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Volunteering to Protect the Environment

2010 February 25

Students are often looking for opportunities to earn service hours. Non-profits, faith-based organizations often have such opportunities. Yet, why not think of creative ways to earn these service hours and protect the environment at the same time? And who says that community service should be limited to those who are currently enrolled in school? Volunteering for the environment should be everyone’s business regardless of age.

In last week’s blog, “Never Too late for a New Year Resolution,” I was struck by one of the statements from a regular Greenversations commenter, Michael E. Bailey. He highlighted how the City of Mission Viejo where he lives has made the 3 Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycle) one of its top priorities in environmentalism. He points out that this active community involvement has earned Mission Viejo a green reputation.

I was surfing EPA’s Web site and found useful information on how you can volunteer to protect the environment. There are tips for teachers and students, multicultural community groups, and other public participation opportunities.

There are many volunteer opportunities to improve the quality of our local waterways. The “Adopt your watershed” program has useful toolkits on watershed stewardship for volunteers. You can also recommend to your Girl Scouts troop to participate in the clean up of a local stream or waterway so the Girl Scouts can earn a service patch. Businesses can also board the green bandwagon by organizing environmental awareness activities to encourage green procurement.

These are just a sampling of some of the tools available. I’m sure that many of you have already put creative methods into practice. We would like to hear from you. So, as the old Chinese proverb says: “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” It’s just a matter of starting. You can also make a difference today by engaging in environmental stewardship.

About the author: Lina Younes has been working for EPA since 2002 and chairs EPA’s Multilingual Communications Task Force. Prior to joining EPA, she was the Washington bureau chief for two Puerto Rican newspapers and she has worked for several government agencies.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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33 Responses leave one →
  1. coolerchoice permalink
    February 25, 2010

    fantastic idea about volunteering for environmental work we should all be doing this to help better our environment,even now it is not to late to help issues like global warming and even future renewable energies great post keep up the great work reads environmental issues

  2. lyounes permalink*
    February 25, 2010

    I’m sure there a lot of people willing and interested in doing so. That’s why I included some links to help them get started. Thanks for your comments.

  3. Jackenson durand permalink
    February 25, 2010

    This is the kind of volunteerism that I had always dreamed, imaged and awaited to become true.
    Now, let’s get redefine our natural resources by protecting them.

  4. David Mc permalink
    February 26, 2010

    My church actually just got done with a “God is Green” study series. We discussed many items to do around there. One was to investigate a water well on the site and getting it to work again. If some can be used for washing, toilet flushing at least. Would that save much total energy/ chemical waste from treatment and local distribution? What if we added a windmill for pumping? We were thinking of a garden too. We decided to grow Michigan Marijuana and be a registered supplier to local patients. Just kidding. But hey, wouldn’t growing medicine be really, really green??

  5. armansyahardanis permalink
    February 26, 2010

    Brother David Mc,
    I don’t know this statement is sensitive or not. After read your church activities about “God is Green”, be touched my heart. Here, I cries, our students be intimidated by his teacher that The God “are” the best, the biggest, the knowest, etc, without be given for them space for question. I know, really know, one of superior power of the human is question, always asking……
    Back to the substance of your statement, here, our or “My”, maybe just my mind, students, love for Green is not be arranged for them. One or two times maybe Yes, but substance of its curriculum, like my statement above, The God “are” the best, etc…. However, wherever you go, have many,many,many disaster. God, now, is Loser…. Ya, Loser. Green is not God. God is black……!!!!!

  6. Solarphile permalink
    February 26, 2010

    Another great way for entire families to help the global environment, generate awareness and enhance social responsibility at the same time is to participate in volunteer tourism, or “volunteerism”. It’s a great way to contribute, raise your consciousness, feel great, have fun and do something worthwhile on your vacation.

  7. Al Bannet permalink
    February 26, 2010

    God is love, and a mystery beyond human comprehension. The Earth was once very green and blue, but now mostly gray from massive tons of pollution. To return it to its natural order, safely recycle 100% of all waste and garbage and peacefully reduce the human population. On a slowly cooling and shrinking planet, a growing population and its growing economy have no future.

