Giving List

A few weeks ago, I wrote an open letter to my clients, friends, and the online community asking for help.  Seized by a need to do more than I currently do for our environment and its creatures, I felt an intense desire to give a percentage of my take-home pay from Luminous Studios wedding photography to environmental causes.  But there are so many worthy causes out there that I simply had to ask for your help choosing just one or two to give to. So for the last couple of weeks, I've been compiling all of your ideas, and this weekend I've finally had time to sit down and make some decisions.  And it is with excitement that I want to announce my selections for the 2010 Luminous Studios Giving List!

Thank you all for your GREAT suggestions - these organizations are so deserving and I am truly grateful to be able to send them my support!

Cheers,

Jen

Giving List Organization:  Save Japan Dolphins

To be honest, the details of this situation are almost too much for me to bear, and I can't bring myself to even share the specifics here. I will simply say that in Taiji, Japan , fishermen round up and slaughter hundreds and even thousands of dolphins and small whales each year, even though their flesh is unfit for consumption. The slaughter is seen not as a hunt for meat, but as pest control; the dolphins are perceived as pests to be exterminated by the thousands. That so many of these incredibly social, highly intelligent, and inherently kind creatures are being brutally murdered in huge numbers is overwhelming to me. I encourage you to watch The Cove or read more information on this organization's website instead, and contribute if you can.  I'm just grateful that there's a group of people doing something about it, and I want to support them in any way I can.

For more information on Save Japan Dolphins, please visit their website.

Watch the trailer for The Cove here:

.

Giving List Organization:  Plastic Pollution Coalition

 

Here we come to another cause I feel so passionately about that it has literally changed my life.  When I watched this 5-minute TED talk by Dianna Cohen a few months ago, I was stunned to realize that every piece of plastic ever created still exists on our earth, and that much of it is in our oceans, literally strangling marine life and making marine habitats untenable to the creatures that have called them home for thousands of years.  I have blithely recycled all my life, assuming that all those "disposable" plastic bottles, lids, caps, containers, toothbrushes, bags and razor blades were melted down into something useful.  It turns out that this isn't the case.  It turns out that there are at least 11 known "garbage patches" in our oceans, 2 of which are at least twice the size of Texas.  It turns out that in these oceanic regions, there's more plastic in the water than food, and sea birds and swimming creatures are mistaking bottle caps, cigarette lighters, and plastic bags for food, and dying in huge numbers from massive wads of indigestible plastic, as shown here.

The Plastic Pollution Coalition is dedicated to education, legislature and inspired action to stop the use of disposable plastics and stem the flow of plastics into our oceans and habitats. For more information, please visit them online here.

You can check out Dianna Cohen's TED Talk here: The Runners Up

The two organizations above are my selected choices for the 2010 Annual Giving List.  I felt so strongly about each of these organizations that I wanted to concentrate my donations on just two instead of spreading the love out between several different organizations.  However, it was too difficult to eliminate some of the other organizations from the list entirely.  There are two in particular that stood out as must-haves for next year, and so I want to pledge here and now that the next two organizations will be on my list in 2011.

Giving List 2011 Organization:  Friends of Trees

I first became aware of this organization when some trees were planted in my neighborhood.  As I walked by to catch the bus every morning, I noticed the tag strung between two skinny little trees in a parking strip on my street that read "Friends of Trees" and included some care instructions for healthy growth.  More recently, my friend Amy Ruppel (who is an amazing artist!) created the artwork for the Friends of Trees Plant it, Portland campaign, and her vibrant art is on lawn signs all over Portland today.  So when the lovely Kat Dale (recent bride, WedPortland wedding coordinator, and creator of amazing eco-happy wedding invitations at Kattail Designs) suggested I donate to Friends of Trees, I was delighted by the suggestion.   Dedicated to planting and caring for trees and green spaces in the Portland-Vancouver region, Friends of Trees has a number of ways community members can contribute and get involved in making our home a little greener.  I'm going to look into ways to have a grove of trees planted in honor of my wedding clients for 2011! (Thanks for the great suggestion, Kat!)

To find out more, click the awesome artwork below!

Friends of Trees

Giving List 2011 Organization:  National Wildlife Federation

When I first began talking about creating a Giving List, a friend of mine immediately spoke up and reminded me that he worked for this wonderful organization.  I'd heard about the National Wildlife Federation for years, but never really learned about what they do.  It's pretty inspiring stuff!  As the NFW says on their website, "all across America, wild spaces are being squeezed out, leaving wildlife with fewer spaces to call home.  The National Wildlife Federation works to inspire Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future ...the National Wildlife Federation focuses on protecting and defending wildlife and the wild places they need to survive; restoring the health of our natural habitats and ecosystems; and educating and inspiring Americans to care for and protect our natural heritage."

For more information on the National Wildlife Federation, check them out online.