations. Finally, I want to fund independent journalism through organizations like The Center for Public Integrity, Pro Publica, and the Global Press Institute, which employs local women journalists to produce ethical, accurate news coverage from the world’s least-covered places.
Chandra Fox These Native Goods
I was a little late in the game so I had a chance to peek at many of the other wish lists before creating my own. Such great recommendations! I wholeheartedly believe that in our current political situation we need to support the organizations with causes that will face the biggest threat. Standing up for environmental issues, women’s health and human rights is incredibly important right now. The suggestions from my fellow EWC members are for awesome charities that do just that. I wanted to throw in a couple more options for protecting wildlife as well as our planet. Wildaid raises awareness about the consumption of wildlife products, fighting back against the illegal trade by strengthening enforcement and bringing these issues to light. Whether it is for sport (ahem president elects son) or for profit, the killing of endangered species needs to stop before it’s too late. Rainforest Action Network is helping to combat the increasingly devastating effects of the Palm-oil industry, among other causes. Modern day slavery, the displacement of indigenous peoples as well as wildlife, and catastrophic environmental damage are all results of this industry. With large western junk food brands being one of the biggest contributors to the destruction. Along the same lines of protecting the environment and her inhabitants, there is the North Dakota pipeline. Some of the other writers already talk about this heartbreaking issue but I wanted to add another donation idea for the cause. A photojournalist that I know is currently at Standing Rock, she is working with the water protectors to build up the camps and prepare for the freezing winter temperatures. She set up a GoFundMe for much needed supplies, please read the updates section of the fund for a full understanding of how your donations will be used to help the people.
Renee Peters Model4GreenLiving
As an animal lover and environmentalist, I cannot think of a more pressing time to give back to charities fighting to preserve the natural world. According to the WWF’s 2016 Living Planet Report, “Populations of vertebrate animals—such as mammals, birds, and fish—have declined by 58% between 1970 and 2012. We’re seeing the largest drop in freshwater species too: on average, there’s been a whopping 81% decline in that time period.” One organization that I have personally volunteered for, The Wild Bird Fund, is taking local action for wildlife right here in NYC. “The WBF rehabilitates over 3000 sick, injured or orphaned wildlife and releases them back to the wilds of New York City. NYC is a major stopover on the East Coast migratory flyway, and over 355 bird species live in the Big Apple or take refuge here during the spring and fall migrations. Supporting the Wild Bird Fund not only heals injured birds, but positively affects the people who try to help them, and shows a desire to take responsibility for the impact that we have had on the environment of our precious wildlife.” Check out this video for more information about them. On a global level, Conservation International is doing great work to protect our planet. “Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, they empower societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the well-being of humanity.” Donations made to either of these organizations benefit our planet and also ensure that the natural world is cared for.
Do you have a charity that you donate to regularly or will be donating to for the holidays? Please share!
*featured image via Huffington Post