If you read the news, watch nature programs or even look out the window at our stormy weather, it’s all doom and gloom. Climate change is happening, our planet is changing irreversibly, and animals are dying out through loss of habitats and food sources. As someone who cares about the future of our world, it’s hard to watch and even harder to know what to do about it. It’s bigger than just one person. Can we really make a difference?
You can make a difference
Sometimes, when you feel small, it can be hard to imagine how your actions alone can help our planet and our animals. But, let’s look at some figures.
Example 1: Litter picking
If you pick up two pieces of litter while out and about every day for a week and dispose of them responsibly, recycling if possible, that is 14 pieces of litter no longer clogging up the environment and causing a risk to wildlife. Scaling up, if you do that every day for a year, that is 730 pieces of litter.
Scaling up even further, if 20 people do the same as you, that is 14,600 pieces of litter picked up in one year. If 100 people do it, that’s 73,000. When you combine them with others, your small actions help to make a big difference.
Example 2: Waste
If you buy one coffee in a disposable cup every day for a week, that’s seven coffee cups going to landfill a week and 365 in a year. Buy a reusable coffee cup and use it instead of disposables and you’ll save 365 often non-recyclable cups from landfill a year.
Scaling up, if 20 people do the same as you, it saves 2,555 non-recyclable cups from landfill every year. If, say, 500 people use a reusable cup instead of a disposable just once a day for a year, that’s 182,500 cups kept from landfill. Small actions make a big difference!
Example 3: Donations
One of the best ways to help endangered animals is to donate to charities that work to conserve them and their habitats, but if you only have a little to give, you may wonder, what’s the point? Well, let’s have a look.
If you have £1 to donate a week, that’s £52 a year. According to WWF, £52 could buy two WWF school visits to educate children about orangutans and 40 seedlings to help restore forests in Tanzania. And that’s just one example of how your money can help; there are many more.
However, the real impact is obvious when you scale it up. While £52 may not seem like much on its own, if ten people donate the same, that’s £520 a year. Going further, if 200 people donate just £1 a week, that equates to £10,400 raised in a year.
What can you do?
Now you know that even tiny actions can make a big difference there is loads you can do to help the environment and our animals. Here are just ten ideas, but there are more in our AnimalKind section!
- Consume less. Reduce your waste, reuse what you can and recycle where possible.
- Turn off the lights when you don’t need them on and switch off electric devices to save energy.
- Reduce your meat consumption or become vegetarian or vegan.
- Walk or use public transport rather than driving short distances. Avoid short-haul flights if you can.
- Plant native flora and make your space friendly for native wildlife. Don’t use herbicides or pesticides.
- Don’t drop litter, clean up while your out and about instead. Always recycle what you can.
- Respect nature and always leave it as you find it.
- Don’t buy products made from endangered species.
- Avoid cruel wildlife tourism activities such as elephant rides; support sanctuaries instead.
- Read more about conservation and spread the word.