• Ralph Thurman

Here Are 5 of the Top Organizations Fighting Climate Change

Updated: Oct 19, 2021

The news provides us with constant reminders of the dangers of climate change, from collapsing ice shelves in the Arctic to the wildfires that have been devastating California. When you see these stories on the news, you may wonder what you can do to fight climate change and help protect the environment, as well as humanity, from an alarming future.


Finding organizations that do quality work to push against this tide can be difficult. Many organizations have good intentions, but they do not research their impact enough, which means that they aren’t using their donations as effectively as they could.


However, there are a handful of effective, research-based organizations doing incredible work—and they need our support. Some of the top organizations fighting climate change include:


1. Clean Air Task Force


Based in the United States, the Clean Air Task Force is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that works reduce air pollution. Since its inception, it has led successful efforts to impose limits on carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector and establish regulations for emissions related to shipping.


The success record of the organization’s campaigns is impressive in itself, but what makes the Clean Air Task Force even more effective is the fact that it targets emission sources that other environmental organizations often overlook. In addition, the organization focuses on scalable technologies related to decarbonization that could be easily implemented across the globe.


According to Founders Pledge, which conducts research on charities, each dollar donated to Clean Air Task Force helps avert about a metric ton of carbon dioxide emissions. This reflects an efficient use of funds.


2. Rainforest Foundation US


Rainforest Foundation US operates on the belief that the best way to protect Earth’s rainforests is to support and uplift the indigenous people who live there. Specifically, the organization teams with indigenous populations in Guyana, Brazil, Panama, and Peru and offers them technology, equipment, and training, as well as legal support. Thanks to these resources, indigenous communities are able to use drones, satellites, and more to track illegal loggers and miners and then take action against them to protect and conserve their lands.


Notably, Rainforest Foundation US invited researchers from Columbia University to study its impact in Peru, and the preliminary results are very promising. Given the recent surge of deforestation in the Amazon, this is an especially important time to support those who are on the front lines in the fight to protect this vital ecosystem.


3. 350.org


One of the largest organizations in the world working to halt climate change is 350.org. The name of the organization comes from its goal of reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide to 350 parts per million (ppm) from the current unsustainable level of 400 ppm. The organization has launched initiatives in countries around the world—it played a big role in stopping the Keystone XL oil pipeline in the United States and reducing coal power plants in India. In addition, 350.org encourages global divestment of public institutions from fossil fuels.


According to CharityNavigator.org, the organization has the highest possible level of accountability and conscientiousness when it comes to use of funds. In addition, the organization has received support from the Climate Emergency Fund, which was established in 2019 to mobilize money quickly to organizations doing important work.


4. Sandbag


A nonprofit think tank, Sandbag uses data analysis tools to create climate policy recommendations based on strong, irrefutable evidence. Based in London and Brussels, the organization focuses primarily on issues related to Europe. Already, Sandbag has pushed for better carbon capture and storage throughout the European Union and has successfully campaigned to raise prices for carbon-based fuels.


In addition, Sandbag is playing an important role in speeding the phase-out of coal use across Europe. Due in part to the organization’s intervention, all coal plants in Europe are slated to be closed by 2030.


Very few European charities are working on carbon capture and storage, which is what makes this organization so important. And while Europe is not a major emitter of greenhouse gases, especially compared to the U.S., Asia, and Africa, it’s still worthwhile to support Sandbag’s efforts, especially since they can serve as a model for efforts elsewhere.


5. Global Footprint Network


Founded in 2003, the Global Footprint Network is a think tank based across the United States, Belgium, and Switzerland that is headquartered in Oakland, California. In 2017, the organization launched its Ecological Footprint Explorer, an open data platform that provides biocapacity data on more than 200 countries for free. The organization also has an Ecological Footprint Calculator for individuals that is used several million times per year and helps people realize the impact of their own actions on climate change.


Already, the network has engaged with more than 70 countries across six continents on the importance of reducing emissions. More than 15 governments have agreed to apply metrics developed by the network. In addition, more than 80 organizations around the world have partnered with the network on major climate change initiatives.


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