5 growing environmental nonprofits to support in 2020

January 8, 2020 by  
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With the new year already upon us, the need for efficient organizations battling the climate emergency is only growing. According to the Council of Nonprofits , 92% of public charities have an annual revenue of less than 1 million dollars. This year, consider donating to and volunteering with nonprofit organizations and charities that are transparent about how they use their funds and their time. Here are five fledgling nonprofits you may not have heard of yet, but that are already inspiring movements, pushing for legislation and combating climate change . The Foundation for Climate Restoration Probably best-known for its work with the United Nations Office for Partnerships and Earth Day Network, The Foundation for Climate Restoration (F4CR) is a nonprofit with a mission to restore the climate by 2050. The organization hopes to achieve its mission through initiatives that unite the public, policy-makers and businesses behind a common goal of reversing global warming. F4CR spotlights solutions that reduce carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere, restore ocean ecosystems and rebuild declining Arctic ice . According to the nonprofit, F4CR has already researched and supported solutions and technologies that, once at scale through funding and legislation, have the capacity to remove 1 trillion tons of excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. To get involved, use this link to join the movement and receive updates about important working group moments, policy actions and meetings. Take the Climate Restoration Pledge and make a donation (one-time or monthly). Future Coalition Founded in June 2018, Future Coalition is the youth-led movement that mobilized 1 million people worldwide — led by the organization’s executive director, 20-year-old Katie Eder — to strike on September 20, 2019. The nonprofit is a national network and community organized for the younger generations who refuse to sit by while the future of the planet is in jeopardy. Future Coalition provides young people with the resources and support they need to make a difference in the battle against climate change. Related: Can’t make the climate strikes? Here are a few tips on how students can live sustainably On September 17, 2019, with support from the United Nations Office for Partnerships, F4CR, Earth Day Network and Future Coalition hosted the first Global Climate Restoration Forum at the UN Headquarters. “Young people understand that the climate crisis will require real leadership, as well as bold and innovative solutions,” Eder said. “We will not accept action that inadequately addresses the very real and existential crisis we’re facing. We need governments around the world to enact ambitious climate plans, and we need them to do it now.” Sign up for the Future Accelerator , which matches young people or youth-led organizations in need of pro bono campaign or support services with adult allies willing to contribute time and expertise to empower youth activists. Join the Future Coalition community Slack channel to share ideas and organize gatherings, or donate to the cause. Sunrise Movement Founded in April 2017, Sunrise Movement is focused on stopping climate change while creating jobs in the process. Coordinated by Sunrise, a political action nonprofit advocating political action on climate change, the youth-led movement is particularly focused on the Green New Deal. To show your support, you can host a 2020 launch party , search for a local hub in your neighborhood (if there isn’t one, start a chapter of your own) or donate . 5 Gyres 5 Gyres was founded by a couple who met on a sailing expedition to research pollution in the North Pacific Gyre. The organization’s goal is to empower action against the global epidemic of plastic pollution through science, education and action. 5 Gyres is a member of the Break Free From Plastic movement, and in 2017, it received special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Apply to become an ambassador to represent 5 Gyres at events and to promote and raise awareness of plastic pollution. Those interested can also donate or download the Trash Blitz app to track pollution in your area. Extinction Rebellion This global environmental movement founded in October 2018 is based in the U.K. but has recently expanded to the U.S. as well. Extinction Rebellion uses nonviolent civil disobedience to catalyze government action to avoid climate system collapse and loss of biodiversity . It has been organizing nonviolent protests against the government for inaction on the climate crisis since its founding, including the recent global climate hunger strikes in November 2019. Related: In a world first, the UK declares a climate emergency “We see that people are waking up and looking for ways to get involved and ways to create change,” said John Spies, a member of Extinction Rebellion NYC. “Extinction Rebellion provides that; people can join and take action. Extinction Rebellion’s mission, demands and means of creating change by using nonviolent direct action protesting is a proven way to create real change outside of the normal routes, such as voting.” Extinction Rebellion has groups all over the world, so check this map to find a local chapter near you. You can also donate legal fees to support members who’ve been arrested for peaceful protests or just general funds for training, actions and raising awareness. To get involved in the U.K., click here . To get involved in the U.S., click here . Images via Brian Yurasits , Foundation for Climate Restoration, Gabriel Civita Ramirez and Extinction Rebellion

