6 Midwest Organizations Working To Protect The Environment

Conserving the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the plants that sustain us is important to anyone who wants to live a long, healthy life and leave a good world behind for their children. Unfortunately, there are many forces that threaten the environment, from climate change to invasive plant species to irresponsible urban development. That's why the organizations listed here work to preserve and restore nature in the Midwestern U.S. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Groups Fighting To Preserve The Environment In The Midwest

Organization Headquarters Location Mission
Environmental Law & Policy Center of the Midwest Chicago, IL Develop and lead successful strategic advocacy campaigns to improve environmental quality and protect natural resources
Hoosier Environmental Council Indianapolis, IN Tackle environmental challenges and help make Indiana a healthier, better place to live and do business
Midwestern Invasive Plant Network Lisle, IL Reduce the impact of invasive plant species in the Midwest
Ecology Center Ann Arbor, MI Develop innovative solutions for healthy people and a healthy planet
Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts Indianapolis, IN Enable the conservation of Indiana's natural resources and improve the environment and quality of life for future generations
The Wetlands Initiative Chicago, IL Restore the wetland resources of the Midwest to improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat and biodiversity, and reduce flood damage

Climate Change Impacts In The Midwest

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce

  • Regional floods
  • Severe thunderstorms
  • Summer drought
  • Heat waves
  • Increased demand for water from the Great Lakes
  • Winter storms

The Rise Of Global Temperature

According to data from NASA

Year Annual Average Anomaly
2010 0.73°C
2011 0.61°C
2012 0.65°C
2013 0.69°C
2014 0.75°C
2015 0.90°C
2016 1.02°C
2017 0.93°C
2018 0.85°C

How Climate Change Already Affects The Midwest

In Depth

The American Midwest is an industrial powerhouse that has helped the United States progress to where it is today. Unfortunately, much of the region faces numerous environmental challenges because of this industrialization. The Midwest is the source of 22% of the nation's carbon dioxide pollution, has lost much of its native wetlands to agricultural runoff and development, and is seeing the purity and ecological sustainability of the Great Lakes threatened. However, there are nonprofits working to protect the environment, and the people who live in it. Here, in no particular order, are 6 organizations fighting to preserve and restore nature in the Midwest.

Starting the list at #1 is the Environmental Law and Policy Center of the Midwest. It is a public interest legal advocacy and eco-business innovation organization. It develops and leads successful strategic campaigns to improve ecological quality and protect natural resources in the Midwest. E.L.P.C. uses advocacy and sustainable development principles to win cases and create positive solutions to protect our natural habitats. The nonprofit works across the Midwest and Great Plains region, with an office in Washington, D.C., and its teams include public interest attorneys, M.B.A. strategic planners, and communications specialists.

The Environmental Law and Policy Center's climate change solutions target 6 problem areas: climate change in the Midwest; clean energy, air, water, and transportation; and wild and natural place preservation. It works with Midwestern cities to reduce carbon pollution, and advocates for and enforces strong air quality standards to protect the public. E.L.P.C. also advances power efficiency policies to save people money and use ecological resources wisely, and to advance clean solutions like wind and solar fuels. The nonprofit welcomes donations and participation in its action initiatives.

The nonprofit welcomes donations and participation in its action initiatives.

In the #2 spot is the Hoosier Environmental Council, an educational and advocacy organization that works to make Indiana a better place to live, breathe, work, and play. It strives to reduce barriers to sustainable energy use, cut down on pollution and greenhouse gas emissions associated with factory farms, strengthen drinking water protections, and safeguard wilderness areas. In 2007, Indiana was ranked as the 49th greenest state by Forbes magazine, and H.E.C.'s work seeks to address the ecological, power, and pollution challenges that face the state. It is supported by environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club and the Indiana Public Health Association.

The Hoosier Environmental Council runs several major initiatives which focus on clean water access and purification, coal ash damage reduction, and developing green business partnerships. H.E.C. provides a wide array of information on its website that educates and informs. These resources include articles, research papers, public official contact information, and maps. The nonprofit is also heavily involved in educating and encouraging builders and homeowners in the construction and renovation of green homes that are designed to be energy-efficient by employing the latest technology and materials. H.E.C. encourages people to volunteer, donate, or attend an event.

