My cousin Shauna brought Earthwatch to my attention when I was down in the States last week. Her mum, a fantastic lady, once divorced and once widowed, had just flown off on her 3rd expedition to...somewhere.
For the eco-minded among you who've dreamed of scaling cliff faces to count Turn eggs, or crouching behind Kenyan shrubbery waiting for a glimpse of some endangered spotted, stripped, fanged creature, this site is for you. And me. Most definitely.
For a fee, you sign up for a stint as a volunteer on an conservationist campaign. Me? I like the sound of counting butterflies in Japan, or observing river otters and macaws in Peru...
Their work spans every continent and you're bound to find some angle which appeals to you: climate change, deforestation, archeology (and paleontology, oh how the 7-year-old me wold be thrilled!).
My greatest burdens these days stem from the fact that the world, as ever, is changing and struggling, but for the most part I feel both powerless and useless.
I have no illusions that donning the latest in L.L. Bean survivalry and sitting in a tree for a week will save the planet, but it may do some good, and it would certainly do wonders for my morale. I also know I'm probably not suited to being a permanent field worker, but these programs seem to neatly bridge the gap between parasitic tourism and activism, and that sounds great to me.
Now to find someplace to go...