When I talk about volunteering with someone, people usually think of organizations where they can do something. Think of the food bank, the animal shelter or a local school. That’s great and I’ll soon write something about those options. However, you can also do something on your own terms. This way you’re not bound to specific times. There’s a lot we can do without these organizations. Today I’ll tell you about 5 ways to volunteer in your own time.
Volunteering is amazing. I will always encourage it. However, it’s not where I would recommend anyone to start if they want to make the world a better place. Step one is always to focus on yourself. Take only your fair share of this planet and make sure to live within the earth’s boundaries and start an eco-neutral lifestyle. You simply cannot help others if you’re taking a slice of the pie that’s too big in my opinion. Once you’ve established that, you can look at an eco-positive lifestyle. Want to know how I did that? Read about my journey towards an eco-positive lifestyle here, here, here and here.
As I said, volunteering at a physical organizations can be great. However, not everybody has the time or ability to leave their home to do some volunteering. But that doesn’t mean you cannot do anything. There’s a lot we can do in our own time. Here are 5 ways to volunteer in your own time:
1 E-mail activism
I dedicated an entire blogpost to e-mail activism. With e-mail activism I basically mean sending e-mail to companies and organizations to ask them to change something. A few examples. You can e-mail schools, asking them to boycott zoos on their school trips. Or asking restaurants to put one vegan option on their menu. Or asking organizations to make their entrance accessible to wheelchairs. The options ate endless. By simply sending an e-mail (which can even be done anonymously) you can raise awareness, start a conversation and maybe even change something.
2 Spreading Online Awareness
This one is similar to e-mail activism. But here the focus lies on social media and websites. I have a love-hate relationship with social media and this is the reason, we can use for something good. An example is to comment to influencer’s post when they promote eating animal products, flights or fast fashion. You can try to educate them by commenting simple facts. This way they see it, but their followers too. I personally do this by commenting on the social media posts from zoos, to inform people who follow zoos on why they’re unethical. The possibilities are endless online. If you want to do this on your own website or social media this is also great, but I think the reach is smaller.
3 trash picking
Okay, so those were the online things. But there are also things you can do offline, in your own time. The first one is trash picking. This prevents nature from suffering due to the pollution and it sets a great example. Trash picking can also be combined with other activities. I have done it a lot while walking our dog Darco and some people do it while jogging (which I would not enjoy at all, but maybe you will). This creates a win-win in terms of time. I would say that it’s also essential to try and live as zero waste as possible yourself too, to also tackle the root of the trash problem.
4 Education on The Street
I have to be honest here, this one takes a lot of gut. And willingness. You can always protest and inform people on your own, in your own time. It’s completely legal to protest at a store or organization (alone, with more than one person you’ll have to ask permission). You can always stand at the entrance of a butcher, cheese store or a company which sells leather to inform them on the horrible practices behind those products.
Showing footage from inside a slaughterhouse is a great example. The same goes for fast fashion, zoos, dolfinaria, stores which sell fur or leather and any other dirty business. But as I said, you have to be very strong for this because people don’t always like to be faced with their behavior’s consequences. If you want to do this in a group, you can do it at Anonymous for the Voiceless, but that’s at a set time and place.
5 Wearing Clothing
Another option which takes some gut. Wearing clothing with quotes or information that makes people think. Great examples are t-shirts or sweaters with the following quotes: ‘before asking me ”why are you vegan?”, ask yourself why you are not’, ‘it’s only one cheap t-shirt, said 8 billion people’ or ‘black lives matter’. The possibilities are endless, so choose whatever you like. There’s only one important thing: buy these things secondhand and if that’s really not possible, go for a sustainable and ethical fashion brand. You can also buy a secondhand t-shirt and make the quote on it yourself. But beware: people might not be happy with you confronting them. Beware for rude people. The choice is up to you.
In your own time
These were 5 ways to volunteer in your own time. These are things you can do anytime, which is perfect if you have a tight schedule or a schedule that changes a lot. Soon I’ll write about other options of volunteering as well. For now, this is it.
Do you know any more ways to volunteer in your own time?