Saving Our Wildlife
The protection of wildlife is related to climate change in more ways than you may know. The recent increase in natural disasters such as forest fires and hurricanes have displaced countless species. Perhaps the most famous animal associated with climate change is the polar bear, as the ice caps (the polar bears’ home) are melting. However, there are many other creatures like the coral reefs, tigers, and even butterflies that are also in danger of extinction. Fortunately, the solutions to help our fellow earth inhabitants survive are often intertwined with reducing the effects of global warming.
When thinking of ways to combat climate change, we normally focus on reducing electricity/water usage, consuming less meat, or avoiding fast fashion. While these are necessary and effective measures, we can also go further. The restoration and conservation of Earth’s forests, wetlands, and grasslands have the potential to delay global warming while decreasing species extinction rates. Over recent years, deforestation has demolished numerous species’ habitats and released unnecessary amounts of carbon emissions. Fortunately, organizations like the Okapi Conservation Project are making great strides in saving our rainforests. OCP’s main goal is to save the Okapi, but their efforts are simultaneously creating a healthy and biodiverse ecosystem needed to mitigate climate change. Another group, the Elephant Crisis Fund, works to protect the elephants who help increase plant mass in their environments. This is only a small fraction of the work that can be done to concurrently help our wildlife and fight climate change.
These solutions aren’t limited to the work of large organizations. There are smaller projects that we can take on to directly help endangered species affected by climate change. The sea turtles are a prime example. Rising sea levels have made it more difficult for the turtles to lay their eggs on ocean shores. Planting vegetation along a local beach is a great way to help turtles find proper nesting habitats and create markers. Not only does planting vegetation aid nearby creatures, but it also serves as a carbon sink. Another accessible project is the creation of an eco-friendly garden. Gardens that are pesticide free and plentiful with native plant species can help restore the natural environment for wildlife in the local community. If it is available, putting milkweed and nectar plants in the garden will help the monarch butterflies, who have been significantly impacted by the changing temperatures and intense weather events.
It is impossible to save our wildlife without saving our planet, and vice versa. It is vital that we keep this in mind, so that legislation like the Endangered Species Act can be prioritized rather than overlooked. The intersection of wildlife conservation and climate activism opens the door to more collaboration and creativity in our shared fight to protect the environment.