Environmentally Friendly Volunteering

Environmentally Friendly Volunteering

Climate change affects us all. It causes many forms of extreme weather – from droughts and floods to rising sea levels. Recent climate change has an obvious impact on biodiversity, as life cycles of many wild plants and animals are tightly connected with the seasons changing. At the moment, the biggest concern is the increased level of CO2, which occurs due to fossil fuel combustion and use of aerosols. Other factors, which affect our climate are exploitation of soil, ozone layer depletion, livestock breeding and deforestation. We invite you to think about what can you do to make your trip and stay as environmentally friendly as possible? With intent to create environmental awareness, SCI (Service Civil International) wishes to encourage volunteers to think about reasons for natural resource dissipation. To get the whole picture, it is necessary to understand how the goods we use are made, what are the long-term consequences which come from producing them, and then put it all in a wider political, social and economic context.

What are your suggestions regarding the sustainable way of living at a work camp?

Living in an international group leads to finding that every participant – partially because of their social and cultural background – has a different perspective on things, values and needs. Things that really matter to someone, are to someone else of secondary importance, and vice versa. When you will be talking about consumer habits, do not judge too quickly. Try convincing with valid arguments, not with judging or causing feelings of guilt.

We believe it is important for everyone to re-evaluate their lifestyle and consumer habits. Numerous activities with which we can protect the environment are simple and can easily be accustomed to. Find alternative ways of living in a group that have less negative impacts on the environment.

Even with a small budget, you can decide on sustainable ways of living at workcamp.

Examples of environmentally friendly decisions during a workcamp:

  • use bicycles and public transport (instead of cars or planes that heavily pollute the environment)
  • reduce the amount of waste and sort them
  • save on energy/electricity
  • make cautious decision when shopping for everyday goods
  • buy locally grown fruits and vegetables, not those form distant countries
  • choose ‘environmentally friendly’ food instead of food produced with many chemicals
  • choose fresh food instead of pre-cooked, canned or in plastic packaging that is usually full of additives
  • choose food and drink that is being sold in small (and recyclable) packaging, instead of wrapped in plastic
  • eat tasty vegetarian alternative meals instead of eating a lot of meat. The way breeding is done in today’s industrialised and global world, is of the reasons why climate is changing
  • when you are buying meat, decide for quality and environmentally friendly products. (Ask yourself these questions: Where the meat originates from? In what conditions were those animals living? How far were they transported? What were they fed with?) If volunteers wish to eat meat, we advise buying it form local butcher rather than buying it at supermarket
  • prepare meals which can be saved for the following day (avoid discarding food)
  • use only as much water as you really need (If you do not have enough clothes to fill the washing machine, ask others if they want to wash their clothes with yours. When you are doing the dishes, save water by not rinsing them with running water. If possible, shower only once a day.)

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