climate change

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Lever for Change – Geared to Combat Climate Change

On a Mission to Reduce GHG Emissions by 2030

The harsh reality of climate change is becoming more apparent every day, and so is the need to find sustainable solutions to combat this crisis. Hundreds of millions of lives, innumerable species and ecosystems, as well as the future of the planet are at stake. Fortunately, we have the science and technologies to help cut emissions, remove carbon dioxide and offset its effects.

There is a global shift towards finding energy sources that don’t damage the environment and cause climate change, and organizations like Lever for Change are driving this.

Foundation Guide - Lever for Change 2030 climate challenge

About Lever for Change

Lever for Change is on a mission to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030. To achieve this, they’ve taken an innovative approach by launching a national competition for applicants working towards fighting climate change. The prize is a staggering $10 million grant to further their efforts. This substantial amount is sponsored by an anonymous donor committed to the cause. In addition to the 2030 Climate Challenge, Lever for Change also manages five other competitions with prizes that range between $10 million and $100 million. This includes the Lone Star Prize, a $10 million award for an innovative solution that deals with health, environment and workforce in Texas, and the Larsen Lam ICONIQ Impact Award which involves a $12 million prize to an innovative solution that supports the wellbeing of refugees around the globe.

Lever for Change is an affiliate of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, known for unlocking capital to accelerate social change around the world. Since it was launched, Lever for Change has managed nine competitions that will ultimately address a variety of issues including reducing GHG emissions, improving economic mobility, assisting refugees to secure a durable and positive future and increasing the power and influence women hold in the United States.

GHG on Warning Road Sign.

The 2030 Climate Challenge

The challenge is open to proposals from organizations with a lead applicant registered as a non-profit or academic institution. All other entities may participate as part of a coalition led by an eligible applicant. Proposals should offer solutions that tackle the issue of GHG emissions in the transportation, industrial and/or building industries with the ultimate goal of eradicating it in the next decade. The solutions should be feasible, scalable and should make a durable impact. All applicants will receive constructive feedback from judges and will be further assisted with access to a variety of peer learning opportunities and webinars. Selected applicants will also be given access to other resources like coaching and workshops.

Maximizing Philanthropy

Even if they don’t receive the prize, the proposals that rank the highest will be included in the Bold Solutions Network, an innovative approach to identifying solutions that are aligned with the philanthropic goals of donors. The network is presented as a searchable online database of highly-rated proposals where philanthropists interested in social change can find worthy projects to support.
People with banners protest as part of a climate change march

The Australian Fires: How You Can Help

Donating Money is Not the Only Way to Do Your Part

So far, over 46 million acres of land has burned in Australia during the 2019 – 2020 bushfire season. Nearly 6,000 buildings have been destroyed of which over 2,800 were homes. At least 33 people and around a billion animals have been killed. Some endangered species have now been driven to extinction. For koalas, this epic disaster could mean functional extinction since around 80% of their natural habitat has been wiped out. Experts believe that it could take as much as a century for Australia’s animals to recover from the bushfires.

Not Just Australia Is Affected

In a world where biodiversity is in drastic decline, the impact these fires have on the local ecosystem, and ultimately our global food production, is potentially devastating. Some of the other areas affected by these devastating fires include:

  • Public health, including mental health.
  • Economic damage to industries like farming and tourism.
  • An increase in greenhouse gas emissions which negatively impacts the climate.
  • Major environmental pollution even as far as New Zealand and parts of Latin America.
Property damaged by the East Gippsland fires in Sarsfield

Property damaged by the East Gippsland fires in Sarsfield, Victoria, Australia January 1, 2020. AAP Image/News Corp Pool, Jason Edwards/via REUTERS

How Can We Help?

The destruction has left the world reeling and many of us are wondering how we can help. It is encouraging to see how people from all over the world are doing their best to assist those affected by these devastating fires. Even a courageous dog did her part. A six-year-old Border collie named Patsy helped save her owner’s farm and livestock during the fires when she led 900 sheep to safety as the fires raged. While financial donations are the obvious way to help, t there are other ways in which we can help. Here are some ideas:

  • Check-in with trusted sources like local councils and emergency services agencies – They are the ones who know exactly what is
    going on and what is needed and will provide essential, current information on the disaster situation and what help is needed at the
  • Book a holiday to Australia – By going on holiday to Australia later in the year, you will be contributing to struggling local economies.
    When deciding which tour operators or hotels to use, try to choose those who have strong links to conservation. While the carbon
    footprint of long-haul flights is unavoidable, you could offset some of it by giving to a tree-planting organisation like Tree Sisters.
  • Offer a bed – If you own property in Australia or are in an area that is not affected and have a bed or two to spare, you can use the
    Find a Bed initiative to offer space to people and animals who have been displaced by the fires.
  • Donate goods – There are people who have literally lost everything they owned. Their homes and all their belongings have
    succumbed to the fire or have been damaged by the vast quantities of smoke and ash in surrounding areas. Through organisations
    like Givit, you can donate furniture, household items, clothing, or toiletries to those who need it.
  • Volunteer – Even when the fires are contained, Australia will be going through a long recovery and rebuilding process. As soon as the
    immediate danger has passed and professionals like firefighters have left the area, the people left behind will have all kinds of needs.
    If you reside in Australia or want to travel there to help, there is also the option to register as a Spontaneous Emergency Volunteer.

Who to Donate to

For those who prefer to make financial donations, there are several options. It may not be clear exactly which organisation to support, even when you know which cause is closest to your heart. Here is some guidance on how to support people affected by the fires, wildlife, or the firefighters who are fighting this incredible battle to contain the fire.

Australian bushfire: trees silhouettes and smoke from bushfires covers the sky and glowing sun barely seen through the smoke. Catastrophic fire danger, NSW, Australia

Donating to Evacuees

Supporting Wildlife

  • WIRES actively rescues thousands of animals in Australia and needs all the help it can get.
  • The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital treats koalas suffering from terrible burns and is installing automatic drinking stations in burnt
    areas to help animals searching for water. They are also establishing a koala breeding program with the hope that the species will
    survive the disaster.
  • The RSPCA in New South Wales is rescuing and treating pets and wild animals who are affected by the fires.

Helping Firefighters

  • The NSW Rural Fire Service has set up a specific fund that helps the families of firefighters who have been killed on duty.
  • The Country Fire Service in South Australia supports volunteer firefighters and can use all the help it can get.
  • The Country Fire Authority is not only actively fighting the fires, they are also helping to manage locals who are helping to provide
    accommodation to displaced people.

Whether you choose to give a financial donation, a donation of goods, or to donate your time, we can all help the people and animals affected by the bushfires in Australia.