imagesThis is a listing of some enviro-relevant groups in Canada (though not all of them are focused solely on environmental issues).

Even for those of us who aren’t Canadian, it’s important to support stronger Canadian environmental and climate protection efforts, especially at a time when there is more political will in Canada for environmental protection than there had been in the recent past, while the U.S. government is heading in a decidedly anti-environmental direction at the federal level rather than demonstrating international leadership.

Also, many international environmental organizations have a Canadian office or programs that include Canada.  For example, ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) has a Canadian office (and many Canadian cities and towns are members of ICLEI).

If you know of other environmental (or environmentally-relevant) groups in Canada, please mention them in the Comments. Thanks!

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January 26, 2018
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photo by Erica Gies

photo by Erica Gies

Trees are life enablers and life protectors. They are air cleaners and oxygen makers, making it possible for us to breathe (i.e., live). They mitigate climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide; one tree can sequester up to 50 pounds of CO2 per year, and an acre of forest can absorb twice the CO2 produced by the average car’s annual mileage. Trees also filter some pollutants out of the water and soil, and they can prevent or control flooding. They provide habitat to many species. They provide shade (natural cooling, which reduces energy use for AC cooling). Some trees provide food (fruit and nuts) for us to eat. Being near trees boosts our mental health and clarity. Their presence increases property values for homes and neighborhoods, and they contribute much-needed beauty to our world. So many benefits.

Despite all of the ways that trees contribute to (and are necessary for) our health and wellbeing, a recent study found that during the past 12,000 years of human civilization, humans have wiped out almost half of the trees on earth. Around 15 billion trees are cut down each year (to make wood products, pulp, and paper, and to clear land for cattle grazing, palm oil plantations, other agricultural uses, and development). (Click here for other Forest Facts.) We are destroying our own life support system. We are also losing millions of trees to drought in some areas, and also to the growing number of severe wildfires, which are both worsened by climate change and simultaneously contributing to climate change through additional carbon emissions, in a vicious cycle (AKA a feedback loop).23208221_10155936458843007_9218184974786625536_n

We need to prevent deforestation, and also to reforest and regreen our world. We can start with our own yards, gardens, fields, or towns. Plant a tree, or two or three!

[NOTE: If you celebrate Christmas and you traditionally mark the occasion with a cut-down (i.e., killed) xmas tree, how about starting a new tradition: you could get a living (potted and replantable) tree instead (do a web search for the words “living Christmas trees” or “live xmas trees” and your county name to see if there are places near you that offer these; or just go get a live, plantable tree from a nursery). Alternatively, you could put ornaments or lights on a tree that’s already growing in your yard. Or get creative and make a wreath or a table/mantle decoration from evergreen trimmings, and forego having an xmas tree at all (gasp!). In a climate crisis (which is what we are in now), and with millions of trees being destroyed by wildfires, drought, and deforestation every year, I think it’s entirely fair and appropriate to question some traditions (such as our Great Annual Xmas Tree Massacre) and start up some new ones. Don’t you? Regardless of what you choose to do for Christmas, you can always make a donation to a reforestation group or a local tree-planting group. You will find a partial list of organizations below.]

You can also have a tree planted in someone’s name (e.g., “adopt” or “sponsor” a tree in their honor) as a gift for Christmas or any other occasion—through groups like the Arbor Day Foundation, Cool Earth, Trees for a Change, Redwood Forest Foundation, etc.

imagesfscOne good way to reduce extreme deforestation (the clear-cutting of forests) is to look for FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood and paper products, as well as Rainforest Alliance-certified products (see logos to the right)—and of course reduce, reuse, and recycle all forest/paper products.

Earlier this year, 1.5 million volunteers planted a record 66 million trees in 12 hours in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India. Other groups are starting to use drones to plant seeds or saplings, to reforest areas much more quickly and efficiently than can be done by hand (there have been articles on this in Fast Company and Wired magazine, among other publications). Note: Climate- and site-appropriate (native or adapted) trees should be selected when planting trees. And forests should not be planted over native, wild grasslands, which also sequester carbon.

