What used to be one day of activism (April 22) on behalf of the planet we all share has expanded over the past 41 years to become a full month of volunteerism, educational events, and giving back to the environmental and conservation causes we each care about as individuals. But Earth Month is also a testimony to the combined power of many – each year, more than half a billion people join forces around the world to contribute what they can of their energy, skills and resources to help build a healthier, more sustainable future. EarthShare is a U.S.-based non-profit federation that was founded on that same principle: harnessing the incredible impact that comes with many people working together to take care of our natural resources. The organization has achieved this for 25 years by partnering with workplaces across the country, connecting hundreds of thousands of employees with EarthShare member charities each year and giving those employees effective ways to get involved in supporting critical environmental causes. When Walmart and EarthShare joined forces in 2006 to engage the largest private employee population in the world in caring for our air, land, water and wildlife, it stood to reason that the results would be nothing short of amazing. Walmart Associates have donated more than $1.1 million through the EarthShare @ Work program, with Walmart Foundation’s generous match bringing their gift to the environment to more than $2.3 million. This translates to critical support for hundreds of American environmental charities – and hundreds of environmental success stories.
In 2012 alone, Associate contributions through EarthShare helped organizations that put thousands of young people on the path to service and career opportunities in national parks, forests and other public lands. Employee support enabled EarthShare member charities to work with on-the-ground partners to protect and restore habitat in devastated areas after Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast in October 2012. Walmart Associates also supported organizations that protected 143 million acres of forest from China to Costa Rica to the Democratic Republic of Congo – the equivalent of taking 10 million cars off the road. The achievements supported by Walmart Associates don’t end there. Many species that were once threatened or on the brink of extinction – including the Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab and the iconic American Bison – are now flourishing thanks in large part to the work of EarthShare member organizations and the support of employee donors (learn more about the species conservation work of EarthShare organizations here). Workplace givers additionally enabled programs that have uncovered energy efficiency opportunities worth $1 billion in net operational costs for corporate and public sector organizations, and removed more than a million metric tons of annual carbon emissions from the atmosphere. Walmart’s commitment extends to working directly with EarthShare member organizations like the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), too, to reduce the environmental footprint of the company’s operations and products. Together they have developed a carbon reduction goal that will greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Walmart’s support of another EarthShare member group, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), is helping to minimize the effects of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on key fish and wildlife species, including shorebirds, sea turtles, marine mammals, oysters, and others.
All of this is good news for people and our environment, and all of these efforts are augmented by the support received from Walmart Associates. If this inspires you, please consider making even more progress possible in 2013 by giving a tax-deductible gift through EarthShare in honor of Earth Month to help us continue to support the vital work of their member charities.