Older adults contributing to healthier environment

July 23rd, 2008 - 4:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 23 (IANS) Elderly people who volunteer for environmental protection are likely to find the activity physically and mentally stimulating, according to a recent study. Post retirement volunteerism provides opportunities for social integration among different generations, through the initiative of environmental organisations. Many of these involve healthy physical activity, such as the testing of rivers or clean up of natural areas.

“Citizen involvement on a large scale is needed to address pressing issues of environmental conservation and sustainability,” stated the study’s co-authors Karl Pillemer and Linda P. Wagenet of Cornell University.

In one of four articles, they examined the prospects and promise for what the two call “environmental volunteerism and civic engagement” (EVCE) among older persons and point to some directions for encouraging this movement.

The ongoing increase in the number of older citizens, coupled with a senior population seeking meaningful participation in society, can greatly serve environmental protection efforts.

Even the US government has begun to tap this resource. For over five years, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Ageing Initiative has provided opportunities for older adults to become environmental stewards in their own communities.

This group is particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of air pollution, temperature extremes and major weather events.

These articles have been published in Public Policy & Ageing Report brought out by National Academy on an Ageing Society.

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