Tag Archives: Robert Barossi

Environmental Volunteers Enforcing Laws?

Underwater LeavesPhoto by Robert Barossi

by Robert Barossi

The new month starts with a fascinating story out of Singapore. Back when I was talking to volunteers for my book, many of them talked about how they were often asked to be authority figures, of a sort. For example, trail stewards were given the authority to tell other trail users to stop littering or pick up their trash. While they weren’t any type of official law enforcement representative, they were given the ability to act in an enforcement role.

A new law in Singapore takes this a step further, and a number of people are concerned. Volunteers are being given the right and ability to enforce environmental laws, such as the ability to hand out citations to other citizens who are caught littering. These volunteers will work for the National Environment Agency, which has offered some assurances, such as background checks for the volunteers and a training period during which they’ll work with NEA officers. Still, opposition voices have raised questions regarding the appropriateness and necessity of giving these kinds of powers to volunteers. Another article on the new law offers a few different perspectives on these issues.

If you enjoyed any of the stories on this blog, check out my eBook for many more environmental volunteer stories – Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers  Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day

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Young Volunteers in Malaysia

ID-100212556Image courtesy of think4photop at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

by Robert Barossi

There have been some great international stories lately, showcasing the kind of work being done by volunteers around the world. Two previous posts featured United Arab Emirates and Great Britain, and today a story out of Malaysia. This one is notable for a number of reasons, first and perhaps foremost is the fact that the volunteers are young, from primary schools, high schools and colleges. Getting people involved in environmental volunteering at this age is essential. They are the volunteers of tomorrow. It’s also worth noting the kind of work being done here. It’s exactly the same kind of litter and pollution cleanup that goes on in and along rivers in every corner of the globe. It again demonstrates how similar we all are, whether its our impact on our local environment or our ability to protect it.

If you have enjoyed the stories on this blog, download my eBook for many more environmental volunteer stories – Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day

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Volunteers Clean the Canals

Through the TreesPhoto by Robert Barossi

by Robert Barossi

One of things I loved about this story was that part of the headline reads “Band of jolly volunteers…”  Any story about a band of jolly volunteers is likely to be a very good story. This one happens to come out of Worcestershire County in England, where volunteers have been showing up in all kinds of weather to participate in month-long effort to clean the local canals. Organized and led by the Canal & River Trust, the volunteers have been working along 32 miles of canal, “cleaning up litter, managing the vegetation, making sure there are no dangers for boat users or towpath walkers and checking the locks, weirs and any other aspect of the canals to make sure they work properly.” The story provides a great example of the kind of challenging and difficult work volunteers are doing and how the experience can be highly rewarding and a lot of fun

Many more great environmental volunteer stories in my eBook, Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet

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Volunteers Rebuild a Coastal Marsh

P1000687Photo by Robert Barossi

by Robert Barossi

Up here in New England, coastal erosion is a major issue facing many area residents. There’s a long history of people developing and building too close to a coast that has been falling away for some time. In many places, the erosion is accelerating, accompanied by rising sea levels which pose a very real threat to many people and their homes and businesses, not to mention the non-human population. While numerous organizations are working to combat coastal erosion, it’s often volunteers who are working with those groups, doing much of the work, especially since the organizations can’t always hire as many full time staff members as they may want or need. Similarly, many miles away, in Corpus Christi, Texas, volunteers are playing a big part in a major project designed to rebuild a section of eroded coastline. Working with the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, volunteers have been helping the cause by planting grasses and other vegetation. The article’s author (who is not named, as far as I can tell) ends with an excellent, if opinionated point, saying, “I figure the more diverse and far reaching the volunteer effort, the greater the sense of ownership the project will receive. Perhaps then, visitors will care enough not to trash it.”

If you’ve enjoyed the posts on this blog, download my eBook for many more environmental volunteer stories – Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day

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Volunteers Observe Impacts of Climate Change

IMG_0612Photo by Robert Barossi

by Robert Barossi

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the high in Boston could hit sixty degrees today. Later this week, temperatures are predicted to be in the high forties and low fifties. This kind of weather has been the rule, rather than the exception, throughout this warm New England winter. As this story out of Maine demonstrates, volunteers are front and center when it comes to observing the ramifications of a warmer climate. These volunteers with Aroostook Birders are seeing countless indicators of just how climate change is impacting bird species. Many birds are staying in the area much longer, rather than flying south, and other birds are appearing for the first time ever. These changes can and likely will have ripple effects throughout the ecosystem in Maine and in every region where these wildlife population changes are taking place.

