Our world is an ever changing environment, morphing through economic crises, recession, climate change, natural disasters, wars and other human catastrophes and there are countless non-profits that help humans in need.
But us humans share this planet with other species who we depend on for many things, which means we have a responsibility to our fellow creatures as well. Which also means we have to take care of the planet that we all share and we all depend on.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” – Mahatma Gandhi
The percentage of charitable contributions given to animal and environmental causes collectively is disturbingly small: In the USA, about 3%, while in the UK, about 7%.
The earth has finite natural resources and the human population continues to increase with many of the world’s poorest relying on animals for their income and food. Looking at the bigger picture, consider the following points of why it’s important to donate to environmental and animal charities:
1. Families around the world are dependent on working animals
For these families to survive, the welfare of their donkey – or horse, buffalo or mule – is vital. These animals are the transport to take the produce, the muscles to draw water and the tractor to pull the plough. Hardworking animals need good care but many of their impoverished owners lack the skills or resources to do so properly. The well-being of these animals is crucial to supporting human livelihoods.
2. Animals supply four legged love and support for the disabled
Another type of working animal is the companion caregiver – guide dogs and rescue dogs spring to mind but there are many other animals that are trained to care for humans. For example, wounded veterans’ with mobility disabilities, have access to specially trained dogs to assist them to become independent again.
3. Environmental protection has positive effects for man and animals
Environmental protection has positive effects on land use, climate change, pollution, water supplies, habitat conservation and biodiversity. These issues affect every living creature on the planet. For man, it’s the poorest that suffer the impact of environmental destruction, eking out a living in a world with finite resources.
Traditional fisherman for example, struggle to feed their families as ocean resources dwindle. By supporting causes that battle climate change or biodiversity loss, we’re actually giving to people in need by protecting the ecosystems that support their livelihoods.
4. Forests and oceans aren’t just for recreation
Often parks and beaches are being promoted for recreational purposes which is wonderful! But forests also clean the air and slow climate change and naturally filter water. And oceans also act as gigantic lungs while providing the primary source of protein for 1 billion people in this world – and food for countless animals.
5. Improve human health
By improving conditions for food animals, the risks of food poisoning and the spread of diseases that are transmissible from animals to humans, are reduced and the nutritional value increased. Securing food supplies with good animal health, helps protect people from malnutrition and hunger and disease. (Interesting fact: Currently about 7.3 million or 3.2% of the population in the US are vegetarian.)
Another way animals – and plants – help human health is by providing substances for use in traditional and modern medicine. For example, secretions from animals and plant extracts are being used in countless medicines all over the world.
6. Shelters help decrease number of strays and provide pets
The shelters and organisations that rescue and re-home abandoned, abused animals provide pets for families, kids and the elderly. All around the world, millions of people look to animals for companionship. The therapeutic benefits of the human-animal connection range from overcoming loneliness and helping those with mental illness, to reducing risk of heart disease.
7. Animals make wonderful companions to humans
Then there are the organizations that benefit pets and their owners together. These charities help the poor, the lonely and the elderly look after and pay for treatment for their animal companions.
There might be many more reasons to donate to animal and environmental charities, but we also have to keep in mind that for those involved in issues of animal welfare and environmental protection, the daily challenges keep growing due to continuous habitat destruction, urban expansion, poaching and war. They desperately need all the help they can get!
Supporting environmental and animal focused causes doesn’t have to be looked as as taking away from charities for people. By understanding how one influences the other, it makes sense to sponsor either one equally and feel good about it!
>> Please share your favorite animal and environmental charities in the comments below!