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Top Charities in Australia to Help the Environment

 
 

Australia is home to some of the world's most diverse ecosystems, from lush rainforests and vibrant coral reefs to arid deserts and unique wetlands. These environments, however, face a multitude of pressing threats, including climate change, extreme weather events like bushfires, and alarming biodiversity loss due to overgrazing and pollution.

Environmental charities play a crucial role in addressing these challenges. They work tirelessly to protect wildlife, restore habitats, and advocate for sustainable practices. This article explores some of the top charities in Australia dedicated to environmental protection and conservation, highlighting their missions, achievements, and ways you can support their efforts.

How to choose the right environmental charity for you

Choosing the right environmental charity to support can be a personal decision based on your values and interests. Here are some factors to consider:

Mission alignment

Ensure the charity’s goals align with your values or environmental issues you are most passionate about, whether it’s climate change, marine conservation, or sustainable agriculture.

Impact linked to SDGs

Environmental issues are deeply intertwined with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). By supporting an environmental charity aligned with specific SDGs, you can ensure your contribution targets a specific area of environmental concern. Here are some of the environmentally relevant SDGs you can consider: clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), affordable and clean energy (SDG 7), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), responsible consumption and production (SDG 12), climate action (SDG 13), life below water (SDG 14), and life on land (SDG 15). Learn more about the SDGs here.

Finding reputable charities

Once you know your focus area, explore platforms like Catalyser, which provides users with a Nonprofit Database—a searchable database of vetted charities and giving opportunities curated by experts. This comprehensive database allows you to filter charities by cause areas, location, and specific SDGs they address.

Effectiveness

Look at the environmental charity’s track record and measurable impact. Research their achievements and ongoing projects to see how they are making a difference.

Transparency

Choose charities that are transparent with their finances and operations. You may check for accreditations, annual reports, and ratings from independent evaluators to ensure they meet high standards of governance.

Considering these factors will help you find an environmental charity that aligns with your values and makes a real difference for the environment.

Top Australian environmental charities

Supporting environmental charities is a powerful way to make a positive impact. Here are some of the top environmental charities safeguarding the future of Australia's natural landscapes.

1. Australian Wildlife Conservancy

Mission and cause areas: The Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC) is dedicated to conserving Australia's native animal species and their habitats through practical land management and solid scientific research.

Achievements and ongoing Projects: AWC manages the biggest network of feral cat and fox-free land on mainland Australia where they have successfully reintroduced endangered species to their former habitats. Their projects include Wildlife Translocations, Ecological Health Monitoring, Ecological Research, Feral Cat and Fox Control, Fire Management, Feral Herbivore Control, and Weed Control.

How to get involved: You can contribute to AWC by donating, becoming a regular giver, participating in their volunteer programs, or fundraising for their initiatives. They also offer opportunities for corporate partnerships and legacy giving.

2. The Wilderness Society Australia

Mission and cause areas: The Wilderness Society Australia is committed to protecting, promoting, and restoring wilderness and natural processes across the country. They focus on campaigns to protect forests, rivers, and ecosystems that are crucial for biodiversity.

Achievements and ongoing projects: One of their significant achievements includes the protection of Tasmania's World Heritage-listed forests. They are also actively involved in campaigns to safeguard the Great Australian Bight from oil drilling and to protect the Tarkine, one of the last temperate rainforests on Earth.

How to get involved: You can support The Wilderness Society by donating, volunteering, or joining their local action groups. They also offer membership options that keep you informed and engaged with ongoing campaigns.

3. WIRES

Mission and cause areas: WIRES focuses on the rescue and rehabilitation of native wildlife in Australia. They also work to educate the public about wildlife conservation.

Achievements and ongoing projects: WIRES has rescued and cared for over a million native animals since its inception. The run a dedicated Wildlife Rescue Office that provides 24-hour assistance to wildlife and the community throughout Australia, offering rescue advice to callers and assistance for over 130,000 animals annually. Additionally, WIRES has full-time mobile Wildlife Emergency Responders working in Greater Sydney, South-East Queensland, and Tasmania. They further support conservation efforts by providing research grants and running disaster relief programs.

