Right now your inbox is probably full of ads for fun tchotchkes and gifts, as well as guides to getting the perfect present for that person who has everything. But the holidays tend to be an especially wasteful time of year—between festive meals, mountains of wrapping paper, and sometimes unwanted or forgotten gifts, the season of giving is hardly green.
So this year, if you’re stumped as to what to get a loved one, consider making a donation in their honor to a group that’s working on climate solutions. Here are a few expert recommendations, including a few from Giving Green, a guide set up by data scientists and economists, to help donors find charities that can put their money to the best use for the planet.
Founded by the staff of Washington governor Jay Inslee, the Evergreen Collaborative is a “nimble organization that is highly adept at timing its policy development and advocacy to the political climate,” according to Giving Green.
The team has readjusted Inslee’s 218-page “Climate Mission” into a 12-step action plan that any candidate or representative can use. These steps include everything from switching to 100 percent clean power to creating high-quality union jobs to building a more “clean energy economy.” Donations help this group to continue pushing for climate policy at the federal level.
Clean Air Task Force
Recommended by both Giving Green and the charitable initiative Founders Pledge, the Clean Air Task Force (CATF) has been working toward retiring coal plants, as well as establishing regulations on diesel, shipping emissions, and methane since 1996. Just this month, CATF was recognized as one of the most effective climate change organizations by Vox—largely due to its role in fighting back against some of the more forgotten greenhouse gases and pollutants.
These days, the group is focused on deploying low-carbon technologies. “Overall, CATF is an outstanding organization, which has shown the ability to achieve outsized impact on a relatively small budget,” writes John Halstead, the head of applied research at Founders Pledge.
There’s no denying that today’s youth are among the biggest champions of climate action. They’re giving speeches and holding rallies at some of the most important environmental events worldwide, writing policy, and demanding respect and a voice in the middle of a crisis that they didn’t cause themselves. One good way to support the young voices at the forefront to donate to the Sunrise Movement.
Sunrise has already made waves in politics by pushing climate legislation to the forefront of political agendas and is committed to getting the Green New Deal through both houses of Congress. You can also support the movement by purchasing (and of course, reading) the book Winning the Green New Deal.
Coalition for Rainforest Nations
Another Founders Pledge favorite is the Coalition for Rainforest Nations (CfRN), an intergovernmental organization of over 50 tropical countries founded in 2004 by the prime minister of Papua New Guinea and the president of Costa Rica. In 2005, CfRN launched a plan to fight forest degradation and deforestation in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which now is a part of Article 5 of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
The group assists governments and communities with the sustainable management of their rainforests in terms of climate stability, biodiversity conservation, sustainable development, and poverty alleviation. These countries will also be the first to have carbon credits that count under the cap and trade mechanism of the Paris Agreement, which had its rules finalized this year at COP 26.
The last of Giving Green’s recommendations is Carbon180, a group focused on developing and implementing strategies for carbon removal. Founded at UC Berkeley in 2015, the group has set its sights on building an economy that pulls more carbon out of the atmosphere than it emits—and puts that carbon to good use as better chemicals, fertilizers, bioenergy, and more.
“Carbon180 uses insider tactics to produce legislation that supports carbon removal, and has shown success in getting legislation passed under both Democratic and Republican administrations,” the Giving Green website says.
Finally, there’s no denying that people of color, both across the country and around the world, are hardest hit by issues like pollution, natural disasters, and energy inequity. As the climate continues to get more and more turbulent, these communities may continue to feel a disproportionate level of the impacts.
Donating to a group like the NAACP, known for taking down racism and injustice across the nation, is one way to fight back—especially with its programs for lowering harmful pollution and building an equitable clean energy economy. More recently, the historic organization has been empowering young activists through programs like the 10,000 Steps to Environmental and Climate Justice Project.