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Not many people can claim to be legitimate urban farmers. But Fields and her team are just that: They're turning neglected urban land into a fully operational farm on which locals—including marginalized Bronx women and youth—can grow their own organic produce. Next up, the area's first farmer's market and mobile food truck (it'll run on vegetable oil, natch).
Volunteer your Time: "If you live near an abandoned lot, I bet you can find at least ten people in your area interested in starting up a community garden there. Put up signs, pass them out, start talking to folks—positivity is contagious. Or, start with a cause you're already invested in. I did my first volunteering with an air-quality organization because I had an asthmatic kid who was in the hospital all the time."
Money: "Here in New York, Sustainable South Bronx (ssbx.org) does work for the environment and climate change. Look for similar local grassroots organizations to donate to—ones that work just in your state or community will have more targeted efforts."
Decker's "triple bottom line" approach involves educating small-town communities on the cost benefits of going green and building sustainable businesses. It's working: Rural Action has become a national leader in eco-non-profits.
Volunteer your Time: "Keep America Beautiful (kab.org) can point you in the right direction for a volunteer opportunity—beautification, cleanups, and recycling—in your community."
Money: "Green investing is simple: Check out kiva.org or kickstarter.com to see what good ideas need your help. I also shop at thrift stores a lot—it gives me a major thrill to know my entire (recycled) outfit cost $15 and I still look good!"
Rockefeller's eco m.o.? Combining the power of storytelling with the power of statistics and science. At last year's Environmental Film Festival in Washington, D.C., she debuted her first short film, Mission of Mermaids, which juxtaposes the mythical creatures with the stark reality of over-polluted and over-fished oceans.
Volunteer your Time: "Become a sailor! My husband started a non-profit called Sailors for the Sea (sailorsforthesea.org); it empowers people who love boating and sailing to be stewards of our oceans. Or, if you live near a beach, participate at beach cleanups with your family and friends."
Money: "I always recommend donating to Oceana (oceana.org). By joining, you become part of a global community of wavemakers—over 500,000 strong—who have come together to protect our oceans."
Park started her eco-friendly accessories label, Ampersand As Apostrophe, three years ago; today, she's selling in bulk to blockbuster stores like Anthropologie. Her handbags and jewelry are made from recycled or repurposed materials, including leather, rubber, brass, and even 100-year-old English mailbags.
Volunteer your Time: "urbanfarming.org has volunteer opportunities all over the country. I like it because it's community-based and focuses not only on saving our natural resources, but also on helping build sustainable systems."
Money: "The Rainforest Action Network (ran.org) is a good organization to donate to because it concentrates on keeping outsourcing and packaging to a minimum. Also, when shopping, take that extra five seconds before buying something to see where and how it was made. Support companies like Edun, a luxury fashion brand, that try to help the environment."
When she was 13 years old, Schrode co-founded a youth movement that teaches students, schools, and communities how to make simple eco-friendly lifestyle choices. Last fall, her Teens Turning Green foundation launched Project Green Challenge, in which thousands of international high school and college students participated in a 30-day conscious-living challenge.
Volunteer your Time: "You won't affect any world change if you don't first start at home. Look on idealist.org for local ways to get involved."
Money: "Donate to the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org). It does some of the best environmental research and breaks down data in a way that makes it relevant to your life."
A pioneer of "green" photography, Dailey uses digital files and custom-made solar chargers to power her strobe lights. She designed her studio windows so she can use the sun as her primary light source, and only works with magazines, skin care lines, and celebrities that share her passion for conservation.
Volunteer your Time: "Green Wish (greenwish.com) helps fund green projects all over the country—it's a great way to see who's doing what (and where you can volunteer) in your neighborhood. Websites like meetup.com are also a good way to find like-minded volunteers and projects."
Money: "I usually donate to the Wildlife Conservation Society (wcs.org). It's heartbreaking to me that all of these species are being endangered because of the way we've treated our planet, air, and water."
Wear is all about the water; or, rather, what's in the water. Her top priority is keeping the world's coral reefs pristine and protected, and she travels the world making sure other scientists know the best ways to preserve the diverse plants and animals that thrive beneath the ocean's surface.
Volunteer your Time: "Get down in the dirt and plant a tree, do a beach cleanup, or help restore a reef. Better yet, get involved in local decision making—environmental issues come up every day in local politics. Check out epa.gov/epahome/community for guidance."
Money: "The National Geographic Society (nationalgeographic.com) educates the general public on important issues happening across our planet. Help them spread awareness—it's the first step to making positive changes."
Talk about a crazy-cool cat lady: Heydlauff helps run a nonprofit dedicated to wild cat conservation, something that's way more important than you might think. Big felines—lions, tigers, jaguars, and snow leopards—are large predators essential to maintaining Earth's ecosystems. Panthera is preventing jaguars from being killed by ranchers across Latin America and Heydlauff and her team are currently helping to fight tiger poachers in Asia. Like we said, crazy cool.
Volunteer your Time: "Race for your cause. I'm doing a marathon with a Panthera team in Kenya, where we'll be running through the grasslands with zebras and giraffes. We've had people run other marathons dressed up as lions and tigers to raise awareness."
Money: "Save your cash: Don't buy wildlife animal products. People, often times unknowingly, support the illegal wildlife tradeÃ¢â‚¬”a booming industry which is driving many species to extinctionÃ¢â‚¬”by buying fur, claws, or teeth from big cats."
Not your average pinup gal, Rayne Oakes stars in the 2013 Pirelli Calendar, which features models who work on environmental and humanitarian initiatives. She's also founded two eco-focused businesses: Source4Style, which helps fashion designers find sustainable materials, and abovelive.com, an online platform for sharing inspiring environmental stories.
Volunteer your Time: "Parks in Focus (pif.udall.gov) connects underserved youth to nature. You volunteer to work with kids who live in cities and have less of an opportunity to get outside."
Money: "Give to a non-profit called Extreme Ice Survey (extremeicesurvey.org), which is doing great work to stop the melting of the glaciers. Also, invest in a Sodastream (sodastreamusa.com). It turns tap water into sparkling water or soda—saving you money and sparing the Earth more plastic bottle trash."
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