Volunteering to Protect the Environment

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.