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5 growing environmental nonprofits to support in 2020

Architecture students design and build a LEED Platinum smart home in Kansas

November 25, 2019 by  
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Every year, graduate students at the University of Kansas Department of Architecture enroll in the nonprofit Studio 804 program to design and build a sustainable, affordable and innovative home over the course of the year. In 2018, the group not only accomplished their goal of a LEED Platinum-certified house but also created the program’s first fully integrated smart house. Located in the Brook Creek neighborhood of Lawrence, Kansas, the net zero energy-targeted residence is a shining example of sustainable housing that even comes with an accessory dwelling unit. Located in a flood plain, the house takes the form of two floating, modern glass boxes that are elevated yet accessible with a ramp. The home takes flooding into account and makes water conservation and management a central theme in its design. All stormwater is managed onsite and is either funneled through underground pipes to native plantings or absorbed into the onsite subsurface. Inside the home, low-flow fixtures were installed and all but one fixture are WaterSense-rated. An Energy Star-rated heat pump water heater also helps reduce energy and water use. Related: Students build a low-cost yet high-quality sustainable home from recycled materials The house achieves energy savings through its airtight, highly insulated envelope, Energy Star-rated appliances and use of solar panels on the highly reflective roof. The east side of the building is completely glazed to let natural light flood the interiors and to bring the outdoors in. As a fully integrated smart house, all the appliances can be remotely controlled and “communicate with each other” to ensure energy efficiency. “As we always try to do, we took the potential negative of the site — being in a flood plain — and tried to make it a positive,” Studio 804 explained. “The buildable site was built up with compacted earth above the flood plain. The dwellings are carefully composed glass boxes perched on concrete plinths, off which they cantilever. The buildings seem to float in what is a park-like setting.” + Studio 804 Photography by Corey Gaffer Photography via Studio 804

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Architecture students design and build a LEED Platinum smart home in Kansas

YouTube stars partner up in #TeamTrees campaign to plant 20 million trees

October 30, 2019 by  
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To combat the climate crisis , a coalition of YouTubers has joined together for a mammoth mission to plant 20 million trees beginning in January 2020. Called #TeamTrees, the reforestation campaign has social media all abuzz. They have, so far, raised enough funds to plant more than 8 million trees, and that number is rising. How did it all start? When YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson, or MrBeast, reached the 20 million subscribers milestone on his YouTube channel, which is dedicated to extreme stunts and philanthropic challenges, his subscribers dared him to plant 20 million trees to commemorate the occasion. The campaign quickly went viral. Related: Scientists confirm tree planting is our best solution to climate change “People keep making fun of our generation for retweet activism and not actually doing something … this is your chance to make a difference,” MrBeast said to his supporters. “Just to be clear, we all realize 20 million trees won’t fix climate change . But at the end of the day, 20 million more trees is better than zero! We want to take action because doing nothing is how we got here!” Upward of 600 YouTube creatives have since joined the #TeamTrees initiative, even rallying their subscribers to follow suit with the planting trees endeavor. To date, these social media influencers have a combined total of 650 million subscribers, double the United States population.  Each $1 donation plants a single tree. In the first 48 hours of the #TeamTrees website going live on October 25, the initiative raised more than $5 million — and the funds keep growing. All donations are sent directly to the Arbor Day Foundation, the nonprofit devoted to tree planting . For almost 50 years, the nonprofit has planted 250 million trees worldwide. Trees funded by the #TeamTrees endeavor will be planted across the globe beginning January 2020. The Arbor Day Foundation anticipates a December 2022 completion date; the year 2022 will mark the 150th anniversary of the first Arbor Day. To promote successful tree survival rates, the Arbor Day Foundation will partner with the United State Forest Service, the National Park Service and the National Association of State Foresters to ensure the trees planted will not be invasive species . The trees chosen will be native to the region in which they are planted, many in national forests managed by government agencies. To speed up the process, the #TeamTrees campaign is entertaining a collaboration with DroneSeed, a company that deploys drones to plant trees in a scalable fashion. Small drones first map out the landscape, followed by larger drones that drop seed vessels at locations ideal for growing trees. Additionally, this eco-friendly YouTube collaboration is flooding the platform with tree content. The #TeamTrees coalition hopes to game the algorithm and push for more environmental videos to rank at the top of the recommended playlists. With tree videos trending next to cat videos, Mother Nature would be proud. + #TeamTrees Via The Guardian Image via Shutterstock

