Maybe it was the success of An Inconvenient Truth, the skyrocketing gas prices this past summer, or just the natural fruition of a long-discussed idea, but interest in alternative energy has never been higher. A host of companies are making advances in alternative energy use, as more business leaders, politicians, and consumers realize that our traditional sources of energy are not just becoming scarcer -- they're contributing to the very real problem of global warming.

Large companies such as BP (NYSE:BP), Corning, Toyota (NYSE:TM), and GE (NYSE:GE) have devoted resources to researching renewable energy sources. Toyota's Prius, for example, shows the potential of a product that uses traditional power sources in innovative ways. Evergreen Solar (NASDAQ:ESLR), Energy Conversion Devices, SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR), and Suncor Energy (NYSE:SU) are some additional companies that have generated a good deal of buzz for their alternative energy innovations.

There are dozens of other companies that are directing some or all of their resources to developing green solutions to energy use that won't deplete the earth's natural resources. More companies, such as Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT), are instituting changes in how they do business, to conserve resources.

But there are also a lot of charitable organizations out there with the goals of conservation and halting global warming, among other green initiatives. For example, Conservation International is working in more than 40 countries to protect plant and animal diversity in biodiversity hotspots, as well as important marine regions. Environmental Defense, a U.S.-based organization, is focused on solving environmental problems through scientific evaluation and works to create nonpartisan solutions. And the Coalition for Clean Air is working to restore clean air to California through advocacy work and promoting community involvement.

And those three are literally just a handful of the green charities out there. Do you have a favorite? Let us know about it on our Foolanthropy discussion board, where you can nominate great charities for our annual philanthropy drive. The call for nominations ends Friday, Nov. 10, so don't put it off.

Check out our Foolanthropy Center for more information, and make your voice heard!

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Wal-Mart is an Inside Value recommendation.

Sarah Erdreich does not own shares of any companies mentioned. She owes a debt of thanks to energy attorney Vince Mareino for his assistance with this article. Her current CAPS rating of 88 out of 12,147 is all her doing, however. The Fool's disclosure policy reduces, reuses, and recycles.