How often do you watch the news or read the newspaper? Probably not very often. But, it’s important to know what is going on outside of your own little bubble. Across the state, nation and world, crazy, exciting and scary things happen every day. Be aware of what is going on around the globe.
It’s fair to say that we haven’t been very kind to our planet. Acid rain, global warming, oil spills: unfortunately as a human race we’ve not always made the best decisions. But thankfully, modern technology mean that things do have the potential to get better. Electric cars are becoming more and more popular, homeowners are fitting their properties with solar panels and energy efficient light bulbs, and wind farms are being used as a major source of power. As young people, it’s so important to take an interest in the environment, after all this is the earth we’re inheriting and what will happen next is in our hands. We collectively have the opportunity to create a better world. Here are some of the ways you as a young person can help save the planet.
The first step to making things better is to have a proper understanding of the situation. Knowing what issues we currently face and why, and what the next step is to making it right is extremely powerful. Read newspapers, articles, and blogs. Listen to the news, watch documentaries and speak to others.
Make Better Choices When Purchasing Things
Every time you buy something, it helps to create a demand for that product. Therefore when you choose products that are kind to the environment, there’s more demand for them and they become more widespread and popular. It could be things like products that contain low VOC levels (these are low in volatile chemicals that damage the environment). It could be items that are made from recycled materials or products which actively try to help or protect the environment. If everyone thought carefully and made these kinds of choices when they bought products, think of what we could help to influence.
Consider Alternative Forms of Travel
As a teenager or young person, chances are you’re always on the go. School, college, part-time or full-time work, meeting friends- it’s a particularly busy stage of life. Consider how you get around and how this affects the planet. It’s great learning to drive and getting your own car, as this can give you a fantastic sense of freedom and open up more opportunities. However, it doesn’t mean to say you always need to use the car. You could consider an e bike, this is an electric bike which is kind to the environment and makes traveling even over long distances and hilly roads a breeze. For shorter journeys, you could use a standard bicycle or walk and get some exercise in at the same time. Using public transport where possible is beneficial too.
Not only does volunteering hugely help certain projects, but makes you feel really proud of yourself too. Everyone should aim to volunteer if they can, but for young people, it’s especially beneficial. It can help you to make new friends, looks good on your resume and teaches you the importance of real life issues. There are plenty of environment and conservation based projects out there which are always in need of volunteers, so see what’s available near you.
Meeting up with some old school/uni buddies in the city and need something to do? Cities are full of opportunities for days out. Sightseeing and window shopping are always options – but why not make it a unique experience for everyone by venturing a little off the beaten path? Here are five alternative days out sure to leave a lasting impression.
Escape rooms are a fairly new phenomenon. You and a team of people must escape from a room by solving various puzzles, whilst having to do it all within a time limit. They’re a great of rebuilding bonds between old friends by testing teamwork. The first escape room was established in 2006 in Japan, but thousands have since sprung up all over the world.
For those sporty and competitive types, go-karting offers the perfect opportunity and is a popular activity for birthday parties. Indoor go-karting tracks are becoming increasingly more common, companies often converting warehouses. You can race with strangers, or make it a private event for you and your mates if there’s a large group of you. Make sure you book ahead though – some tracks will book up fast.
Cities are great places to see big bands and famous artists – there will always be someone on tour whilst you’re there. If you and your friends are music fans, why not try meeting up for a gig or concert? For big names you’ll need to book ahead, but for many smaller bands and cosier venues you may able to get last minute tickets. There are many places online for concert tickets of all kinds.
Take a break from the big high street brands and give the vintage stores a go. Not only do they have more character, you may find yourself a great deal. Many cities now have known areas for vintage shops. Markets can also be great places to look, and fantastic places to try out street food and absorb the cosmopolitan culture of the city.
Cities are full of history, which also makes them hotspots for hauntings. Rather than taking the usual historical tour or visiting the museums, why not learn about the city’s past through its supernatural sightings on a specialised ghost tour. Almost all cities now have organised tours – either by foot or onboard a bus. Some of these are only available on set dates and can book up fast – especially around Halloween – so make sure you grab your tickets in advance.
You can go for a cinema trip anywhere. If you’re a filmaholic why not try out your local iMax theatre and get to see what a real big screen look like. Some iMax theatres will show specialist 3D films you can’t find in your average cinema, alongside the big blockbusters. This can be a great trip for a rainy day.
If you want to take a trip in the year between finishing school and going to university, then it’s a good idea to pick something where you can give something back to the world. A lot of us come from privileged backgrounds, so it’s important to take a look around yourself and consider what exactly it is that you want out of this life, and what it is that you want to achieve. Africa is an incredible continent, full of beautiful places, interesting customs and friendly people. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of poverty there. It’s important that you steer away from ‘poverty tourism’ – still, it’s possible to do some good as well as create some incredible experiences for yourself.
Use Your Skills
If you have certain skills that you can pass onto others, then you can find a project that works for you. If you’re good with computers, then why not sign up to teach an IT class? IT can improve the lives of people by enabling them to have the ability to apply for jobs and to have marketable skills that will help them in their job hunt. If you want to volunteer in Ghana, you could also teach English and be a positive role model for the kids, or volunteer to teach sports education if you fancy yourself a keen footballer or netball player. Introducing new sports to children will help them to understand the importance of teamwork and also of play in their everyday lives. If you’d like to study medicine or nursing, you could also work at a busy hospital supporting the healthcare teams there.
Work With Children
If you’ve always enjoyed working with children, then a volunteer placement with them would be just the thing for you. You could work in an orphanage, where you’ll take care of small children and enrich their lives by providing interaction and warmth. You should make sure that you keep your distance to some extent – these children will have already had to deal with a lot of upheaval in their lives and with adults that don’t end up being around for them, so try to focus on the educational aspect of working with kids rather than being a substitute parent for them.
Help With Conservation
If you want to do a zoology degree or you’d like to be a vet, or even if you’ve just always been interested in nature documentaries on TV and you’d like to help protect the natural world, then Africa is a great place to visit to help out with conservation projects. You could do marine conservation in South Africa and help to save some turtles and monitor whales and dolphins, or you could work with conservation of big cats like leopards and cheetahs in Namibia. If you love the gentle lumbering grace of elephants then you could sign up to study them in Botswana, or you could work with injured lions in Zimbabwe. No matter which you choose, you’ll go back home with a better understanding of animals and the drive to help research and protect wildlife.