Retired older adults can play a significant role in environmental conservation by volunteering for programs run by various environmental organizations.
For elderly willing to work for community after retirement, volunteerism provides opportunities for social integration.
The programs of environmental organizations routinely bring together people of different generations. Many of these involve healthy physical activity, such as the testing of rivers or clean up of natural areas, for example.
"Citizen involvement on a large scale is needed to address pressing issues of environmental conservation and sustainability," said authors Karl Pillemer, PhD, and Linda P. Wagenet, PhD, of Cornell University.
In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency''s Aging Initiative has provided opportunities for older adults to become environment sentinels in their own communities.
With the initiative, older people are beginning to develop a more complex relationship with their surroundings. Public health research suggests there are a number of environmental problems that disproportionately compromise the health of the older population.
This group is particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of air pollution, temperature extremes, and major weather events. Elder citizens have been contributing significantly through recreational travel, an increase in pharmaceutical waste, and the growth of independent and assisted living facilities.
The report appears in latest Issue of Public Policy & Aging Report (PPAR), published by The National Academy on an Aging Society.