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Environmental volunteering

Environmental volunteering entails either monitoring or changing a particular set of external conditions affecting the people, flora, or fauna living in them. The change striven for is not always defined as favorable by everyone it may affect (e.g., mountain hikers might oppose a campaign by dirt-bikers’ for new trails in areas where the former have enjoyed exclusive use). Career volunteering here includes maintaining hiking trails and trout streams as well as creating, organizing, and conducting environmentally related publicity campaigns (e.g., anti-smoking, clean air, clean water, anti-logging or mining, access to natural recreational resources such as lakes, forests, ocean frontage). Any of these could also be pursued as leisure projects. The casual volunteer also finds opportunities in these examples, seen in door-to-door distribution of leaflets promoting a clean air campaign and picking up litter in a park or along a highway.

Cross-classifying the two dimensions resulted in the following eighteen-fold table. Not surprisingly, perhaps, some volunteers pursue two even three interests during the same activity. We examine this rather more complex level of altruistic involvement later in this section, after considering the eighteen types.

table 4.1 A leisure-based theoretic typology of volunteers and volunteering

Leisure interest

Type of volunteer

Serious leisure (SL)

Casual leisure (CL)

Project-based leisure (PBL)


SL Popular

CL Popular

PBL Popular


SL Idea-Based

CL Idea-Based

PBL Idea-Based


SL Material

CL Material

PBL Material


SL Floral

CL Floral

PBL Floral


SL Faunal

CL Faunal

PBL Faunal


SL Environmental

CL Environmental

PBL Environmental

The following chapter “A Review of Research” is organized along the lines of this typology.

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