Living

How To Fight Climate Change: Support A Green Charity

Some tips for throwing your economic might—however mighty it might be—behind a worthy cause.

An illustration of animals and dollar bills.

(Illustration: Vivian Rosas)

While nearly all Canadians agree that climate change is a serious issue—91 percent of us, according to one recent survey—that hasn’t translated into financial contributions. Bri Trypuc, a veteran philanthropic adviser in Toronto, found that only two percent of Canadians’ total charitable giving goes toward saving the planet. There are so many charities and projects competing for your attention that it can make your head spin—or make you tune out.

To find an organization that matters to you, ask yourself why you want to give and what you want to achieve. Maybe you have a personal connection to a particular cause, or maybe you want to leave a long-term legacy for your community. Maybe you want to back a cause that best reflects your values. “We aren’t just passive donors throwing money on a fire and singing ‘Kumbaya,’” Trypuc says. “It’s about doing your homework for informed, intelligent giving.”

Charity websites will tout past successes and explain how donations are being used. And sites such as CanadaHelps, Charity Intelligence Canada, Climate Action Network and MakeWay let you dig deeper, rating charities for their effectiveness and transparency. Trypuc admits this tracking can be more challenging when dealing with environmental organizations, since climate issues aren’t quick to resolve. If you’re in doubt, make a call, or write and ask. You work hard for your money, so your money should work hard, too. Here are some organizations we like.

Future Ground Network

Think globally, act locally: This network connects groups that tackle climate justice, biodiversity and waste reduction, to help them organize.

Ocean Wise

Headquartered in Vancouver, this direct-action non-profit helps manage, care for and restore underwater seaweed forests, a rich habitat for marine life.

Nature Canada

Founded in 1939, this Ottawa-based organization has more than 750 affiliates protecting at-risk wildlife and wilderness.

Not Far from the Tree

Volunteers pick the excess fruit off Toronto trees and split the spoils (before they spoil) between owners and community organizations.