Why Give?

by Christopher Lim

There are many reasons people give to nonprofits. According to Network for Good, here’s a partial list:

·       Someone I know asked me to give, and I wanted to help them

·       I felt emotionally moved by someone’s story

·       I want to feel I’m not powerless in the face of need and can help (this is especially true during disasters)

·       I want to feel I’m changing someone’s life

·       I feel a sense of closeness to a community or group

·       I need a tax deduction

Now, in San Luis Obispo County there are nonprofits that serve every facet of our community. Some provide social services, others promote the arts, and still others bolster our educational system. Yet, there is still plenty of work to be done.

Above: students learning about the importance of water quality to the health of our watershed

Above: students learning about the importance of water quality to the health of our watershed

Thinking very big picture, what is the overarching goal of every nonprofit? Our ultimate goal is to put ourselves out of business. Once we achieve our mission, then there is no need for the organization to continue. Here at Central Coast Salmon Enhancement, we work to provide a future of healthy and clean Central Coast watersheds for all. Is this an achievable future? Could we ever realize our mission?

Our vision may seem lofty, but should it be? Our planet is critical because it is the only one we know of that supports life. There is no backup. There is no planet B. The planet provides us with all the resources necessary to support our lives and all the species we share it with. Our planet’s health is fundamental to our community’s well-being.

Do you have fond memories of exploring the local creek in your neighborhood and discovering its tiny critters? Or do you remember the feeling of catching your first fish then cooking and eating it at your campsite?

We want these memories to continue for future generations. But we live in a world facing large global issues such as climate change, sea level rise, and ocean acidification. These issues will lead to extended droughts, climate refugees, and a negative change in the ocean’s food web. But these issues will also hit close to home. Wells will dry up, people whose livelihood depends on fishing will suffer, wild fish could become a scarce protein, and so on.

Above: Students taking water quality measurements of Arroyo Grande creek

Above: Students taking water quality measurements of Arroyo Grande creek

This is the world our children, grandchildren, and their children will inherit from us unless we decide to act today. We believe that education equals sustainability. As part of our mission, we educate our communities, especially young people, how to make positive environmental decisions everyday to make our planet a healthier place. Our communities are learning how they are interconnected to the natural world and how they are a part of it and not separate from it.

I am hopeful for our future because if people are part of the problem, then we are also part of the solution. Mother Nature shows an amazing capacity to heal herself, but we cannot continue on this same path. Even though one may think, “What can I do? I’m only one person,” we try to instill the message in everyone we meet is that our choices matter. I love to ask young people, “How many people does it take to make a difference?” The answer comes naturally, “One.”

Through my work here at Central Coast Salmon Enhancement, I see people making similar, positive environmental choices. Together, we can make that difference.

During this season of giving, we ask you to support our vision today and help create a future where people no longer make sustainable choices, but live a sustainable life. Then we will happily close our doors for good.