How to get involved: Support WIRES by donating money or goods, becoming a WIRES Virtual Carer or a corporate partner. They also offer educational resources and opportunities for community engagement.

4. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Australia

Mission and cause areas: WWF-Australia's mission is to stop the degradation of the planet's natural environment and build a future where humans live in harmony with nature. They achieve this by collaborating with communities, governments, companies and others to rehabilitate and restore natural habitats and recover native wildlife. Their focus areas, Sky, Country and Saltwater, are inspired by their recent knowledge exchange on Girramay Country with Indigenous Elders, rangers and community, and reflect their commitment to not just protecting the Australian environment but regenerating it by 2030.

Achievements and ongoing projects: WWF Australia has achieved a Net-Free Reef and supported 236 projects to restore wildlife and future proof against climate disasters. Their main programs align with their three pillars of work: Regenerative Country protects and recovers species and habitats, Regenerative Sky builds a healthy net-zero world, and Regenerative Saltwater safeguards oceans and species in the southern hemisphere.

How to get involved: Support WWF Australia in protecting our wildlife! Donate, adopt a platypus or koala, join Earth Hour, participate in a fitness challenge fundraiser, or honour a loved one with a memorial gift.

5. Bush Heritage Australia

Mission and cause areas: Bush Heritage Australia works to protect Australia's unique landscapes and native species through the acquisition and management of land. Their focus includes habitat conservation and restoration.

Achievements and ongoing projects: Bush Heritage Australia manages over 11 million hectares of land, providing safe habitats for 7,735 species of plants and animals, including hundreds of threatened species. Their projects include reforestation, weed and pest control, and scientific research on ecosystem health.

How to get involved: You can support Bush Heritage Australia by donating, becoming a monthly donor, or volunteering for on-ground conservation work. They also offer opportunities for corporate partnerships and community involvement.

6. Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS)

Mission and cause areas: The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) is dedicated to protecting ocean wildlife and their habitats. Their work includes advocacy, research, and community engagement to safeguard marine ecosystems from threats such as pollution, overfishing, and climate change.

Achievements and ongoing Projects: AMCS has been instrumental in securing marine parks and sanctuaries, protecting endangered marine species, and campaigning against destructive fishing practices. Their projects include the Fight for the Reef campaign, sustainable seafood initiatives, and efforts to reduce marine plastic pollution.

How to get involved: You can support AMCS by becoming a Sea Guardian, funding a special project, or shopping from their AMCS Shop. You can also add your name to their digital petitions.

7. Great Barrier Reef Foundation

Mission and cause areas: The Great Barrier Reef Foundation is focused on protecting and restoring the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world's most significant natural wonders. Their work includes scientific research, conservation projects, and community engagement.

Achievements and ongoing projects: The Foundation has funded over 600 projects aimed at improving the health of the Reef. This includes initiatives to enhance coral resilience, reduce pollution, and support marine species recovery.

How to get involved: You can support the Great Barrier Reef Foundation by donating, fundraising, or becoming a Reef Guardian. They also offer educational resources and volunteer opportunities.

8. Take 3 for the Sea

Mission and cause areas: Take 3 for the Sea is an environmental organisation that aims to reduce plastic pollution and promote sustainable living. Their message is simple: take three pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach, waterway, or anywhere.

Achievements and ongoing projects: Take 3 has educated hundreds of thousands of people through their programs and campaigns, leading to the removal of millions of pieces of plastic from the oceans and broader environment. Their initiatives include educational workshops, community clean-up events, and social media campaigns.

How to get involved: You can support Take 3 by joining their clean-up activities, spreading their message on social media, or donating to their cause.

