October 12th through 18th was Global Climate Change Week, and this year’s theme focused on something legislators have struggled to do in the past – “Get it Done”. While voting, writing your representatives, and other political actions are a great way to make your voice heard, sometimes it’s nice to accomplish a physical and quantifiable step in the right direction. Indirect action like voting for environmental policy is definitely valuable, but direct action feels more concrete.Try volunteering with one of these Bay Area organizations in the fight against climate change. While you volunteer, remember that many small efforts cumulate to huge impacts. Climate change isn’t a top-down fix–it’s a bottom-up struggle, and you can be part of the solution. This article will cover organizations and volunteer opportunities in the Bay Area for three different categories relating to climate change: political advocacy, community improvement, and ecosystem restoration.


Advocacy Organizations and Events:

Advocating for the climate can be effective as an individual, but by joining forces with other constituents our voices can be even louder. Consider volunteering with one of these climate advocacy organizations to help get the word out about climate policy. 


350 San Francisco works on a variety of climate issues. Their activities include Clean Energy and CleanPowerSF, SF Divest, Fossil Fuel Resistance, 350 SF Legislative Campaign, transportation, outreach and more! Visit 350bayarea.org/volunteer to join a volunteer team like the Art Team or Mobilization Team!


Sunflower Alliance works on the front lines of local fights against fossil fuel pollution and the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure. They work towards stopping the expansion of fossil fuel industries in our region, to promote environmental justice for frontline communities most directly affected by those industries, and to work for a just transition to a sustainable economy. Contact the Sunflower Alliance at action@sunflower-alliance.org


Save the Bay focuses on activism regarding sea level rise, urban greening, pollution prevention, housing, and transportation. Their public volunteer programs range from picking up trash to planting native plants to restore habitat. Find an event near you at savesfbay.org/calendar/ 


The Sierra Club is a national nonprofit organization that focuses on policy change to protect the environment. From tabling at events to canvassing for environmentally friendly candidates and everything in between, if you’re interested in politics the Sierra Club is a great group to learn the ropes of political action. Find meeting times and different volunteer roles at sierraclub.org/sfbay/volunteer 


Nature in the City connects everyone in San Francisco to nature by cultivating and conserving local habitats. Projects led by Nature in the City preserve grasslands, advocate for responsible habitat restoration, and help provide environmental equity across the City. Email info@natureinthecity.org to discover how you can help.


Community-Based Projects:

Change starts from the ground up, and one of the best ways to start the ball rolling is helping your community. Many issues feed into climate change and vice versa, so helping the people around you often means you’re helping in more ways than you think. If you want to help your community, here are some good resources for being a good neighbor!


Facing a history of systemic underinvestment and structural racism, neighborhoods with less money and largely composed of Black and Brown people, like the Tenderloin, have had intentionally limited access to nutritious foods, which in turn harms people’s physical and mental health. You can learn more about how to dismantle racism in farming and food access here. TPG has drop-in hours on Fridays from 10 am – 12 pm where anyone can volunteer and also has volunteer opportunities to distribute produce and help with their afterschool program! Learn more at tndc.org/get-involved/volunteer


Garden for the Environment is a half-acre garden used to teach the community sustainable garden practices since 1990. The garden grows over 500 pounds of organic produce each year, demonstrating how to grow lots of food in a small space without synthetic fertilizers or harmful pesticides. Each week, volunteers harvest fresh produce and donate it to a local youth shelter. Garden for the Environment has sign-ups for volunteer days Wednesdays and Saturdays where volunteers can learn about sustainable gardening practices, harvest produce, and help keep the garden beautiful. Register for a volunteer shift at gardenfortheenvironment.org/volunteer


FF Community Farm started in 2014 on the site of the last active farm in San Francisco and has gone from being focused on Asian residents to welcoming the whole diverse community of San Francisco. They aim to improve food security, increase healthy living habits, practice natural farming techniques, improve the environment, support neighborhood economic opportunity, and increase social connectedness within and between communities of color. The farm also supports food sovereignty by providing a food source that is consistent with cultural identities and involving community networks that promote self-reliance and mutual aid. Every Saturday morning from 10 am to 1 pm, volunteers are welcomed to weed, plant, dig, and grow at the farm. When you arrive, ask for garden manager Johnny Chen or resident gardener Faheem Carter. You can also support FF Community Farm with volunteer services outside the farm in all areas from general administration and marketing to light construction. Fill out the volunteer form at ffcommunityfarm.org/ to get started!


These gardens invite volunteers to participate in a shared garden experience and harvesting system. Drop-in workdays are regularly scheduled and allow individuals, families, and groups to participate in garden activities including planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting. The harvest collected at each workday is then shared fairly among the day’s participants. In some cases, produce is shared within the larger community to combat food insecurity. There are three communal gardens in SF, but the closest to USF is In Chan Kaajal Community Garden, located at 3100 17th St. Workdays are usually every Saturday from 9 to 11:30 am. 


Urban Sprouts runs five gardens in the San Francisco area and focuses on teaching classes on cooking and nutrition, garden-based education, and job readiness. They build supportive learning communities in English, Spanish, and Cantonese, for people of all ages, genders, and races, and work with communities who have been systematically denied access to resources to remove barriers and create pathways to health and economic equity through garden-based education and experiences. While the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down many organizations volunteering programs, you can contact Urban Sprouts at sprout@urbansprouts.org to see if there are any events you can help with, or just attend to learn more about gardening and nutrition!


Ecosystem Restoration Opportunities:

Ecosystem restoration is a great way to sequester more carbon, create more habitat for wildlife, and ensure continued biodiversity of life in your area. Check out some of these organizations to help restore our bay area ecosystems.


Weekly volunteer opportunities in a variety of interest areas such as plant nurseries, invasive species removal, planting native species, beach cleanups, and more! Check out the different events at parksconservancy.org/volunteer/weekly-volunteer-programs.


Weekly stewardship programs Friday and Saturday for forest and habitat improvement. Learn more at presidio.gov/volunteer/weekly-stewardship-programs, or email volunteer@presidiotrust.gov.


Habitat restoration in parks across San Francisco every Saturday. Register at sfrecpark.org/780/Volunteer-Programs or email recparkvolunteer@sfgov.org.


Join the Sutro Stewards at the Sutro Native Plant Nursery to care for and plant native flora. View upcoming events at sutrostewards.org/events or email info@sutrostewards.org.


Literacy for Environmental Justice focuses on promoting ecological health, environmental stewardship, and community development in Southeast San Francisco by creating urban greening, eco-literacy, community stewardship and workforce development opportunities that directly engage and support local residents in securing a healthier future. View upcoming events at lejyouth.org/index.php/upcoming-events or email alex.velasco@lejyouth.org.