How our global network provides aid during this global pandemic:
During the COVID-19 crisis, environmentalists are trying to find the silver lining in these stay-at-home and social distancing orders: declining air pollution, depleting carbon emissions and even stories of wildlife returning to natural spaces. However, if nothing changes when the world moves past the pandemic, these shimmering glimpses of hope will also prove temporary.
Instead, we hope that this worldwide wake-up call not only sheds light on our health care systems, but also the undeniable correlation between our health and the health of our planet.
1% for the Planet members support a vast network of environmental organizations that focus on six main issue areas: climate, food, land, pollution, water and wildlife. With the clear tie between the health of our environment and the health of humanity, many 1% for the Planet approved nonprofits are working around the clock to both mitigate our environmental crisis as well as provide relief to those affected by this pandemic.
The list below outlines just some of the nonprofits in the 1% for the Planet network providing COVID-19 relief. These environmental nonprofits are on the frontlines ensuring food security for all, providing public health programs and preventing the spread of future catastrophic viruses through conservation.
In short, they are doing what they do best: providing environmental solutions to ensure that our planet and future generations thrive.
Food security: fighting waste and feeding people.
Big Green connects kids with real food through a network of Learning Gardens and food literacy programs that promote youth wellness. Understanding the importance of food security and nutrition, Big Green launched a Rapid Response Fund in response to the threat of COVID-19.
“Big Green’s communities suffer from inequities in education, health and fresh food availability. For our students, COVID-19 has the potential to set them back further.”
Conscious Alliance prevents food waste by seeking donations from food companies that have close-to-code products, inventory mistakes, imperfect (but safe) foods and product lines going through rebranding, and then distributes that food to underserved and communities in need.
“Our goal is to ensure that families have nourishment. With schools closing, kids lose access to meal programs that many rely upon. The need for our work becomes even more critical. In addition, as more people have to take off work, the population that needs our help will be expanding.” - Justin Levy, Executive Director of Conscious Alliance
Food Forward fights hunger and prevents food waste by rescuing fresh surplus produce to supply those in need. In response to COVID-19, the Food Forward team has adapted their efforts to establish distribution hubs to serve community members and local hunger relief agencies.
ReFED aims to create a future where food waste prevention is recognized as an untapped strategy that can save resources, create jobs, alleviate hunger, conserve water and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In response to the pandemic crisis, ReFED is working with their partner organizations to ensure excess food gets to the people who need it most.
Food Recovery Network unites students at colleges and universities to fight food waste and hunger by recovering perishable food that would otherwise go to waste from campus dining halls and donating it to those in need. In response to COVID-19, Food Recovery Network aimed to make it easy for businesses, schools and restaurants that are temporarily closing their doors to donate excess food to those in need via their Food Recovery Guide.
Public health: environmental health is public health
EcoHealth Alliance leads cutting-edge scientific research into the critical connections between human and wildlife health and delicate ecosystems. With this science, they develop solutions that prevent pandemics and promote conservation. In short, EcoHealth Alliance isn’t just on the front lines of COVID-19 research, they’re also busy working preventing the next global pandemic. This video highlights how this organization works to protect humans and wildlife from the emergence of disease.
Health in Harmony works to create community-led solutions for human health and the health of our planet. As a member of the Planetary Health Alliance, and a leader of Planetary Health in-action, Health in Harmony works with academic institutions, medical professionals, businesses and NGOs to explore innovative solutions to health and environmental challenges. Currently, they are running emergency COVID-19 relief efforts that support rainforest conservation. You can donate here.
Pure Water for the World knows that safe water, sanitization and healthy hygiene practices are critical to the general health and wellbeing of all people. This organization works to provide all communities with access to safe water and proper sanitation education to sustain future generations. During COVID-19, safe water and sanitation prove paramount, which is why they’ve set up an emergency fund to bring these needs to communities around the world. Check out how their work is already impacting people in Honduras and Haiti.
Wildlife conservation: stop trafficking to stop the spread.
In this video message, Dr. Jane Goodall explains the relationship between wildlife trafficking, conservation and zoonotic viruses like the coronavirus. Scientific research has proven time and time again that the health of humanity depends deeply on a healthy environment with diverse and thriving ecosystems. In order to prevent future pandemics, we must prevent the degradation of wildlife habitats and stop wildlife trafficking. Below are just a few wildlife nonprofits in the 1% for the Planet network that are fighting for just that:
The Thin Green Line Foundation protects wildlife’s protectors: park rangers. Park rangers are vital to our planet’s ecosystems as they protect wildlife from poaching and illegal trade. That’s why the Thin Green Line Foundation works to provide park rangers with the support they need to protect threatened species around the world.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare protects animals to ensure that our planet and people can thrive together. In response to COVID-19, IFAW rescue teams donated much-need N95 masks to local hospitals. However, with their conservation efforts, IFAW is also working to prevent the next great outbreak that threatens humanity.
Curious about how wildlife conservation prevents the spread of human viruses? IFAW answers all your COVID-19 questions.
The Wildlife Conservation Society aims to conserve the world’s largest wild places in 14 priority regions, home to more than 50% of the planet’s biodiversity. As they explain below, protecting these regions and wildlife, also protects us from future outbreaks.
“WCS is on the frontlines of this issue to halt the wildlife trade and the ‘wet markets’ where animals are sold and viral outbreaks develop. WCS also remains dedicated to carrying on with our important work to save wildlife, protect nature’s strongholds and inspire people to value nature around the world. Your partnership is more important than ever.”
For all COVID-19 and conservation related news, follow the Wildlife Conservation Society’s updates.
How will you step up?
The environmental nonprofits listed above are some of the organizations in the 1% for the Planet network that continue to provide vital solutions to the environmental and pandemic crises. Through the support of these organizations, 1% for the Planet members provide long-term environmental solutions that prevent future global catastrophes.
Right now, we aren’t all “essential workers”—the health care professionals on the frontlines or the grocery store employees keeping shelves stocked—but, we do all play an important role during this global pandemic. So, whether you simply stay at home and encourage others to do so or you have the means to support an organization that provides pandemic relief, your efforts are incredibly essential during this time. We’re grateful for our nonprofits and the members who support them; it’s their shared commitment to our future that provides that glimpse of hope we all need.