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What Global Issue Do RPCVs Care About Most? Climate Change

So here’s what we’re doing next.

By Glenn Blumhorst


In January 2020 National Peace Corps Association conducted a national survey asking you about the global issues that you care about most — and what actions you might take to address these issues in your community.

More than 3,000 members of the Peace Corps community responded. Nearly two thirds of you said climate change was by far the global issue you cared about most. You also showed strong support for global health, access to clean water, and women’s empowerment and girls education.

Since January, we have learned an important lesson: Without proper preparation, existential threats like the Covid-19 pandemic or climate change can radically alter all of our lives.

These threats are not theoretical. They are real. We also know that these global threats are closely linked. For example, climate change, if left unchecked, will continue to raise the Earth’s temperature and make pandemics like Covid-19 more likely — and access to clean water more difficult.

We are working with our affiliate group, Returned Peace Corps Volunteers for Environmental Action (RPCV4EA), to document the impact of climate change through the eyes of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. RPCV4EA plans to post these stories on its website.

Many of you have seen first firsthand the impact of climate change in communities around the world where you have served. And you’re concerned about its impact in your own communities. So here’s a request: Please take a few minutes to share with us in a brief paragraph your experiences witnessing the devastating impact of climate change. Send your summary to Arianna Richard at [email protected] and we will follow up.

We also want your help as we conduct additional research — including a series of virtual focus groups and town hall meetings this spring — to determine how your views about global issues may have changed since January. We know these are unprecedented times. The survey shows that global health resonates strongly as an issue with our membership. Should we help develop a new national affiliate to address global health? If you are interested in participating in one of our focus groups, contact Mike Kiernan at [email protected].

As members of the Peace Corps community, we can all play a role in educating and motivating others in our communities and nationwide to learn more about the global issues that affect all of us. I hope you will take time to review our survey results and let me know what you think.

Glenn Blumhorst (Guatemala 1988–91) is President and CEO of National Peace Corps Association.

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