Interview: David Clemmons, Visionary Founder of, Part One

David Clemmons, Founder of

Image source: David Clemmons

David Clemmons is passionate about VolunTourism. He is the founder of, a rich online resource for people on all sides of the voluntourism industry: travelers, voluntour organizations, host communities, educators, and academics. is a public service, offering a multiplicity of perspectives in a space that has traditionally lacked comprehensive and thoughtful information. As the industry grows, continues to explore the intersection between volunteerism and tourism: successes, failures, and implications. Mr. Clemmons was kind enough to speak with us here at Journeys, to share his unique perspective on this vast and swiftly evolving industry.

This is part one of a two-part interview. Stay tuned for part two tomorrow.

Fighting Climate Change, One Volunteer at a Time

A Field of Actic Ice Melt

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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.

Preserving Wildlife and Wild Places with the Wildlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society's Logo

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The Wildlife Conservation Society was founded in 1895. Back then it was called the New York Zoological Society and its main project was to create a zoo in the Bronx, fittingly called The Bronx Zoo. Today the Wildlife Conservation Society is an NGO (non-governmental organization). We hear all manner of opinions about NGOs, some good, some bad. There have even been a few documentary film-style investigations on the subject. As the name would suggest, they are not technically affiliated with a government, but that is slightly misleading. Many NGOs work with governments on specific projects or policies, though they exclude government workers from membership. Of course, when you are a large organization like Amnesty International or the Wildlife Conservation Society, politics are an inevitable part of the game, and that turns off a lot of potential volunteers. Let’s remember though, many NGOs do real, responsible work, and volunteering with one presents many potential benefits.