Methods for Sustainability Research
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Methods for Sustainability Research

Edited by Janette Hartz-Karp and Dora Marinova

This book offers a collection of methods and approaches aimed at resolving some of humanity’s most pressing problems on a local and global level. Many of the methods are practical, with straightforward application and demonstrated positive outcomes whilst others are more visionary. Important for transitioning to a more sustainable world, these methods allow for the constructive challenging of existing western development and governance.
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Chapter 16: Volunteerism: a crosscutting and relational method to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

Peter Devereux, Laura Stocker and Kirsten Holmes


This chapter highlights the power of volunteerism as a method for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It emphasizes the importance of a relational approach in helping to energize and sustain locally appropriate strategies. Using case studies from Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Western Australia and the Philippines, it analyses methods to facilitate voluntary action that makes practical contributions. The case studies demonstrate that the nature and quality of relationships are key to successful voluntary action for sustainability. Volunteerism is shown to have increased the respective community’s capacity to tackle sustainability issues itself strengthening reciprocity, relationships, capacity and ownership. The four methodological principles highlighted for successful voluntary action embed mutual learning and accountability, reciprocal benefit, and foster synergies over trade-offs.

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