How YOU can help save the world
Posted: 2 June 2005. Updated: 5 January 2016
The impact of human activity on our planet is one of the greatest threats facing animals, the habitats in which they live and the wider environment. Simple lifestyle choices can however make a big difference so why not join Animal Defenders International and encourage others to make responsible choices to benefit all?
- Adopting a vegan diet is not only animal friendly (56 billion land animals are killed for meat each year worldwide), it is good for the environment and people too
- Animal agriculture emits 18% of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, more than the transportation sector, and is responsible for 35-40% of methane emissions
- With up to 250 million people facing water shortages by 2020, reducing consumption is key –it takes up to 100,000 litres of water to produce one kilo of meat versus 900 litres to produce one kilo of wheat
- Wheat production is an extremely inefficient way to feed our growing population, with some 80% of the world’s soy bean crop fed to livestock
- Farmed animal facilities cover an incredible one-third of all land on earth, with huge areas of rainforest cleared to graze cattle
- More than 11,000 animals can be saved by adopting a plant-based diet
Reuse and recycle
- Over 85% of plastic water bottles in the US end up in landfill and will take 700 years to decompose. Buy a reusable container and fill it with tap water, a great choice for the environment and your wallet, and possibly your health
- Reuse your bags – each year the U.S. uses 100 billion plastic bags, a sizeable portion of the 1 trillion used worldwide
- Before you throw something away, think about if someone else might need it. Either donate to a charitable organization or post it on a web site designed to connect people and things, such as Freecycle.org
- The average cell phone lasts around 18 months, which means 130 million phones will be retired each year. If they go into landfills, the phones and their batteries introduce toxic substances into our environment. There are plenty of reputable programs where you can recycle your phone, many which benefit charitable causes.
- If not recycled, glass can take up to a million years to decompose
- Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs – you’ll not only see the savings on your bill, but help the environment too. If every household in America replaced just one old-fashioned light bulb with a modern, low-energy alternative it would help reduce pollution to the equivalent of taking 550,000 cars off the road for a year!
- Switch off lights and power down electrical devices when not in use
- Think before you print and do so on both sides to minimize usage
- Lower your thermostat by one degree and if you have a fireplace ensure the damper is closed when not in use to stop heat escaping
- Save water by choosing showers over baths, and turning off the water when you brush your teeth which can save up to eight gallons of water a day
- Laundry is an easy place to save energy – use warm-cold, instead of hot-hot cycles, and hang clothing to dry rather than using a dryer
- Water your lawn and other plants at times when water will not be lost due to evaporation (early in the morning) and choose plants appropriate to your climate zone
- Feed the birds – it’s not just tigers that are threatened, the UK’s house sparrow is just one bird species that has seen a massive decline. Ensure bird tables and feeders are out of the reach of cats and, if you have a cat, put a bell on their collar and keep them in at night to stop them killing birds and small animals.
Shopping and on the move!
- Buy ozone and eco-friendly products that have not been tested on animals. An increasingly large number of products are now clearly labelled but you can write to manufacturers to clarify their position, or use helpful online guides.
- Only buy wood products from sustainable sources to take a stand against irresponsible forestry
- On holiday don’t buy souvenirs made from animal products, and check the source of wooden items. Don’t assume products are okay because they are on open sale. Many countries lack effective animal protection and environmental protection, in others poor enforcement may mean products on sale are illegal!
- Take up cycling and use the car less. Cars pollute, and pressure for more roads destroys natural habitats. The exercise will be good for you and the fact you’re not pumping fumes into the air will be good for everyone else. Remember to take care and wear a helmet.
- When a car is a necessity, dropping your speed and using cruise control can improve fuel economy. Regular vehicle maintenance also helps maximize efficiency and create less pollution.