Every week we bring you a simple idea for reducing your carbon footprint and protecting the planet. This week: how donating a small amount of your spare time to a green cause can benefit the environment.

Life is hectic. Between work, the school run, taking care of finances and keeping up with friends, it’s no surprise that come the weekend most of us just want to flop on the sofa with a cup of tea and a chocolate digestive.

But what if you siphoned off a bit of your free time to try something new? Something that gets you out of the house, meeting new people and making a real difference to your local community – and to climate change?

Every year, millions of people in the UK spend some of their free time volunteering – 20.1 million people during 2017/18, in fact. Volunteering can take many different shapes and forms, including organising events for good causes, fundraising, administration, campaigning or taking part in community-based activities. Some people will spend an hour or two every week helping out in a voluntary capacity, others might dedicate an afternoon every month – some even less frequently.

There are all kinds of volunteering opportunities available, particularly in the environmental sector, and you don’t have to be an outdoor-loving tree-hugger to get involved! Whether you’re an armchair activist or full-on eco-warrior, take a look at what you could do for these great organisations to spread the important messages associated with climate change. Doing so will make your eventual sofa time so much more delicious!

Volunteering for nature lovers

If you’re the outdoorsy type, why not spend a few hours indulging your passion and helping others? Volunteers with Wildlife Trusts can take up roles running events, caring for nature reserves, surveying plant species and GPS mapping. If you’re an animal lover you could even turn your hand to managing wildlife watch groups. Wildlife Trusts has more than 35,000 volunteers across the UK – that’s a lot of time spent protecting the natural environments we all love. Find available opportunities here.

Volunteering for organisational wizards

If you want to help the environment without actually being in the environment, have a look at the range of volunteering opportunities available through environmentjob.co.uk. Show off your spreadsheet skills, flex your organisational prowess or let your leadership shine; there are lots of office-type voluntary opportunities on offer – many of which can be done from home!

Volunteering for green-fingered gardeners

There are gardens all over the UK crying out for a bit of TLC, and the ones at properties owned by the National Trust provide some of the most rewarding – and majestic – gardening opportunities going. From planting and pruning to helping community groups grow produce on the organisation’s allotments, becoming a volunteer gardener with the National Trust is a great way to share and indulge your love for horticulture. Visit their website for more information. 

Volunteering for fitness fans

If you care about the health of the planet as much as the health of your own body, how about combining your volunteering experience with a bit of personal fitness? Forget stuffy gyms and military-style bootcamps, the Conservation Volunteers have an eco-friendly and award-winning alternative: Green Gyms. An opportunity to improve both your health and the environment, Green Gym leaders will guide you through a range of practical projects, giving you the opportunity to tackle physical jobs in the outdoors while improving your strength, stamina and body confidence – all while benefitting your local community. Visit their website for more information.

The bottom line

Volunteering is a fantastic way to meet new people, try new things and – most importantly – give back to your local community. By volunteering for an environmental cause, you’ll also be giving the climate a much needed helping hand, and doing so in such an altruistic way means you can feel doubly proud of your good deeds!

We would love to hear your comments and stories about the issues raised in this article:




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