Making your NGO more 'environmentally friendly'

Your organisation has an impact on the environment. What you do may increase or decrease your 'Environmental Footprint'.

» Look at any buildings you have made.
What materials did you choose? If local materials, did you build with wood harvested when they cut down local forests? This rewarded the people destroying an irreplaceable resource. Or did you get wood from renewable plantations? If you used cement, did it come from overseas, using a lot of resources for transportation? Did you have any other choices - and would those choices have cost more – or been cheaper in terms of world resources?

» Look at how you prepare meals for your staff.
What fuel do you use? Local wood? Paraffin? Solar power? Can you find a 'greener' alternative?

» How can you reduce the impact made by your NGO on the environment?
Perhaps through your use of water or use of transport? Can you add some helpful activities – e.g. planting trees or supporting a group building sustainable tree management?

» Some NGOs see their relationship to the environment in a very wide way.
They argue that the families of their workers are raising citizens of the future. If these children grow up healthy and smart the NGO has contributed to the human resources of their country. So women workers with babies are encouraged to breast-feed even if this is inconvenient for the organisation; working hours should be reasonable, family-friendly; workers and their families should get medical care when they need it, etc.

Example: A Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales used to have a simple wage scale – so much for single people, so much for a married couple with no children, more for the first and then the second child – but then no further increase. They thought that given the state of the world, more than two children is irresponsible. What do you think of this policy?

» Does your NGO have an environmental policy? Are you happy with it?

» Check the ecological footprint of different countries and the local environmental factors affecting them.

» Need to raise awareness? Blog, or contact a blogger! In Egypt, environmentalists make use of the same political channels that helped bring down a dictator.

NGO FIELDS

Help us to tend this field! We want to be informed so we can develop it with the best and most practical info.

—Do you have an environmental link or resource you can recommend?

—Are you making a difference locally that could inspire others elsewhere?

All feedback is welcome!
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Jon Anderson
Jon Anderson
Environment Editor

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