Earth Day is a day where we reflect on the environment and what we can do to make the world in which we live a better place. While helping the Earth and the people on it may be something that we think about, how many of us actually act on our thoughts? Though some of us only dream of what we could do, there are currently organizations out there that you could donate to, if you are able, to make even a little difference. Here are some organizations that are changing the world for the better and if you want to learn more about any of these organizations, you can go to their websites linked in each section.
- Doctors Without Borders
Founded in 1968, a group of French doctors decided to go and help victims of wars and major disasters. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which is more commonly known in English as Doctors Without Borders, was officially created in December 1971. The organization was founded on the belief that all people have the right to medical care regardless of gender, race, religion, political affiliation, or creed, and that the needs of the people outweigh the respect for national boundaries. Types of projects that the organization is involved in are emergency response, access to health care, long-term care, advocacy, research, conflict zones, natural disasters, epidemics, and more. Today, there are 24 different offices in 24 different countries and projects in over 70 countries around the world.
Greenpeace is a global, independent campaigning organization. Founded in 1971, it uses peaceful protests and creative communication to expose global environmental issues and promote solutions that are essential for a green future. Greenpeace has grown internationally in the 50 years since the organization was founded with offices in more than 50 countries. They now combat climate change, deforestation, deterioration of the oceans, and the threat of nuclear disaster. There are volunteer opportunities for everyone, even if you are just starting to become an activist. Everyone is welcome no matter your age, background, race, religion, or gender. Current campaigns include Save the Arctic, Protecting Forests, Fighting Global Warming, Protecting Our Oceans, Living Toxic-Free, Promoting Sustainable Agriculture, and Defending Democracy.
Beginning in 2014, Sea-Watch was created after watching many lives perish at sea in the Mediterranean trying to flee and seek refuge. After watching this happen from the sidelines of beaches, volunteers created the organization to help aid in sea rescue of those fleeing. So far, Sea-Watch has rescued over 35,000 people. A big part of the organization is advocating for safe passage through the Mediterranean sea into Europe. They do sea rescue by boat and by air. Their mission is to save lives, create awareness about the humanitarian crisis, and encourage imitators.
THORN was founded in 2012 by Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore to fight against sex trafficking. In 2014, the organization made a prototype product to aid in identifying the victims of child sex trafficking that were sold online. They developed the product and made the decision to make it free for law enforcement. They have three strategic pillars: 1) accelerating victim identification, 2) equipping platforms, and 3) empowering the public. In 2018 alone, they helped in the identification of 10,081 kids. The use of Spotlight, which is a web-based tool created by THORN, aids in the race to find more victims of human trafficking, faster. The program has aided in identifying 17,092 child victims of human trafficking in four years.
- Maiti Nepal
Maiti Nepal, which started in 1993, had the vision of a society free from sexual and other types of exploitation against the children and women of Nepal. The group was formed by teachers, journalists, and social workers dedicated to the fight against domestic violence, girl trafficking, child prostitution, and child labor. They take action by releasing children and women who were forced into sexual exploitation, extending support to the survivors, and protecting vulnerable girls by empowering them and working with them to enhance their quality of life.
- The Sunrise Movement
Starting in 2017, the aim of the organization was to make climate change one of the top election issues and win governing power to make change happen. After the midterm elections in 2018, Sunrise looked to the Green New Deal to combat climate change and ensure a change to clean energy. Now they are a youth movement committed to fighting climate change and creating millions of jobs in the process. Their current campaigns are Good Jobs for All and We Are Wide Awake. Some of the organization’s principles are growing their power through talking to communities; they are nonviolent in word and deed, they ask for help while giving what they can, and they unite with other movements for change.