How to save the planet from home
Biodiversity loss is one of the biggest issues facing humanity—in fact scientists believe we are living through an extinction event that is entirely manmade. Biodiversity is the life blood of ecosystems which in turn supports all living things—including us!
Without plants there would be no oxygen. Without forests there would be no way to draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Without bees we cannot pollinate our crops. Without the oceans we literally could not survive.
The climate crisis has warmed the planet to concerning levels, and the result it’s had on our delicate ecosystems is devastating and can feel really hopeless… but all is not lost! Have you ever wondered how you can help biodiversity from home? Here are some really impactful ideas that make a big contribution!
For lots of us—especially those in more built-up areas—the biodiversity crisis can feel a little abstract and overwhelming, but we are experiencing its effects all the time. Because biodiversity is so tied to our food supply, the first thing we may start to notice is our favorite foods beginning to disappear from grocery store shelves.
The reason for this is down to pollinators like bees, birds, bats, and butterflies. These small creatures are in charge of moving pollen from one plant to another, distributing vital nutrients around the ecosystem to grow more crops and keep the grains we rely on for bread, cereal, rice, etc flowing into our kitchens. But when human activity destroys the environment, these important parts of the food chain begin to disappear, taking with them a means to fertilize crops naturally.
Industries such as agriculture, fisheries, forestry, and tourism all rely on healthy ecosystems to thrive—so even our jobs will become threatened as the planet struggles to maintain healthy ecosystems. Biodiversity loss also has a big impact on our access to medicine, as many are derived from plants and animals. Species loss can reduce the availability of potentially life-saving drugs. Changing ecosystems can also increase the risk and spread of infectious diseases, as well as exposure to air and water pollution.
So what can you do to stop this? We have gathered together some ideas to help you make a difference…
You probably already know why single-use plastics such as cutlery and cups are sooo bad for our environment. The problem with plastic is that it does not break down or biodegrade, and can take anywhere from 20 to 500 years to decompose.
Plastic is a synthetic or semi-synthetic compound developed in the 1950s. Its flexibility, mouldability and durability has led to its widespread use—but the consequences of that durability is evident in both landfill and oceans. Single-use plastics are just that—single-use—so every plastic fork, cup or bag you use that one time might well end up at the bottom of the ocean eroding important ecosystems.
But it’s not just single-use plastics! In fact we should all reduce the amount of brand new things and reuse or recycle what we already have. Fast fashion, brand new smartphones, kitchen utensils, impulse buys… knowing what is a want and not a need is a great way to stop our unnecessary purchases from ending up in landfills and ocean floors.
Shop second-hand, redirect your dopamine dose away from shopping, repurpose old items, buy from ethically conscious brands and just buy less things overall—all these things will help reduce the impact of our waste a little more every day.
We all know a whole lot about the climate crisis and the effects it has on the atmosphere, but the biodiversity crisis hasn’t received quite as much airplay—until now. More and more people are becoming aware of the devastating effect species extinction is having all over the world.
There are a lot of ways you can support local and international movements that are taking action to protect biodiversity. Take part in demos like Fridays For Future, promote less carbon emissions by cycling or using public transport, or organize clean-ups in local parks and natural spots. Small changes to reduce our individual impact on the environment go a long way.
If you are looking for more hands-on ways to help your local ecosystems, then it’s time to get outside and look around your local area. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, balcony or neighborhood green space you can plant on, there are a few ways you can make the space more inviting for local wildlife. Here are some ideas:
Gen Alpha are the ones who will experience the greatest impact of climate change and biodiversity loss—they are the ones that are going to inherit a struggling planet. This is why it’s so important to make sure kids today feel inspired to look after plants, animals and oceans that the generations before have taken for granted.
Talk to your younger family members and help them experience nature as it’s supposed to be experienced. Maybe you can even find environmental talks directed at children in your local community, or get them involved in local clean-ups. Urban farms are also a great way to help kids get one-on-one with nature and learn to appreciate its abundance.