  8. Al Bannet permalink
    February 26, 2010

    I would like to volunteer at a recycling station, but not only are there none nearby, but those few that do exist are pitifully ineffective in recycling the growing tons of waste and garbage our growing human population produces every day. I’m saying that our living biosphere will suffer a toxic collapse unless we establish 100% safe recycling of all waste and garbage and peacefully reduce our human population. How many people can the Earth support? Has there ever been a serious scientific investigation to answer that vital question?

  9. David Mc permalink
    February 26, 2010


    Don’t feel insensitive. I was like that for several years. Al has it right.
    Anyway, the scriptures I know are very wise in many areas to do with the earth, and If God were black I’d love him/her just the same. Oh, I forgot my current church has a baptism thing. Fill with well water if tested safe.
    I wish you blessings, but not here (government website = separation of church and state)… in private.

  10. armansyahardanis permalink
    February 27, 2010

    Brother Al,
    Love, is blue, like the song from, if I am not wrong, The Blue Diamonds in 1960’s. God is not similar with love. In fact, If you love something, your eyes must be bright. So, if God love something, Her eyes automatically must be bright, like the Sun. But earthquake in Chile an hours ago, your capability, or The God ? If Her love Chile, in there are not sadness tragedy. So if the sun bright in DC, mustn’t be snowstorm there. Actually, the enemy of protect environmental, is God. Her done is our done. Maybe links between we are and Her is this. The other, is our responsibilities. She is destructing of the planets and we are reconstruction them. Back to the top, God is Black, not love…..

  11. Michael E. Bailey permalink
    February 28, 2010

    Volunteering for environmental protection is very important. And while you may believe that you have to volunteer for only certain things to be able to help the environment, it is also part of environmental protection to volunteer to work in a city’s animal services center. Mission Viejo’s Animal Services Center does a lot of work in the area of wildlife protection and wildlife education programs; the Red Cross is another important agency with volunteer positions helping to deal with local and major disasters including areas concerning temporary shelter, sanitation, drinking water, debris removing. Also, People First, California, is planning an outreach program to disabled teenagers, and our People First, California, Orange County Chapter is exploring the idea of reachingout to disabled teenagers here to see if some are interested in being a part of our community inclusion project on the Oso Creek Trail. The Oso Creek Trail is a wheelchair accessible trail that includes at the trail entrance special wheelchair lift van parking. Lastly, Vocational Visions, the biggest employer of disabled persons in South Orange County has several day programs that go out to the city’s parks and playgrounds each day for cleaning of the grounds. Thank you and best wishes, Michael E. Bailey.

  12. David Mc permalink
    March 1, 2010

    This place is unevenly censored, but still a pretty good site.

  13. Lina-EPA permalink*
    March 1, 2010

    Not sure on the scientific investigation on that vital question, but I was thinking that it might be difficult to come up with a specific number. I’m hopeful that with technology and scientific advancements, we will make the Earth more sustainable in spite of the continuous demographic growth. While ncreasing environmental awareness is essential and we need to start now–that is only part of the solution–My humble opinion

  14. Lina-EPA permalink*
    March 1, 2010

    Great idea. It’s definitely an experience that lasts a lifetime.

  15. Lina-EPA permalink*
    March 1, 2010

    Please keep the comments coming. Here’s the policy criteria for monitoring comments to our blog entries;

  16. armansyahardanis permalink
    March 1, 2010

    Ya Brother David, our place is still a pretty good site……..
    I was paranoia maybe, all that I saw, must be commented. I am not patience by the situation around me. I shall revolution maybe, like Dr. Barbara said……; Our done, our thought, our hopes, are not clear yet.
    I say to myself, just relax, our place is still a pretty good site. Thank you
    David. God bless you….! Kiss me for your families. I always wait for your post….

