The Need For Wildlife Conservation
The effects of global climate change, urban development, natural resource exploitation, and increasing human population have led to declining numbers of wildlife populations around the world. With this, the need for wildlife conservation efforts is on the rise. While it may seem like this global issue should be tackled by international governments and organizations, certain wildlife conservation methods can be handled on a much smaller scale - right at home. This article takes a look at some of the unique ways individuals can get involved in wildlife conservation and preservation.
1. Reduce, Reuse, And Recycle
People can strive to reduce, reuse, and recycle goods that are manufactured with fossil fuels or that take a long time to biodegrade in nature. Reducing the use of plastic bags, for example, is one way to help conserve wildlife, particularly marine life. According to the UN Environment Program, plastic causes the equivalent of $13 billion in marine life damages every year. Reducing the use of heating and cooling in homes and offices, sharing books, and consuming fewer prepackaged items are all great ways to help conserve wildlife.
Many items that seem disposable are actually reusable, like plastic containers and glass jars. Reusing cloth bags for grocery shopping is another way to reduce the demand for plastic bags as well. Reducing the demand for items made from fossil fuels helps reduce the demand for fossil fuel exploitation.
Recycling also works to reduce the demand for fossil fuels. It allows previously used items to be made into something new. Recycling is also good for the economy as it creates jobs, around 1.1 million employees in the US alone.
2. Use Renewable Energy
Some common renewable energy sources include; solar, wind, hydroelectric, ocean, and biomass (to name a few). Renewable energy is significantly cleaner and safer than energy that comes from fossil fuels, like coal. Converting to renewable energy sources helps reduce pollution and contamination in the atmosphere and bodies of water. Some ways to incorporate renewable energy include: installing solar panels on rooftops, setting up wind turbines on personal property, and opting for the renewable energy package with the local power company. All of these options help promote cleaner air and water. These cleaner environments, in turn, help protect wildlife populations.
3. Change Driving Habits
The emissions from driving are detrimental to the environment and thus the homes of many wildlife species. In the US, over half of the air pollution is caused by motor vehicles, which release carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and tiny particles of metal and dirt into the atmosphere.
People can, however, reduce the volume of emissions released by motor vehicles by reducing speed, starting out from a stop more gradually, and using the brakes less often. Additionally, driving slowly also reduces the risk of hitting any animals that may run out into the road.
To further reduce motor vehicle emissions, alternatives to driving are the best approach. These alternatives include: taking public transportation, joining a carpool group, riding a bicycle, or walking whenever possible.
4. Plant A Garden
It may seem like a difficult task to stop deforestation around the world, but people can easily promote plant life in their own backyards, patios, and window sills. The best plants for this task are native to the local area. Planting native flora helps encourage native fauna to come to the area. If space allows, large plants like trees help provide shelter to many animal species, particularly birds.
Planting gardens and trees can also discourage invasive plant species from taking over, which can be highly detrimental to the local ecosystem.
Currently, seven bee species have been included on the US list of endangered species. Bee-friendly gardens, which are those filled with plants that bees are attracted to, provide the pollen that these insects need to thrive.
Additionally, it is important to avoid pesticides and other chemicals in the garden (whether decorative or agricultural). These chemicals can degrade the soil, seep into the groundwater, and run off into nearby streams and rivers. Pesticides also harm and kill off smaller insects and animals, which are often important food sources for larger animals species.
5. Visit A Park
Visiting local parks, national parks, and nature reserves is a great way to help support wildlife conservation efforts as well. Oftentimes, these parks have an entrance fee that is used toward maintaining the protected ecosystems within. Having natural habitats that are protected against logging, hunting, and resource extraction is an important step in protecting wildlife populations.
6. Switch Household Products
Within homes, people often use harsh chemicals for cleaning and even bathing. These chemicals, in cleaners, shampoos, and soaps, wash down drains and find their way into local waterways and oceans, where they cause harm to marine life. Soaps and cosmetics with microbeads are particularly dangerous to the environment and wildlife. These beads do not dissolve and are known to kill marine life. Several organizations are fighting to prohibit their production and use. Additionally, many household cleaning products are harmful to pets, such as cats and dogs.