There are many anti-deforestation efforts as well as local tree-planting and global reforestation organizations around the world, including:

Also check out these online tools:

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December 6, 2017
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We have published numerous posts that provide listings of various type of non-profit* groups (related to specific topics and issues), so we thought we’d provide an index of all of them to make them easy to find. Many of the groups that we’ve mentioned in our posts are based in the United States, but some are international organizations and a few are focused on other countries:

In the near future, we will be adding more organization listings, including anti-nuclear groups, Canadian environmental groups, midwestern environmental groups, wildlife protection/conservation and domestic animal protection groups, and others.

* NOTE: Not all of the organizations mentioned in the above posts are 501(c)(3) non-profits. If you want to know whether you would be eligible to get a tax deduction for your donation to an organization, please check with each organization.

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November 21, 2017
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1hx7bwmthtg5ekjaeb4fxegAlmost 2,300 businesses around the world (from more than 50 countries and 130 different industries) have now gone through the B Impact Assessment and have become certified as B Corporations (by B Lab), as of Autumn 2017. “The B Impact Assessment gives companies a score based on how they perform on metrics for impact on their communities, the environment, workers, and customers.” A few of the largest and most well-known B Corporations are: Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Seventh Generation, Method, Etsy, and Natura.

The annual Best for the World ratings highlight businesses that have scored in the top 10 percent of all Certified B Corporations on the assessment. “Companies that have scored in the top percentiles across a majority of the assessment’s categories, based on company size, are honored as Best for the World Overall, and companies that have scored in the top percentiles in a given category, again based on company size, are honored as Best for the Environment, Best for Community, Best for Workers, and Best for Customers.” This year, some companies have also been designated as Best for the Long Term (based on the company’s Governance ratings). In 2017, 846 companies have qualified for at least one of these Best for the World categories, and 176 companies are considered Best for the World Overall. Below we’ve listed a subset of those companies.

The following are 24 companies that not only achieved the 2017 Overall “Best for the World” designation, but also achieved at least two specific category ratings, including the Best for the Environment category:

A to Z  Wineworks

Alter Eco

Bolder Industries

Catalyst Partnersclimatesmart_logo_large_0

Climate Smart Business, Inc. (Canada)

Dopper BV (Netherlands)

Dr. Bronner’s

Eco-Bags Products

ECO2LIBRIUM (Kenya)

Ecotrust Forest Management (EFM)

Grounds for Change

Hepburn Wind (Australia)

Inesscents Aromatic Botanicals

MOVIN (Brazil)

New Belgium Brewing Co.

Northeast Green Building Consulting

Papel Semente Ind e Comercio (Brazil)patagonia4

Patagonia, Inc.

Saul Good Gift Co. (Canada)

South Mountain Company

SQUIZ (France)

xrunner Venture (Peru)

Yellow Leaf Hammocks

YouGreen Cooperativa (Brazil)

The B Corporations with some of the highest overall scores include: South Mountain Company (score: 183), ECO2LIBRIUM (score: 180), Patagonia, Ecotrust Forest Management (EFM), Trillium Asset Management, Portafolio Verde (Colombia), Alter Eco, Home Care Associates of Philadelphia, Yellow Leaf Hammocks, Dr. Bronner’s, and RSF Capital Management/Social Finance.

Click here to read stories about some of the Best for the World B Corporations.

And click here to find other B Corps, including ones in your region. (You can search by location, name, industry, or keyword.)

Related posts:

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September 28, 2017
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These are some organizations within the United States that focus on issues related to Environmental Justice (a movement that bridges environmental, economic, and social equity concerns). This is a partial list; feel free to note additional groups in the Comments:

Green For Allgreen-for-all-logo-web
Center for Health, Environment & Justice
Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment
Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice
Environmental Justice Leadership Forum on Climate Change
Center for Diversity & the Environment
       (including the Environmental Professionals of Color network)
Sierra Club’s Equity, Inclusion, and Justice program

unknownCalifornia Environmental Justice Coalition – CEJC
California Environmental Justice Alliance
Communities For A Better Environment
 (CBE, CA)
East Yard Communities for Environmental Justice (East Los Angeles, CA)

Groundswell  (Mid-Atlantic states)
Louisiana Bucket Brigade
Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (Southwest uranium-impacted communities)
Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (Chicago, IL)
Alternatives for Community & Environment (Roxbury, MA)
Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition (OVEC, WV)

 

Some of the large, mainstream environmental groups are trying to do a better job (than they have historically) of being inclusive, reaching out to more people of color and to economically disadvantaged populations, and recognizing and addressing environmental discrimination, equity, and justice issues.