  17. Nikki permalink
    March 1, 2010

    Although many of my volunteer efforts have been centered around helping children, I have also made it a goal of mine to help out the environment in the process. Last fall I was volunteering at a local Boys and Girls Club. I helped to create a proposal for them to start a “Green Group.” This group included a group of kids learning about the environment once a week and creating their own garden at the club.
    The point is that no matter what cause we are volunteering for, we can include an environmental aspect.

  18. lyounes permalink*
    March 1, 2010

    Excellent! WE call can make a difference. Thanks for contributing to the cause.

  19. Anonymous permalink
    March 2, 2010

    armansyahardanis, I’m not quite sure What you’re saying. I did mention in a post that was deleted not to feel insensitive. Oh, hey. That post is back up? Anyway, I’m not patient ether. We can relax and still be impatient though, right?

  20. David Mc permalink
    March 2, 2010

    Thanks Lina. The comment above was posted, then gone, now back again. I figured it was borderline, so I wasn’t annoyed.

  21. David Mc permalink
    March 2, 2010

    armansyahardanis, who’s Dr Barbara? Say, something’s getting lost in the translation. Is your blessing a curse in disguise? Yes, this world is a pretty good site too. Don’t despair. Life is worth living. I look forward to your posts also. I can tell you are a very caring person.

  22. Al Bannet permalink
    March 2, 2010

    Your opinion is not so humble, the “sustainable growth” crowd very much in control of decision-making these days. But it is a self and social deception. Planet Earth is not growing to accomodate our expanding economy. Instead it is slowly shrinking with each earth quake and volcano, so ecocide is the final result of human greed for more of everything. Ecocide is the death of a regional environment from industrial toxicity. We humans are land-filling and ocean-dumping ourselves toward self-extinction, because most of us refuse to think!

  23. Mitch permalink
    March 9, 2010

    That’s one step at a time for a safer and cleaner water sources. Thanks for promoting this. I wish you well in all your endeavors. By the way, support this to fix the economy and earn over $100 for your family. Saving our planet indeed has great rewards!

  24. Amy Cameron permalink
    April 15, 2010

    I’m proud to say that our community has been religiously following practices that are geared to protect the environment. Here, we make it a point to practice waste segregation at all times. We turn over the recyclable ones to our community’s recycling center where we could make some cash from our junk.

    Amy Cameron

  25. jackson macharia permalink
    May 11, 2010

    its time Kenyan students take action and make a change

  26. sabrina permalink
    May 25, 2010

    You are right Kenyan Students do need to take action

  27. princyroger permalink
    October 2, 2010

    These all are great to know about it. In all these there are so many things which is great. Here, we make it a point to practice waste segregation at all times. We turn over the recyclable ones to our community’s recycling center where we could make some cash from our junk.

  28. Josephine Truth permalink
    October 15, 2010

    Yes, while you are enjoying these marvels, you can feel good that you are working to protect them to be enjoyed by future generations. Volunteers working on environmental projects in Borneo carry out conservation work in areas not accessible to tourists to increase access to environmental resources, conduct research, or raise awareness.

  29. Josephine Truth permalink
    October 15, 2010

    Volunteers working on environmental projects in Borneo carry out conservation work in areas not accessible to tourists to increase access to environmental resources, conduct research, or raise awareness.

  30. crusii permalink
    October 29, 2010

    Yes, while you are enjoying these marvels, you can feel good that you are working to protect them to be enjoyed by future generations. Volunteer abroad on any continent and know that you are working to protect the environment for future generations.

  31. Business IT Service permalink
    February 11, 2011

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  32. Anonymous permalink
    June 25, 2012

    What are some organizations I can volunteer with?

  33. June 28, 2012

    It is good many people are getting involved in campaign for a better environment, In the five countries in Africa our volunteers work, local volunteers have cultivated a total of 105,000 trees. Too bad that when we did our last review, only 25,000 are still growing.. many of them eating by grazing cows and others just cut off as people make their way to their farms, clearing pathways…. We are re-planing. Will welcome interested persons to volunteer ideas on the type of trees that could help in the regions in Africa, considering our problems.

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