If you’ve enjoyed this blog, download my eBook for more similar stories – Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day

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Volunteers Instead of Technology

Up a TreePhoto by Robert Barossi

by Robert Barossi

There are more and more examples around us of humans being replaced by technology. It’s a phenomenon that has been going on for many years and shows no signs of slowing down, especially as our technology becomes even more advanced. Environmental volunteers are not immune to this, they too can in some cases be replaced by machines. Stories on this blog have highlighted the fact that drones and even satellites in space are now being used as tools in the work of environmental volunteers. On the other hand, as this story out of Slate points out, it may be better to stick with human volunteers rather than hi-tech toys. Specifically, the essay discusses counting birds, and even more specifically, the Christmas Bird Count that happens every winter, organized by the Audubon Society. As the author points out, this kind of very human method of data collection may have far more benefits than those which utilize only emotionless computers and algorithms.

If you’ve enjoyed the stories on this blog, download my eBook for many more – Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day

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Volunteers Cleaning Up in the United Arab Emirates

13-08-06-abu-dhabi-by-RalfR-029Photo by Ralf Roletschek, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

by Robert Barossi

While most of the stories on this blog happen to occur in and around the United States, environmental volunteers are working constantly all over the world. Environmental devastation and crises in every nation are tackled by professionals and volunteers alike. This story out of the United Arab Emirates illustrates the kind of volunteer work that you will find happening on every continent, in every country. Just like parks and beaches everywhere, the ones in Abu Dhabi are often filled with trash and litter. While efforts to get people to stop littering work to some degree, it’s dedicated volunteers who must come by after the picnics are over and the tourists are gone to collect the trash and clean up the litter.

If you’ve enjoyed the stories on this blog, download my eBook – Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day

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Volunteers and the BLM

Digital Camera

Photo by Robert Barossi

by Robert Barossi

The continental United States spans a land mass of over three million square miles. Within all those miles are many acres of open land, the kind of wide open spaces you hear about it country songs and tales of the  wild west. Much of that land is owned and managed by the federal government and it’s the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) which oversees millions of those acres. According to the agency’s website, “It administers more public land – over 245 million surface acres – than any other Federal agency in the United States” and works to “sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.”  As this article from Utah explains, volunteers are an integral part of what the BLM does on the public lands under its protection. The story provides great details on all the great work performed by approximately 750 volunteers who gave 16,736 hours to the BLM in 2015. It’s a great look into the numerous ways volunteers are working for a government agency while working for their local environment and the planet.

If you’ve enjoyed the stories on this blog, check out my eBook – Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day

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Volunteers at the Film Festival

IMG_0304

Photo by Robert Barossi

by Robert Barossi

After a long holiday-season hiatus, I’m finally posting the first story of the new year. A year which I’m sure will bring many more great stories of environmental volunteers and their inspiring, amazing work. There are countless ways for people to get involved and support environmental causes. This story out of Nevada City, California features volunteers who are doing just that at an environmentally-themed film festival. Along with nature and the environment, film is one of my other great passions and the Wild & Scenic Film Festival sounds like a fantastic event. I wish there were more festivals like this around the country, festivals which get people to connect with nature in new and different ways.  This one also gives people a chance to show their support for the environment by volunteering at the event. If you’re in the area, be sure to check out the festival, and while you’re there, be sure to thank the volunteers for all that they do.

There are more great environmental volunteer stories in my eBook, Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day. Download it at the following links:

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Climate Change, Birds and Volunteers

P1000364(Photo by Robert Barossi)

by Robert Barossi

According to Weather.com, it’s 44 degrees Fahrenheit today, here in the Boston area. Above normal, for sure, but perhaps not as shocking as this coming weekend. Temperatures are expected to hit the high 50s by the end of the week and then reach 62 degrees on Sunday. That’s Sunday, December 13th. These types of unusual temperatures have numerous impacts and ripple effects, on us humans as well as every other animal species.

This great story out of upstate New York details how citizen scientist volunteers are helping collect data on birds of prey. The volunteers are working alongside professionals in Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, cataloging the presence of raptors, from owls to hawks and numerous others. They are also seeing some of the ways temperature changes are impacting the birds, such as changes in migration observed in certain owl species.

Surveying and monitoring birds is just one way to deal with the ways climate change impacts our avian friends. As described in this blog post from the National Audubon Society, volunteers can also help by  protecting and maintaining bird habitats. Specifically, the story deals with volunteers with Audubon Miami Valley in Ohio who are working to remove invasive species which are negatively impacting places where birds find food and shelter. It’s another way that we can help birds, and other species, survive in the new environments and ecosystems created by the changing climate.

If you have enjoyed the stories on this blog, download my eBook – Being Where You Are: How Environmental Volunteers Impact Their Community and the Planet Every Day

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