The natural world helps to sustain us – so why aren’t we returning the favor?
It is an inarguable fact that humans rely on the environment for our survival. It’s where our food comes from, it’s how we breathe, it’s where we get the resources needed to live our day-to-day lives. So why do we so often forget or intentionally put aside the fact that the natural world is not infinite? Because it’s easier–momentarily more convenient—than admitting that the way we interact with and take from nature currently is not sustainable. In fact, one day in the very near future, it might even become impossible.
And that’s where conservation biology comes in.
Conservation biology is the study of biodiversity and how we can create, conserve, and repair ecosystems throughout the natural world. The concept of conservation biology was first introduced in 1968, and has since become its own branch of environmental science—essential for studying and addressing the numerous critical threats to biodiversity worldwide. The goal of this field of study and work is to provide actionable solutions for managing ecosystems as they currently exist as well as improving them for the future.
Why Now? Climate Change and the IPCC Report
The recently released IPCC report, an assessment on climate change conducted by the United Nations, truly underscores the severity of the current climate crisis.
“Human-induced climate change, including more frequent and intense extreme events, has caused widespread adverse impacts and related losses and damages to nature and people, beyond natural climate variability…” – IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, SPM.B.1
But this doesn’t mean that hope is lost. Quite the opposite, in fact. Now, more than ever, our positive actions for the planet can have a monumental effect on the future of Earth and how we survive and thrive as people on it. For this reason, it’s critical to acknowledge those working hard in the field of conservational biology and support their efforts—whether through time, action, or giving—to maintain a world that maintains its magnificence and livability for all.
Environmental Nonprofits in Conservation Biology
Today, we’re looking at four nonprofits who are addressing conservation biology at all levels of scale – local, regional, national (U.S.), and international. With environmental conservation at the forefront of their missions, these organizations (based in and around Virginia) strive to make all naturally occurring ecosystems as strong as possible amidst a rapidly changing world.
LOCAL: EcoAction Arlington
Striving to protect natural resources and open spaces, EcoAction Arlington partners with all members of the community, from citizens to businesses to members of legislature and government bodies to educate about the importance of clean, sustainable living. EcoAction Arlington’s programs offer something for everyone, including children and youth groups.
The organization and its programs address everything from deforestation to energy consumption and offer volunteer opportunities to members of the community who want to support these efforts.
REGIONAL: Potomac Riverkeeper Network
Officially launched in 2015, but with a history dating back to 2000, the Potomac Riverkeeper Network protects the Potomac, Upper Potomac, and Shenandoah rivers, including their tributaries, and watersheds. This covers territories in Virginia, Maryland, Washington DC, and West Virginia. The focus of these efforts is to maintain clean water for all communities bordering these rivers—both for drinking and enjoyment—as well as maintaining the health of river-based habitats. Each river system has its own independent programs focused on their separate needs and ecosystems.
Based in Arlington, Virginia, NatureServe emerged from work being conducted by The Nature Conservancy’s first heritage program in 1974. NatureServe hosts a network of more than 60 heritage programs throughout the US and Canada, and actively works to conserve the ecosystems and biodiversity at these sites. With support from more than 1,000 scientists, NatureServe works toward a goal of using science and data-based decision making for the conservation and stewardship of biodiversity.
INTERNATIONAL: Conservation International
With a global presence in the world of climate solutions, Conservation International seeks sustainability for all the world’s natural resources (land, water, air, etc.) Established in 1987, the organization’s goal is to educate and empower communities to care for the natural world around them. From habitat restoration to sustainable living, Conservation International strives to protect the natural environments of countries worldwide with offices in more than 24 countries and thousands of partner organizations to support “boots-on-the-ground” individuals making active change.
Joining a Local, State, and Federal Campaign
Environmental organizations like the ones listed above need support from their local, national, and international communities to survive and thrive. But this can be an immense challenge, especially if you’re relying on your organization alone to drum up the necessary donations.
Employee giving campaigns can help streamline this process and make it easier to raise money for your organization while also spreading key awareness about your mission. Interested in campaign support for your environmental nonprofit? Reach out to [email protected] as soon as possible to learn more.