A better option is to buy personal hygiene products that are free of phosphates, safe for camping, or that biodegrade quickly. An excellent, environmentally friendly household cleaning alternative is vinegar and baking soda, which can be used on everything from countertops to ovens and sinks to toilets.
7. Boycott Certain Businesses
Many companies have a history of damaging the environment, testing on animals, and breaking environmental regulations. Being informed about which corporations have more environmentally sound practices is a great way to support wildlife conservation. By choosing to buy from more socially-conscious companies, people can create an increased demand for their products. Market demand for environmentally friendly goods encourages other companies to consider the conservation of wildlife and the environment in their production practices.
8.Donate To Nonprofit Organizations
Nonprofit organizations around the world are working with local governments, businesses, and populations to promote wildlife conservation. Many of these organizations rely on monetary donations in order to reach their objectives. Making donations to these organizations is one way to ensure they are able to continue operating.
Other types of donations can also be helpful. Donating old toys, clothes, or books can help other people who might not otherwise be able to afford the item. Additionally, donating used goods instead of throwing them away helps to reduce waste in landfills.
Some nonprofit organizations have a need for volunteers as well. Volunteering on a wildlife conservation campaign can help people have a deeper understanding of the environment and its fragile ecosystems, while supporting environmental preservation. Volunteer opportunities are diverse and could include planting trees, tracking animal behavior, or even cleaning up a local waterway.
9. Rethink Vacationing
Even vacations can have huge environmental impacts. Flying to a far-off destinations requires a significant amount of jet fuel, which releases fossil fuels into the atmosphere. Instead of choosing an exotic location for vacation, choosing to stay local can have a positive effect on the environment. As previously mentioned, an excellent option is to visit a local park or nature reserve.
When vacationing in distant locations, people can take some additional steps to ensure their impact on local wildlife is minimal. For example, some souvenirs may seem attractive and unique, particularly plants or even animals. Buying these items, however, should be avoided. Not only may these plants and animals be endangered or protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, but purchasing them encourages poachers and hunters to continue collecting these species. The poaching industry is one of the biggest threats to wildlife conservation around the world.
10. Avoid Killing Certain “Pests”
Spiders may not be the most charismatic animal in the world, but they certainly play an important role in the environment. Spiders are critical components of the natural food chain and eat significant numbers of insects. Some of these insects, like flies and mosquitoes, have been linked to the spread of certain diseases (for example: malaria, typhoid, dysentery, and cholera). A better alternative to killing spiders is to trap them and release them outside.
Other animals are often seen as pests as well, despite their important role in the environment. Species such as bats, frogs, and birds also help control the insect population and are a food source for many larger animals. Wildlife conservation includes all plants and animals, not just the more attractive species.
11. Eat A Plant-Based Diet
The meat industry has a negative impact on the environment. It promotes deforestation and contributes chemicals and antibiotics to local water and soil. Additionally, the fishing industry is responsible for overfishing and depleting many of the ocean’s valuable resources. Adopting a vegetarian lifestyle at least a few times a week is a great way to reduce the effects of these industries.
To increase the benefits of a plant-based diet, the best vegetables are those which are local and in-season. Buying locally reduces the need for transportation, which means less fossil fuels used and fewer greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. Additionally, if they are able to consumers should opt for organic fruits and vegetables, which have not been grown with chemical-based pesticides.
The Responsibility Of Wildlife Conservation
Wildlife conservation is not only the responsibility of a few individuals. It is the responsibility of everyone in the world. By working together and adopting a few simple lifestyle changes, the world’s population can help to reduce the effects of global climate change and promote wildlife conservation on a global scale.
About the Author
Amber is a freelance writer, English as a foreign language teacher, and Spanish-English translator. She lives with her husband and 3 cats.
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