by Dr. Amy Wiesner
Every year, so much money is wasted on gifts that are excessive and unnecessary. Instead, why not donate money to a great cause in someone’s name? Or "adopt" a wild animal whose existence is threatened for a child? And since these gifts don’t need shipping, you can print out the gift certificate and put it in a nice recycled card instead.
Check out these great organizations that benefit people, animals, or the environment!
For those of us that love animals, there are many ways to help. The American Humane Society has a fund set up called The Second Chance Fund. This fund helps to financially assist rescue agencies that treat and place abused and neglected animals into loving homes. Donate in an animal lovers’ name to make them happy.
At the World Wildlife Fund, you have the opportunity to adopt an animal or animals--and they have over 100 different species to choose from! At the Wildlife Conservation Society you can help save elephants, which are dwindling in number due to poachers.
With the Natural Resource Defense Council, you can choose to adopt different animals, plant a tree in the rainforest or protect a whale nursery, for example. They offer over 50 different types of gifts with which to please even the most discriminating person.
And with Save the Children, you can donate working animals to communities and families to give them opportunities for work and food. Or you could contribute to the education of children in impoverished areas.
Ethical Ocean, a company committed to helping people shop ethically, is selling handcrafted bowls by HIV-positive women and children in South Africa. Making the bowls assists them in living normal lives. Plus, $6 of each purchase will go towards the Mercy Corps to aid those affected by drought and famine in Africa.
Or if you still need more ideas, check out GlobalGiving.org. They are a “non-profit that gives social entrepreneurs and local charities from anywhere in the world a chance to raise the money that they need to improve their communities.” Look at all the different ways you can help people, animals or the planet by going to their website.
Without a doubt, giving a last minute gift via the Internet makes shopping for the holidays so much easier. But giving a gift that helps those in need is the best gift that you can give.
Image courtesy of World Wildlife Fund via Edward Parker.