Not many people know this about me, but I volunteer every week at a nature park in Rotherhithe. There are several reasons for me doing so, and several reasons why you should consider it too, if you can spare the time. I mean, you don’t have to volunteer in Rotherhithe. That’s not what I’m suggesting. But you should consider volunteering for something you care about. Here are my reasons for volunteering here, with photos I've taken around the park.
The natural world is important to me. It’s important to all of us (y’know, for living); what I mean is I care about it. I’m forever impressing Rosalind with facts about ostriches (their eyes are bigger than their brain), and stopping to admire dogs, mice, birds, trees: pretty much anything non-human that crosses my path. So this is my first reason for volunteering here. It gets me closer to nature. If I wasn’t so bloody reliant on and addicted to 21st century luxuries, I’d want to live off the land in some quiet middle of nowhere.
Climate Change is Real
We’ve really screwed things up. I read Naomi Klein’s amazing book, This Changes Everything in 2014. It did change everything for me. The ways in which we’ve ravaged the planet to make ourselves fat and warm and rich are too numerous to count, and terrifying to look at. But the book also provides reasons for hope. The chief of which is people coming together to protect the environment, and stop people mining mercilessly for their own enrichment to the detriment of others. That’s something I want to get yet more involved with - the coming together, not the relentless greed - and volunteering here is a step towards me doing that.
Volunteering and Being Outdoors Are Good For Your Brain
There are myriad studies showing how both getting outdoors on the reg and volunteering are good for your physical wellbeing - as my general stinkiness and aching muscles when I get back from volunteering will attest to - and your mental health - as my calmed mind will attest to.
It’s a great chance to be outdoors, and use my hands for at least a day a week, without headphones in - without blocking anything out. Just being outdoors with my thoughts.
Pictures of Herons
Finally, it’s a great way to get pictures of a heron.