At the same time, minority groups will continue to find camaraderie and empowerment through initiatives within their communities. These are environmental groups formed by and for Latinos, Indigenous/Native Americans (and native Canadians), African Americans, and Asian Americans, respectively:

gl_logoGreenLatinos
Voces Verdes: Latino Leadership in Action
Latino Outdoors
Chispa (LCV)
Chispa Nevada
Chispa AZ
Juntos: Our Air, Our Water (New Mexico)
Protégete: Nuestro futuro vale la lucha (Conservation Colorado)
Chispa Connecticut
Chispa Maryland – Maryland League of Conservation Voters

kiitgimagelinkIndigenous Environmental Network
Honor the Earth
Indigenous Climate Action
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe
Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition
Native American Land Conservancy
Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture Institute
Black Mesa Water Coalition
Unist’ot’en Camp (BC, Canada)
Idle No More
Indian Law Resource Center
Lakota People’s Law Project
Native Renewables
Lakota Solar Enterprises
GRID Alternatives‘ Tribal solar program

Hip Hop Caucus
Outdoor Afro

Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN)

 

The following are a few environmental justice (EJ) leaders whom you might want to follow on social media (please note others in the Comments):

Dr. Robert D. Bullard, Winona LaDuke, Van Jones, Aaron Mair, Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr., Vien Truong, Dallas Goldtooth, Majora Carter, Andrea Delgado, Adrianna Quintero, Hilton Kelley, Lois Gibbs, Erin Brockovich, Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honore, Maria Gunnoe.

 

“The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you can alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change the world.”
– James Baldwin

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July 20, 2017
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Listed below are some of the posts on The Green Spotlight that include information related to sustainable land use,  e.g., land conservation and stewardship, sustainable agriculture and permaculture, regenerative and restorative land use, sustainable home/homestead and neighborhood planning and development, and resilience. Links to other resources (organizations and websites) on these topics are also provided, at the bottom of this post.

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Also see our selection of Quotations for Gardeners, Farmers, and Others on Mother Earth News.

 

Other relevant resources:

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May 30, 2017
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goldmanprizelogo-300x106The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world’s largest and most prestigious annual award for grassroots environmentalists. Many people refer to it as the “green Nobel.” Goldman Prize winners are models of courage, and their stories are powerful and truly inspiring. “The Prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment, often at great personal risk. Each winner receives a financial award of $175,000. The Goldman Prize views ‘grassroots’ leaders as those involved in local efforts, where positive change is created through community or citizen participation in the issues that affect them. Through recognizing these individual leaders, the Prize seeks to inspire other ordinary people to take extraordinary actions to protect the natural world.” 2017 is the prize’s 28th year.

This year’s six prize recipients (one from each of the six inhabited continental regions) are:

  • Rodgrigo Tot—Guatemala: An indigenous leader in Guatemala’s Agua Caliente, Rodrigo Tot led his community to a landmark court decision that ordered the government to issue land titles to the Q’eqchi people and kept environmentally destructive nickel mining from expanding into his community. (Relevant organizations: Defensoria Q’eqchi’ and Indian Law Resource Center)
  • Wendy Bowman—Australia: In the midst of an onslaught of coal development in Australia, octogenarian Wendy Bowman stopped a powerful multinational mining company from taking her family farm and protected her community in Hunter Valley from further pollution and environmental destruction. (Relevant petition: Stop the Hunter Coal Rush)
  • Prafulla Samantara—India: An iconic leader of social justice movements in India, Prafulla Samantara led a historic 12-year legal battle that affirmed the indigenous Dongria Kondh’s land rights and protected the Niyamgiri Hills from a massive, open-pit aluminum ore mine.
  • Uros Macerl—Slovenia: Uroš Macerl, an organic farmer from Slovenia, successfully stopped a cement kiln from co-incinerating petcoke with hazardous industrial waste by rallying legal support from fellow Eko Krog activists and leveraging his status as the only citizen allowed to challenge the plant’s permits. (Relevant organization: Eko Krog)

Click on each recipient’s name to read a longer profile—and watch a brief, well-produced video—about each person’s remarkable efforts and achievements.

