Most people who start a non-profit organization (NPO) or charity like Yad Ezra VShulamit do it because they have a charitable heart. And they wish to serve on the frontlines solving the world’s toughest challenges. This is particularly true of many non-profits serving in countries where the most vulnerable and marginalized communities live, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For instance, while access to clean drinking water and sanitation is a global right for all citizens who live on this earth, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the desperate need for clean water and sanitation. It has also alerted the world to the fact that, according to the World Economic Forum, over 50% of the world’s population does not have access to clean water and sanitation.
One of the challenges that the global population faces today is climate change, out of control global warming, and epic pollution levels. The fact that the novel coronavirus jumped from the animal kingdom to the human population is attributed to climate change. While some sectors of the scientific research community deny that climate change is partially responsible for the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, there is substantial evidence that because our climate is heating up, zoonotic diseases like COVID-19 and Ebola are expanding their range and posing an ever-increasing risk to the human population.
Therefore, the question that begs is, how do climate change and global warming impact charitable organizations?
It stands to reason that, mainly because NPOs and charities often work in regions where the effects of climate change are the most obvious, they must switch to more sustainable practices as part of the global campaign to reduce pollution and global warming.
Here are a few ways charity organizations are taking steps to become more environmentally friendly.
1. Reuse and recycle as much as possible
Some of the simplest strategies to follow in this regard is to buy recycled products, throw away the disposable paper cups, and reuse everyday objects.
Let’s look at each of these points individually.
Buy recycled products
It is possible and a good idea to buy recycled paper to use in offices and photocopy machines. Even though the recycled paper might be more expensive than standard paper, the payoff in terms of reducing the local landfills is worth it.
You can also now buy recycled clothing, from shoes to tees, jackets and sweatshirts. Again, while these items might cost more, the reduced impact on the environment is well worth the extra cost.
Ditch the paper cups
Many organizations have water coolers plus plastic cups in their reception areas, offering visitors the choice of iced water or room temperature water. These water coolers come with disposable cups, mostly paper but also plastic. Moreover, in order to reduce the organization’s global footprint, it is advisable to replace these throw-away cups with reusable, washable cups.
Reuse everyday objects
The example of providing reusable and washable cups or mugs at water cooler points or coffee machines is a case in point. Other options are to place recycling bins at local retailers and shopping centers, allowing for the collection of electronic equipment like second-hand but functional cell phones for people in need who do not have a phone. Other reusable items include clothing and shoes in good or wearable condition.
Finally, suppose you run a food bank or provide meals for people without food. In that case, you can partner with a local restaurant or grocery store to collect their produce and cooked food items that are about to expire or have just expired to distribute to people in need. There is nothing wrong with this food. It just cannot be sold once the stated expiry date has passed.
2. Implement sustainable practices in hospitals and clinics
It is possible to implement sustainable practices and procedures in non-profit hospitals and clinics. For instance, replace all fluorescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs. Not only will they last longer, but they are more eco-friendly.
Secondly, installing automatic light dimmer and on-off switches to reduce energy usage and costs is a good idea. It is also essential to install a master light switch in every room in the building, making it much easier for the last person in the room to switch off all of the lights before walking out.
Thirdly, it is vital to install recycling bins on-site. Not only is it important to recycle plastics, paper, and disposable electronic items like printer cartridges, but it is also possible to recycle medical waste like plastic injection needle packaging. Medical waste, like biological waste, sharps, and used PPE, must be disposed of safely and securely in separate bins or containers. It is essential not to recycle any of these items or throw them away in general waste bins because they are hazardous to human health.
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