This is a list of ecological and social justice causes that Treesong supports. Currently, his focus is on local efforts. Regional, national, and global efforts are listed for people who don’t live in Southern Illinois and people who are looking for organizations that currently have no local chapter.
You can support these causes too! You don’t need to wear a special costume or adopt a superhero identity in order to make a difference. You can be an everyday hero by supporting these causes in whatever ways are most suited to your abilities, resources, and desires.
If you would like your organization, project, or cause to be listed here, contact Treesong.
- Carbondale Interfaith Council : The purpose of the Carbondale Interfaith Council is to make God’s love visible in our community by fostering interfaith cooperation, sharing religious experiences, engaging in service, discovering unity while respecting our differences, and speaking with courage and strength for justice.
- Gaia House Interfaith Center : This community center has been an important part of the open, progressive, diversity-embracing community in Southern Illinois since the middle of the 20th Century. Gaia House is home to a variety of groups and programs with an emphasis on social justice, environment, and spiritual themes. The center is also home to the Labyrinth Peace Park, an extensive lending library, a large community kitchen, and space upstairs and downstairs for meetings, dinners, and other events. You can support Gaia House by becoming a member, renting the Center to host an event of your own, or simply coming to one of the many exciting events we have there on a regular basis.
- SIU SENSE : Students Embracing Nature, Sustainability, and the Environment (SENSE) is SIUC’s Student Sustainability Group, formerly known as the SIUC Eco Dawgs. Past activities of the group include Saluki Cycles, establishing the Green Fund/Sustainability Council, Powershift, Power Vote, Lecture Series, and starting the Environmental Coalition. They’ve been on campus for some 30 odd years and will continue their positive role on the campus for years to come. As SIU’s Environmental club SENSE’s focus is on the sustainability and Environmentalism on the campus but they love to venture off on weekends with volunteering and field trips. They started and continue on as the leaders of the SIU Fossil Fuel Divestment campaign and look forward to improving the sustainability at SIU. SENSE was also formerly known as the Student Environmental Center, which is the group that gave Treesong his start in community involvement.
- Food Works : Food Works draws attention to local food, local farmers, and issues of social and environmental health. Their mission is “Local, sustainable food systems development for Southern Illinois.” Food Works is involved in several programs and activities related to local food system development and community engagement; and works with local and state-wide organizations to educate about and promote local food issues. Currently, Food Works staff is coordinating a community food assessment that will help to develop a comprehensive portrait of the food system in Jackson and Union Counties. They are also filming a documentary on the local food system. In 2010, Food Works will focus on developing a new and transitioning farmer training program for Southern Illinois, as well as a regional branding program to draw attention to the bountiful produce, meats and dairy products grown and produced in the region.
- LGBTQ Resource Center : The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) Resource Center serves as a centrally located, safe campus space that provides educational outreach, referral information and advocacy services, which adds to an inclusive and diverse environment for GLBT students, faculty, staff, families, friends, alumni, and the greater Southern Illinois Community.
- Green Earth : Green Earth, Inc., is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving open space for public access in and around Carbondale, Illinois.
- Good Samaritan House Ministries : Good Samaritan House Ministries is a tax-exempt organization, established in 1985 by Carbondale Interfaith Council, to provide services to the needy in the Carbondale area. They provide an emergency shelter, a transitional housing program, a soup kitchen, a food pantry, and an emergency assistance program. Many of my fellow Real Life Superheroes focus on helping the homeless and needy in their communities. Learning from their example, I would like to do the same here in our community. Good Sam is one of the organizations right here in Carbondale that provides such services on a daily basis. I’m also open to suggestions about how to help the homeless, and people living below the poverty line, in other ways.
- Keep Carbondale Beautiful : Keep Carbondale Beautiful initiates, plans, and directs cooperative efforts in litter control, recycling, community beautification, and environmental education.
- Pets Are Worth Saving (PAWS) : PAWS was founded in 1994 to help with the animal overpopulation and destruction of adoptable animals in Union County. We rescue strays, owner surrenders and animals from kill shelters in southern Illinois.
- Rainbow Café : The Rainbow Café is a SAFE SPACE social/support group for high school age gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth in Southern Illinois. They also welcome those youth questioning their orientation and youth members’ heterosexual friends.
- Shawnee Green Party : The Shawnee Green Party is a political party and community activist group that supports the 10 Key Values of the Greens. Ecological Wisdom, Social Justice, Grassroots Democracy, Nonviolence, Decentralization, Community-Based Economics, Feminism, Respect for Diversity, Personal and Global Responsibility, and Future Focus.
- Shawnee Group of the Sierra Club : The Shawnee Group is an activist organization with dedicated members working on numerous, local issues such as natural areas management; endangered species, biodiversity and wilderness preservation.
- SIRSS : Southern Illinois Regional Social Services (SIRSS) is a private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3), full-service, community mental health center. For almost 50 years, SIRSS has fulfilled its mission of Building Better Lives by fostering hope and supporting recovery through prevention, family support, mental health and substance abuse services.
