We all dream of a better world – and that will mean something different to each of us. Whatever your vision, volunteering is a fun way to get involved in a group and help make a difference. Everyone has skills, time and resources to give to a cause.

Volunteering is a great example of small changes adding up to big things in the long term. You might think of something like cleaning up a beach of planting trees and these are really important ways to restore ecosystems and landscapes.

But volunteering to help the environment has so many forms and it’s a chance for you to think creatively about what you want to do. What are you good at? Are you are leader or a collaborator? Do you have practical skills you could put to use, like gardening or building? Maybe you’re good at managing or raising money, or you’re the one in your office who gets people behind a cause.

Causes or annual days are a great way to rally staff, and they can turn your efforts into yearly traditions.

If you’re thinking about how to start, mull over your home life – do you recycle, upcycle or compost? If you start doing these things, you might find everyone else at your place joining in!

When you take a holiday, maybe you think about a ‘greener’ place to stay, or you’ve set up a website where you can share your tips. All of these things can help inspire other people. Sometimes a volunteering idea can be so good it’s the start of a business.

But if you feel better about getting behind something that’s already running, there are plenty of organisations making a difference. There are examples like the Department of Conservation, World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, Forest and Bird,  and others. You can help make an impact among friends, neighbours, a zoo, a school, a sports team or by speaking at a conference.

And how about those locals you see around the neighbourhood – they might appreciate a local beach or reserve as much as you and want to get together to help preserve it. Maybe you can do some lobbying for environmental change, by organising a petition or writing to your MP.


Keep New Zealand Beautiful has some pretty eye openeing stats that show what can be achieved through hands on cleaning and restoration. Last year, thanks to 69,000 volunteers, 60 tonnes of litter were removed in a week, 70,000 metres of roads were cleaned, and 71,000 square metres of graffiti were eradicated.

Here are some of our staff in action cleaning up our area for Keep New Zealand Beautiful week:

With online information widely available, it’s easier today to find a way to contribute to environmental action that suits our abilities, interests, schedules and lifestyle. Identifying even one per household adds up to a big difference.

Tips for action:

  • Start a volunteer group based on your area of interest, skills or caring for a green space near you
  • Join an existing local or national group that’s helping the environment
  • Give money and resources to environmental causes
  • Support the environmental efforts of schools and local community groups
  • Follow big global organisations to increase your knowledge of important international issues


Visit the ecostore blog for more inspiration and ideas:

How to set up a school garden

Paul Dickinson, founder of OKE- a charity which helps to set up school gardens so kids can learn about healthy eating and sustainability- tells us how you can set up a school garden.


Do your bit to clean up and minimise waste

Keep New Zealand Beautiful (KNZB) Week, which happens in September, got us thinking about how important it is to play our part and stop local areas getting cluttered…