From the top of the tallest mountain to the very depths of the ocean, the world around us is homed to countless different animal and plant species. So varied is the world we live in that many – possibly even thousands – of these species still remain completely undiscovered to modern science. The rich biodiversity of our planet’s various ecosystems and environments are beautiful, complex and, unfortunately, extremely vulnerable. The effect of unsustainable human activities have already had a disastrous impact on animals and plants right across the globe. Deforestation, pollution and overpopulation, as just some examples, that have pushed precious and vulnerable ecosystems to the brink of survival. In the next few decades alone, nearly a quarter of all species are at risk of going extinct so what can we do to help wildlife in need?
World Wildlife Day, celebrated on March 3rd, aims to celebrate the amazing animal and plant species around us as well as raise awareness of how to help. It is perhaps the most important day for bringing to the forefront of our consciousness the incredible beauty and vulnerability of the natural world. The theme for 2020 is ‘Sustaining all life on Earth’, according to the official World Wildlife Day website this theme encompasses ‘all wild animal and plant species as key components of the world’s biodiversity’. It also pointed that this theme ‘aligns with UN Sustainable Development Goals 1, 12, 14 and 15, and their wide-ranging commitments on alleviating poverty, ensuring sustainable use of resources, and on conserving life both on land and below water to halt biodiversity loss’.
You don’t need to be David Attenborough or a member of PETA to help wildlife in need, are plenty of little changes you can make in your own life which will help to make a big difference.
Easy ways to help our wildlife in need
Yes, we know. Nowadays, everything is veggie this or vegan that. It seems like every brand and restaurant chain is cashing in on the ethical trend of vegetarianism with options to suit plant-based diets. I mean, you can even get a vegan KFC now – who would have imagined that ten years ago? If you are a meat–eater, I am not saying that you need to immediately change your lifestyle over to a completely organic vegan diet. Instead, by simply making little changes here and there you can help to reduce the impact your meat consumption would have on the environment.
Here are just a couple of ways you can cut the meat out:
- Meatless Mondays
- Use Quorn products in at least one meal a week
- Completely cut out red meat (beef, pork & lamb)
You might be asking why, though? Why make these changes at all? What effect does eating a beef burger even have on animals and plants thousands of miles away?
Well, in fact, the meat industry is one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gases in the world. Animals which produce beef, pork and lamb naturally release these gases into the environment and so by purchasing these meats you contribute to the continued intensive farming of these animals. Not simply this, but large amounts of rainforest are cleared and destroyed simply to give these farm animals space to feed. These ancient rainforests are homed to many different types of animals and plants, who are now at risk due to deforestation.
Adopt An Animal
Around the world there are a multitude of charities, zoos and wildlife parks which offer people the chance to ‘adopt an animal’. These products are quite simple in themselves as you ‘adopt’ an endangered animal, such as a tiger or panda, by paying a small fee each month. This money then goes towards conservation efforts and breeding programmes which aim to increase the numbers of these animals in the wild, either through reintroduction or reproduction.
‘Adopt An Animal’ products are a great way to make change in the world as they do not cost very much, however they really do go to great cause. Also: they make a great gift! Maybe next time it a friend’s birthday, gift them with the adoption of a rare and endangered animal. A gift that truly keeps on giving; for generations in fact.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
This sounds like a relatively simple one in itself but it has a huge impact on the environment. By making sure that you reduce, reuse and recycle as many of your goods as possible you will be massively reducing the impact that your waste has on the world’s wildlife. Often, our rubbish ends up in the worlds ecosystems where animals may get trapped in it or even end up eating it thinking it is a food source.
The Three R’s, as they are know, are a great method to re-evaluate our lives and how we dispose of wate with. Here are some simple ways to enact each ‘R’ in our daily lives:
- Use your own shopping bags
- Turn off the lights when not in use
- Take shorter showers
- Eat less meat
- Use tupperware containers rather than disposable plastic
- Donate old clothes, toys and furniture to charity shops. Remember: one man’s trash is another’s treasure!
- Simply: recycle as much as possible
As you can see it doesn’t have to be difficult and we can all do a little bit each to help preserve our amazing wildlife and the world wildlife day is the perfect time to start!