There is an abundance of organizations working to create long-lasting environmental change through advocating for science-based solutions, funding sustainability practices, and creating new models for supporting healthy ecosystems. Below are just a few of these groups, covering a range of focus areas, you can get involved with.
As you research these organizations, recall your immediate surroundings. Consider the beach you live near, the local farm, or the infrastructure of your major city. When you get involved with organizations that share positive resources for the environment, this can help you forge a new relationship with your immediate surroundings. And the recommendations for environmental action these orgs provide can make a big impact on the ecosystem of your community. You’ll also find a wealth of information on these websites that can inform your conversations with neighbors and local policy-makers.
The final section of this page provides information about various organizations working to support and connect elders with community resources and education about environmentalism, sustainable living, spirituality, and wisdom in older adulthood.
Union of Concerned Scientists
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) works at the intersection of science and advocacy, harnessing rigorous science and technical analysis in pursuit of effective policy solutions that will address various elements of climate change. The organization’s work rests on five pillars:
- Alleviating the harm caused by heat, sea level rise, and rising emissions
- Developing sustainable ways to feed and power humanity
- Reducing the threat of nuclear war
- Shedding light on scientific misinformation from corporations or lobbying groups
- Ensuring racial and economic equity in proposed solutions
Find ways to get involved, such as supporting congressional efforts, with this work on UCS’s take action page.
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) calls itself “America’s food and health watchdog” and provides extensive resources on how to make the healthiest and most sustainable food choices at home as well as writing about food safety and biotechnology.
You can get involved with CSPI by helping to fund a fellowship with the organization or learning about its core issues and contacting your representatives.
Sierra Club, one of the US’s longest-standing environmental organizations, focuses on climate solutions, protecting the natural world, establishing environmental justice, and promoting human-environment interactions. Explore its key issues to learn more about this nonprofit, which was established in 1892.
Get involved with Sierra Club by joining one of its campaigns, starting a fundraising campaign, or becoming a volunteer in a local chapter, with both in-person and from-home opportunities. Sierra Club reminds us that we not only have a responsibility to protect our natural world but also many opportunities to appreciate and revere it.
The Natural Resources Defense Council works to safeguard the interconnected systems of the Earth—its people, other animals, and plants. It strives to make the future a safer, healthier, more sustainable one for generations to come. NRDC, like UCS, employs science and data in designing environmental solutions on local, national, and international levels.
Find ways to take action with NRDC at home, with lawmakers, and in direct response to big polluters.
Green America (formerly Co-op America) focuses on economic change that supports a sustainable society. It does so on multiple levels—consumer mobilization, the green business network, and large-scale solutions—to effectively address the myriad factors of environmental and economic sustainability.
If you run a business, explore the Green Business Network to find out how you can contribute to a green economy. Or get involved with its Center for Sustainability Solutions to participate in a conversation with other businesses, NJOs, and communities about innovative solutions to sustainability challenges. Individuals can join Green America’s green economy campaigns to engage with economic players and learn how to put their money to good use.
Environmental Working Group
EWG provides education to the public about healthier and safer food, water, and consumer products. The organization also conducts research on farming, conservation programs, water systems, and chemical contamination to help you stay on top of the issues and know what needs to be addressed with your representatives.
They offer many ways to provide financial support for their research and initiatives.
Recyclebank helps transfer the benefits of recycling to residents directly, working with cities and consumer organizations to reward individual recycling efforts. You can join the program to earn points that translate into deals at local businesses and on sustainable goods. The organization also provides comprehensive information for consumers on how to recycle household goods, like luggage, keys, and chipped dishes, as well as what to do with pesky waste like plastic air pillows and disposable coffee lids.
If you or a loved one is involved with a school, keep your eyes out for Recyclebank’s upcoming Green Schools Program.
The Ocean Conservancy employs research and advocacy to protect our oceans, which cover 71 percent of the Earth’s surface and contain 90 percent of habitable space on the planet. Working on both national and international projects, this organization focuses on both healthy oceans and sustainable coastal communities.
