That’s a Small Number

We are completely reliant upon healthy natural systems. Unfortunately, not all natural systems are healthy.


Three percent. That’s it. Check out the Charity Navigator statistics if you don’t believe me. Only three percent of 2015 charitable gifts were directed to the Environment/Animals sector.

Again, I say – sigh.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I value the other sectors immensely. Education is extremely important, as is religion. My wife and I give a good percentage of our charitable budget to our church, so I can’t criticize that. And who can argue with supporting health and human services?

That said, I’m here to lobby for the environment with a simple ask. Please, in this annual season-of-giving, consider making a gift to your favorite environmental charity. Don’t have a favorite environmental charity? Then I hope you’ll go and find one! Our Foundation would be happy to make a few recommendations if you aren’t sure where to start.

Just think, for one brief moment (actually, take more than one, if you don’t mind), how inextricably connected your life is to our natural systems. On average, you take 23,000 breaths every day. Each one fills you with life-giving oxygen generously offered up by the flora of Earth practicing the magic of photosynthesis.

That morning cup of coffee (and the ever-important caffeine contained therein)? People don’t make those beans – they are the pits of coffee cherries growing on trees in high altitudes around the world. And we don’t have to ask them to combine eight carbon atoms, ten hydrogen atoms, four nitrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms into a caffeine molecule. Coffee trees do that naturally.

Do you like it when you turn your tap on and water comes out? Next time you do, think of your local river, lake or underground aquifer. And then ask someone from California how much fun a drought is.

Every calorie of food you consume, providing the energy you need to decorate for the holidays, hug your children, and turn your face to feel the warmth of the sun, is a gift from the land. Do we say thank you?

We are completely reliant upon healthy natural systems. Unfortunately, not all natural systems are healthy. Topsoil is eroding across the globe, non-renewable resources are being extracted at alarming rates, man-made toxins are accumulating in ecosystems, water quality is severely impaired in many locales, air quality in urban areas often threatens human respiratory systems, biodiversity loss driven by human activity is ushering in a sixth “great extinction,” and our excessive reliance upon carbon-based energy sources is resulting in dangerous shifts in our climate.

Three percent.

Thank you for your generosity, my friends!