Here’s the video about Mark Lopez of East Los Angeles:

And here’s the video about Wendy Bowman of New South Wales, Australia:

Posts on Goldman Prize winners from previous years:

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April 25, 2017
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We post daily morsels of illuminating information and inspiration on The Green Spotlight’s Facebook Page. Anyone can view the page, even if you don’t have a Facebook account. If you do have an account, we hope you’ll click on the page’s Like button (if you haven’t already “Liked” the page) and Share the page with your friends.

Please visit the Page to get a sense of the various topics that it covers. We hope you’ll share some of our links. To make sure that Facebook will continue to show you our posts on your Facebook homepage/newsfeed, visit our page regularly and give a thumbs-up to (“Like”) your favorite posts.

Here’s a sampling of topics that we’ve highlighted on the page over the last month or so:

  • March for Science (April 22); and People’s Climate March (April 29)
  • Grist 50: The Fixers
  • Pueblo, Colorado commits to 100% renewable energy
  • New electric, hybrid, and fuel-efficient vehicles
  • Maryland’s Republican Governor calls for fracking ban
  • Bald eagles dying from lead-ammo poisoning
  • Project Drawdown’s list of effective climate strategies
  • Grid Alternatives’ Solar Spring Break projects
  • Solar in tribal communities
  • Quotations, graphics, photos, videos, etc.
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March 22, 2017
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Here are some fine words of wisdom, advice, encouragement, and inspiration that seem useful in these times. I hope that these words will help give you renewed hope, motivation, strength, and courage whenever you need a boost.

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
– Andy Warhol

“I always wondered why somebody doesn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.”
– Lily Tomlin

“If you don’t like the news…go out and make some of your own.”
– Wes Nisker

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— Eleanor Roosevelt

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”
– William James

“At the end of your life, the world will either be a more or less loving, compassionate, caring place because of your presence.”
– John Pavolvitz

— Jane Goodall

“The individual is capable of both great compassion and great indifference. He has it within his means to nourish the former and outgrow the latter.”
– Norman Cousins

“We must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.”
— J.K. Rowling

— Amelia Earhart

“You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give.”
– Edward O. Wilson

“Common sense is seeing things as they are, and doing things as they ought to be.”
– Harriet Beecher Stowe

“The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world your best and it may not be enough. Give your best anyway.”
– Mother Teresa

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– Mark Twain

“What after all has maintained the human race on this old globe, despite all the calamities of nature and all the tragic failings of mankind, if not the faith in new possibilities and the courage to advocate them.”
– Jane Addams

“There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew.”
— Marshall McLuhan

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”
– Nelson Mandela

“Nobody made a bigger mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.”
– Edmund Burke

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.”
– Edward Everett Hale

“If you try, you risk failure. If you don’t, you ensure it.”
– source unknown

— Robert Louis Stevenson

“It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”
– Jiddu Krishnamurti

“For every problem there is a solution that is simple, clean, and wrong.”
– Henry Louis Mencken

“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it matters most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”
– Haile Selassie

— MLK, Jr.

“If we do not change direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.”
— Chinese proverb

On Priorities

“Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

– Henry David Thoreau

“Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.”
– Edward Abbey

“We spend more time developing means of escaping our troubles than we do solving the troubles we’re trying to escape from.”
– David Lloyd

“Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem, in my opinion, to characterize our age.”
– Albert Einstein

On Effective Approaches

“The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you can alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change the world.”
– James Baldwin

– Buckminster Fuller

“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”
– Chinese proverb

“Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

 

Also read this letter by E.B. White:

(Excerpts): “It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right.”  “As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate.”

…and this letter by Clarissa Pinkola Estes, which begins:

“Do not lose heart. We were made for these times.”

 

Related posts:

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February 28, 2017
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