Volunteers – a dying species

This subject has come up before in my responses to other blogs and I think it requires a little more thought and discussion.

I am writing this from Queensland, Australia and what I am about to say may not apply to other English speaking countries, or anywhere else for that matter. I have personally volunteered for many organizations over the last 60 years or so and I believe that the future of non-profit organizations is somewhat in doubt if the current trend continues.

One of the main problems in most first world countries, English speaking or otherwise, is the aging of the population. The number of persons over the age of 65, in comparison to those younger, is ever increasing. Their ability and eagerness to continue volunteering is waning and the younger generations are not taking up the slack. One wonders why this is so.

The question is: Why are the younger generations not willing to put that extra effort in to benefit others? As I have mentioned before elsewhere, I believe that many societies in this world are becoming lazier, greedier and more self-centered. One only has to look at those around us to come to the conclusion that many individuals are becoming fatter and fatter. As my eldest son, shortly turning 50, just said to me on the telephone, if you compare photos of todays society to those of the 1970’s, it is obvious how much weight the average person has put on in recent years. Part of this diet related, much of it is due to lack of exercise, and ones willingness to get off your butt and do something, all adding to the problem.

Modern society, with all of its technology, only adds devices to make things easier. If it is easier, it means less calories are burnt doing it. All things being equal, less calories burnt means additional weight. If you eat more and wish not to put on more weight, you just have to expend the excess energy by doing more. Otherwise, nature will store the excess energy in the form of fat, typically on the hips of most women and around the waist of men. Doing more, whether mentally or physically, burns energy and assists in maintaining that required weight balance.

Perhaps more importantly, the reason many clubs and similar organizations are finding it every increasingly difficult to maintain the number of volunteers needed, is that there are far more members of society who consider themselves first. To be quite honest, I think that some of this group never think of anyone else! The modern consumer society wants more, uses more and gives less. They typically get caught up in trying to keep up with their neighbors, their friends and their colleagues, as though, somehow, that is important.

This inward looking thought process does nothing for the local sports club that requires volunteers to maintain and foster junior sport. Nor does it help the local Lions club who are trying to raise much needed money for a worthy cause. The local primary school still needs assistance in the canteen to feed those hungry kids at lunch time. If one looks around their local community I will be very surprised if they cannot find a number of not-for-profit organizations that are struggling due to lack of volunteers. Some have either amalgamated with other branches or closed down altogether. What will happen if this trend continues?

I am of the belief that many modern societies are loosing sight of the basics needs of a comfortable life and are only adding to the problem by the constant demand for more money, faster and more complex cars, larger TV’s, more exotic cell (mobile) phones, more expensive schools and a bigger house. Where will all this end? We often refer to the “fall of the Roman Empire”, and I am of the opinion that we are now starting to experience the “fall of Western civilization”. It is but a slippery slide!

By the way, I will take this opportunity to thank all volunteers for the time, effort and thought they have put into this most important job. Most modern societies would sink into oblivion without you.

All comments or thoughts on the above are most welcome.

Published by sharingknowledge

I am an older retired person currently living in Queensland, Australia who has lived in 6 different countries for 5 years or more each. They include England, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Norfolk Island and now Australia. I have a wide range of interests which include, amongst others, education, business, travel, volunteering, classic cars and government. I consider myself to be very logical, consistent, thoughtful and generally involved with society. I welcome any considered views and opinions.

2 thoughts on “Volunteers – a dying species

  1. Phil:
    In respect to your belief, ” I believe that many societies in this world are becoming lazier, greedier and more self-centered.” If one replaces the word “societies” with the word people, it is exactly what my grandfather said to me many years ago, (circa 1953). Warmest regards, Ed


  2. Ed,

    Are you telling me you believe that todays society (people) is just as active, compassionate, thoughtful, considerate, unselfish, healthy and responsible as they have ever been through your lifetime? Or are your telling me that things have not changed much since 1953? Do you believe that the modern western world is progressing towards a more just, fair, healthy and rewarding future?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: