Aid Organizations Focusing on Climate Change, Clean Energy

Several nonprofit organizations that traditionally have not focused their energies on the environment have taken up the cause of global climate change and are advocating for policies that favor clean energy, the International Herald Tribune reports.

Through coalitions such as the Climate Action Network, nonprofits working in fields ranging from international development aid to animal habitat protection increasingly are putting resources into research and advocacy on climate change and clean energy. For example, Oxfam, which targets its efforts toward fighting poverty in the developing world, is working with communities directly affected by climate change while also lobbying governments and building coalitions to shape public policy. "If there isn't change made at a global level in terms of policy, and if we keep on polluting, we are on a path of destruction for a lot of the communities we work with,'' Oxfam spokeswoman Trisha O'Rourke told the Herald Tribune.

Similarly, the World Wildlife Fund's Climate and Energy Initiative has seen some success in building coalitions and advocating for changes to sustainability laws in Mexico, South Africa, and Australia. "One of the places where we have our power is to get people to vote, demonstrate, purchase, react in large numbers," said Samantha Smith, who heads the initiative.

WWF plans to launch an energy finance campaign next spring to urge wealthy investors, investment companies, pension funds, and the like to allocate more dollars to investments in sustainable technologies. "We are not going to archive the original goal of protecting species," said Smith, "unless we understand the things that are forcing the laws of the places and the species."

Christopher F. Schuetze. "Aid Groups Push for Clean Energy." International Herald Tribune 10/08/2012.