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YouTube stars partner up in #TeamTrees campaign to plant 20 million trees

The Ocean Cleanup has first success collecting plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch

October 4, 2019 by  
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The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch nonprofit dedicated to eliminating plastic pollution in the oceans, recently announced its first success. After years of trials that left its engineers scratching their heads over design challenges, the nonprofit’s newest prototype device has consistently collected plastic waste from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch . Following years of repeat returns to the drawing board, The Ocean Cleanup has finally experienced its first success of consistently capturing and collecting plastic, thanks to the self-contained System 001/B prototype. As an added bonus, not only was the prototype able to collect large, visible items but also microplastics as small as one millimeter. Related: Trash-collecting device returns to Great Pacific Garbage Patch “After beginning this journey seven years ago, this first year of testing in the unforgivable environment of the high seas strongly indicates that our vision is attainable and that the beginning of our mission to rid the ocean of plastic garbage , which has accumulated for decades, is within our sights,” said founder and CEO Boyan Slat. “Our team has remained steadfast in its determination to solve immense technical challenges to arrive at this point. Though we still have much more work to do, I am eternally grateful for the team’s commitment and dedication to the mission and look forward to continuing to the next phase of development.” The patch, located in the waters between Hawaii and California, is infamous as the area with the largest accumulation of plastic debris. As a trash vortex, its circular motion draws litter into itself, trapping all the junk into a concentrated mass. The hazards are compounded by the leaching out of noxious chemicals linked to health problems. Marine life is also harmed, with numerous reports of disruptions in feeding and migrating patterns, ultimately threatening species’ survival and reproductive success. The need to remove the plastic waste polluting the Pacific Ocean inspired Slat to establish The Ocean Cleanup in 2012. The nonprofit’s engineers have since been striving to develop a device to rid the ocean of the garbage. The various device prototypes employ a passive system that moves with the currents while catching plastic refuse. The nonprofit aspires to develop more prototypes in hopes of deploying a future fleet of ocean debris-collecting systems. The collected plastic will, in turn, be recycled onshore and sold to business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. The recycling revenue will be reinvested into the nonprofit’s expansion plans for further ocean waste management and sanitation. + The Ocean Cleanup Images via The Ocean Cleanup

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The Ocean Cleanup has first success collecting plastic from Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Honda makes largest renewable energy purchase of any automaker

September 25, 2019 by  
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Multinational auto manufacturer Honda Motor Company, headquartered in Tokyo, recently made the largest renewable clean energy purchase by any car maker. The electricity will be utilized to offset emissions from its United States factories, thus enabling Honda to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent in its North American manufacturing plants. With widespread public debate and mounting regulatory pressures, automakers have no choice but to shift their business models to address the carbon dioxide reduction challenge. It is no wonder then that a growing number of automobile companies are turning to renewables, like wind and solar, to achieve sustainable returns. Related: Beautiful, solar-powered EV charging stations promise to charge a vehicle in 15 minutes According to Honda, it currently obtains about 21 percent of its North American operations’ power from low- or zero-emission power sources.  But it hopes to improve upon that, thanks to clinching the car industry’s largest renewable energy purchase. Honda’s new clean energy deal involves the purchase of wind power from an Oklahoma wind farm as well as sourcing energy from a Texas solar farm. Projections show that, with this clean energy purchase, Honda can annually offset 800,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. That’s equal to “100,000 U.S. households’ worth of CO2-emissions from household energy usage,” as described in Honda’s press release. Honda revealed, “Two Virtual Power Purchase Agreements (VPPAs) will secure 320 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar power totaling over 1 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable electricity annually.” How do VPPAs operate? Honda explained that VPPAs are “a way for Honda to purchase renewable energy in locations where it is unable to purchase renewables from the local electric utility.” The automaker buys “electricity from a renewable energy supplier, but the clean energy does not go directly to Honda’s facilities; instead, it is sold into the electricity grid where the clean power is generated.” In effect, Honda’s ‘virtual purchase’ of that “renewable energy adds more clean energy into the nation’s grid,” which decreases fossil fuel dependency and any accompanying carbon dioxide emissions. Honda’s VPPA purchase essentially “de-carbonizes” the electricity grid. Analysts say VPPAs are becoming an ever-popular means for large corporations seeking to meet carbon dioxide emission reduction goals.  Tech giants, like Google and Microsoft, for instance, have historically purchased VPPAs as well. Business industry pundits forecast an uptick of VPPA procurements in the next couple of years as renewable energy policy intensifies. Aligned with its revitalized green mission, Honda’s long-term plans go far beyond clean energy purchases, as it continues its commitment to sustainability. The company similarly announced plans to electrify two-thirds of its manufactured vehicular fleet so that they are charged via renewable energy by 2030. + Honda Motor Company Image via Honda Motor Company