Getting involved in projects that are replanting trees and reforesting areas is a very impactful way to support one of the world’s most important ecosystems. Up to 80% of the world’s forests have been lost or degraded due to agriculture and illegal logging. Forests support an enormous variety of life, and act as massive carbon sinks to draw carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. They are also home to many indigenous communities whose way of life is being destroyed. They regulate the water cycle, maintain soil health, and are home to 80% of land animals and plants while only covering 31% of the world’s total land area.
Thankfully there are a lot of projects working hard to replant the trees and grow back our important forest ecosystems—including Planet Wild! Forests are one of our three impact areas, along with animals and oceans. You can also use search engines such as Ecosia, which plants a tree for every use of its search engine, or simply support Planet Wild and our upcoming rewilding projects!
Another great way to reduce your impact on the environment is to source your produce as locally as possible—and local farms are a great way to do this. Avoid purchasing food out of season if you can (check out the Seasonal Food Guide for what's in season and what isn’t) and definitely avoid buying food that’s been flown in from other parts of the world.
If you can’t buy directly from local farms, then check out farmer’s markets near you for locally grown produce: the perfect opportunity to shop local! Even better, growing your own fruits, herbs and vegetables is a great way to support your local ecosystem and save money.
The dairy and meat industry is directly responsible for enormous habitat loss and immense greenhouse gas production. Increased meat consumption has led to deforestation and land conversion to create more grazing space for commercial farming, and it's estimated that 80% of global agricultural land is used just to feed livestock. All this has a massively damaging effect on biodiversity. By eating less meat, no meat, or even going vegan you can have a direct impact on these shocking numbers!
This is a really personal one—reducing the amount of time taken showering can save gallons of water! Each year in the United States, one trillion gallons of water are used just for showering. All that water comes from rivers and lakes, so shorter showers are a great way to reduce water consumption and combat thermal and water pollution. What’s more, keeping shower water warm uses up a lot of energy. Reducing shower time will reduce energy expenditure which will help the environment which will combat ecosystem damage. Scrub, scrub, scrub!
Tourism—a vital industry in so many parts of the world—can unfortunately negatively impact the ecosystems and biodiversity it encourages people to visit. The pollution caused by automobiles, airplanes and other gas-guzzling modes of transport also have a severe impact on the environment. Choosing green modes of transport such as trains or bicycles can significantly reduce our carbon footprint, and we can support sustainable tourist practices such as staying in eco-friendly accommodation, eating local food, and respecting local communities.
“Sustainable tourism should also maintain a high level of tourist satisfaction and ensure a meaningful experience to the tourists, raising their awareness about sustainability issues and promoting sustainable tourism practices amongst them.” - World Economic Forum.
If you’re anything like us, you love getting into nature. Hikes, bikes and outdoor adventure are all great ways to love the natural world and learn why we have to protect it from devastation—but we need to do so responsibly.
The more we invade the natural world and damage it with our trash, over use, and desire to take parts of it with us, the more we erode these environments that we love so much. “Leave no trace” essentially means to pass through without leaving a trace of your visit behind; but to simply admire the landscapes, oceans and mountains that support the life blood of planet earth.
One of the best ways you can help the planet is by supporting Planet Wild and becoming one of our valued community members! We’re currently building a global community of nature lovers and joining us is one of the best ways you can directly support organizations making visible change!
Every month we launch a new mission, working alongside the most ambitious pioneers of natural restoration around the world. Through community collaboration we are bringing back endangered species, cleaning up oceans, restoring forests and rewilding entire landscapes.
And hey, even if you can’t afford to support us right now that’s okay! One of the most powerful ways you can support us is by spreading the word about Planet Wild. The bigger our community grows, the more impact we can make together. So, please share our mission videos and posts within your network, and talk to your friends about the important work we’re doing!
And here’s a little secret: you don’t need to be a mission supporter to download our app and access all the great content we post about the environment. Check it out!