mountain view of the sun peeking over a sea of clouds

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving offers an ideal opportunity to focus some love on the planet. It’s GivingTuesday.

With presents to wrap, decorations to hang, and Zoom parties to attend, your agenda is likely overflowing. Perhaps you’ll want to add Earth to your gift list this year.

What Is GivingTuesday?

Donate dollars — or items. Advocate. Volunteer virtually. GivingTuesday is an occasion for generosity. It’s a global movement encouraging involvement in a variety of forms on December 1 — or any day. The GivingTuesday website features a wealth of ideas, inspiration, and resources for participating.

Whether it’s making someone smile, helping a neighbor or stranger out, showing up for an issue or people we care about, or giving some of what we have to those who need our help, every act of generosity counts and everyone has something to give.” –GivingTuesday website

If you want to direct your generosity into protecting the environment, a wide array of opportunities exists. Pick a planet-friendly activity. Or support — financially or in other ways — a nonprofit organization with values you share.

Environment-focused Organizations To Consider

These organizations make it easy to focus your GivingTuesday generosity on protecting the environment, through donations and other ways.

Pollinator Partnership

Pollinator Partnership promotes and protects pollinators and pollinator habitats. It works with more than 170 partners, including corporations, nonprofits, universities, and government agencies focusing on resident and migratory pollinators.

Projects and activities include:

  • Bee Friendly Farming Program works with farmers to help protect, preserve, and promote pollinator health on their land
  • Project Wingspan involves volunteers and other partners working to increase quality, quantity, and connectivity of pollinator habitat in the Midwest and Great Lakes Region

Ways to help:

butterfly pollinating flower
Image by JamesDeMers from Pixabay

Everybody Solar

Everybody Solar is a family-run organization that provides free solar energy to nonprofit organizations and supports renewable-energy education programs in science museums.

Projects include solar energy projects at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Glacier National Park in Montana, Eugene Science Center in Oregon, and Social Advocates for Youth in California.

Ways to help:

National Wildlife Federation

National Wildlife Federation forges partnerships for wildlife habitat protection and restoration. They also publish “Ranger Rick” magazine for kids.

Projects include:

  • Adopt a Wildlife Acre linking habitats for bison, bighorn sheep, and grizzly bear
  • Trees for Wildlife, proving hands-on activities for young people focusing on the importance of trees
  • Restoring coastal wetlands Mississippi River Delta and the Gulf of Mexico
  • Others

Ways to help:

wild fix in snow
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

WeForest

WeForest works with partners on forest and landscape restoration. “Our vision is a world where communities and nations sustainably manage their forests and natural resources for the benefit of our climate, our environment, and humanity,” according to spokeswoman Vienna Leigh. “As well as [restoring forest areas], our projects develop livelihoods activities — such as beekeeping — which guarantee that the surrounding communities see real value in standing and thriving forests.”

Projects and accomplishments include the equivalent of over 22,000 hectares of reforestation work in several regions, including Ethiopia, Senegal, Zambia, India, and Tanzania.

Ways to help:

350.org

350.org collaborates on grassroots campaigns around the world, supporting a transition from dirty energy sources to 100% renewable energy for all.

Projects include:

Ways to help:

wind turbine with moon in background
Image by Peter Dargatz from Pixabay

Inland Ocean Coalition

Inland Ocean Coalition is a network of about 15 inland regions focusing on protecting oceans and other waterways.

Projects include an Inland Ocean Ambassadors program, offering online training in advocating for ocean and waterways protection. Other activities include educational events, creek clean-ups, film screenings, and brand audits.

Ways to help:

Overall, environmental giving is a small part of philanthropy and yet it is one of the most needed,” says Vicki Nichols Goldstein, founder and executive director of Inland Ocean Coalition. “We must make the connection between a healthy planet and a healthy us.”

5 Gyres.org

5 Gyres.org directs its efforts on reducing and eliminating plastic pollution, focusing on education, scientific research, policy advocacy, and a network of 1,800 global ambassadors.

Projects include:

  • Trash Academy/La Academia de Basura online program
  • TrashBlitz, in which participants collect data on trash collected in their local communities
  • Ambassador network includes individuals from around the world taking action against plastic pollution by volunteering, promoting educational information, engaging in local policy initiatives, and participating in citizen-science activations

Ways to help:

  • Financial donations
  • Participate as an Ambassador
  • Refuse, reduce, reuse, and recycle single-use plastic/plastic in general
  • Support businesses with zero-waste/low-waste goals

Natural Resources Defense Council

Natural Resources Defense Council is an international environmental organization. “NRDC works to ensure the rights of all people to the air, the water, and the wild, and to prevent special interests from undermining public interests,” according to a spokesperson statement.

Ways to help:

Earthjustice

Earthjustice works worldwide, representing clients for free in cases that involve climate change, wildlife, conservation, and other environmental issues. Their work focuses on Healthy Communities, The Wild, and Climate and Energy.

Ways to help:

"Love & protect our beautiful Earth" banner in London
Image by John Cameron on Unsplash

Earth-friendly Activities

You don’t have to donate money or join an organization to show planet Earth some love. Here are a few planet-friendly ways to celebrate your devotion to the planet on GivingTuesday or any day.

Feature image: Dan Fador from Pixabay. Originally published on November 25, 2020, this article was updated in November 2021.

By Patti Roth

Patti began her writing career as a staff writer for the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Still based in Florida, Patti serves as editor for Fort Lauderdale on the Cheap. She regularly writes about environmental, home improvement, education, recycling, art, architecture, wildlife, travel and pet topics.