Posts Tagged ‘volunteer’

Climate Reality Leadership Corps

CRP_logoOK…c’mon now. You simply cannot be part of the breathing human race and NOT know that our climate is shifting in some pretty dramatic ways. OK, maybe an infant. If you are a newborn, I will cut you some slack, but everybody else..unh unh.

Now I am perfectly clear that some of us have different theories or thoughts about what is the cause of the change, but we are definitely not in stasis. Whether it is a human-made crisis or completely natural cycle or some combination of both is not my immediate point. My point is, there are absolutely actions we, as a species, can take to not exacerbate the situation…and there are absolutely actions we can take or are taking that can, in fact hasten changes in a bad way. Taking no action pretty much gets us the latter train speeding up toward a mess scenario as well. I’m all about change, but not in this context. Just ask the bucket in my shower catching all the water as it heats up so I can use it to water some plants…or the brown-lawned park down the road…or the farmers in California’s Central Valley where I grew up…

So Vice President Al Gore–inventor of the interwebs, remember him? He has been running a program for some time that I only recently discovered. At the tail end of last year I was in Boston and met several folks that were a part of this movement, and now is the chance for you to join as well. The Climate Reality Leadership Corps is a group of committed citizens who are dedicated to solving the climate crisis now and for future generations. There is no fee to attend training (and the training is actually a pretty deep dive into the science, both physical and sociological science, of the issues)—the next round is happening in Cedar Rapids, Iowa May 5-7. Young people and adults apply and must be accepted (spots are still available) to go through the training and become members of this august community of global activists.

Once you become a leader, you’ve got some work to do–but it’s really cool:

“Within a year of completing the training with the Climate Reality Leadership Corps you are required to perform ten “Acts of Leadership.” Acts of Leadership come in a variety of forms and can be completed in your local community. Examples of Acts of Leadership include giving a presentation, writing a blog, writing a letter to the editor, organizing a film screening, organizing a climate change-related campaign, meeting with government leaders, and organizing a day of action. Most Acts of Leadership will come from giving presentations, including speaking events you arrange yourself and events arranged for you through requests that come in through Climate Reality. The Climate Reality Leadership Corps will offer as much support as possible but you will be responsible for seeking out opportunities to take action.”

Can you hear this calling to you? I sure can (and subsequent trainings, if this is short notice, will follow in Canada and Florida, later this year)

Earth Day Volunteering – Sierra Club Outings

man sitting on wall enjoying view of city belowIf you’re looking for a way to honor the planet and all the things living on it for Earth Day (April 22, though, doncha kinda feel like every day is Earth Day?), the Sierra Club has a whole slew of volunteer outings and responsible travel options for you to explore.

The Sierra Club is one of the largest and most effective grassroots environmental organizations we’ve got, and the fact that they lead trips all around the globe with the intent to get people passionate about the world we all share, is our good luck. The trip leaders are incredibly dedicated volunteers who just want to share experiences and expertise with you. The mission of all the organization’s explorations is to explore, enjoy, and protect the planet.

They boast destinations all around the world, in several categories for all ages and experience levels.  Categories for trips include: backpacking, base camp, bicycle, canoe, international, kayak, lodge, raft, sail, scuba, service/volunteer, ski/snowshoe/dogsled, supported trekking, and training events.

Trip descriptions are thorough so you know what you’re in for, and as I am always strongly advising people really investigate the organizations and organizers of volunteer travel, I love the Sierra Club policy of making all their leaders available by message or phone so you can get all your questions answered.

I’ve got my eye on a few amazing trips coming up: Spring Service in Arches National Park, Utah; Farm Service on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts; Trail Repair in Denali National Park, Alaska; Light Station Service in Big Sur, California, and Western Maui, Hawaii eco-service. If I want to explore more than work (and everybody wants that sometimes–we work HARD for our vacation time!) I’m all about Hiking the Hidden Kingdom in Bhutan; Japan Ancient Buddhist Trails, Rainforests, and Volcanoes in Kyushu; and Trekking the Turquoise Coast of Turkey.

I can pretty much guarantee you’ll find more than one trip to pique your wanderlust, and do a little good while making amazing cultural connections. Bon Voyage!

Brand New Service Expeditions from Earthwatch

owl face with amber eyesIf you’ve been following or reading here for any length of time, you’ve likely come across previous posts about this organization…Earthwatch is one of my favorites for really delivering value to volunteers who are vacationing, while being sure that the work they do is truly impactful for the project–most often environmental and animal scientific research programs but also cultural and archaeological science expeditions.

Needless to say, they have been on my short list for some time–I’ve yet to be able to do an Earthwatch Expedition, but know so many people that have, and several that return to explore trip after trip, being so satisfied with their initial forays.

Earthwatch has announced six new expeditions adding to their already impressive repertoire of opportunities around the world. The new ones are: Conserve Endangered Rhinos in South AfricaMonitor Ocelots in TrinidadProtect Whooping Cranes and Coastal Habitats in TexasConserve Tiger and Elephant Habitat in IndiaConserve Wild Bees in Costa Rica; and Follow Flammulated Owls in the Western U.S.