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Honda makes largest renewable energy purchase of any automaker

Backlash: EPA halts use of deadly ‘cyanide bomb’ traps

August 20, 2019 by  
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Almost as quickly as the Environmental Protection Agency announced its temporary interim re-authorization of M-44s, or “cyanide bomb” traps, to kill wildlife , it overturned the decision and banned the cyanide bombs due to backlash. The decision reported on Aug. 15 made environmentalists, activists and the general public oppose to the deadly traps. Related: EPA reauthorizes use of ‘cyanide bombs’ to kill wild animals “I am announcing a withdrawal of EPA’s interim registration review decision on sodium cyanide, the compound used in M-44 devices to control wild predators. This issue warrants further analysis and additional discussions by EPA,” said a statement issued Aug. 15 by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler . “I look forward to continuing this dialogue to ensure U.S. livestock remain well-protected from dangerous predators while simultaneously minimizing off-target impacts on both humans and non-predatory animals ,” Wheeler added. The controversial traps resemble sprinkler heads and spray deadly sodium cyanide to kill wildlife such as foxes, bears, coyotes, wolves, mountain lions and birds. Those opposed want the traps shelved permanently as they can be set off by animals or humans. Additionally, critics say M-44s may contaminate the environment indefinitely. The Center for Biological Diversity stated that 99.9 percent of comments submitted to the EPA about the devices expressed concern about animal welfare and were against the use of the toxic traps. “I’m thrilled that the EPA just reversed its wrongheaded decision to reauthorize deadly cyanide traps,” Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the nonprofit Center for Biological Diversity , said in a statement to HuffPost.  “So many people expressed their outrage, and the EPA seems to be listening. I hope the feds finally recognize the need for a permanent ban to protect people, pets and imperiled wildlife from this poison.” The EPA planned to continue studying its decision until 2021, however, it said on Aug. 15 it was suspending the use of all M-44s. Via Huffington Post Image via skeeze

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Backlash: EPA halts use of deadly ‘cyanide bomb’ traps

Save the environment by pooping less, says Bolsonaro

August 20, 2019 by  
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Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro recently suggested that people could save the environment if their bowels moved less frequently. His intestinal initiative could be accomplished by eating less food, he told one reporter. “You talk about environmental pollution,” Bolsonaro said. “It’s enough to poop every other day. That will be better for the whole world.” Meanwhile, he continues to face widespread backlash for the immense deforestation occurring in the Amazon since he took office. Bolsonaro, the South American country’s 38th president, has been in power since January. In that time, he’s voiced many unusual and far-right views about environmental issues. For example, Bolsonaro commented that only “ vegans , who eat only plants,” care about the environment. Related: Deforestation and climate change combined may split Amazon in two When the National Institute for Space Research released shocking data on rampant forest clearing in the Amazon , Bolsonaro accused the agency of data manipulation and fired the institute’s director. The institute had found more than 870 square miles of forests were cleared in July — 278 percent more than what was cleared in the same time frame last year. Bolsonaro said of the data, “We cannot accept sensationalism or the disclosure of inaccurate numbers that cause great damage to Brazil’s image.” It’s doubtful that the president’s new “waste” campaign will catch on. Defecation is notoriously hard to schedule, and people’s bowels march to the beats of their own drummers. According to Healthline , bowels might want to move three times per day, three times a week or anywhere in between. Eating less, as Brazil’s president suggested, may or may not lead to fewer bathroom visits; what you eat is also key. Those aiming for constipation should cut down on fiber, caffeine, alcohol and liquids in general. Aging, a sedentary lifestyle, stress and certain medications can also aid the quest to put it off till tomorrow, although this strange request “for the whole world” isn’t advised. The world waits in suspense to hear what Bolsonaro will say (or do) next. But consult your doctor before following the president’s gastrointestinal advice. Via AFP , Newsweek and PJ Media Image via Filios Sazeides