9. Landcare Australia

Mission and cause areas: Landcare Australia focuses on environmental management and sustainability through community-led initiatives. Their work includes land restoration, sustainable agriculture, and biodiversity conservation.

Achievements and ongoing projects: Landcare Australia has been instrumental in supporting thousands of community groups and initiatives, resulting in the restoration of millions of hectares of land, improved water quality, and enhanced biodiversity. Their comprehensive efforts include large-scale tree planting, soil health improvement programs, and extensive community education. Additionally, they provide essential resources and support for schools and communities to initiate and sustain their own environmental projects.

How to get involved: You can join a local Landcare group, volunteer for on-ground projects, leave a bequest, or donate to support their work.

10. Environment Victoria

Mission and cause areas: Environment Victoria is dedicated to safeguarding Victoria's natural environment and promoting sustainable living. Their work includes advocating for clean energy, protecting waterways, and supporting biodiversity.

Achievements and ongoing projects: Environment Victoria has achieved significant success in environmental advocacy, particularly by influencing policies like the Victorian government's Gas Substitution Roadmap to promote electrification over gas. Their ongoing efforts include campaigns for river health, renewable energy adoption, and invasive species control, alongside engaging over 100,000 community members in various environmental initiatives

How to get involved: You can support Environment Victoria by donating, becoming a member, or volunteering for their various initiatives. Additionally, you can attend their events to raise awareness about environmental issues.

11. Planet Ark

Mission and cause areas: Planet Ark works to create simple, positive actions that help individuals, communities, and businesses reduce their impact on the environment. Their initiatives focus on recycling, reforestation, and reducing carbon footprints.

Achievements and ongoing projects: Planet Ark runs several successful campaigns, including National Tree Day, which has planted over 27 million trees; National Recycling Week, which promotes sustainable recycling practices; and Podcycle, which aims to establish a national scheme for Australians to collect and recycle all types and brands of coffee pods.

How to get involved: Support Planet Ark by participating in their campaigns, volunteering for tree planting events, or donating. They also offer resources and tools to help individuals and businesses implement sustainable practices.

12. Greenfleet

Mission and cause areas: Greenfleet is focused on offsetting carbon emissions through reforestation and biodiverse native forest restoration. Their goal is to plant trees and restore forests to capture carbon, enhance biodiversity, and improve ecosystem health.

Achievements and ongoing projects: Greenfleet has planted over 9.6 million trees across Australia and New Zealand, restoring native forests and creating wildlife habitats. Some of their notable projects include restoring degraded lands, protecting water catchments, and rehabilitating fire-damaged areas.

How to get involved: You can support Greenfleet by donating to their tree-planting projects, offsetting your carbon footprint through their programs, or partnering with them as a business. They also provide opportunities for volunteering and community involvement in tree-planting events.

13. Clean Up Australia

Mission and cause areas: Clean Up Australia inspires and empowers communities to clean, fix, and conserve the environment. Their mission is to provide practical solutions to help Australians live more sustainably and reduce their environmental footprint.

Achievements and ongoing projects: Clean Up Australia has mobilised millions of volunteers who have removed thousands of tons of waste from public spaces. Notable achievements include the annual Clean Up Australia Day, which engages communities nationwide in extensive clean-up activities. They also collaborate with local businesses and governments to implement long-term waste management solutions and drive policy changes.

How to get involved: You can support Clean Up Australia by participating in Clean Up events, donating, or starting your own community clean-up initiative.

14. Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF)

Mission and cause areas: The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) is committed to protecting the natural environment and advocating for sustainable policies. Their work spans across climate action, biodiversity conservation, and promoting clean energy solutions.

Achievements and ongoing projects: ACF has played a key role in policy advocacy, including campaigns protecting Kakadu National Park from uranium mining and stopping dangerous pollutants from being dumped near the Ningaloo World Heritage Area. Their current projects focus on community engagement, research, and advocating for stronger environmental protections, including achieving a nuclear-free future.