If they would just combine them and allow me to do a trip where I follow flammulated elephants in Trinidad, I’d be on a plane today…I’d love to be on a plane today for any of these plus the many, many more they offer. They also have specific expeditions catered for families, or teens, or kids–all with a profound new understanding if science just waiting for you (and world-class scientists just waiting for helpful and hard-working volunteers).

As you begin planning your next vacation, give the website a whirl–something is bound to jump out at you–perhaps something flammulated. (*I love learning that new word–it means having flame-shaped markings, as in the plumage of certain birdsI)

Voluntourism Opportunities in Nicaragua

close up on face of pale sea turtleNicaragua–I’ve always wanted to go. So much still unspoiled, so green and still wild in many parts, a little less “discovered” (read: over traveled) than Costa Rica…

Holidays for Humanity has a few offerings you might want to peruse if your looking for eco, green, volunteer/service, and culturally-connected travel possibilities.

Some of their offerings are get-off-the-grid focused, some have a yoga component, many have volunteering options, and all are pretty darn idyllic at beaches or in jungle regions (or both). Try a stay at an eco-resort that has an onsite sea turtle rescue program and sanctuary so you can be of service steps from your door. How about a “Surfing Sustainability” program? Maybe a community-based volunteer program to install solar panels in off-grid, generator-reliant villages. Conservation programs, surf camp, an eco-treehouse resort, a luxury option that directly supports UNICEF…all these are available.

If you don’t share my intrigue and curiosity for Nicaragua, this organization that books “Holidays for the Soul” has dream destinations all over the world with a focus on integrity, community empowerment, and ecological stewardship.

Expanded Spring Clean – Great American Cleanup

highway sign for no litterGot those windows washed and drawers organized with your spring cleaning frenzy? (Sorry East Coast–I know only the calendar says it is spring today, NOT Mother Nature!). Look outside your four walls to the larger picture…America.

Keep America Beautiful is the number one non-profit building green and sustainable communities. This year is the seventeenth annual Great American Cleanup, which will get more than four million of us involved volunteering around the country to take local action for positive change. Willing workers help renew parks, rails, and recreation areas and also clean shorelines and waterways, pick up trash, reduce waste and increase recycling efforts, and plant new trees and community gardens.

Last year’s efforts resulted in the removal of 37 million pounds of litter; cleaned 85,901 miles of roadways, trails, and shorelines; cleaned and renewed 130,497 acres of parkland and public space; collected over 250 million pounds of recyclables; and planted 41,000 trees plus 1.5 million flowers and bulbs.

Come on! You want to be a part of THAT! There are over 40,000 events this year, starting now and continuing through the fall. Seek out programs near you via this website, then grab your work gloves, and go!

Medical Tattooing for Burn Scars

This is an amazing story about survivor support. Burn survivors (the word “victim” is never used, despite how some media are covering this story…please know, victim is neither appropriate nor correct language) have a new tool for dealing with scars. Paramedical tattooing of the sort and expertise demonstrated by Basma Hameed in the video below, camouflages scars by matching existing pigment.

Basma has a big schmancy title: Para-Medical Micro Pigment Implantation Specialist, and her deep interest was born of her own childhood injuries resulting in facial scarring. She, in fact, first experimented on herself to perfect her technique. Basma has also developed a cosmetic concealer to help temporarily blend discolored scars with healthy tissue.

Learn more about this huge step toward confidence, ad consider supporting or volunteering with burn foundations like the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation that has multiple survivor services, including makeup and self-esteem counseling for survivors re-entering school or work or social life in general after long stays at burn units.

Crafty Volunteering for Furry and Feathered Friends

close up of koala faceHave you seen the almost painfully cute (though born of mishap) story this week about the koalas that were injured in wildfires and the International Fund for Animal Welfare rescue organization sent out a call for volunteers to sew mittens for the burn-surviving koalas to speed their healing? I love the outpouring of tiny paw coverings that were sent in almost immediately to help keep medicinal salve on those tiny marsupial toes (with some monstrous claws–I’ve held baby koalas before, they’ve got some fierce nails!)

Pair this with the previous volunteer call for knitters who could make sweaters for penguins, and the chances to help injured and ill animals in crazy cute ways are almost too much to bear…and I love that there is never a shortage of people leaping to the task!

Well, those calls for charitable crafters are fully met and there is no longer need…but here are a couple of other ways you can be creative for animals with volunteer craft projects (I’m sort of miserable at many craft projects, but these would be great fun for more talented volunteers):

Animal Rights Action has an entire page devoted to sewing for animal charities, from patters for different sized dog sweaters to blankets and beds for stray and shelter dogs around the world.

All Natural Pet Care has patterns for knitting and crocheting projects for animal shelters.

Animal Humane Society has a need for craft projects for the animals, from blankets and homemade toys to heating pads for shuttler animals recovering from surgery.

The Anti-Cruelty Society has an entire webpage dedicated to do-it-yourself craft donations for shelter pets.

Quilts to the Rescue is a charitable project that sells and auctions quilts to raise funds for animal rescue with special focus on senior and hard-to-place animals.