This post is the first of a six-part series that highlights nonprofit organizations that the DG+Design team chose to receive donations for the 2021 calendar year. Each DG+ team member explains how they reached their decision, and why the nonprofit is important to them.
It’s no secret that the western United States is facing a myriad of environmental challenges. Whether it be poor air quality, drought, wildfires, clean water, or any number of other issues, the impacts of climate change are unfortunately very real for the entire region.
When my wife and I moved to Colorado from Washington, DC in 2015, I was immediately intrigued by the visible dichotomies across the state. Colorado is in some ways a traditionally Republican state, however, it has gradually become a more diverse, purple state when it comes to politics. In terms of energy, the state is still largely impacted by the presence of the oil industry and the historical legacy of coal mining, which still continues to this day in certain areas. However, the state is also known for its environmentalists, outdoor enthusiasts, and progressive politics that make it further unique.
I first came across Western Resource Advocates (WRA) while performing research for Front Range Change, my documentary film on the transition from coal toward natural gas and renewable energy in Colorado. One of the key drivers of this transition was a policy known as the “Colorado Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act”, which would phase out some of the oldest coal-fired power plants in the state and replace them with a diverse portfolio of solar, wind, and natural gas.
WRA was an advocate for the Clean Air-Clean Jobs Act as well as other emissions-reducing policies, such as the 2018 Colorado Energy Plan. Instead of an electricity sector dominated by coal, the state is now on a trajectory to achieve 50% renewable energy by 2026, reflecting a 60% reduction in carbon emissions.
Beyond this energy-focused work in Colorado, WRA is doing much more across the seven states where they are active. They are also working to establish stronger clean air and clean water standards, including on Native American reservations. For example, WRA has shown support for the Tribal Access to Clean Water Act that was introduced to the U.S. Senate in 2021. They also applauded measures in the November 2021 infrastructure bill to appropriate funds to the Indian Health Service and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Other projects include protecting wildlife corridors across the west, improving air quality in populated areas, and reducing water demand. Putting it all together, WRA has ambitious goals to protect 30% of western lands and waters by 2030 to keep nature’s resources available for many generations to come.
Western Resource Advocates has a mission to protect the West’s land, air and water to ensure that vibrant communities exist in balance with nature. The organization has grown to include work across seven states, including Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. For more information and to donate, visit www.westernresourceadvocates.org.
Last year, DG+Design joined the 1% for the Planet community to help support nonprofits that are fighting pressing environmental issues around the world. Any organization can join the community, which helps vet nonprofits to help us as donors choose legitimate, trusted recipients for our contributions.
While the DG+ team’s contributions might be relatively small when compared to some of the larger community members, we still followed a formal process to our giving. Our approach was relatively simple. Each of our full-time employees chose a recipient non-profit organization to receive funding. Then, our total donations were split equally among these nonprofits.
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