Submitted by rfrazier on Mon, 04/18/2022 - 15:42
AmeriCorps staff

Often described as a modern-day Civilian Conservation Corps, AmeriCorps members and programs invest people power, passion, and federal dollars into reversing the effects of climate change on our planet and in our communities. Every day.  

For decades, AmeriCorps has served as a leader in addressing the nation’s 21st century environmental challenges. Each year, the agency and its partners engage more than 16,000 members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers in conservation, renewable energy, and community-resilience programs to help offset the impacts from changes to our climate. 

And this year is no different. On Friday, April 22, the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day, AmeriCorps members around the country will continue to step up to meet the environmental needs of their communities.  

With the effects of climate change becoming a global threat, research shows that the future of our planet is at risk. New records of rising temperatures, extreme weather conditions, ocean acidification, melting ice caps, and rising sea levels are being broken regularly. Water, air, and land pollution pose daily threats to our health, ecosystems, and climate. Low-income communities are already more likely to have a variety of health problems, are more exposed to environmental hazards and take longer to recover from natural disasters. According to the Sixth National Climate Assessment, these communities are hit the hardest by the effects of this damage to our planet.  

VetsWork members complete a group service project.

Mt. Adams Institute 

The Mt. Adams Institute’s mission is to strengthen the connection between people and the natural world through education, service learning, career development, and research.

Some national service projects include wildfire landscape management, trail maintenance and construction, invasive species mitigation and wildlife impact surveys, environment education, and volunteer coordination. In the photo above, VetsWork members complete a group service project. 

Civic Works Baltimore 

Civic Works strengthens Baltimore’s communities through education, skills development, and community service, helping create a more sustainable, economically viable, and environmentally responsible community.

Baltimore Conservation Leadership Corps members at work to improve their parks and gardens.

So far, they have grown 200,000 pounds of fresh produce and planted more than 25,000 trees. Additionally, Civic Works Community Lot teams transform vacant and abandoned lots in Baltimore City into green spaces, removing impermeable surfaces that contribute to flood management problems to replace them with permeable community spaces. Civic Works AmeriCorps members also help thousands of Baltimore families reduce energy use and save on utility bills by conducting in-home energy assessments; installing free or low-cost energy efficiency upgrades including LED lighting, insulation, and air sealing; and educating residents on ways to save energy. In the photo above, Baltimore Conservation Leadership Corps members are at work to improve their parks and gardens. 

Corps members propagate native marsh grasses in the Florida Panhandle.

Gulf Coast Oyster Corps 

Gulf Coast Oyster Corps is a training academy based within Conservation Corps of the Forgotten and Emerald Coasts where members work to restore oyster habitats, strengthen coastal resilience, and drive economic diversification through aquaculture.  In the photo above, AmeriCorps members propagate native marsh grasses in the Florida Panhandle.   

 Take Action 

On Earth Day 2022, join AmeriCorps to encourage your networks to give the gift of time. Show up for your communities and neighbors, make service a goal, and be the change. Below are 10 ways you can make a difference: 

  • Volunteer. Find volunteer opportunities on the AmeriCorps Volunteer Search and using the special "Earth Day" checkbox for opportunities happening specifically to support the environment and climate efforts. Click Here. 
  • Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Cut down on what you throw away and find new purposes for old things.  
     
  • Educate. Educate yourself and your community about the importance of environmental protection.   
     
  • Converse water/energy. Take shorter showers, switch to cold-water washing.  
     
  • Choose sustainable. Buy less plastic, bring your own reusable shopping bag. Shop brands that care about the environment.  
     
  • Save electricity. Switch to energy efficient light bulbs. Turn off the lights when you leave a room.  
     
  • Plant a tree. Trees produce oxygen and reduces pollution in our waterways and air.  
     
  • Protect our waterways. Choose non-toxic chemicals for house and office. 
     
  • Drive Less. Bike more or start a carpool group.  
     
  • Use your voice. Encourage your networks to take action for a greener and cleaner future.  
     

This week, take time to consider the state of our planet and the steps you can take to preserve natural resources for future generations. While a challenging issue like climate change requires coordinated and decisive action, AmeriCorps, and our partner organizations have an extraordinary opportunity to make a lasting impact. 

Whether it’s joining one of AmeriCorps’ many programs dedicated to environmental stewardship or pledging to take individual actions, find your way to make a difference this Earth Day and every day. 

Stay tuned! Throughout Earth Week, guest bloggers will share how national service is helping to tackle pressing environmental challenges.