I Proudly Announce That, I Am An Environmental Volunteer

If people ever asked me have I worked before, if it is to fill in forms I will answer ‘student’ (plus extra information such as ‘Bachelor of Environmental Science and Technology, Faculty of Environmental Studies, University Putra Malaysia upon request); I will say no in the sense that I have not become a promoter or clerk or temporary teacher or waitress as those are holidays-based and are short-termed, but I will say yes in the sense that I am currently a volunteer in environmentalism as a blogger, writer, motivator and participant since 2013 (after a few years of hesitation and loss of direction), and the journey will be still going on and on without the end unless the day after tomorrow comes too soon (haha).

I consider volunteer as a job, a professional one. It requires passion and sacrifices to keep going just like any other jobs in the world (unless you really dislike your job and you do it just to make both ends meet). Honestly it is not easy. Most of us have our own career (mine as student), we do not get paid in return (no salary and nothing at all), we work over time (besides office hours or even during weekends and holidays), we sacrifice leisure time for work (less entertainment for some periods of time), we spend our own money on volunteering (on transportation etc.), we are often discouraged by people around us (but we still motivate ourselves to hold on) and the list goes on. There is no need to own a cert or degree to be a volunteer but that does not make it a non-professional job. A piece of paper does not prove anything in the world today with so many higher education institution mushrooming almost everywhere. You need knowledge to be a volunteer, knowledge that is not naturally possessed by every human on Earth. That knowledge is piled up through countless hands-on experiences, researches, readings and attentions towards the environmental issues worldwide.

My volunteering journey began during my high school time when I took part in the making of EM mudball for Sungai Rambai. At that time I was just a participant who followed what people did, contributing that very little but meaningful effort towards the environment. So maybe I can consider that as a flag off point of this long long journey. However, there was a very lengthy period of time when I just talked about it A LOT without taking any real action (feeling ashamed about this). Anyway, I slowly picked up the pace to be a green volunteer as an article contributer for Malaysian Environmental Sustainable Youth Movement  (MESYM), then a participant for Shah Alam Tree Planting 2013 by Eco Warriors last year and now a volunteer for Malaysian Environmental Non Government Organization (MENGO) H2O Hunt 2014. Although I get nothing realistic in return, but it’s an achievement for me seeing my contribution built up little by little, making impacts bit by bit and inspiring surrounding people one by one.

It’s not late. Maybe what you need is just some courages to make the first step, or some information about where and how to start. Do not hesitate to approach any of the green leader or random dedicated volunteer to voice your doubt. They are very nice people who place environment in front of their priority list and they will give you useful advices based on their past experiences and future views towards this journey. All of them are unique individuals who have the same heart, the heart which is determined to do something for the Earth, for our future.

P/S: This post is taken from my personal blog.

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MESYM.com is a crowd-sourced platform and a living database for environmental movements in Malaysia. There are many good actions being done out there. Our goal is to bring them together. We connect the green dots.