A majority of Americans believe that climate change is real and that something should be done about it. But when it comes time to step up and put their money where they say it is, it seems a lot of people are struggling to put the planet first and put money in the hands of the organizations that do the most. to fight against climate change. According to a report from the Carbon Switch sustainability research organization, only a fraction of the donations made by Americans go to charities that will actually help address the climate crisis.
Research has found that overall, the environment still ranks quite low on the priority list for most people living in the United States. Of the $ 471 billion in charitable donations Americans made in 2020, only $ 8 billion (about 2%) went to environmental nonprofits. In contrast, faith-based organizations received the bulk of 2020 contributions, amassing nearly 30% of all donations.
What makes it even more difficult is the fact that very little of the $ 8 billion that has been spent on environmental causes actually helps tackle climate change. Only about $ 2 billion in total – or 0.4% of all charitable donations – has gone to nonprofits that contribute to climate change mitigation efforts. Environmental justice organizations, such as WE ACT for Environmental Justice and the Environmental Integrity Project, also tend to receive an incredibly slim slice of the charity pie. These cases only received between $ 25 million and $ 50 million in total last year, according to the report. For comparison, Carbon Switch says The Nature Conservancy – which, the report notes, has a “Poor track record in environmental justice” raises about as much every week.
Today, the vast majority of climate-related donations go to conservation. It’s a very worthwhile cause to support – after all, conservation is essential to protect our planet in part by providing refuge for essential ecosystems and creating carbon sinks that naturally absorb and store greenhouse gases. harmful greenhouse. But unfortunately, conservation will not be enough. The challenge of preserving the planet requires more than just protecting key regions. In 2020 alone, the United States suffered nearly $ 100 billion in damage from climate-related disasters, from raging wildfires to devastating storms and floods. The destruction caused by climate change already far exceeds our conservation efforts.
Just supporting conservation groups won’t make a big enough difference in tackling climate change. If you want your money to have more impact, consider donating to organizations focused on environmental justice and climate change mitigation, which help empower communities most affected by climate change and limit the amount of climate change. ‘shows we produce. Groups like WE ACT for environmental justice, Evergreen action, and Rewiring America all are working to put the United States on a better footing when it comes to tackling the climate crisis.
Ultimately, there are plenty of worthy organizations you can donate to – and as long as you do your due diligence, there’s no wrong way to give your money. If this is a cause you believe in and care about and can comfortably part with that money without affecting your own livelihood, then do it by all means. But we are in the middle of a climate emergency; and every cause you care about will inevitably be affected by global warming which is plagued by extreme weather conditions, population displacement and collapsing ecosystems. So by supporting efforts that effectively tackle climate change, you will also give your other favorite organizations a better chance of survival.