How to be Environmentally Friendly

Every night on the news we see devastating pictures of habitat loss and extreme pollution, it can really make someone feel small and insignificant (in comparison to nature, aren’t we?). Hopefully some of you think ‘what could I possibly do to change it?’ Well the good news is every little bit helps. No, really. We as humans are harming this earth, not only for us and our children and grandchildren to come, but also for the animals that we share the globe with. Animals can’t speak and protect themselves, so it’s up to us to step up and help the defenceless! Below are a few things you can do to help conserve animals and their homes.

Throw your rubbish away when you’re at the beach!

Did you know that 6 million tonnes of debris enters the ocean each year? Now imagine the effect all your food wrappings and plastic bags are having on the animals in the sea. It might not seem like such a big deal when you leave a cigarette butt on the sand but did you know that cigarette butts can take 10 years to break down in the ocean? Plus all of the other people that smoke! Plastic bags take more than 100 years and plastic bottles up to 400 years! Plastic litter from the beach and boats will kill around 1 Million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals and turtles a year. So next time you’re at the beach take your rubbish home with you, and make sure your friends do the same. Perhaps walk the ten or so metres to the nearest bin and dispose of your cigarette butt properly. The world is not your bin and the ocean will appreciate your efforts.

Back home a simple change in your own backyard can help our native Australian animals.

Don’t let your cat out at night.

Keep your feline friend inside, or better yet make a cat run for them. Shockingly up to 45 species of Wallaby, Bandicoot and other Australian animals could become extinct within 20 years unless we do something to control predators and other threats. By keeping your cat inside or fenced in a cat run, you will be protecting the native animals that could become your pets next meal. It’s also safe for your cat to be inside too, many accidents occur at night when your cat can’t be seen by oncoming cars. So tonight keep your cat inside, he will be safe as will native animals.

Avoid products with palm oil!

This task is a lot harder than it sounds when Palm Oil is used in many soap, food and makeup products. The key is to start being more aware of Palm Oil and the increasingly scary effect it is having on environments and animals in South East Asia. Deforestation in South East Asia due to Palm Oil plantations is destroying habitats of Sumatran and Bornean Orangutans as well as numerous other animals, birds and plants. Australia imports 130,000 tonnes of Palm Oil annually and it is used in 50% of our shelved products. By being aware of this growing industry and its effects on animals habitats, you can start making smarter consumer choices and avoiding Palm Oil products by buying alternatives. Shops such as Lush are already stocking Palm Oil free products. For more information on this industry and how you can stop it go to palmoilfree.planetark.org

The best way to begin making small changes (if that smokes your cigarette, pun intended) is to stay informed! Take the time to update yourself on current environmental issues and animal conservation campaigns. Stay aware of what your local council or shire is doing to help wildlife conservation and native animals. Join a Wildlife conservation organisation and get involved! There are many conservation organisations which are dedicated to helping the planet and saving animals and their habitats. For a head-start, look-up WWF Australia or Planet Ark to see how you can help. Good Luck!

Words – Jenai Tomlinson

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