Make sure your office is down-to-Earth, with these green initiatives.

It was April 22, 1970 when United States Senator Gaylord Nelson declared the first Earth Day. He was concerned that public parks and natural resources were being lost to legislation that increasingly helped large corporations. Earth Day was his way of bringing notice to the environment and how humans can harm, or help, it in their daily lives. The first Earth Day was all about grassroots demonstrations and parades. Now, it's become much larger than that.

If your company is looking for a great cause to champion in honor of Earth Day, it doesn't have to look too hard. From dwindling rain forests to clean air and water and even the declining honey bee population, there is no shortage of worthy charities out there. Here are some of the best environmental causes where a donation from your company could go a long way:

1. Trees for the Future

Trees provide us with essential foods. They clean the air that we breath and pump more oxygen into it. Trees for the Future works to plant trees in sub-Saharan Africa where the land is poor and farming families are starving. By using a systematic approach, they help farmers plant trees that can repair the soil and provide their families and livestock with food and extra income. The best part? A donation of just $1 can plant 10 trees. Think of how many families' lives your office could change with just a few modest donations.

2. The Conservation Fund

The Conservation Fund is an organization that works to preserve places of ecological, historical, or cultural significance. From timely loans to organizations that need to protect land to creating cleaner water and improved food production, there's a good chance The Conservation Fund has done good work in your local area. The best part? They dedicate 96 percent of their budget to their conservation efforts so you know your donations will be put to good use.

3. The Solar Electric Light Fund

The sun provides nearly unlimited power if we can learn how to use it. The Solar Electric Light Fund works diligently to harness that power for those who need it most. Their projects power hospitals in Haiti, drip irrigation systems in Benin, West Africa, and power grids for towns in Columbia. The energy that SELF provides helps these suffering populations improve their way of life dramatically. This is using nature for the best possible purposes.

4. The Pollinator Partnership

Did you know that honey bees are in serious danger of extinction? Pesticides and a lack of suitable habitats are quickly killing off these important little workers in our environment. In fact, it is so serious that even the Honey Nut Cheerio's mascot, Buzz, went missing for a while. The Pollinator Partnership (and other similar organizations) focus on preserving the world's bee population by conservations, education, and research. Bees are essential to creating much of the food we eat, we owe it to them to find out what is wrong.

5. The Environmental Working Group

If keeping your family safe from chemicals in food and other products, The Environmental Working Group (EWG) may be the charity for you. EWG works diligently to help consumers understand what kinds of chemicals and other harmful ingredients are in the products that they consume. They also reach out to government officials to try to make policies that create a cleaner environment for us all to live in. Clean food, natural products, healthier lives–that's their goal.

6. The Natural Resources Defense Council

How about an environmental charity that makes your donation meaningful in a tangible way? The Natural Resources Defense Council has been fighting for the environment since the very beginning of the movement in 1970. Their mission is to ensure the rights of people to clean air, water, and earth. While their scope may seem enormous, they break it down for you when you donate during the holidays (sadly, not Earth Day) they let you choose how your donation works. Adopt a wolf for $30. Save old-growth forests for $25. You'll get information telling you exactly what your donation is doing to help out Mother Earth.

7. Rainforest Alliance

The rainforests play an incredibly important part in our world's ecosystem. They regulate our climate, provide a home to an enormous variety of animals, and even provide us with as much as 25 percent of our pharmaceutical raw ingredients. On top of all of that, they are home to a number of indigenous peoples. As you'd expect, the Rainforest Alliance works to protect and preserve the world's rainforests. They even work with companies to certify products such as chocolate and coffee as being rainforest friendly. They report that 87 percent of all donations go directly to conservation efforts.

8. Ocean Conservancy

If the Earth were a person, its oceans would be the blood that give it life. Unfortunately, things like over-fishing and pollution threaten our oceans and the life within them. Ocean Conservancy strives to keep the oceans healthy with a focus on the people who live, work, and rely on the oceans as well as the animals that live in the waters. From eliminating trash, to keeping an eye on Ph levels, and even preserving underwater marine sanctuaries, Ocean Conservancy handles many projects with one big goal–healthy oceans for a healthier world.

9. Trust for Public Land

Does your family or anyone in your office love going to National or State Parks? These areas allow people who may live in urban areas a chance to get out of town and see nature at its finest. Camping, hiking, and animal watching are pastimes that are enjoyed by millions in America, but would be far more difficult without our National and State Parks. The Trust for Public Land is fighting to preserve natural sanctuaries for public use, particularly near urban areas. These lands are under constant attack from private interests who want to use them for oil drilling, logging, or urban development. The Trust for Public Land's goal is to ensure that every person has access to natural land that is undamaged by private interests.

These are just a few of the many outstanding options that are out there for your office if you want to help out the environment. Ask around the office to see if anyone in your group has a particular passion. You may be surprise who is an activist for saving the manatees or preserving local rivers and streams. If you don't want to focus your attention on a large, national or international charity, contact your local chamber of commerce to find a local environmental cause. Your company's donation dollars can go a long way towards making our planet a better place to live. That's what Earth Day is all about.

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