What Can I Do To Help Conservation?

Luckily there are no shortage in options of how you can get involved. Joining a local conservation group is a great way to meet like minded people and take an active role in managing species’ habitat.

Image: By Wayne National Forest (IMG_8365b Uploaded by AlbertHerring) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The plight of species, especially rhinos and elephants, is increasingly in the news at the moment. It is only natural to assume as a consequence that more people are becoming interested in the issue of species conservation and wondering what they can do to help.

Luckily there are no shortage in options of how you can get involved. Joining a local conservation group is a great way to meet like minded people and take an active role in managing species’ habitat. You can also learn skills, such as hedge laying, which are invaluable for a career in conservation. Nowadays, there are plenty of college and degree courses out there, but more often than not these still don’t provide much practical experience. Joining an environmental organisation will often directly fund conservation efforts, with many out there for practically every conservation interest area.

The best way to help minimise your impact on the environment is to think about how sustainable your lifestyle is. For example, many of us rely on food that is imported from other countries. However, if there was a crop failure or the food could not reach us for some other reason, we could face a food shortage. This is why it is important to try and buy food which comes from local sources so that we can be self sufficient. It is possible for entire communities to become sustainable, with Serenbe in America as an example. In addition, look at what ingredients are in the food you eat. Many products contain palm oil, the farming of which can have detrimental effects on the environment. Furniture should also be scrutinised before it is bought as wood can be illegally logged. To be safe try and look for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood.

At home you can look at altering your daily routine. Most of us already recycle which is a great step towards reducing the quantity of rubbish that goes to landfill. If you are yet to be convinced about the need to recycle plastics, you might be interested in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This floating plastic mass, estimated to be roughly the size of Texas, is a threat to wildlife. Birds and turtles have been found dead with plastic in their stomachs. Some of the debris leaches toxic chemicals into the water, which can ultimately reach us through the food chain. A similar patch is now forming in the Atlantic Ocean, so we owe it to the environment to reduce plastic waste.

Helping the environment at home need not stop at recycling. Having a compost heap, bird table or pond are all great ways to help wildlife in your local area. Reducing your use of herbicides and pesticides is also a good idea as these are often toxic to more than just their target species. Many households nowadays are even investing in solar panels to help generate their own green energy.

The advent of social media has led to a more wide reaching influence of campaigns. The release of Blackfish, a documentary about the keeping of orcas in sea life centres, led to campaigns the world over to get them released. Subsequently numerous celebrities have dropped out of performing at festivals associated with these sea life centres. So next time you see a campaign about something of interest, why not join in.

In conclusion, there are many different things you can can do to help conservation, but a good motto to live by is ‘act local, think global’. In the end we are responsible for what happens to the species that live on our planet, especially when we are directly destroying many of their habitats.

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