As I have continued down my path of spiritual development, one thing that has become clear is how accountable I am for my own life and my impact in the world. Over time, I have found that I continue to resonate more and more with environmentally friendly practices and organizations, and I’m always keeping an eye out for the many small ways I can make a difference in the world. In a way you could say that it’s sort of like my own personal Butterfly Effect.
If you’re not familiar with the Butterfly Effect, here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:
The phrase refers to the idea that a butterfly’s wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that may ultimately alter the path of a tornado or delay, accelerate or even prevent the occurrence of a tornado in a certain location. The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale alterations of events.
Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the trajectory of the system might have been vastly different. While the butterfly does not cause the tornado, the flap of its wings is an essential part of the initial conditions resulting in a tornado.
In my case, each little change that I make in my life to move towards being more ecologically friendly, the more these little things add up over time to produce significant change. I have decided to call these little changes my “Green Butterfly Effect,” and will continue to write more blog posts in this series.
Today’s Green Butterfly Effect post will focus on 5 non-profit organizations that I support in various ways…
The Nature Conservancy was established in 1951, this non-profit has protected more than 119 million acres of land, 5000 miles of rivers, operates over 100 marine conservation projects, works with indigenous communities, and addresses the conservation of our environment through a multi-faceted approach.
Why and how I support them: A few years ago, we (my wife and I) became regular donating members due to our passion for preserving native ecosystems and protecting Earth’s natural resources for our generation and the generations to follow. I happen to also like the pretty pictures on the website 🙂
National Wildlife Federation focuses on three main areas that it believes produce the biggest impact: Global warming, protecting and restoring wildlife habitat, and encouraging and facilitating connection with nature. Right now it is highlighting the following endangered species as a central part of its campaign: Polar Bears, Bald Eagles, Florida Panthers, Grey Wolves, Whooping Cranes, Canadian Lynxes, Grizzly Bears, Pronghorns, and Buffalo.
Why and how I support them: Also a few years ago we became regular donors, and in this case the shortest answer is probably the simplest: We like animals! So in this case, we’re happy to support an organization that affects positive climate change, sustainability, and conservation by focusing on the living beings that depend on our planet.
The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) tackles a variety of topics such as food safety, genetical modifications affecting the food supply, children’s health, corporate accountability and more. The list goes on, and at the core of their focus is on supporting organic and fair trade practices to ensure that the quality of health is not adversely affected by others’ socially irresponsible agriculturally-related decisions.
Why and how I support them: I don’t currently donate to them, though after writing this post I’ll probably add them to my regular donor list. I am on their newsletter list (which is full of GREAT information – definitely subscribe to it), and find myself signing and supporting their petitions at least once or twice a week, as well as forwarding them to my Facebook and Twitter friends. I particularly like the fact that they tackle such a wide variety of topics, and are willing to perform all-out direct assaults on questionable and harmful practices.
Green America (formerly Coop America) was originally founded in 1982 and focuses on affecting an environmentally sustainable and accountable society through economic strategies. They empower people both personally and collectively to make wise financial decisions to affect meaningful change.
Why and how I support them: This organization is actually my favorite of the ones I’ve shared because it’s near and dear to my heart – using commerce… targeting the wallet to force corporate accountability for environmentally friendly busines practices.
“How you spend your money is how you vote on what exists in the world.” – Vicki Robin
I love being able to look into their Green Pages and find companies that sell unique products that are fair trade, or recycled, or to find service companies (like banks or cell phone providers) that have a heavy focus on environmental sustainability and preservation. So another way we support them indirectly is by purchasing products and services from the companies in their Green Pages, and who advertise with them.
I believe that if everybody voted more strongly with their wallets, not only would there be significant social and environmental change, the cost of that change would be reduced significantly due to economies of scale.
About the Pachamama Alliance: After watching a short film we received from Earth Cinema Circle, we felt very strongly about donating to this organization. Originally, large corporations were imposing on the rainforests in Southeatern Ecuador where the indiginous Achuar group lived. The corporations wanted to use the land for mining, lumber, and petroleum activities and the elders and shamans of the Achuar realized they couldn’t handle the situation alone, so they enlisted outside help.
With nearly 10 million rainforest trees being cut down per day, The Pachamama Alliance now focuses its environmental preservation efforts on the rainforests, and with a specific interest in areas where there are indigenous cultures. They feel that though there are many organizations helping to protect the environment, very few are focusing exclusively on the rainforests that provide significant help in maintaing balance in the Earth’s climate control system.
Why and how I support them: My heart strings got tugged, so we give them money every month 😉 You could say I like underdogs and with so few people protecting the rainforests, they could use a bit help… and then there’s also the fact that I like clean air, and rainforests certainly help in that endeavor.
Earth Cinema Circle
Okay, so this is sort of like a bonus / honorable mention. 🙂 Though they’re not a non-profit organization, they did introduce us to the Pachamama Alliance, and Earth Cinema Circle is affecting environmental and social change through entertainment and education.
We have been a part of this bi-monthly film club since it’s first volume last year (2008), and love the fact that they bring environmentally focused films to the general public… films that I might not have normally had the chance to see. Initially more of the films were fear-based (i.e. they’d show all the terrible things in the world, and then provide a few solutions at the end), but lately there’s been a lot more films focused primarily on empowerment and love rather than fear (I like the recent trend, personally).
These days, there’s so much information about being environmentally conscious, that it can be difficult to sift through and keep up with. That’s why it’s refreshing when the educational information is combined with entertainment, and at the same time is shipped straight to me… since I’m lazy 🙂
This post in The Green Butterfly Effect series was exclusively about organizations that I give money to, in some form, to enable them to affect positive change on my behalf… and a couple of them enable me personally as well. In the future, I’ll share a few different (and little) things we do in and around our home that collectively make a big difference.
Please share – what are some of the ways you are creating your own Green Butterfly Effect?