Being environmentally conscious is a big deal for many, and for good reason: We only have this one planet, and our ecosystems are being compromised at an alarming rate. And while cutting down on our single-use plastic and taking public transit instead of driving solo are all great steps to take toward reducing our footprint, sometimes it's nice to try to do more. After all, giving back just feels good. There are so many inspiring environmentally friendly organizations to volunteer with that it should be easy for you to scope one out that resonates with a cause you're passionate about.
Volunteering for a cause you care about is also an awesome way to meet like-minded people in your community and get out to try something new. Plus, it's a rewarding way to enrich your life if your day job isn't exactly in a feel-good, Earth-friendly field. And even just getting out to help once in a blue moon can make a big difference! We know you're leading a busy life, so doing what you can do rather than nothing at all is super important.
Whether your passion lies with saving the trees, embracing renewable resources, cleaning up oceans and rivers, or living that no-waste lifestyle, there's likely an environmentally friendly organization looking for volunteers near you that could use your help. And while this list is a good start, don't limit yourself! Check out websites like Volunteer Match, which can help you find organizations and ways to get involved in your area that align with your values.
Habitat For Humanity
Habitat For Humanity aims to help provide shelter and home-ownership opportunities for low-income individuals by building homes together with volunteers, and one of their main principles is to "[s]upport sustainable and transformative development." The organization offers volunteer opportunities for green building projects, so sign up to volunteer today and ask what eco-friendly projects they're currently focused on in your area.
If renewable energy is your thing, GRID Alternatives offers volunteers a chance to help, as the organization's mission is "to make renewable energy technology and job training accessible to underserved communities." GRID Alternatives has offices around the country, and to volunteer, you just need to sign up and attend an orientation session (which can be completed online). They note that most volunteer opportunities are to help install solar panels on the homes of limited-income families, but they have other opportunities as well. Sign up to volunteer here.
Arbor Day Foundation
Arbor Day Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to planting trees. It focuses on revitalizing damaged forest areas with fresh trees to rebuild the ecosystems, and also works to plant trees in urban areas to clean the air and provide habitats for wildlife. "Whether you are organizing a tree planting project or looking to volunteer at a tree planting or pruning event, you can take pride in helping to transform our urban landscapes," according to the website, so look into their nationwide volunteer opportunities.
The Food Project
If keeping things local is an important part of your eco-friendly lifestyle, volunteering with The Food Project might be a good bet, as they work to build community gardens and grow fruits and vegetables sustainably, affordably, and without chemical pesticides. The organization's mission is to . Sign up to volunteer here.
National River Cleanup
Run by organization American Rivers, the National River Cleanup boasts events around the country, and they're always looking for volunteers who are willing to help participate in river clean-ups to eliminate dangerous trash and toxins from the ecosystems. Check out their volunteer events near you to get involved.
Just as it's important to keep our rivers clean and free of trash, we have to do the same for our oceans. Ocean Conservancy hosts an annual International Coastal Cleanup, and are always looking for volunteers to plan and/or participate in events. If you live on or near the coast, you can make a difference by volunteering with Ocean Conservancy and helping to keep the beaches clean.
Zero Waste International Alliance
Working toward a no-waste world is important, and the Zero Waste International Alliance is all about it. Their mission is "[w]orking towards a world without waste through public education and practical application of Zero Waste principles." If you're interested in volunteering, check out ways to get involved and peep their upcoming events.