Published by Katherine Bray on 27 Jan 2012 at 08:22 am
It’s the same old story: a crippled global economy, rising unemployment, and all around massive debt… blue-collar, white-collar, we’re all suffering, with one exception: the Green-Callers! What seem like especially bleak conditions for the Sustainability Movement, may in fact be working for us in at least one regard: Volunteering!
At WiserEarth we are experiencing an unprecedented rush of new volunteers, offering their time and expertise on small projects such as translations, social media outreach, document design, and data entry. In the last two months alone we’ve welcomed 48 new volunteers to our community, participating online and offline from the United States, China, Western Europe, India, and Senegal. Furthermore, we were thrilled to learn in a recent survey that over 90% of our volunteers serve simply because they identify with our mission. Committed to the vision of a socially and environmentally just world, they ask for nothing in return and carry out their work with precision and passion. I suspect this ethic is a symptom of their incentive: a sense of personal responsibility and moral obligation to bestow a sustainable world upon those who follow. For this reason I shall call them “Green Callers.”
What’s happening at WiserEarth is compelling, and I believe just one case of a much larger trend in global volunteering. Gallop World Poll (GWP) suggests that now sixteen percent (16%) of adults worldwide are volunteering for at least one organization. In the US, Generation Y (Millennials) are volunteering in record numbers, while Generation X has started to come around. According to The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) “though once stereotyped as skeptical and disengaged, Generation X members have more than doubled their volunteer rate between 1989 and 2010.” The evidence is conclusive that more people are volunteering, so what’s the impact?
In a study by the UN those who volunteer report being happier, feeling stronger, and having more energy, while enhancing life satisfaction and their will to live. For older people, volunteering leads to positive moods, less anxiety, fewer feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, and lower rates of mortality. Though the benefits of volunteering extend into the personal, professional, and communal realms, I’d like to highlight the most important (and overlooked) link, which is that between volunteer work and peace and sustainable development.
At WiserEarth volunteering is not only a form of social action, it is also social activism. The societal impact of volunteering is nearly impossible to measure, but rest assured it is a key condition of social change and world peace. Thank you Green Callers for answering our call. It is a pleasure working with each of you and I invite anyone else interested in joining the movement to email email@example.com and become a social agent for change!
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