This holiday season, give a gift donation to an environmental organization. Of course, it's also a great birthday, bar/bat mitzvah or wedding gift. Charitable giving to environmental groups or green causes is a very thoughtful gift to your loved one, as well to the Earth.
In the spirit of thinking globally and acting locally, why not find environmental groups or green causes near your giftee? This is an especially thoughtful idea for loved ones who live far away from you. One excellent resource for finding environmental and other worthwhile charities is Charity Navigator
, the organization that investigates and ranks non-profits by their effectiveness (many of the groups listed below have achieved Charity Navigator’s top-tier ranking of 4 stars). You can search their site by region, category -- environment, arts, health, etc. -- and by ranking. They also have a great holiday gift-giving guide.
Trees for a Change
What's greener than a tree? Perhaps a tree planted in a national forest that's been scorched by wildfire. Trees for a Change
might just be the perfect sustainable gift donation. National forests across America have been devastated by an unprecedented forest fires and acid rain
in the past few years, and the seedlings from Trees for a Change are native specimens planted in burn areas by Forest Service tree experts.
Karl Weatherly/Getty Images
For lovers of the great outdoors, an annual pass to America’s national parks
, forests and recreation areas is a great gift donation that they can use year-round, no matter where they live. New interagency passes are good at all sites administered by the U.S. Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management. State parks and natural lands often have annual passes as well. (While you’re at it, grab a pass for yourself!)
Dude, the oceans are in peril! But Surfrider Foundation
has been on the leading edge of environmental stewardship for over 20 years, and their record of success is impressive. A charitable gift donation includes membership at only $44 and comes with many sweet perks and other cool green gifts.
Karl Weatherly/Getty Images
A gift membership to the National Audubon Society
will ensure that the group can continue their success at conserving and restoring natural ecosystems. A gift donation of a year's membership includes a subscription to award-winning Audubon
magazine, plus access to wildlife sanctuaries, nature centers and local chapter activities nationwide.
is one of America’s most respected environmental groups, and a charitable gift membership to NRDC will help them continue their work on behalf of our disappearing wilderness places. Join over one million members who are working to curb global warming, build a sustainable energy economy and preserve wilderness.
Perhaps the world's leading environmental organization, the Sierra Club
has been fighting the good fight for over 100 years. A charitable gift membership includes a subscription to their celebrated magazine Sierra
, as well as a handsome expedition backpack.
Jeff Yonover/Nature Conservancy
The Nature Conservancy
has a variety of ways you can make a charitable gift donation, from helping to save the beautiful northern jaguar (native to the U.S.) to adopting an acre of critical habitat in a beautiful area of Costa Rica, Africa or Australia. They also offer holiday e-cards and, of course, gift memberships that include Nature Conservancy
magazine and other member benefits.