How to get involved: Support ACF by donating, participating in campaigns like the platy-project, or joining a community group.

15. Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC)

Mission and cause areas: The Australian Youth Climate Coalition (AYCC) aims to empower young Australians to take action on climate change. Their focus is on grassroots activism, leadership development, and advocating for climate policies that protect the future.

Achievements and ongoing projects: AYCC has successfully campaigned against new fossil fuel projects, including stopping the construction of several coal mines. They run programs like the Seed Indigenous Youth Climate Network, which focuses on climate justice for Indigenous communities.

How to get involved: You can support AYCC by donating, joining a local action group, or participating in their leadership programs.

16. Greenpeace Australia Pacific

Mission and cause areas: Greenpeace Australia Pacific works to protect the environment through peaceful direct action, lobbying, and public campaigns. Their focus areas include climate change, deforestation, ocean protection, and renewable energy.

Achievements and ongoing projects: Greenpeace has successfully campaigned for the protection of the Great Barrier Reef, against whaling, and for the transition to renewable energy in Australia. Their projects include climate advocacy, promoting sustainable seafood, and combating plastic pollution.

How to get involved: Support Greenpeace by donating, participating in campaigns, or volunteering. They also offer resources for individuals to take action on environmental issues in their communities.

17. Climate Council of Australia

Mission and cause areas: The Climate Council of Australia provides authoritative, independent information on climate change based on the latest scientific research. Its mission is to drive action by informing and engaging the public, policymakers, and businesses on the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a clean energy economy.

Achievements and ongoing projects: The Climate Council of Australia's "Power Up" campaign aims to reduce carbon emissions by 2030 through ten key initiatives. These include revamping energy systems, improving fuel efficiency and electrification in buildings and transport. They also advocate for strong climate policies, renewable energy adoption, and financial frameworks for climate resilience, especially in vulnerable communities.

How to get involved: You can donate to fund research and advocacy, join their campaigns for policy change, volunteer your time, attend their events to stay informed, or spread awareness through social media and community engagement.

Additional ways to support environmental causes

Supporting environmental causes isn’t limited to volunteering and financial donations. Here are some alternative ways to get involved:

Sustainable lifestyle choices: Reduce your carbon footprint by adopting sustainable practices in your daily life. This can include reducing waste, conserving water, using and consuming eco-friendly products like reusable bags and sustainably sourced coffee.

Give Back Card: Consider sustainable gifts like the Give Back Card. This tax-deductible donation card empowers recipients to choose a cause they care about from a variety of environmental charities. It's the perfect gift for the eco-conscious friend or family member.

Learn More

Advocacy: Join or support campaigns that advocate for stronger environmental policies. This can include signing petitions, participating in protests, or contacting your local representatives.

Educational resources: Educate yourself and others about environmental issues and solutions by attending workshops and reading up on environmental topics. Explore Planet Ark’s free educational resources on their website.

Actively share what you learn with your community by sharing informative articles and resources on social media or sparking conversations with friends and family.

How to source volunteer and donation opportunities to support environmental charities

Managing and finding charities that align with an organisation’s goals to support the environment can be challenging, as each organisation has unique needs. Sourcing opportunities and contributing via payroll giving, employee donations, or even managing and finding volunteer opportunities is a complex process. This is where Catalyser can help. Catalyser’s platform provides users access to over 16,000 charities, with an expert team dedicated to helping organisations source volunteering and giving opportunities and manage the end-to-end experience. This support enables you and your organisation to create a real impact. To learn more or get in touch, email angela@catalyser.com

Final thoughts

Supporting environmental charities in Australia is crucial for the preservation and restoration of its unique ecosystems and magnificent wildlife. By contributing to these top environmental charities, you can help shape a sustainable future and protect the environment for generations to come.

Take action today! Explore the environmental charities mentioned in this article and discover how your unique talents and resources can fuel their missions. Whether through donations, your voice, or adopting sustainable practices, every effort counts.