Happy World Wildlife Day!
Plainly put: forests = life.
They are a crucial source of air, water, food, shelter, even medicine. Without them, our very survival on Earth is at stake. And I'm not just talking about the rainforests of the tropics, but the ecological powerhouses that are dotted across our northern and summer hemispheres.
Not only do forests support the livelihoods of upwards to 1.6 billion people, they also are called "home" by 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity. Australia, where I live, has a high percentage of diverse flora and fauna not found anywhere else in the world. From flowering plants, mammals, reptiles, frogs, fish, and about half the bird species... we're a pretty unique place! And your unique countries may also be host to animals not seen elsewhere, so why not work together with farmers, scientists, Indigenous forest communities, governments, responsible businesses, and citizens (like you!) to cultivate sustainable, rural economies?
In honor of World Wildlife Day, and it’s focus this year on forests, here are five easy ways you can help them out!
Did you know planting a tree is one of the easiest ways to have positive impact on your local environment? No, seriously! Not only do trees produce the 'good stuff' (aka oxygen), they also absorb CO2 and help prevent soil erosion and rainwater runoff. Not to mention they provide nesting sites, food and shelter for many critters! So go ahead and plant some trees in your community. Can't? Donate to organizations do!
Support forest conservation organizations
There are plenty of not-for-profit organizations that help offset deforestation and fight every day to conserve threatened ecosystems! Make a donation to any of the following: TREE Foundation, the Nature Conservancy, the Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, and Rainforest Action Network.
Buy forest-friendly (or certified) products
Your consumer decisions are very important! So make sure to look for certifications from the Rainforest Alliance, Forest Stewardship Council, and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil when you shop. Here's a handy guide to figuring out what food certification labels mean.
Be mindful of your paper and wood usage/waste
Many people love having wood furniture in their houses! Make sure to avoid wood products made from mahogany, rosewood, lauan, redwood, sitka, spruce, ramin, teak, ironwood, ebony, sandalwood, and avoid rayon (it comes from wood pulp). Instead, ask for recycled, reclaimed, salvaged, and Forest Stewardship Council certified wood products. Basically, just keep in mind to buy forest-friendly food, wood products, and paper. Yes, paper! Remember... it comes from trees.
Act on climate change
What's climate change got to do with our forests? Unfortunately, everything. Climate change is poised to worsen many of the threats our forests already face, such as pest outbreaks, fires, human development, and drought. Make sure to do your part daily to combat climate change... including electing officials who have the environment in mind!
How are you celebrating this world wildlife day?
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Hi! I'm Melissa, an Australian-based Latina science educator, podcaster, and freelance writer. I spend a lot more time on Instagram and Twitter, but blogging is my first love. Thanks for stopping by — I hope you stay a while.
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