The 2018 State of the World’s Volunteerism project (SWVR 2018) has published its first Policy Brief focusing on one way in which volunteers contribute to climate action – mapping and monitoring environmental risks. It discusses how volunteering can, with the right support, drive efforts to promote locally-owned resilience building and climate action as part of an all-of-society approach.
As our climate changes rapidly, it brings major new risks for communities. Across all societies, volunteers are at the forefront of responding to and coping with shocks, using local knowledge, networks, and capacities to build community resilience. But the scale and unpredictability of future risks, rising inequalities, and low capacities mean that new support is required to sustain this people-centred approach to climate resilience. The Policy Brief acknowledges how volunteers are already mapping and monitoring climate change at scale. But it also shows how in addition to providing valuable data, volunteering can be transformative for volunteers and communities through raising awareness, promoting norms of trust and cooperation within and between communities, and harnessing the creative energy of youth for climate action. It also discusses how inclusive volunteering can ensure that the development needs of all communities and every individual are properly assessed and met.