In honor of National Wildlife Day, I’d like to talk a little about what you can do to protect the outdoors and wildlife. Each species plays its own unique and valuable role in its own ecosystem. All ecosystems on Earth are connected and we as humans depend directly on these ecosystems and the species within them for our survival and well-being. About a third of the food we eat is pollinated by various bird, insect and bat species -- many of which are endangered and disappearing. Most of the oxygen we breathe, about 70%, comes from tiny ocean plants called phytoplankton that drift with ocean currents and live at the surface. They take in CO2 from the atmosphere and convert it to the oxygen we breathe. The rest of the oxygen we breathe comes from rainforests (about one-third) and a very small percentage from other sources. If these ecosystems are not protected, not only wildlife are threatened, but our own health and survival are too. Here are some ways you can help:
The first step to making responsible choices and taking action to protect the outdoors and wildlife is to become aware of the issues. Then, you can make an informed choice on how to modify your behaviors and consumption patterns.
Click here to explore some of our planet’s greatest threats affecting wildlife and the health of ecosystems (it’s all interlinked!). Share what you learn with friends and family.
Your vote and your voice matters.
One of the best ways to protect wildlife and the outdoors is to help preserve those wild spaces where they roam! Reducing your footprint by making small changes in your everyday life can collectively have a big impact that supports wildlife conservation and habitat preservation.
Reduce your consumption of single-use plastics whenever possible. Plastic is everywhere and it’s polluting critical ecosystems around the world, particularly our oceans. Every year, 8 million tons of plastic gets dumped into our oceans, threatening seabirds, fish, sea turtles and other major marine megafauna. If we do nothing, it’s estimated that by 2050, 99% of seabirds will have ingested plastic.
Reuse: think before tossing! Think about whether you can reuse, sell or donate something before tossing it in the trash.
Recycle items such as aluminum, glass, plastic and cardboard/paper products. Find out what you can recycle in your area and always try to recycle as much as possible. Despite some myths out there, recycling has less impact on the environment than making new products or tossing them into the trash.
Compost: Composting reduces your overall waste. Composting organic material such as food scraps, leaves, grass and other yard clippings, reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions and prevents unnecessary amounts of waste from going into landfills. Composting also returns valuable nutrients to the soil to help maintain soil quality and fertility and saves water by helping the soil hold moisture and reduce runoff. It makes an excellent fertilizer for your plants, flowers and vegetables!
They are harmful to the environment and to your health. These include:
These are just a few suggestions to make sure you’re doing good by the environment and its inhabitants. As a recap, continue to educate yourself, use your voice and make a political stance, and lastly, find ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle around your home. Stay tuned for part 2 of this series as I discuss ways to spot eco-friendly products, how to be a more conscious traveler, and specific ways to be a more eco-conscious cat owner!