Getting Involved with Green: An Exploration into the Vast Landscape of Environmentalism

Michael Taylor, Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

Abstract

If I had to give a few suggestions to someone for getting involved with environmentalism, they would likely be directly in line with what I’d change if I were to do all of this again. It’s important to figure out precisely what you want to get out of the experience that you’re searching for. From there, you can begin searching for an organization that matches your goals and your interests. It’s important to find an organization that’s a good match. Things to consider include the organization’s size, its views and strategies on relevant environmental issues and how they align with your values, and their expectations of their members. Beyond that, there’s the question of how involved you want to be. This can range from simply being on a mailing list, to attending conferences, to becoming a volunteer, or even a paid employee. Obviously, the commitment and expectations rise with each of these positions, and so it’s important to decide which feels most comfortable and in line with the amount of time and effort that one is willing to invest. The most important thing to bear in mind is to have these questions resolved and have a clear idea of what you want to do when you contact your new organization. This was a lesson that I learned directly. If you don’t call with an assertive notion of what role you want to fill and how much time you’re willing to put in, you can end up pushing paperwork for 20 hours a week. If that’s your thing, then you’re in luck, because you’re in high demand, but otherwise, don’t be afraid to ask to do what you really want to do.