As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a biology student. I volunteer with a wildlife conservation organization in my area and spend a lot of time with biologists in the field. A few weeks ago I was chatting with a career biologist—a man who has spent the past thirty years working with endangered species. Somehow the topic of climate change came up, and I was flabbergasted to discover that he doesn’t believe in it, as if it weren’t the overwhelming scientific consensus. It illustrated something I’ve long understood: that a person’s political views (he is a staunch conservative) can dramatically affect his opinions, even when he should know better. None of us wants climate change to be real. We all want to cling to a memory of a time when we weren’t so profoundly afraid for our planet.
It is frightening that so many people still insist climate change isn’t happening. Decades of spewing thick carbon-based smoke into the atmosphere from factories and automobiles; the clear-cutting of our forests, the world’s lungs; the development of every parcel of land for commercial enterprise; the lack of regulations in developing economies like China… all of these things have consequences. It is folly to simply assume everything will be fine, to think it’s a media conspiracy orchestrated to scare us into recycling or using alternative energy. But these are things people think. Fortunately, there are others—the logical and fact-based thinkers among us—who understand the real and ever-present threat of climate change. These people are stepping up to make a difference.
Global Vision International (GVI) is a non-political, non-religious organization dedicated to fueling environmental research, education, conservation, and community development. They send volunteers to 25 countries around the world to help protect our Earth for future generations. They currently have 11 projects devoted to various aspects of climate change research and wildlife conservation including marine expeditions to Mexico, Australia and Fiji; internships in Costa Rica; rainforest expeditions in the Ecuadorian Amazon; and climate change related health and well-being construction projects in Guatemala and Nicaragua.
GVI sends over 3,000 people abroad to volunteer every year. They are partnered with a variety of other conservation organizations including the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, Jane Goodall Institute, Kenya Wildlife Service, and Rainforest Concern. One especially attractive feature of GVI is that they spend 70% of volunteer contributions in the field. They are also dedicated to supporting the sustainability of their projects, meaning they are working with long-term goals. Volunteers with GVI know their work will have a lasting impact, wherever it may be. Visit their website to learn more about volunteering with GVI.