Coming in at #3 is the Midwestern Invasive Plant Network. Founded in 2002, the organization works to reduce the impact of invasive plant species in the Midwest, which cause or may cause harm to environmental, economic, or human health. M.I.P.N. primarily works with partners in the upper Midwestern states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin, and the Province of Ontario in Canada. The Nature Conservancy of Indiana, Purdue University, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources have all played a major role in M.I.P.N.'s development over the years.

Founded in 2002, the organization works to reduce the impact of invasive plant species in the Midwest, which cause or may cause harm to environmental, economic, or human health.

The Midwestern Invasive Plant Network has 5 major focus areas: developing invasive species spread-prevention measures; promoting early detection and rapid response programs and methods; promoting consistent regional methods for inventorying, monitoring, and tracking invasive plants and encouraging cross-boundary data sharing; serving as a bridge between the research and land-management communities; and developing regional outreach and education, including publications and conferences. It provides numerous resources on its website, including fact sheets, brochures, presentations, and posters. M.I.P.N. welcomes new members.

At #4 is the Ecology Center, a nonprofit that is dedicated to developing innovative solutions for healthy people and a healthy planet. Founded by community activists after America's first Earth Day in 1970, it is a Michigan-based organization that works at local, state, and national levels for clean production, healthy communities, environmental justice, and a sustainable future. The E.C. works towards its goals through grassroots organizing, advocacy, education, and demonstrations. It has a four star rating at Charity Navigator, and 88.6% of its total expenses are allocated to its programs.

The Ecology Center runs a number of educational initiatives, including pre-school, kindergarten, elementary, junior high, and high school programs that are aligned with the Michigan grade and high school content expectations, and cover topics from compostability to engineering safe water systems. The E.C. also helped create the nation's first state-supported green chemistry program, which includes the first state-level gubernatorial green chemistry awards curriculum, and annual conference. People interested in supporting the center can donate, become a volunteer, or attend an event.

People interested in supporting the center can donate, become a volunteer, or attend an event.

In the #5 spot is Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, which works at a state level to promote and enhance conservation. I.A.S.W.C.D. accomplishes this through legislative advocacy, public outreach, and supporting its member soil and water conservation districts in their local work. It represents the interests of local districts, and assists their leadership through coordination and education for the use and management of natural resources. It works to coordinate technical, financial, and other forms of assistance with Indiana's 92 county conservation districts and almost 400 volunteers statewide.

Indiana Association of Soil and Water Conservation Districts oversees a number of special projects, including a partnership program of agencies and organizations working together to provide information, networking, education and resources to Indiana women landowners and farmers. Its educational curricula include a poster contest where students display their art, and a comprehensive training and certification program for technical staff. It awards annual prizes that recognize outstanding contributions to Indiana soil and water conservation. Anyone interested in supporting I.A.S.W.C.D. can volunteer or shop through its Amazon Smile portal.

Finally, in the #6 spot is the Wetlands Initiative, an organization founded in 1994 to reverse the environmental damage caused by the drainage of wetlands in the upper Midwest. It is dedicated to restoring the wetland resources of the Midwest, and works to improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat and biodiversity, and reduce flood damages. T.W.I. focuses on science-based, economically sustainable projects, and collaborative work with public agencies in order to develop replicable restoration methods and models. It has a 4 star rating at Charity Navigator, and 84.6% of its total expenses are allocated to its programs and services.

It is dedicated to restoring the wetland resources of the Midwest, and works to improve water quality, increase wildlife habitat and biodiversity, and reduce flood damages.

The Wetlands Initiative combines two basic strategies in its work: on-the-ground restoration of wetland landscapes, and innovation of ways to promote and finance large-scale wetland restoration by others. Its major restoration projects include a 3,000-acre waterfowl refuge, and a 20,000-acre prairie restoration effort that is the largest protected open space in northeastern Illinois. One of its principal innovation initiatives is nutrient credit trading markets, which would generate sellable credits for farmers who voluntarily installed nutrient-removal wetlands. T.W.I. welcomes donations, volunteers, workplace giving, and attendance at its events.