Combat Eco-Anxiety with Eco-Volunteering

Naman Bajaj
March 19, 2024

You’re not alone if the current state of the planet is making you anxious to the point that it’s affecting your life or relationships. Eco-anxiety, a chronic fear of environmental doom is finally being recognized by psychologists and other mental health experts.

With anxiety comes the feeling of uncertainty or a lack of control. One of the effective antidotes to eco-anxiety is collective action. Being in nature and participating in activities with others can help you and the planet heal.

Here are 5 eco-volunteering activities where you can get involved:

Host or participate in a cleanup

Hosting a cleanup is a simple yet significant way you can contribute to the environment. You don't necessarily need a large team or a vast area to make a difference. Something as straightforward as picking up litter in your neighborhood with a group of friends can have a substantial impact. This helps remove waste that could harm wildlife, cause groundwater pollution, or destroy habitats. Cleanups can be done anywhere, including parks, rivers, and beaches.

Find cleanups happening near you →

Spend time at a community garden

Community gardens offer a shared space where individuals can collectively engage in planting a variety of items including fruits, vegetables, and herbs. These gardens not only foster community connections and neighborhood bonds but also provide significant environmental benefits. Community gardens aid in the absorption of carbon, support pollinator habitats, and help reduce the need for long-distance food shipping. You can volunteer at a garden or even start your own community garden.

Find local community gardens near you

Volunteer at National Parks

Volunteering at National Parks in the U.S. is another rewarding eco-volunteering activity. The parks offer a refreshing escape into nature. Participating in the preservation of National Parks is an excellent way to contribute positively to the environment. Opportunities for volunteer work are available year-round through the National Park Service's volunteer portal.

Find national park volunteer opportunities

Help with wildlife rescue

Another effective way to reduce climate anxiety is by volunteering to help animals. This can be particularly appealing for those who feel a strong emotional connection towards animals. You can participate in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation programs, where you can assist with animal care or administrative work. Bird rehab is also a common type of rescue program. You can also volunteer at animal shelters that rescue dogs and cats or work with animal care in sanctuaries.

Volunteer at a wildlife rehabilitator near you

Plant trees

The physical activity of planting trees can be therapeutic and fulfilling and can help you counter eco-anxiety. Trees play a vital role in climate change by offsetting carbon emissions, decreasing soil erosion, and providing food and habitat for wildlife. Many organizations around the world regularly organize tree-planting activities that you can be a part of.

Find tree planting events near you →

Getting involved in these activities not only helps protect our natural treasures but also provides a sense of purpose and control, effectively reducing feelings of anxiety about the state of the planet.

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Naman Bajaj
March 19, 2024

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