How Can I Help Save Species?
Support your local zoo, aquarium or wildlife rehab center. They work tirelessly to save wildlife 365 days a year. Many species only exist in captivity now, so when you support a local accredited zoo, your money goes directly towards breeding and saving rare animals. Visit www.aza.org for a complete list of all accredited zoos in your area.
Plant a pollinator garden to save bees and butterflies, and practice all-natural lawn care by quitting pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, as they are poisonous to our friendly pollinating insects. Planting nectar-bearing plants in addition to milkweed will encourage monarch butterflies to stop in and lay their eggs. Be sure to plant what’s native to your part of the country. Find milkweed available in your area here or by going to your local plant nursery. By combining a pollinator garden with organic lawn practices, your lawn is sure to be a safe haven for pollinators like butterflies and bees. Check out our interactive PDF on how to help pollinators here.
Reduce, reuse and recycle what you buy. Recycling is the last resort, because it takes a lot of energy to break down and reform materials. Better to buy less and reuse it more! It’s very important to purchase second hand clothing as well, as the fashion industry is the second-dirtiest right behind big oil. Shopping at your local thrift stores, or utilize trendy online sources. Being sustainable is fashionable!
Quit plastic daily by saying “No” to to single-use items, such as plastic grocery bags, single-serve coffee pods, and disposable straws and lids at coffee shops. Plastic never completely biodegrades, and is disruptive especially to marine wildlife. Use reusable grocery bags, and bring your own cup if you know you will be purchasing a beverage. Many coffee shops even offer a discount when you bring your own to-go mug.
Eat healthier! Eat less meat, and eat locally whenever possible. Meat takes a lot of energy, grain and water to produce. Try limiting your meat intake to one meal per day, or only a few per week. Buying locally-produced fruits and veggies supports local farmers, and doesn’t require the carbon emissions of a diesel truck driving it to you from across the country. It will most likely be organic and better tasting as well, so make the choice that is better for your body, and the earth.
Read food labels, and don’t purchase products containing palm oil. Palm oil is in as much as 50% of all foods on supermarket shelves, and when unethically sourced, contributes to deforestation and habitat loss. Alternatively, you can visit the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) website on your smartphone as you shop in order to find a list of companies that grow palm oil plants in a way that does not negatively affect our wildlife.
Are you a fan of sushi? Most seafood is not fished or farmed in a way that is healthy for the oceans or population numbers. See what seafood choices you should make while grocery shopping or dining out by getting the Seafood Watch app from Monterey Bay Aquarium’s website.
Drive a smaller car, and drive it less. It’s time to rethink driving around in an SUV or a pickup by yourself. Even if gas is cheap, putting more carbon in the air than you really need is costly to the environment. Buying a used car is also ideal, as the energy-intensive manufacturing process of a new car contributes up to 28% of the total environmental impact of the vehicle. Plus, the moment you drive a new car off the lot, its value is lessened by as much as 11%. Keep the earth and your wallet in mind by buying a smaller used car, and carpooling whenever possible.
Insist that your local authorities purchase sustainable energy. Don’t wait until the Earth has been made hot and miserable from fossil fuels. Do this now! You can find the names and contact information of your elected officials by clicking here and going to “Take Action”. Make sure to stay informed and up to date on what is happening environmentally. Do you know what laws are in question? What can you be voting on? Make your voice heard and be sure you know what is going on by joining environmental newsletters as well.
Recycle, re-sell, or trade in your cell phones or small electronic devices. Tantalum, a material used in our cell phones, is mined from areas in Africa that are within the home range of many endangered primates. By recycling these electronics, the tantalum can be reused, reducing the need to mine in these habitats. Find a device drop-off location near you here! You can also trade in or sell your device, which still results in the re-use of the Tantalum.
Read the labels of your self-care products. Many products contain microbeads, small plastic exfoliants, that once washed down the sink, are released into the waterways where they bioaccumulate in marine wildlife. Ban these sneaky plastics and opt for natural alternatives to your normal beauty products by reading labels, and downloading an app like Think Dirty™ which can help you shop with the earth in mind.
Cut down on paper waste by unsubscribing from junk mail, and purchasing toilet paper made from recycled paper in order to reduce the amount of new trees that must be processed. Utilize apps like PaperKarma to be automatically unsubscribed from junk mail. Declutter your desk, and help the forests at the same time.
Don’t be fooled by greenwashing. Greenwashing is when a company recognizes the need to be environmentally-friendly, but rather than making any real changes, they disguise their product using “environmental” keywords to give purchasers some comfort. Words like “all-natural” and “pure” don’t necessarily mean anything, so always be sure to read labels and think for yourself!
Insulate your home. This will save conditioned air from escaping, reduce your carbon footprint, and put money in your wallet in the long run. Get in the habit of putting on a sweater or taking off layers as well before you reach for the thermostat.
Think about each and every dollar you spend. You are in effect ‘voting’ every time you break out your purse or your wallet, telling retailers you want their products again and again. Are the things you buy good for the planet or harmful to it? How you spend your money can literally move mountains, so be sure you are voting in a way that is sustainable for your future!
Unplug your cords. Even if your hair dryer isn’t on, leaving it plugged in sucks energy from the source and wastes it. Kill energy vampires by unplugging devices while not in use
Buy your food locally. It’s better for your local economy, and saves a ton of fossil fuel. Why truck in a tomato all the way from California? Plus don’t forget that locally-grown food tastes great because it’s fresher. Likely it’s also organic, which is even better for you.
Use a cold water detergent for washing your clothes. This saves carbon from being used to heat water. Tide makes an especially great detergent that only works in cold water.
Insist on renewable energy at every turn, like wind, solar and hydro.
Vote with your dollars. Every time you break out your purse or their wallet, they are voting for the products they choose. You are telling retailers, ‘I approve of this and want you to bring me more of it.’ So watch the products you buy. Don’t buy furniture make from Asian hardwood forests. Don’t buy groceries made with palm oil as it leads to rainforest deforestation. That’s real power to change the world.