Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gifts that Give Back to the Earth

Contribute directly, or as a gift on behalf of a caring person on your list, to non-profits that work to save our planet and, therefore, ourselves.

Waste for Life teams design and engineering students and professionals with members of poor communities worldwide, from Argentina to Lesotho,in projects that make sustainable building materials out of trash. These 5 reasons to donate to Waste for Life can apply to most green and fair trade non-profit organizations. Be as generous as you can this year!

After this summer's tragic oil spill in the Gulf, the ocean and its threatened species need a lot of loving care. Adopt the Gulf or arctic seas, and denizens from porpoises to polar bears, with a gift to Oceana. Adopt 4 animals and get sea creature cookie cutters (I can't resist)! Contribute to the Blue Frontier Campaign. Support the work of Environmental Defense Fund, which works out ways to sustain natural resources, such as fisheries, in partnership with local industries such as small fishermen. Become a member of, and donate to, your local aquarium, or, if you haven't got one nearby, to one of the active ocean/estuary conservation organizations such as San Francisco's Aquarium of the Pacific .

Sponsor a specific national park or wilderness area through Sierra Club. Even Yosemite, Yellowstone and Sequoia need help! You can do so paper-free for $20 and up.If your recipient is a child, $25 will garner a stuffed animal (cougar, wolf) of a species that lives in that place, plus pictures and info.
And do check out Sierra columnist Avital Binschtock's generous roundup of fun, fresh, appealing fair trade and environmental gift ideas at Sierra Club's The Green Life blog .

Some green organizations offer some ungreen swag as membership premiums, such as petroleum-based plastic backpacks and the lot. That's why I'm stoked by Surfrider Foundation's organic cotton cap and tote in their membership package. Giving a membership supports annual state of the beach events, protection of ocean water quality, coastal open space and beach environments, marine life and habitat, and most of all, our waves!

Kokua Hawaii Foundation, which seeks to eliminate plastic waste and supports green education in public schools and community agriculture, gives an organic cotton bag to new members. In their store, you can buy prganic cotton onesies for babies and clean wave graphics on organic tshirts for grownups.

For other ethical giving opportunities, click here.

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