When I was about nine years old, I decided to save the whales. I wrote up a petition and collected over 500 signatures from my neighbors (this was before the Internet, when 500 signatures meant a solid two weeks of canvassing). I sent my petition to my senator and got a hand-written response and an invitation to the Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institute to learn more about conservation. It was thrilling to feel like I’d done something to help the animals I loved the most, and to be recognized for my passion and desire to help. I’ve mentioned this project here before because it was the first time I ever stood up for something I believed in. It was the moment in my life when I realized that activism is possible for anyone, even for nine-year-old girls, and that every one of us needs to stand up for animals because they can’t stand up for themselves.
One of my first volunteering jobs was with the World Wildlife Fund (also called the World Wildlife Foundation). I was fundraising and educating, signing people up to become members of the organization. The WWF has been around for 50 years and they’ve made a huge global difference. They work on conservation projects all over the world, focusing on conserving critical places and critical species that are of particular importance to their habitats or for people. The WWF mission: “to stop the degradation of our planet’s natural environment, and build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.”
The mission of WWF is lofty and it is, in my opinion, the single most important cause. If they succeed, they will preserve our world for the future. If they fail, our world will fall apart, as it has already started to do. Our climate will change so much that life will no longer survive. Our oceans and lands will be too polluted, too toxic to support us. Right now, today, our planet is at a critical point. We are consuming more quickly than we can create. We are not replenishing what we take. It is a very simple equation and yet, we are not responding quickly enough.
WWF is always looking for volunteers. They are particularly focused on volunteers between 20 and 27 who can fund their own expenses. These volunteers can work on a wide variety of conservation projects from Australia to the United Arab Emirates. For volunteers who can’t cover expenses, WWF offers scholarships, fellowships, and grants to qualified applicants.
We only have one world. Help WWF save it.