Get involved with the Ocean Conservancy by following their action tips for current projects, which include protecting endangered species and regulating drilling.
Collaborative on Health and the Environment
Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) promotes human health by connecting it to environmental health. It has built a robust learning community with webinars for the public, listservs for researchers and policy makers, a database of chemical contaminants, and a new educational site called Because Health that strives to translate science into individual action.
Look to CHE for in-depth education on the various ways environmental health impacts human health based on current research.
Ecochallenge (formerly Northwest Earth Institute) focuses on making connections between individual action, collective impact, and global change. It does this through a lens of justice, holding up the need to include marginalized communities in creating access to resources and connecting diverse groups of people in the work to create a sustainable future.
If you’re looking to start a conversation in your community about sustainability, look to Ecochallenge’s discussion course books as a way to frame your interactions and stay focused. Join one of the org’s ecochallenges to take individual action on fronts such as reducing plastic use or reducing atmospheric carbon. Or get support for organizing an ecochallenge for your community.
Support the youth group that’s on the leading edge of demanding action on climate change. This “army of young people” is fighting for the Green New Deal, “the 10-year plan to mobilize every aspect of American society to 100% clean and renewable energy by 2030, a guaranteed living-wage job for anyone who needs one, and a just transition for both workers and frontline communities.”
Center for Humans and Nature
Center for Humans and Nature seeks to expand “our natural and civic imagination” through articles, videos, books, and a quarterly journal. Their contributors include Rebecca Solnit, adrienne maree brown, David Abram, and many other writers, educators, and business leaders. These contributors respond to questions about creating a resilient future, and many other writers offer insights on the transforming cities to interconnected and sustainable hubs.
Donate to support the Center’s vision and ongoing educational resources.
Elders Climate Action
Elders Climate Action, a project of Elders Action Network, brings together older climate activists in working toward a just and sustainable future for their children and grandchildren. Their focus is on collective action, and they offer many ways to get involved in this work, including educational resources for individuals to make more sustainable choices at home and partnership opportunities for other organizations.
Institute of Noetic Sciences
The Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) harnesses the power of science to explore and deepen understanding of interconnection: within humanity and between humans and nature. Drawing on both ancient wisdom and modern scientific knowledge, IONS promotes the idea that our inner wisdom, found in lived experiences, can serve as a source of clarity that helps us build a more compassionate and sustainable world.To get involved, check out the EarthRise Retreat Center or the organization’s various experiential programs.
Greenfaith is “building a worldwide, multi-faith climate and environmental movement” with the goal of envisioning and creating resilient communities in which we all believe in dignity for all people and reverence for the Earth. There are many ways to get involved with this movement. Get involved with a day of action; join or start a Greenfaith Circle to work on personal transformation, institutional leadership, and systemic change; or attend an online training where you will learn more about the power of organizing, community resilience, and spiritual insights from world religions about the Earth and environmental justice.
Sage-ing is about aging consciously through life’s transitions and challenges. The organization is based on the concept of an elder as “a person who is still growing, still a learner . . . whose work it is to synthesize wisdom . . . and to formulate this into a legacy for future generations.” Sage-ong International offers a way to connect with other elders who are focused on tapping into collective wisdom and spirit toward the goal of sharing that wisdom with the next generations. Learn about existing chapters and contact the org to learn how to create your own.
AARP, the largest organization for elders in the US, offers many educational resources for everything from health to work to money. What’s more, they coordinate local mutual aid groups to help community members support each other. And check out their Policy Book for more information on the organization’s stance on livable and sustainable communities, accessible transportation, civic engagement, and other matters relevant to elders. There are many benefits to becoming an AARP member.
National Continuing Care Residents Association
The National Continuing Care Residents Association (NaCCRA) is a non-profit organization of residents and prospective residents of Continuing Care Retirement Communities. Family members of CCRC residents and others concerned for aging in America are also welcome to become NaCCRA members.
Fierce with Age
Fierce with Age, a collection of resources about conscious aging hosted by Carol Osborn, provides elders with content about wisdom and spirituality in older adulthood. In these archives you’ll find writing from both classic philosophers and modern thinkers.