The planet needs our help year-round, not just on specific holidays. That’s why we need to stop saying we should take care of the environment on Earth Day — let’s actually do it.
You don’t need to chain yourself to an old-growth tree or buy an electric car to start saving the planet either. Just taking an afternoon to pick up trash in your neighborhood, recycling your old clothes, or giving a few dollars a month to a worthwhile non-profit organization helps a lot. The important thing is that we all do something — anything — to help the environment we depend on.
Here are six easy, but effective ways to help the planet this Earth Day:
The average person in the U.S. throws away about 70 lbs. of clothing and other textiles every year. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that this accounts for about 5% of all landfill space in the country. That’s why Royal Robbins started its Rewear Program. You can donate your old clothing — which will be re-worn, reused, recycled, or re-sold — and receive 25% off your next Royal Robbins purchase. All profits from the program go to the Yosemite Conservancy. It’s a win-win for everyone, and it’s as simple as cleaning out your closet and stopping off at the post office instead of the trash can.
Royal Robbins’ past, present, and future are inextricably connected with Yosemite National Park. Royal helped pioneer and define clean big-wall climbing on the northwest face of Half Dome and the other giant granite cliffs of Yosemite, and it’s one of America’s most popular parks — so preserving its history and protecting its future is important. One of the easiest ways to do that is by donating to the Yosemite Conservancy. It provides grants to help support the parks’ most urgent needs, like trails and habitat restoration or its Youth in Yosemite programs that introduce hundreds of kids to the great outdoors each year. Helping is as simple as making a one-time gift, or shopping on the Yosemite Conservancy’s online store, where all proceeds go to help the park.
One in five climbing areas in the U.S. is currently threatened by access issues — whether that’s private land being sold for development, or climber impacts degrading the environment. The Access Fund is the climbing community’s most influential and effective organization dedicated to help protect and manage these wild places. There’s lots of ways you can help, too, including: a one-time donation, an annual membership, or even joining one of their local volunteer events at your home crag.
The only nationwide organization that promotes and protects foot trails and the wild spaces that surround them, the American Hiking Society offers multiple ways to help protect the trails you care about. A single donation or an annual membership can help them lobby in congress to preserve environmental protections, or you can actually put your boots on the ground by joining one of its local volunteer efforts near you. You can even take a volunteer vacation.
Founded in 1919, the National Parks Conservation Association is a one million member-strong, independent, non-partisan organization that works tirelessly to preserve, protect, and educate the public about America’s National Parks. Whether it’s defending clean air and water protection for our nation’s parks, or helping to ensure our parks stay adequately staffed, even a small donation to the NPCA goes a long way.
Any list of worthwhile NGOs that work to help the environment wouldn’t be complete without the World Wildlife Fund, the world’s largest conservation organization. With over six million members, it operates in 100 different countries, supporting around 1,300 environmental and conservation projects around the globe, protecting our planet’s oceans, coasts, forests, and freshwater areas. You can make donations to whatever cause is most important to you, whether that’s protecting Monarch butterflies or African elephants and lions.
An added bonus: You can help the environment while you shop. This month we’re donating 10% of the proceeds of the HemplineTM Collection to the Conservation Alliance. Be sure to read up and find out more about this multi-faceted, eco-friendly fabric.