7 Ways You Can Help Save Endangered Species
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The effects of climate change have become apparent in the last few years. Greenhouse gas emissions harm plants and animals and can lead to extinction if humans keep the current pace of global warming. News of animals in danger may seem grim, but there are ways you can help. Follow these seven ways you can help save endangered species at home.
1. Visit a Wildlife Refuge
One of the best ways you can contribute to a better world is by visiting a wildlife refuge. These sanctuaries for wild animals are all across the country. In fact, there’s at least one in all 50 states and 567 National Wildlife Refuges. There are also stations in the U.S. territories like Puerto Rico and islands in the Pacific Ocean.
These wildlife refuges are an excellent learning opportunity for everyone, children and adults. These locations provide opportunities to see endangered species in a comfortable habitat. You can take the opportunity to do birdwatching at the refuges and photograph wildlife from a distance. It’s a fun experience that is fruitful for those who want to save endangered species.
2. Volunteer at a Zoo
Sometimes, visiting a refuge or a zoo can be a life-changing experience. It may inspire you to help and find ways to get involved with these organizations. If you feel the calling, see what opportunities are available to volunteer at the refuge, a zoo, or a national park. Many of these organizations take great care of the animals. Check with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to see if there’s an accredited one near you.
3. Use Alternatives to Pesticides
One way to promote sustainability at home is by creating a garden at home. You could grow flowers and trees or plant crops that you can harvest later in the year. Growing food at home is a way to reduce trips to the grocery store and lower your carbon footprint. However, downsides can be counterproductive if you want to save endangered species.
When planting crops, you’ll likely face unwanted pests infiltrating your garden. Bugs and other critters can ruin your garden, so you may feel tempted to use pesticides and herbicides. However, these can be harmful to the environment and animals. Endangered predators could eat the poisoned animals that consumed the pesticides.
Instead, look for naturally occurring pesticides because they’ll be less toxic to people and other animals who come around. You may see fruits and vegetables at the store with an organic sticker. This label doesn’t mean much. Pesticides are more common than you think, but natural ones are what sets them apart from toxic sprays.
4. Purchase Animal-free Products
A significant reason why some species face extinction is that some humans are doing it intentionally. Poachers seek out animals like elephants for their ivory and sell it. Some use ivory to make small trinkets. These figurines and ornaments are popular worldwide, but they come at the sacrifice of elephants, so keep that in mind.
Other places to be mindful of animal products are stores you visit on vacation. You may see necklaces, bracelets, and other gifts when you’re at the beach or a resort. Check to see if the stores sourced them sustainably because there’s a chance they also come from ivory, turtle shells, or other parts of endangered species.
5. Shop Sustainably
Sustainability is essential when you’re on vacation and back home. You can do things in your weekly tasks to become more environmentally friendly and support endangered animals. Buying sustainable products like recycled paper support reforestation and combat deforestation, which destroys the habitats of vulnerable species. For example, find alternatives to palm oil. Destroying palm forests hurts the homes of animals like tigers.
You can still find ways to shop sustainably for more significant purchases like homes and cars. As mentioned before, climate change significantly destroys the habitats of the earth’s most endangered species. One way humans can fight climate change is by switching to cleaner energy in their homes and cars.
Fossil fuels like oil, gas, and coal are the worst culprit for climate change, accounting for about 75% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and 90% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Countries like the United States have become dependent on cars, especially those who live in rural areas. Traveling in fully electric vehicles eliminates tailpipe emissions. If you charge your electric car at home, you can make better energy choices by incorporating solar power.
6. Adopt an Endangered Animal
An excellent way to contribute directly to conservation efforts is to adopt an endangered animal. You don’t have to bring the animal into your home. Can you imagine trying to fit an African elephant into your living space? These adoption efforts occur virtually, and your contribution comes from a monetary donation.
Many different non-profit organizations support endangered species with symbolic adoptions. You could sign up with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), the International Animal Rescue and others. Research to find which ones align with your beliefs and have an animal you want to adopt. Most of these organizations will regularly send you information about your animal and gifts like T-shirts.
7. Join a Non-profit Organization
Adopting an animal is an excellent way you can help save endangered species. Advocacy is one of the essential ways to create the change you want to see. Another practical form of advocacy is joining a non-profit group nationwide or in your area.
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) is a group that advocates for endangered species and the environment in its entirety. This political action committee (PAC) is one of the leading voices in the nation’s capital for environmental protection. The LCV gives members of Congress a scorecard based on their voting record on environmental issues. Groups like the LCV are a terrific way to get involved with your community.
How You Can Save Endangered Species
What do climate change and species extinctions have in common? Humans are often behind the causes of both. Greed from people and companies has led to practices like deforestation that harm the environment and animals’ habitats. It may seem challenging, but the average person can fight back. You can use these seven ways to help save endangered species.
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About the author
Steve is the Managing Editor of Environment.co and regularly contributes articles related to wildlife, biodiversity, and recycling. His passions include wildlife photography and bird watching.