Happy World Wildlife Day - 3/3/22
March 3rd is World Wildlife Day! There are many ways that individuals and communities can help wildlife today, and every day. Below are some of our favorites.
Contribute to wildlife science through citizen science
Free apps on our phones allow us to be part of global data collection about wildlife populations and migrations. Our two favorites are apps that anyone with a smart phone can quickly and easily use.
Photo Credit: Sean Moran
Help wildlife on social media
We have all seen those cute videos of talking parrots in someone’s home or the tickling of a slow loris or selfies with a smiling monkey sitting on someone’s shoulder. Sadly, these videos, and any video of a wild animal treated like a pet, contribute to wildlife trafficking and poaching as well as dangerous interactions with animals in the wild. Some people see the videos and think it is okay to buy a wild animal or to pet or hold one when traveling. Social media organizations are working with international organizations like the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online, WWF and Traffic to stop buying and selling of wild animals and plants on their platforms, but it is challenging.
You can help by:
Help wildlife in your yard or community
It’s important to remember that wildlife is not just tigers, elephants and bears. We have wild plants, insects, birds, and small mammals in our yards and communities. And, we can help protect both them and their habitats with a few simple efforts, including:
Help ocean wildlife
Traveling to see wildlife?
Wildlife tourism is a large global industry earning over $100 billion and employing over 9 million people. This industry has been significantly impacted by Covid and much needed funding from ecotourism to protect national parks and wildlife has dramatically declined. With fewer rangers and staff, it is especially important that tourists do their best to limit their impacts on wildlife and their habitats, and that we prioritize observation over interaction. We suggest these key strategies:
Volunteer to help wildlife
Give wildlife friendly gifts for holidays and birthdays
Wildlife-friendly gifts can support wildlife organizations, increase environmental education, and reduce consumption. Here are three of our favorites.
As you think about how you can help wildlife today, and every day, we encourage you to keep learning and to stay hopeful by remembering Dr. Jane Goodall’s words, “Every individual matters… Every individual makes a difference.” We hope you will share how you are making a difference for wildlife and your suggestions for additions to this blog in the comments below.
Valentine’s Day has many historical roots in Catholic and Roman celebrations about fertility, love, birds, and the coming spring. Popularized by English poets, Valentine’s letters were shared as far back as the Middle Ages. By the 1700s, Valentine’s Day was becoming popularly celebrated. Today, Valentine’s Day is a wonderful way to celebrate love, not only among romantic partners, but with friends, family, and pets.
However, as with most holiday celebrations, there are some challenges with this scale of gift giving. In 2020, the National Retail Federation estimated that over $21 billion was spent on Valentine’s Day in the U.S. and in 2021, spending levels are expected to rise to about $24 billion. This works out to about $175 per person for those who celebrate. While people give many different types of valentines, chocolate and flowers are two of the most common gifts.
Unfortunately, both chocolate and flowers can have significant challenges with child labor, pesticide usage, deforestation, carbon emissions through refrigeration and transportation, and other environmental issues. In West Africa, where Engage Globally works, child labor in cacao production is rising and it is estimated that over 1.4 million children work on cacao farms, often in dangerous conditions and without access to education. If giving chocolate or flowers, it’s helpful to look for fair trade and organic certifications, as well as local production.
Below are some suggestions for celebrating Valentine’s Day more sustainably:
Gift a local experience – Some of our favorites include:
Give a gift celebrating Valentine’s Day historical connections to birds and spring, such as:
Celebrate local art and artists
Gift outdoor conservation – We love to support nature and to spend time outdoors with our friends and family. One of our favorite gifts is the Annual National Parks Pass. If you already have national park passes, consider:
Create your gifts – Personally created gifts never go out of style and create great memories.
Look for gifts to reuse or upcycle – secondhand stores, yard sales, and online resale sites are all great ways to select a personal and meaningful gift for a loved one, such as vintage jewelry.
Donating to your loved one’s favorite charity in their honor can be meaningful and impactful!
Need a gift for a young person?
We hope you found these suggestions useful. Please let us know if you used any of these ideas. And, if you have other sustainable gift giving suggestions, we would love to hear them!