By Elaine Clara Mah
It is no secret that most of our wildlife is either in danger or on the verge of extinction. While many of us are concerned about this disheartening situation, we also feel that the problem is larger than us and that what we do or don’t do will not effect change.
But the truth is that saving wildlife begins at home. Even if you never come into contact with the majestic lion of the African savanna, you can still do your part to save it from the brink of extinction. Here are 5 simple yet effective tips to save our animals from the comforts of home.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
This may be a trivial tip but it’s something that many of us neglect too often. Always clean up your trash no matter how small it may be and dispose them properly. Use proper recycling bins and opt for biodegradable materials. Reuse your plastic bags instead of throwing them out and acquiring new ones. The smallest bit of trash may do more harm to wildlife than it would good. Closer to home, abandoned soda rings and plastic may end up as a choking hazard for our friendly neighborhood cats. Stray plastics may find its way to sewage systems and eventually out to sea where it may be mistaken as food by turtles, whales and dolphins.
Think your little piece of plastic bag doesn’t matter? Think again. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a large area in the ocean that consists of a collection of waste – 80% of which comes from land-based activities. It only took us half a century to create the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – an area that is estimated to be twice the size of Texas – so this massive “plastic soup” will continue to grow if we don’t do something about it now.
In this day and age, our most common means of travel is by air. Unfortunately, this convenient way of traveling has a great impact on the environment. A round-trip flight from New York to Europe creates a warming effect up to 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person. The average American traveler generates about 19 tons of carbon dioxide a year through air travel. The more you travel, and the longer your flights are, the bigger your carbon footprint would be.
To reduce your carbon footprint, try to take less long-haul flights in a year. You can also do this by using alternative means of travel in your daily lives. Utilize public transportations instead of opting for a private vehicle of your own. And when you can, walk! Walking will not only get you to your destination with the least amount of carbon emissions possible and promise you a great adventure, it will also keep you fit and healthy!
When I first learned that I could contribute less to global warming by simply altering my food choices, I was floored.
The scary reality is that at least 9% of the world’s contribution to climate change comes from the agriculture industry. Cows and sheep in particular emit large quantities of methane gas – a gas that contribute largely to global warming. Animal agriculture as a whole also has a negative impact on wildlife as it creates competition for habitat, as well as perpetuates a waste problem and with it, the improper management of waste.
A good way to begin changing your diet is to eat less red meat or becoming a vegetarian. However, remember that animal agriculture does not stop at cows. It also includes chicken, ducks, fishes, etc. Go the extra mile to save wildlife by omitting meat and dairy from your diet and go vegan. This lifestyle change may seem extreme at first but has great benefits to your health and wellness in the long run!
Be A Part of A Community
You don’t have to work for a wildlife organization to effect change and help save our animals. You can also make a big difference by simply being a part of a community through volunteering and joining an organization that you are passionate about.
By joining an organization, you will acquire knowledge and understanding about the organization’s particular cause and be well informed on the current world situation that you are in.
For wildlife, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is a good place to start. But if you have specific areas of interests or are particularly concerned about certain species of animals, there are plenty of organizations and movements that are devoted to particular niches that you can join.
Teach Your Children About Wildlife
As I mentioned earlier, change starts at home. Teaching your children to be aware about wildlife and explaining to them the importance of protecting it may be the most valuable thing you can do to save the environment. It is important to remember that what we do today affects our future generation. Helping our young children understand how to protect the environment will help establish continuity in our efforts of saving wildlife.
Start small – Teach them to be loving and compassionate to the neighborhood cats. Sign them up for volunteer programs at the local SPCA. Show them the wildlife that they are protecting by taking them on family safari trips. Instill in them the importance of the environment from a young age and they’ll likely to live by these knowledge and values as an adult.
Elaine Clara Mah
Elaine is a Contributing Writer for BookAllSafaris.com. She is constantly in awe of the majestic animals living in the wild alongside us and does what she can to help conserve their habitat