Making eco-conscious lifestyle changes — whether it’s eating more vegetables and less meat or avoiding single-use plastic — is an awesome thing to do for the planet. But if you want to take your environmental contribution to the next level in 2020, joining a community for green volunteering in India is the way to go.
Green volunteering as a means to help conserve the ecosystem has many advantages. Of course, you’ll be taking greater care of our planet. Accept it, Mother Earth badly needs a little love, given the myriad ways in which we’ve been relentlessly destroying it. Green volunteering is also a great way to meet like-minded people and to pull yourself out of the rut of worrying about climate change and its effects on the future.
Green Volunteering in India
There’s a high possibility that you’ll learn something new from the experience. Whether you’re a seasoned green thumb or just getting started in your endeavour, there are people, animals, and communities that have a lot to teach us.
We present some of the best opportunities for green volunteering in India.
Clean up the Beaches (and Oceans in the Process)
While this might not seem like the most innovative way to bring about environmental change, it’s one of the most rewarding. Trash in the water and on the shore can kill marine animals and fish, injure beachgoers, and ensnare boat propellers. While ultimately preventing pollution in the first place is a better solution, most of us don’t want to sit around and wait while our oceans and beaches become trash pits.
Prime Minister Modi who has been striving for a Swachh Bharat decided to lead by example in this regard. He was taking a morning stroll along the shores of Mamallapuram in October 2019, when he plogged for over 30 minutes, collecting strewn plastic and garbage.
What to do: Head to the beach, and take along a trash bag to collect and document the debris you find (wear protective shoes and gloves). Feeling more ambitious? Recruit friends and family to join you in a larger beach clean-up. Explain to them that no matter where you live—whether on the coast or hundreds of miles inland—all waterways lead to the ocean. But if we take action and work together, we can improve the ocean’s health and make trash-free seas a reality.
Get Involved in Advocacy
Environmental advocacy organizations develop and lobby for laws and policies that protect the environment on national, state and local levels. Ultimately, policies, such as the Environment Protection Act, 1986 have an unimaginable impact on the future health of natural ecosystems in India.
What to do: Volunteering for an advocacy organization can take various forms, depending on your skills, interest level and time available. You might perform in street plays, organize events, help draft policy, or promote such an organization’s campaigns on social media. Some national-level advocacy organizations with lots of volunteer opportunities are Greenpeace India and Chintan.
Lend a hand at an Organic Farm
WWOOF (an acronym for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) is an organization made up of a network linking visitors with organic farmers and growers to promote a culture based on trust and help to build a sustainable global community. WWOOF hopes to help the organic movement, which is often labour intensive and does not rely on artificial fertilisers and pesticides.
What to do: As a WWOOF India volunteer—or a WWOOFer, as you’ll be fondly called—you will be helping out on a small family-owned organic farm and get food and lodging in return for your effort. Many farms adhere to the principles of vermiculture, mulching and permaculture. Wherever you end up, you will learn something about the world’s broken food systems while meeting interesting and innovative people committed to fixing them. Click here to become a member of the WWOOF India network.
We’re used to our frantic urban lives, but swathes of the global population still live off the land. Millions are dependent on the well-being of their crops, livestock and water sources for survival, and volunteer participation in sustainable initiatives ensures these resources remain rich and well-preserved. So take the most rewarding step of your life by signing up to a programme green volunteering in India itself.