Today is Giving Tuesday. After taking time to connect with loved ones and reflect on all that we’re grateful for over Thanksgiving, today we give back — by a massive thunderclap of donations to charity.
Some predict that we’ll collectively reach in our pockets and donate over $3 billion today. That’s incredible. But where is that money going?
According to Charity Navigator,Health, education and human services are the top three causes that receive the most philanthropic money. This is logical. All of us want to be healthy and provide shelter, food, and family support for the less fortunate. We also want to give the youth a bright future.
The climate oversight
However, there’s a glaring omission in our collective thought process here. ClimateWorks Foundation says that mitigating climate changes receives a total of less than 2 percentof all charitable contributions worldwide. According to a recent survey, less than 1% of all charitable donations are made in the United States. McKinsey report. We give 20 percent tips to our baristas and servers, but can’t muster more than 1 percent of our giving to protect the planet that sustains our very existence?
As a reminder, climate change is “the single biggest health threat facing humanity” according to the WHOIt is threatening our survival as an species as well as the functioning of the biosphere. There are only a few years left before we can act to stop the warming reaching dangerous levels. Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, spoke out when the UN released the most recent scientific report about climate change. called it “a code red for humanity.”
To address the climate crisis as the emergency it is, it seems we have the order in which our philanthropic giving priorities reversed. Instead of giving 99 percent of our charitable donations to the climate crisis, we should give 1 percent to all other causes.
It is not worth donating to health care organisations when fossil fuel pollution is killing. 10 million peopleWhat is the average year? How effective can we be in battling hunger when climate change will turn some of the world’s largest food-producing regions into deserts? How can we hope to improve our children’s futures if we ignore that on average we now experience a $1 billion weather disasterEach 18-day cycle, which will only get more dire if climate change is not addressed. What hope will we have for a peaceful world if millions are forced to? flee their countriesClimate change-induced droughts or famines can lead to conflicts over limited resources.
Individual giving is important
One of the biggest challenges we face when it comes to the climate crisis is how ordinary citizens can help. It can seem like a huge problem. How can a little old man make a difference?
But here’s another interesting statistic. In the U.S. 80 percentIndividual giving accounts for over half of all charitable donations. That’s right. While we might often think about foundations and corporations as the big donors, it’s actually us.
And that’s pretty empowering.
At the UN recent COP26 climate conference, we saw world leaders make passionate speeches about protecting our planet, and less passionate commitments to taking action — often hamstrung by politics back home. In fact, just days after President BidenJoe BidenDearborn office of Rep. Debbie Dingell vandalized Pfizer to apply for COVID-19 booster approval for 16- and 17-year-olds: report Coronavirus variant raises fresh concerns for economy MOREHis administration oversaw the return from Glasgow. largest oil and gas leaseIn U.S. History.
But we mustn’t despair. Given the growing role of money and politics in politics, who could have expected anything more from our world leaders?
The truth is, despite the lack of progress on the national or international level, most of the progress we’ve seen on climate has come from local governments, businesses and civil society, thanks in no small part to philanthropy.
Michelle Wu, the Democratic mayor of Boston, was elected recently. She signed an ordinance divestingThe city received funds from all fossil fuel investments within her first day on the job. This is due to decades of organizing by the fossil-fuel divestment movement, fueled by nonprofit grassroots organisations that rely upon philanthropy for their work.
California Governor. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomAppeals court blocks California vaccine mandate for prison workers Apple, Nordstrom stores hit in latest smash-and-grab robberies Ted Cruz ribs Newsom over vacation in Mexico: ‘Cancun is much nicer than Cabo’ MORE (D) banned oil and gas drillingin communities. Oregon Gov. Kate BrownKate BrownBBB threatens the role of parents in raising — and educating — children Equilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Altria — Obama pushes world to do more at COP26 Hawaii governor urges bolder climate action: Net zero is ‘not good enough’ MORE(D) signed a law making the state. 100 percent clean energy poweredBy 2040. The results were also the product of decades of organizing and the philanthropic dollars which made it possible.
This is also true for the fight against the fossil fuel pipelines that have won decisive victories such as stopping the Keystone XLClimate activists, pipeline getting seats on the ExxonMobil board,as well as non-profits, that are leading the clean electricity transition. All of these organizations are essential in educating the next generation of clean-energy leaders, making renewable energy financing available to all, and being early-stage investors into cleantech startups. It is important that key organizations continue to educate communities on electric vehicles, as well as fighting for bike lanes in their cities and investing in public transit.
Despite the fact that there has been no progress from Washington or UN, we can be assured that many groups are working to create the foundation for a just and clean energy transition. And it’s up to us to support them in that work.
This Giving Tuesday, let’s reverse the trend of giving so little to climate. Donate generously to organizations working towards equitable climate solutions. Our philanthropic giving is one of the most important levers we have to fight climate change.
Andreas Karelas is author of the book “Climate Courage: How Tackling Climate Change Can Build Community, Transform the Economy, and Bridge the Political Divide in America” published by Beacon Press. He is also the executive director and founder of RE-volva non-profit climate justice organisation that assists fellow nonprofits go solar. Follow him on Twitter @AndreasKarelas