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Save the environment by pooping less, says Bolsonaro

Largest nature reserve in Niger threatened by oil development

August 5, 2019 by  
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One of the largest nature reserves on continental Africa may soon be destroyed by the China National Petroleum Corporation in the name of oil exploration and economic development. Just seven years after its establishment, and only months after finally becoming operationally managed, Termit and Tin Toumma National Nature Reserve could be reduced in size by half. The Niger government announced plans to remove over 17,000 square miles from what was originally a 38,600-square-mile park. The park is known for containing part of the Sahara desert and low mountain ranges. The specific area of the park that will be converted into oil operations is the most important section in terms of threatened biodiversity. It is home to the critically endangered addax (a type of antelope) and the dama gazelle. There are only an estimated 100 addax remaining, but they continue to be hunted for their meat. Now, the oil development project could shrink their habitat and decimate the addax’s main source of water. The China National Petroleum Corporation is one of the largest oil companies in the world. In exchange for a much-needed $5 billion investment in Niger, the Chinese have exploration rights and permission to build a pipeline that carries 20,000 barrels of oil out of the country every day. Paradoxically, China will be hosting the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity in 2020, yet government officials and oil executives seem unbothered by this localized biodiversity issue in the Sahara. The government has proposed to add land to the park along a different border. According to Sébastien Pinchon, a member of the nonprofit that manages the park on behalf of the Niger government, that new area “has little ecological value.” Via Mongabay Image via Shankar S.

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Largest nature reserve in Niger threatened by oil development

Rammed earth Kopila Valley School is the greenest school in Nepal

April 10, 2019 by  
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In Nepal , access to education doesn’t just improve job prospects — schools can save lives, whether it’s rescuing children from malnourishment or delaying the age of marriage to reduce rates of HIV, maternal death and suicide. That’s why American nonprofit BlinkNow has dedicated itself to building community infrastructure in Surkhet, Nepal, including the Kopila Valley School. Powered entirely by solar energy and built of rammed earth walls, the campus is billed by the founders as the “greenest school in Nepal.” Located on three acres of land, the recently opened Kopila Valley School serves more than 400 students from nursery through 12th grade. The campus was built to expand on the nonprofit’s existing primary school and create a safe and nurturing environment that is not only a place of learning (with school uniforms and books provided), but also offers children nutritious meals, basic medical and dental care and after-school activities, such as sports and cooking classes. The school employs more than 100 Nepalese teachers and administrators. The campus also includes a Mental Health and Counseling Center, the Kopila Valley Health Clinic, a tutoring room, a computer lab, a stage and a small library. Sustainability is at the forefront of the campus design. Locally sourced rammed earth , chosen for superior thermal mass and temperature control, was used to construct the 18-inch-thick walls reinforced with steel bars for stability and earthquake resilience and a small amount of PPC cement to protect against dampness during monsoon season. Natural ventilation and lighting were also optimized in the positioning of the buildings and windows, while covered terraces at southern-facing walls provide shade. The campus is 100 percent solar-powered with a 25.2 kWp solar PV system and a 20 kVA off-grid battery system. Related: UK architect helps locals rebuild Nepal temple destroyed by earthquake A 300,000-liter underground cistern stores rainwater harvested from the rooftops that is filtered for potable use. The landscaping and permeable paving ensure rainwater is also used to replenish the groundwater system. All wastewater is treated on site with constructed wetlands and then recycled. Gray water from sinks is used to flush the toilets; black water is filtered for plant irrigation; solids are converted in a pressurized tank into biogas fuel for cooking. Solar cookers are also used for cooking. + BlinkNow Images via BlinkNow

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Rammed earth Kopila Valley School is the greenest school in Nepal

Nominate the 2018 GreenBiz 30 Under 30

February 26, 2018 by  
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Do you know a rising star in the field of sustainability? We are looking for nominations to recognize the next generation of sustainable business leaders as part of GreenBiz’s third annual 30 Under 30 feature. This list recognizes young professionals tackling some of the toughest sustainability challenges in business — from inside big companies, at the helm of startups or in the nonprofit sector.

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Nominate the 2018 GreenBiz 30 Under 30

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