Editor’s Note: John D. Sutter is a columnist for CNN Opinion who focuses on climate change and social justice. Follow him on Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook or subscribe to his email newsletter.

CNN  — 

The audience response to CNN’s “Vanishing” series has been overwhelming.

The project on mass extinction showed that three quarters of all species could disappear in the next couple centuries if we humans don’t drastically change our relationship with nature.

“I have read your Vanishing page on CNN. I was so surprised about what is happening in the world,” a 13-year-old wrote in an email to me. “I am shook and devastated. I knew that some animals were going extinct but not three quarters of all animals. I was wondering if you know any opportunities for teenagers or young adults to work or help stop the sixth mass extinction. Also, are there any ways I could help spread the word about this to the country or even to the world?”

In response to that young person, and to many other messages like that, below you’ll find a list of CNN-vetted groups that are working to solve the mass extinction crisis.

They could use your donations and time.

We know how to stop this crisis. Basically, we need to curb or eliminate our use of fossil fuels; set aside far more land and water – perhaps half of the Earth, in the view of a leading biologist – for conservation; and stop black-market trade in animal products, particularly for elephant ivory.

It won’t be easy, but it’s highly possible.

These non-profit organizations are among those working to get us there.

Blue Ventures

I met Blue Ventures in Madagascar while reporting on a Vezo community that likely will not survive if its coral reef disappears. Blue Ventures surveys reef heath and organizes local communities toward reef conservation. It also supports a local school.

You can send a child to school for $3 per month.

Coral Reef Alliance

Global group working to protect coral reefs and to support communities that depend on them.

Elephants Without Borders

Elephants Without Borders aims to improve elephant conservation science in Africa. CNN’s David McKenzie followed the Botswana-based group’s founder, Mike Chase, as he conducted what he calls the largest survey of African elephants to date, the Great Elephant Census.

The survey found 144,000 African elephants disappeared between 2007 and 2014, a nearly 30% decline.

Plastic Pollution Coalition

This group is focused on the perils of plastic. Its goal is to rid the world of plastic, and to raise awareness about its toxic impact on humans, animals, and the environment. For more on the dangers of plastic and the Plastic Pollution Coalition, see Nick Paton Walsh’s report on Midway Atoll, an island paradise where birds are choking on plastic.


This non-profit is known for enlisting celebrities in advertisements that aim to make wildlife products seem uncool. NBA star Yao Ming appeared in an anti-shark fin soup PSA, for example. Soccer icon David Beckham and the UK’s Prince William appeared in another WildAid ad. As the group says on its website,”WildAid’s mission is to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes by reducing demand through public awareness campaigns and comprehensive marine protection.”

The organization also conducts research on illegal wildlife markets, and uses that information to try to curb consumer demand.

Xerces Society

The Xerces Society works on bee and butterfly science and policy. I visited the non-profit’s Portland, Oregon, office while reporting on the disappearance of Franklin’s Bumblebee. The science-based conservation organization promotes pollinator health, pesticide-free habitats, endangered species protection and healthy watersheds.

CNN Impact Your World and Bethany Hines contributed to this report.