Today, Monday 5 December, is International Volunteer Day – a great opportunity to reflect on how we are making a difference in our communities.
The global theme for this year’s International Volunteer Day is Solidarity through volunteering. For the future of our planet, we must act together and we must act now. This is not an era to stand alone but together, in solidarity with each other.
This theme really resonates with me, as someone who is passionate about volunteering and its positive impacts. Volunteering can come in all different shapes and sizes across the social and environmental spectrum. This month at Xero, what’s top of mind for us is the environment, as we’re taking our own steps towards reducing our environmental footprint, which you can read more about in this blog.
Volunteering your time towards environmental causes is an effective way to have a big impact on your community. You don’t need experience to be an environmental volunteer or citizen scientist – all you need is an interest in the natural environment around you, even if it’s something small!
Our environment doesn’t have a voice of its own, so we need passionate individuals and organisations to stand up and do their part for this planet – whether that’s through a simple act like picking up a piece of litter on the side of the road and disposing of it responsibly, or participating in a more formal program. When you volunteer your time towards an environmental cause, you’re becoming a part of the solution to sustain the planet.
Every effort has an impact
At Xero, we have one Community Connect day each year to volunteer for a cause close to our hearts. Many of our people choose to spend this day volunteering for environmental causes.
You can’t argue with the benefits of getting outside, and paired with doing something purposeful, the benefits of environmental volunteering really are reciprocal for yourself, your community and the environment. Take a breath of fresh air, feel a sense of gratitude, plant a seed of self confidence, connect with like minded people, get some mental and physical exercise – there are too many benefits to list.
Of course, if the environment isn’t something you’re particularly interested in, you can get involved in an issue in line with your values. At Xero, our people also enjoy getting involved in making sandwiches for various charitable programs; wrapping Christmas gifts for charity; organising canned food drives; leading youth groups; painting/repairing school buildings; using their professional skills to support deserving organisations and much more.
There are endless environmental volunteering opportunities
There are many different ways that you can spend the day volunteering for environmental causes. If you need a bit of inspiration with where to start, here are some examples of different opportunities:
- Tree planting
- Beach clean-ups
- Wildlife monitoring online and outdoors (you don’t even need to leave home!)
- Environmental advocacy, campaigning
- Supporting educational programs
- Providing skilled or administrative support to environmental not-for-profits
- Conservation projects
- Habitat restoration
- Wildlife rescue
- Parkland, streetscape and garden maintenance
- Bird watching
- Aquatic surveys
- Water quality sampling
The list is endless. What environmental opportunities are there in your community?
Five steps for getting involved
- Identify what environmental causes you are interested in
- Brainstorm what skills and knowledge you have to offer
- Research volunteer opportunities in your community, or reach out to your local government for ideas
- Call or email local volunteer organisations for additional details
- Mobilise! Share the word with work friends, gather a team, and encourage a friend.