Georgia Straight, December 9, 2015 – Help the environment thrive by supporting Vancouver-based charitable organizations


Donations to the Stanley Park Ecology Society will help restore wildlife habitats, control invasive species, and educate people.


Most people care about the environment. They recycle stuff, plant trees, and do other good things.

Wealthier folks may want to give to charities.

In 2010, charitable organizations dedicated to helping the environment received $274 million in donations, according to Statistics Canada. That’s only three percent of the more than $10 billion given by Canadians to various causes that year.

Federal and provincial governments encourage people to support charities by offering tax breaks. Charities registered with the Canada Revenue Agency issue receipts for tax credits. In B.C., a $100 contribution in 2015 entitles a donor to $20 in combined federal and provincial tax credits. For first-time patrons, a maximum donation of $1,000 qualifies for a $639 credit.

Donations in the form of securities, artworks, jewellery, and rare books are also eligible for tax credits.

It’s a win-win proposition. The environment thrives, and donors pay less tax.

During this season of gift-giving, here’s a list of Vancouver-based environmental charitable organizations to consider.

Environmental Youth Alliance

The EYA describes itself as a “force of young people changing the world, one seed at a time”. Conceived in 1991, the group connects children and youth with the environment through programs such as gardening and nature observation. It facilitates workshops on subjects like composting, beekeeping, seed-saving, and tree care. The EYA strives to “create small moments of magic” and prepare young people to “become catalysts for change”.

Fraser Riverkeeper Society

Fraser Riverkeeper is committed to the protection of the Fraser River and its watershed. The Fraser is one of the greatest salmon-bearing rivers in the world. The group wants to ensure that citizens can safely swim and fish in B.C. waters. It looks at the water quality in Metro Vancouver, garbage-dumping and pollution, net-pen salmon farming, coal transport on the river, and the destruction of fish habitat through gravel mining.

Stanley Park Ecology Society

The SPES is the principal provider of information services in the city’s biggest green oasis. It’s been working with the park board since 1997 to deliver educational programs at the 400-hectare rainforest. These include school field trips and public tours. SPES is also engaged in conservation programs like restoring wildlife habitat and controlling invasive species. Its Co-Existing With Coyotes program educates people on how to reduce conflict with the animals.

David Suzuki Foundation

The DSF is one of the country’s most prominent organizations. It was founded by David Suzuki and his wife, Tara Cullis, in 1990 following clamour for action by listeners to Suzuki’s radio series, It’s a Matter of Survival. The foundation seeks to protect the climate, create livable communities, establish environmental rights and justice, transform the economy, help Canadians connect with nature through outdoor education, and engage people in making Earth-friendly choices.

Pacific Salmon Foundation

Salmon isn’t just a type of fish for Canadians on the Pacific coast. It’s an integral part of their economic, cultural, and social existence. The PSF was founded in 1987 with the goal of promoting the conservation of wild Pacific salmon for present and future generations. Its mandate includes the restoration of habitats in B.C. and Yukon. Through various partnerships, it aims to “bring salmon back, stream by stream”.

Canadian Society Promoting Environmental Conservation

Founded in 1969, SPEC focuses on urban communities. It’s one of the oldest environmental organizations in the country. It works to “raise public awareness on environmental issues and encourage policies and practices that lead to urban sustainability” and to build resilient food systems by teaching people how to grow food. SPEC also promotes renewable energy, waste reduction, alternatives to motorized transportation, and the protection of green spaces.

Better Environmentally Sound Transportation Association

Dedicated cyclists started BEST in 1991 to promote the use of bicycles as a sustainable form of transportation. According to the group, “Our vision is vibrant, healthy communities built around walking, cycling, public transit, and ride/car shares.” Its programs include the Bicycle Valet, which provides bicycle parking at various public events. The valet program began in 2006 and has secured over 100,000 bicycles.

Ecojustice Canada Society

Ecojustice fights for the environment by using legal tools. Its lawyers have represented First Nations, community organizations, and individuals in court cases since 1990. Ecojustice reports, “We achieve legal precedents that keep harmful substances out of the environment, protect wilderness and wildlife and take aim at climate change.” Its victories include a 2012 landmark decision by a federal court ordering the federal government to protect the habitat of B.C.’s resident killer whales.

Earthsave Canada

Earthsave believes that people can save the planet by adopting a diet low in animal products. It notes that animal agriculture causes pollution and accounts for up to 25 percent of global-warming emissions. Earthsave isn’t a vegan organization, but it promotes a shift toward a more whole-food, plant-based diet, “where the majority of calories and nutrition come from plant rather than animal sources”. The group encourages people to go meatless every Monday.

Upcoming Events