If you are like most people, you might, at least from time to time, think about ways to change the world, especially on a date like today when Mother Nature's day is celebrated. Whatever plan you may have, though, when it comes to implementing change, even on a relatively small level, can be daunting. That is why non-profit organizations have become a growing instrument that enables people to take actions on their beliefs. But nowadays there are so many of them, how can you choose the one that you connect with the best?
While we would love to offer a ranked list of the absolute best NGOs to work with, there are too many organizations out there working in too many areas. Therefore, we will talk about the ones that might not be known to you yet, and stand out to us for their efforts to show how they work in practical ways and how they plan on making the world a better place.
1. “The one nobody knows it is a non-profit organization”
National Geographic: Ok, you most probably know this one, but the fact that The National Geographic is a nonprofit organization that has for 130 years funded groundbreaking scientists and explorers is unknown to many people.
- What we love about them: It is a global organization committed to exploring and protecting our planet. They push the boundaries of exploration to further understanding of Earth and empower people to generate solutions for a more sustainable future. They support programs such as the Pristine Seas project, which has helped protect more than 5.2 million square kilometers of the ocean's last wild places, and it is National Geographic's largest initiative dedicated to environmental preservation.
2. “The one recovering rivers and streams”
RiverWatch: Did you know that over the past 40 years, rivers and their floodplains have been destroyed on a much higher scale than forests or oceans? That is why RiverWatch's main goal is to protect rivers.
- What we love about them: They believe that rivers are our Earth's lifeline. As anglers, we for sure agree with them. Their ambition is to conserve the last unimpaired rivers as well as restoring those already canalized or dammed. The Stop Ilisu campaign is an example of this. RiverWatch has been working in Europe and Turkey to stop the dam project and help create a real and sustainable future for the affected region and its citizens. This way, the organization demonstrates that it not only draws attention to the importance of rivers to flora and fauna but also to the value of rivers to humans.
3. “The one leaving no trace - in a good way”
Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics: It is an American organization created in the 1990's to bring awareness about how to enjoy the outdoors properly as the public land use expanded and land managers witnessed the biophysical effects of this use.
- What we love about them: Their mission is to protect the outdoors by teaching and inspiring people to enjoy it responsibly. The Center accomplishes this mission by delivering cutting-edge education and research to millions of people across the country every year. As conscious anglers, we know how the idea is easy to practice: leave the places you enjoy as good or better than you found them, and it is applicable not only for fishing enthusiasts but for anyone who enjoys spending time in the out-of-doors.
4. “The one democratizing nature”
Friends of the Earth Europe: According to a growing body of evidence, there is a strong link between lack of access to nature areas and poor health outcomes and inequality. That is why Friends of the Earth believes that nature is for everyone to experience and enjoy; that nature is freedom.
- What we love about them: As lovers of the outdoors, we know how important connecting with nature is. Studies have shown that nature deprivation is associated with higher obesity levels, and even mental health problems. Just like them, we also believe that there is a need for nature to be recognized as a fundamental human right and a health matter.
5. “The one promoting conscious tourism”
Naturefriends: One of the main focus of Naturefriends is inspiring people to connect with and to preserve the natural environment and to introduce them to biodiversity.
- What we love about them: They stand for leisure activities that are in tune with nature as well as advocate for a socially, culturally and ecologically benign development of tourism. Without a doubt, Fishtripr also promotes environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature, envisioning a low-impact visitor behavior.
6. “The one rescuing rivers”
Seas at Risk: According to the European Anglers Alliance, 2 million sea anglers regularly or occasionally target sea bass in EU waters. Therefore, the work of Seas at Risk it is of a great importance since this organization aims for the protection and restoration of the marine environment.
- What we love about them: Their main goal is to guarantee that the human use of living parts of the marine environment is sustainable, without causing environmental degradation or harm to the maintenance of natural processes and the ecological balance. We hope that their work on the European legislation might change the sad fact that sea bass stocks are currently in decline due to overfishing and poor recruitment in recent years. Today, over three-quarters of all bass landed is from commercial fishing at high levels of exploitation. This means that there is a risk to the ability of stocks to regenerate itself, which of course brings threats to sea bass fishing.
7. “The one working with local citizens”
Conservation International: Their approach is to protect the places that we cannot afford to lose - the spectacular but vulnerable places on land and at sea that are especially important to humanity, the places that provide our food, water and the air we breathe.
- What we love about them: They have supported people such as Keli'i Kotubetey, a native Hawaiian and longtime fish pond practitioner, who is part of a growing movement to restore Hawai'i's fish ponds. Using the values and teachings of his ancestors, he has been working with Conservation International to make the fish pond a viable economic resource for his community again. It is our contention that working with locals is not only a great way to understand how to properly preserve endangered regions but also the best way to understand the needs of its people.
8. “The one saving the Rainforests”
You might have heard about the importance of tropical rainforests, but the fact that they are home to an estimated 50% of all life on the planet's land masses has been overlooked. That is why the Rainforest Alliance comes into play. Their initiatives have an overarching goal: to safeguard the health of forests and communities.
- What we love about them: They, as do we, promote catch-and-release fishing. The Rainforest Alliance recognizes that catch-and-release programs support conservation through the protection of game fish, while simultaneously promoting an increasingly valuable sector of the marine tourism industry. At Fishtripr we encourage all of our anglers to release their catches as some fisheries’ studies have shown that between 95% and 100% of released fish survive. But surely there is much to learn about how to properly release your fish. You can read more about it on our blog.
9. “The blunt one”
Earth First!: If you are tired of the bureaucracy of some institutions and like the direct-action approach, this is most definitely the non-profit organization for you! Founded in 1979 out of disgust at corporate environmentalism and "namby pamby" green action, Earth First! is an international movement composed of small, regionally-based groups.
- What we love about them: They call themselves a priority and not an organization and aim to apply direct pressure to stop the bleeding, with a combination of education, litigation, and creative civil disobedience. Their less orthodox approach is refreshing and uncommon in this non-profit organization environment. But it might lead to some inconveniences sometimes. On their website, there is a blunt warning: "Become aware of the risks to which you will be exposed. Activists are often arrested during legal actions by police ignorant of the law."
10. “The one supporting responsible fishing”
Nokill foundation: The NoKill Foundation exists to raise awareness and promote a more sustainable way of fishing by helping every angler worldwide to protect the waters we fish in and the ecosystem that keeps our fishery stocked and healthy.
- What we love about them: The values of the NoKill Foundation are so similar to ours that we have become part of the foundation ourselves. We believe that while promoting responsible angling such as the catch-and-release policy we can change the mindset of some anglers and create a more environment-friendly fishing practice.
We hope that this brief list has guided you to understand a little bit more about the world of the NGOs and how to work with them in order to keep our fishing opportunities flowing far into the future. And in case that you have any insights, thoughts, or recommendations for a non-profit organization that you have joined in the past, share them with us by e-mail or on our social media channels and we will be happy to tell your story in our blog!
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