<a href="http://www.greenlifestylemag.com.au/blogs/julie#">Green challenges</a>

Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

New challenge: volunteering!

Me planting a tree

This is me volunteering for Planet Ark's Tree Day

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What a great challenge we’ve got this month! Volunteering is one of the most direct ways you can help our environment and contribute to the eco-friendly community.

This month we’ll be looking for opportunities to get out in our local area to help make things better for all of us. I’ll be posting suggestions for different ways you can do that, and if you’re someone who needs volunteers for your eco-project, please do leave a comment to let us know what we can do to help!

I’ve been doing volunteer work since I was a teenager and our school had a program where we did volunteer work. I was assigned to help out at an aged care home, going for walks with people and helping at meal times. I had no idea what to expect, but I really enjoyed chatting with the residents and the staff. It was a fascinating experience that made me feel like I’d done something useful, by helping the overworked staff and providing company for people.

So I kept it up after I left high school, moving on to doing data entry for a charity that provided emergency food packages for people in need. I’m pretty good with computers, and they weren’t used to having them, so it was a good match of my skills and their needs. I’ve also helped out on election days, and planted trees in the neighbourhood wetlands on Planet Ark’s National Tree Day.

It’s easy to watch the 6pm news and feel like our community is falling apart. They’re only interesting in reporting on things that have gone wrong. By volunteering, I was able to see a lot of success stories instead, and to feel like I was part of them.

Folk singer Joan Baez once said that “Action is the antidote to despair”. My experience showed me that she was so right about this. If you’ve been feeling a bit down about the prospects of Australia having a sustainable future, you’ll feel so much better after some hands-on work with a group of people determined to make things right. Why not use this G Challenge as a chance to get out there and make a difference?