- WDBX 91.1 FM : WDBX is a community radio station located in Carbondale, Illinois. With over a hundred volunteer DJs offering music, talk radio, and beyond, we are by far the most diverse and independent station in the region. I also co-host a show on WDBX called Your Community Spirit every Friday at 10 am. Your Community Spirit features local events as well as ecological and social justice news. We bring you the dirt, but we always do it with an upbeat focus and a goofy sense of humor. If you’re not in Southern Illinois, you can listen through streaming audio on the website. If you are in Southern Illinois, you can join us for the WDBX Ball on February 13! See the website for more details.
- The Women’s Center : One of the first domestic violence centers in the country, The Women’s Center, Inc. was created in 1972 by their ”founding mothers”- a group of visionaries who recognized the need for a safe, secure environment for Southern Illinois women and their children. The Women’s Center has operated continuously since its founding over 35 years ago. Their staff of professionals and trained volunteers are dedicated to helping people regain control of their lives, their choices, and their futures. They are recognized as experts on domestic violence and sexual assault and work constantly to educate Southern Illinoisans about these issues.
- Heartwood : Heartwood is a regional network that protects forests and supports community activism in the eastern United States through education, advocacy, and citizen empowerment. Heartwood was founded in 1991 when concerned citizens from several midwestern states met and agreed to work together to protect the heartland hardwood forest. This region was once blanketed with a majestic hardwood forest containing more than 70 species of hardwood trees. Unfortunately, much of this forest has been cleared. What remains is mostly isolated fragments of public land that nonetheless play a critical role in providing habitat for wildlife, purifying the air and water, moderating global climate change, and offering places of beauty and enjoyment. Today, Heartwood’s efforts remain rooted in the heart of the central hardwood region, with an emphasis on their “core states” of Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, and Missouri. Over time, Heartwood has branched out to serve areas of need throughout an 18-state region, giving special attention to the “at risk” national forests in Michigan, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, West Virginia, and Virginia.
- Intact America : Intact America works to protect babies and children from circumcision and all other forms of medically unnecessary genital alteration, whether carried out for cultural conformity or profit, in medical or non-medical settings. We seek to achieve our goals through education, advocacy, public policy reform, and the empowerment of our supporters, partners, and volunteers. You can read our Statement of Principles here.
- Mad As Hell Doctors : Mad As Hell Doctors are a small group of Oregon-Based doctors who care. They believe there is only one way to control costs, one way to remove profiteering from the system, one way to reclaim the care of their patients, and one way to be sure everyone is covered: we must replace our current pay-or-die system and with a comprehensive, publicly financed, privately delivered, Single Payer system that puts people first.
- Southern Poverty Law Center : The Southern Poverty Law Center was founded in 1971 as a small civil rights law firm. Today, SPLC is internationally known for its tolerance education programs, its legal victories against white supremacists and its tracking of hate groups.
- 350.org : 350.org is an international campaign dedicated to building a movement to unite the world around solutions to the climate crisis — the solutions that science and justice demand. Their mission is to inspire the world to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis — to create a new sense of urgency and of possibility for our planet. Their focus is on the number 350, as in parts per million, the level scientists have identified as the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere.
- Forecast the Facts : Forecast the Facts is dedicated to ensuring that Americans hear the truth about climate change: that temperatures are increasing, human activity is largely responsible, and that our world is already experiencing the effects. We do this by empowering everyday people to speak out in the face of misinformation and hold accountable those who mislead the public.
- Food Not Lawns : Food Not Lawns was founded in Eugene, Oregon in 1999 by a small group of activists who had been cooking Food Not Bombs (free meals in the park) for several years and decided to start gardening too. Soon we started hearing about other chapters and realized we had spawned a powerful, inspiring part of the growing sustainability movement. With the publication of Heather Flores’ book, “Food Not Lawns, How to Turn your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community,” by Chelsea Green Publishing Company in 2006, new local FNL chapters starting popping up all over. Now we are a global community of avant gardeners, working together to grow and share food, seeds, medicine, and knowledge.
- Half the Sky : Half the Sky lays out an agenda for the world’s women and three major abuses: sex trafficking and forced prostitution; gender-based violence including honor killings and mass rape; maternal mortality, which needlessly claims one woman a minute. We know there are many worthy causes competing for attention in the world. We focus on this one because this kind of oppression feels transcendent — and so does the opportunity. Outsiders can truly make a difference.
- Heroic Imagination Project : The Heroic Imagination Project teaches people how to overcome the natural human tendency to watch and wait in moments of crisis and how to create meaningful and lasting change in their lives. They have lots of wonderful resources on this site, including a “Weekly Social Fitness Challenge” that helps you develop your social fitness just as you would your physical fitness. Enjoy!
- The Initiative Collective : The Initiative Collective’s mission is to help those in the most need to the highest ethical standard and the maximum effect. We achieve our mission by providing a variety of services such as neighborhood crimefighting patrols, self-defense training, emergency response, used needle pickup, humanitarian outreach, and environmental advocacy.
- Seva Foundation : For thirty years now, Seva has served people around the world who are struggling for health, cultural survival and sustainable communities.
- Sleepydust :The Sleepydust Mission is to raise awareness about ME/CFS — Myalgic Encephalopathy / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome — and to support, motivate and inspire the people who live with these illnesses.