Do you love wildlife as much as my son Ty does? Here are 5 great ways to help wildlife in your day-to-day life!
My family loves animals. My son Ty’s bedroom is even jungle themed! If it’s anything to do with nature and the great outdoors, the five of us are all over it. We love adventuring to parks or learning about new species. And recently, we’ve been watching nature documentaries together in the evenings.
We’ve been inspired and amazed. Some of the programs have made us laugh; others have made us cry. The tales of the animals on our planet are more fascinating than any Hollywood script can offer. Yet, we’re often finishing these documentaries upset, pessimistic, and disheartened.
More and more of the nature documentaries we watch are finishing with calls to action. Nearly all actively publishing climate scientists (97–98%) agree that climate change is happening right now. And these films are highlighting the devastating effect that global warming is having on our planet.
Because of the actions we humans do, every day, 150 species go extinct. According to a Yale study, we could lose 10% of the species on earth in the next decade. So as a family, we’ve been inspired to do our bit. We’re not making sweeping, radical changes to our lives. Instead, we’ve been identifying small, attainable plans.
Here are 5 great ways to help wildlife and what you can do to help the planet and ensure future generations grow up surrounded by the same diverse ecosystems we have.
1) Educate Yourself
Knowledge is power. The first step to fighting climate change is understanding it. There are so many excellent, informative books out there that can spawn essential conversations you can have with your family.
I would recommend reading Our Planet by Matt Whyman. The official children’s book to the Netflix original documentary series, it’s a beautiful visual celebration of the natural world. But it also serves as an outstanding educational tool for kids, explaining how all the species in our world interconnect and rely on each other to work together and survive.
It’s a great introduction to climate change without creating nightmares. It’s a book of hope and optimism that my kids keep on coming back to – partly due to the fantastic photographs throughout.
For adults, I would suggest Sir David Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet: My Witness Statement and A Vision for the Future. At 93, legendary wildlife broadcaster Attenborough witnessed the decline of our planet’s diversity. This is his playbook of how we can put our mistakes right and restore the wonderful world we inherited.
2) Donate to WWF
As a way to give back over the Thanksgiving season, I asked my kids if they thought (symbolically) adopting a polar bear was a good idea. They were as excited as I’d ever seen them. It’s not just a figurative gesture. Donating to the World Wildlife Fund or a similar organization does make a difference. Plus, it’s teaching my children about the benefits of conservation and respecting every animal. My whole family feels like we’re giving thanks to a project we believe in.
3) Pick up Your Trash
Did you know a lot of the plastic and waste winds up in the oceans simply because trash isn’t discarded correctly? It winds up getting washed down drains, streams, and eventually leads to our oceans. Even without the devastating impacts of trash in our oceans, not putting your waste in a trashcan is a pretty awful thing to do. Nobody likes a litterer; that’s why I’ve downloaded the app Litterati.
First, photograph a piece of litter. Then, discard properly and tag the photo. And finally, invite and challenge others to join. Suddenly, cleaning up our streets has been turned into a fun game that’ll get the competitive juices flowing!
4) Cut Down on Plastics
Plastic items are easy and cheap to manufacture. But plastic isn’t biodegradable, and worryingly more than 90% of all birds and fish are believed to have plastic particles in their stomach. According to the United Nations, plastic ingestion kills an estimated 1 million marine birds and 100,000 marine animals each year.
So to cut down plastic waste, we’re using metal/reusable straws and are turning down plastic utensils when we can. We’re also taking reusable bags to the store instead of using plastic grocery bags. And even still, your plastic grocery bags, bread bags, or even sandwich bags can be reused if you recycle them directly. Use recycle4nature.com to find a store drop-off near you (hint: I bet there’s one at your local grocery store!) and those baggies can be remade into composite materials for playgrounds, park benches, and more!
5) Watch What You Eat
What’s the leading cause of deforestation? Farming. Large areas are cleared for pastoral farming. As the global demand for meat has increased, many farms have opened in the Amazon Basin for primarily beef farming. Not only are we cutting down on the amount of meat we eat, but we’re also reducing the amount of food we buy.
By no longer throwing away food and only cooking what we need, we decrease the global demand one tiny piece at a time. If we were all to join together, soon we’d no longer need to deforest, and we could manage with the farmland we currently have.
Have any of your own easy ways you’re helping wildlife and our environment in general? Let me know by sharing in the comments!