What does National Wildlife Day mean to you? More importantly, what CAN it mean to you? It’s hard to imagine a world without wildlife and on this day in particular we are reminded why it’s so critical to take better care of the planet we live on so wildlife can thrive.
The 2018 World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Report states that on average, we’ve seen an astonishing 60% decline in the size of populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians in just over 40 years.
Sadly, we are living in a world where climate change, deforestation, extinction, human-wildlife conflict, pollution(to name a few) are all words and actions that have become all too familiar and ones with major long term consequences. We also live in a world where we can take action, rally together and make a positive impact environmentally, but we have to start NOW.
Empathy—one of our favorite elephant traits—is something we can all practice on this day and every day moving forward. Let’s be more empathetic towards our animals, our landscapes, each other and in turn, our planet. We can always learn from elephants and their astonishing ability to sympathize and process emotions. They act out of selflessness and respond to pain and/or troubles another elephant may be facing.
Let’s use today as the day to start responding to the trouble our wildlife is in and open up to positive changes we can make day to day. To change the big, let’s start with the small.
To celebrate National Wildlife Day here is what you can do TODAY:
GET OUTSIDE AND TAKE IN THE FRESH AIR
1. Elephants are Africa’s gardeners and landscape engineers, planting seeds and creating habitats wherever they roam. Simply step outside and plant your own seeds whether that’s physically in your garden or figuratively in your community.
DONATE DIRECTLY TO SAVE THE ELEPHANTS
2. Your donations are the fuel that allows STE to continue their efforts to end the elephant crisis. Without urgent action to save their species, elephants could disappear from the wild within a single generation. Donate Now
CLEAN UP THIS PLANET!
3. Take a trip to your local park or walk around your neighborhood and pick up any trash you see. Make it a goal to fill one trash bag in 24 hours or less!
BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle)
4. During the dry season, elephants use their tusks to dig for water. This not only allows the elephants to survive in dry environments and when droughts strike, but also provides water for other animals that share harsh habitats.
We are very lucky to have access to clean water. Bring your reusable bottle wherever you go and reduce your single-use plastic consumption daily.
SHARING MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE
5. Elephants travel in herds and rely on each other from day to day. Find a commute buddy and save on gas and travel - rely on each other to reduce your carbon footprint.
UNPLUG FOR THE PLANET
6. Get in the habit of pulling your charger(s) out from the outlet when they aren’t in use. The less energy you use as one person, the better. It’s the easiest change you can make!
CHOOSE TO REUSE
7. It’s always a good idea to have usable bags in your car, workbag, travel bag, etc. You can also purchase reusable produce bags. Imagine how many single-use plastic bags you can save in a weeks time! Save a bag, save the planet.
COMPOST, GROW AND CREATE
8. Cook to compost and save your trash! Think about your apple cores, eggshells and vegetable skins in a whole new way and start composting weekly. Start off small and get a container with a lid and throw in what you would normally throw out. Wasted food eventually creates a destructive greenhouse gas called methane. By creating your own compost pile in your backyard you are keeping food out of landfills and waterways and enriching your own soil (amazing for gardening!). If you don't have a backyard look into a local composting program.
When forest elephants eat, they create gaps in the vegetation. These gaps allow new plants to grow and create pathways for other smaller animals to use.
TREAT YOURSELF AND GO LOCAL
9. Try making a weekly visit to your favorite farm stand or look into a local CSA program (community-supported agriculture). Local produce means:
- Reducing the amount of energy it takes to ship food
- Less packaging waste - food that comes from a local farm or farmer’s market generally uses less packaging than food from a grocery store
- You are supporting farmers who care about and protect the environment and wildlife
10. The National Wildlife Federation makes it easy for you to take action. You can be a voice for solutions to protect and restore our natural world. Take a look at how you can ACT NOW.
Any or all of these steps will help lead to a better future for our wildlife. Plan it for the planet, one person can make ALL the difference.