We have all, no doubt, figured out by now that we crave nature. To be alone in it, together in it. Exploring places we’ve never seen before; coming back to the places we’ve always loved. It grips us and makes us come alive in new ways. It opens up our curiosities, helps us feel refreshed, gives us all the elements for life, and so much more. Reflecting on the experience of a life well lived in fresh air and wild places, this year we answer the call to action for Earth Day: Invest in Our Planet –
Earth Day 2022 is focused on accelerating solutions to combat our greatest threat, climate change, and to activate everyone – governments, citizens, and businesses – to do their part. Everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable. –EarthDay.org
At the risk of taking the assignment literally, we'd like to tell you more about how we invest annually to qualified non-profits as part of our ongoing commitment to 1% for the Planet. That means 1% of every Distil Union purchase you make is donated directly to organizations that are fighting to protect our natural resources. The organizations we have supported most recently are making investments primarily in climate justice via policy and land use. (Learn here and here about the groups we’ve given to in the past.) We're excited to share with you just a little bit about the groups and their efforts that your purchases directly support:
SOUTH CAROLINA ENVIRONMENTAL LAW PROJECT
The team at the South Carolina Environmental Law Project put their legal expertise to work defending wildlife habitats, fighting pollution, strengthening the regulatory review process, and protecting the state’s natural beauty and resources:
Your Lawyers for the Wild Side are busier than ever protecting our land, water and wildlife, keeping them healthy, productive and beautiful for this and future generations. With science and conscience, we work for a legal system that prioritizes conservation and environmental protection as the bedrock of economic and social prosperity. –SCELP.com
As little Carolinians, we grew up hearing that our state boasted “Smiling faces, beautiful places” – and it’s true, from marshes to mountains thanks in part to SCELP’s efforts since 1987. Not only do they score an impressive 100% on Charity Navigator, the SCELP has been instrumental in a case not far from our downtown studio and literally close to home, in an area called Gadsden Creek. They also work on behalf of groups like the Coastal Conservation League and Congaree Riverkeeper, rolling up their sleeves in the courtroom and hiking mountains of red tape and paperwork so our great outdoors have a fighting chance at staying great.
One of the incredibly rare upsides to lock-down was the explosion in online events. No, we’re not talking about yet another Zoom meeting, but rather being able to pull on some soft pants and tune into talks, live broadcasts and performances that informed, inspired and – maybe most importantly – kept us connected. (Did you catch Mike Birbiglia’s series that helped comedy clubs stay afloat during the pandemic? Laughter truly is medicine.)
It was during a session hosted by the New York Times Climate Hub called "Netting Zero: Reimagining Food Systems to Meet the Climate Challenge" that we were introduced to regenerative agriculture. As the National Resources Defense Council explains, at its heart it’s “farming and ranching in harmony with nature. Regenerative growers foster and protect relationships—between people, lands, waterbodies, livestock, wildlife, and even microbial life in soil.” In our digging (no pun intended) we found a group in our region!
Jubilee Justice works with farmers across the South, currently helping producers in Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi. The goal is to have a closed-loop system that empowers the marginalized farmers. Through the program, farmers can grow their own crops, produce them and have an end supplier already lined up without needing to put forward the upfront costs themselves. –ModernFarmer.com
Jubilee Justice also partners with groups such as the Climate-Resilient Farming Systems at Cornell University who run innovative projects like using 3D printing to improve rice production equipment. It was just a bonus that co-founder Konda Mason is a board member of On Being (a podcast, a project, a pause). While the efforts of Jubilee Justice are focused on farmers in the South, we hope it inspires you to take a look at what’s on your own plate and learn about how our food and our climate are inextricably linked – here's a tiny taste from Jane Goodall.
UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS
For over half a century, the non-profit team of scientists, analysts, policy experts and strategic communicators at the Union of Concerned Scientists has empowered individuals and compelled policy-makers by making relevant research and data accessible. From food and climate to transportation and energy, in their own words, UCS “puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems.”
The UCS also provides resources including toolkits, workshops and networking for those who want to dig into the why and how of pressing global issues before taking action. Even the armchair scientists out there might enjoy their Got Science? podcast which turns a methodical eye to topics from how to spot disinformation to tips for buying an electric vehicle.
Looking for ways you can invest in our planet?
To further their mission to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide, the folks at EarthDay.org have compiled a number of ways to take action, from planting trees with their Canopy Project to finding Earth Day events happening near you.
As Individual citizens – voters, as watchdogs, and as consumers – we have the simple yet effective power to make our voices heard. What each of us does, and how we do it, has a huge ripple effect on our ecosystems, and on the pace of corporate and government action. We are responsible for holding business, governments, and others accountable and to support their efforts when they get it right. –EarthDay.org
It’s truly rewarding (for you and for the planet!) to connect with groups doing work that you find meaningful. You can contribute to positive change with your time, your experience, your dollars, and by adopting ways to personally lighten your footprint on the planet:
- Organize a beach clean up, or join one near you.
- Lend money to someone starting a farm – or heck, start your own – with Steward, the Kickstarter of regenerative agriculture.
- Consider joining us as 1% for the Planet members! There are memberships for businesses as well as individuals.
- Learn about efforts big and small to raise your own eco-consciousness — we counted 23 ways in just one article.
- Become a more conscious consumer – here, we’ll get you started with 4 totally do-able tips.
And when shopping online, this tip is still fresh from last year’s Earth Day roundup: Shop Pay is offered as part of the Shopify Sustainability Fund. Whenever you select Shop Pay at checkout, the carbon emissions produced by your delivery are offset automatically.
Each year we select different groups informed by what we've learned and experienced over the course of the year. As we consider where to make our annual contributions, we learn about so many groups large and small doing important, incredible things. We’re so grateful to be able to contribute thanks to each and every one of your purchases over the year – and we’d love to hear from you if there’s a non-profit you think should be on our 1% for the Planet radar!
Bonus Inspiration: Treat yourself to a slew of quotes from Dr. Jane Goodall plus a copy of her latest, The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times.