New York City is a densely populated, vibrant and diverse center of business, culture, tourism, and entertainment. It is also a remarkably green city as well – 14% of the city, or over 30,000 acres1, is under the stewardship of the Parks department. This land includes local parks and community gardens, as well as famous landmarks such as Coney Island Beach and Central Park.
As concern over climate change and environmental health continue to grow, many people are looking for ways to contribute their time, efforts, skills and knowledge to help improve their physical community in NYC and beyond. Not only can environmental volunteers make a positive impact on the world around them, but volunteering with an environmental organization may lead to significant improvements in physical activity, health, and psychological well-being in volunteers themselves2.
Environmental organizations looking for volunteers include:
1. Earth Day Network
You are likely familiar with Earth Day, when on April 22nd over one billion people globally participate in activities to support environmental activism throughout the world. However, the Earth Day Network is active year-round, encouraging people to fight climate change, plant trees, reduce waste, and spread the word about Earth Day Network activities.
For over 40 years, Greenpeace has used the principles of nonviolent protest to draw attention to threats to the environment, and propose green solutions to those issues. Greenpeace has a number of volunteer opportunities available, whether you are interested in protecting forests or oceans, fighting global warming, defending democracy, or living sustainably.
3. New York Restoration Project
Founded in 1995 by Bette Midler, the New York Restoration Project organizes communities to fight pollution, maintain parks, create community gardens and plant trees throughout all five boroughs. The organization is always looking for volunteers, either at one of their events, through the Highbridge Forest Crew, or in Twigs & Swigs, a neighborhood greening event followed by a 21+ happy hour.
4. City Parks Foundation
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, City Parks Foundation believes that city parks can be the centers of urban life in NYC. Offering sports, arts, community building, and educational programs in parks, rec centers, and schools, City Parks Foundation has volunteer opportunities throughout the city and across all programs, including Summer Stage, Community Gardens, and more.
5. Amazon Watch
Amazon Watch was founded in 1996 to protect the Amazon rainforest as well as the rights of the people living in the Amazon Basin, based on a fundamental belief in the importance of cultural and biological diversity. Amazon Watch works with a variety of environmental organizations to promote rainforest preservation, human rights and corporate accountability in the Amazon Basin.
Civic-minded people, willing to devote their time and energy to a good cause, are a valuable resource to a city like New York, where every citizen can make a positive impact on their community.
There are many ways in which people can contribute to the well-being of their communities, by volunteering to share their time and efforts with organizations throughout the city. For all the focus on the needs of the people living in New York, though, there are a surprising number of opportunities for NYC residents to contribute to the environmental health of the city and the people who live there.
Find opportunities to engage with your community, check out the NYXT events calendar.
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