With eco-living increasingly trending, more and more people are trying to reduce their carbon footprint and lead sustainable lifestyles. This has shifted the focus to environmental initiatives, highlighting the requirement for eco-friendly solutions. When it comes to helping out with these eco-conservation efforts, one of the most effective ways is eco-volunteering.
Volunteering offers unique opportunities to get involved in hands-on conservation work and sustainable projects worldwide. Volunteers become integral to reducing global warming emissions and promoting eco-friendly practices through this approach. Whether you help maintain trails, plant trees, or create eco-installed artwork, volunteering is the perfect way to give back to the planet.
By getting out into nature and learning new skills like sustainable consumption and production, you can directly impact your environment while creating lasting positive change.
Clean up a park or trail
There are many places that are proud of their parks and trails, and need help to maintain them. Portland, Oregon, is one such place known for some of the best walking paths and hiking trails. Every community has its own parks, beaches, or greenways that stand out and need TLC.
Organizing a cleanup is one way to get involved and create positive change in your local area. The idea is to reduce pollution, litter, and other contaminants that can negatively impact wildlife and humans. A great way to start is by organizing a community cleanup event where everyone can join forces to make a difference. You can do this by:
- Collecting debris from beaches and parks;
- Planting trees, shrubs, and flowers to promote biodiversity;
- Disposing of trash and other hazardous materials in their correct places.
Grab a few friends with an open weekend, then organize and execute the cleanup. You’ll be surprised at just how much of an impact you can make in a short period.
In addition to organized cleanups, emphasizing the value of simply picking up litter on one’s own and setting an example can help create a bigger impact. With a good attitude, willingness to participate, and a bit of commitment, you can become an ambassador for the conservation cause in your community. Who knows what kind of inspiration it may spark in others?
Help with community gardening
Community gardening is an eco-friendly solution to urban challenges as it provides people access to nutritious food when fresh produce can be hard to come by. It also helps conserve biodiversity and promote sustainable practices.
By volunteering in local garden initiatives, you can make a difference in the community by:
- Providing guidance for newcomers;
- Assisting with planting and harvesting;
- Conducting maintenance to keep the garden vibrant and healthy;
- Sharing tips on gardening techniques that are both sustainable and eco-friendly;
- Organizing activities like educational workshops or skill-sharing programs.
Through community gardening initiatives, you can foster meaningful relationships with like-minded individuals and create an environment that is both beneficial and sustainable. Plus, it’s a great way to get fresh air while interacting with the local wildlife.
Take a volunteer vacation
Volunteering abroad is a great way to give back while exploring the world. Whether helping build schools in rural Peru or cleaning up beaches in Costa Rica, voluntourism is becoming increasingly popular for those looking for an immersive and enriching cultural experience. You get to experience various cool hotels, meet new people, and see exotic places while doing something meaningful.
It can often be the case that you don’t even need to travel abroad. Boulder, Colorado, is known for its mountainous views from unique hotels. Here, you can volunteer at local organizations without taking an extensive trip.
There are, however, good and bad sides to voluntourism. Unfortunately, there is a risk of exploitation and the potential to do more harm than good, so it’s essential to research before you embark on a trip. Keep the following considerations in mind:
- Research before booking — Look into the organization’s philosophy and mission to ensure it aligns with your values. Sometimes organizations don’t do as they claim, so it’s important to do your due diligence.
- Think about the impact you’re making — Make sure the project you’re contributing to is beneficial and sustainable in the long term.
- Consider safety guidelines — Educate yourself on any safety protocols in place before planning a trip.
- Consider why you are traveling — It’s important to remember that voluntourism isn’t about you and your personal growth as much as it is about the collective impact you can make as a group.
Volunteering can be simple and inexpensive, and you can do it with others. So why not challenge yourself to make a difference and explore new places?
Support a local cause or candidate
Whether you want to impact environmental policy or simply contribute to your local community, keeping it local is the way to go. From organizing events and attending town hall meetings to making donations, every bit helps.
There are many ways to support causes close to home, such as:
- Donating or sponsoring an event;
- Attending or organizing local protests or rallies;
- Volunteering at local schools or nonprofit organizations;
- Writing letters or signing petitions in support of a cause.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s something that matters to you and reflects your beliefs. Most importantly, get involved in your community and be a part of something bigger than yourself.
Participate in citizen science
Citizen science is a way for ordinary citizens to get involved in scientific research, often through participation or observation. Not only do you get to help scientists answer important questions, but you also get to learn more about a specific topic and gain valuable skills.
To get involved in citizen science, you can participate in data collection (e.g., bird counts or water testing), help analyze information, or simply observe your surroundings for any changes or patterns. It is also a great way to meet people with similar interests and involve your family in activities that positively impact the environment. Get out there and join the movement.
Teach kids about science and nature
By volunteering at a local nature center, museum, or outdoor education program, you can help inspire the next generation to be environmentally conscious. Not only will you teach children about important topics like sustainability and conservation, but you’ll also get to watch them grow and learn — a truly rewarding experience.
A few good places to start when looking for volunteer opportunities include:
- Schools and after-school programs;
- Local conservation efforts and wildlife sanctuaries;
- Google searches for “kids science activities” you can do at home or in the park.
If you have a passion for teaching and a desire to make a difference, consider volunteering to help the next generation discover the wonders of nature.
Join an environmental organization
Organizations like Greenpeace, The Nature Conservancy, and Sierra Club are dedicated to preserving natural resources through education campaigns, conservation efforts, and public outreach.
Joining a local chapter or signing up for their newsletter is a great way to get involved and stay up-to-date on the latest issues. You can also make donations and volunteer your time or participate in events such as beach cleanups or tree plantings.
By joining forces and working together, you can positively impact the environment and help create a more sustainable future for generations to come.
Scott started his travelling life back in 1999, when he headed off on a solo jaunt to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia with just a backpack, a camera and a spirit for adventure. After that, the travel bug bit hard and now he is always seeking to head off somewhere new. Over the years he has lived in Italy, Qatar, Ireland, UK and the US but his spiritual home will always be Rome as this is the city which most satisfies his unrelenting craving for culture, good food and great football. Scott loves nothing better than to be behind the camera and also runs his own blog and Instagram page. He also counts Melbourne, Cape Town and Tel Aviv among his favourite places. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @scottbalaam