While volunteering with us, many people find that their eyes are opened to new issues as they gain awareness of the global population and the world economy. It is important to continue thinking about these concerns after you return home from volunteering, as it is possible to make a difference and gain further knowledge after you have left your placement.
There are many important and relevant international issues that our volunteers are faced with while overseas, and we have taken the time to outline some of them here for further thought. If you were struck by a certain cause or global reality while volunteering with us, there are often campaigns you can join or practices you can adopt at home, which benefit this cause or work towards a goal. There is a ton of information available on the internet about all the following topics as well as many other pertinent ones, so be sure to follow your interests and learn more!
Ethical Consumerism: Traveling can make one much more aware of the size, impact and practices of large global corporations. Practicing ethical consumerism involves making conscious choices about the products you are buying, and the companies that make them. Doing a bit of research to discover a company's employment practices or global impact can help you make better decisions about where to purchase certain items. You will find there are many alternative brands and items created by companies who follow socially responsible guidelines.
Leave No Trace: The concept of Leave No Trace involves responsible tourism and respect for nature. The idea behind this slogan involves making a conscious effort not to have a negative impact on the area you are visiting. This becomes particularly important in nature preserves or areas of the world that are not dominated by a human presence. The impact that tourists can have on these areas, from littering to feeding wild animals, can be extremely detrimental for the environment, wildlife and culture.
Fair Trade: The idea behind fair trade is to establish conditions by which small, independent farmers and workers are able trade their goods internationally following a set standard of prices, working conditions and social guidelines. This aims to support sustainable development around the world and involves many different issues including environmentalism, worker's rights, and ownership principles.