6 Ways Animal Lovers Can Celebrate Earth Day

Follow these tips to protect our planet and all its creatures. 

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Posted in , Feb 25, 2021

Dog holding biodegradable waste bags

In 1969 a massive oil spill off the coast of Santa Barbara, California, sent an estimated three million gallons of crude oil into the ocean, killing thousands of animals. Policy makers designated April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day—a day to increase awareness about environmental issues. Here’s how we can protect our planet…and the animals we share it with.

1. Reduce Waste

Remember saving tinfoil, repairing toys and darning holey socks? Today these items often end up in landfills, leading to pollution and habitat loss for wildlife.

WHAT WE CAN DO

  • Don’t buy what we don’t need.
  • Buy secondhand furniture, clothes, toys and other items.
  • Recycle paper, aluminum cans, glass and plastic.
  • Use reusable water bottles and coffee mugs.
  • Repair rather than discard.
  • “Freecycle” by posting items on local Facebook markets.

2. Clean Up and Dispose Safely

Trash not only pollutes the environment, but it can also endanger wildlife and marine life.

WHAT WE CAN DO

  • The Humane Society of the United States recommends that you cut up or crush all plastic containers before putting them in the trash or recycling them.
  • Cut the loops on plastic six-pack rings and face masks.
  • Switch to reusable straws and bags. Sea turtles mistake plastic bags for jellyfish and ingest them, which can be fatal.
  • Be mindful of fishing equipment. Ghost gear—any fishing line and nets abandoned at sea—can entangle whales, dolphins and seals.

 3. Save a Tree

Deforestation contributes to the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and increases soil erosion, and at the current rate of destruction, the world’s forests could completely disappear within 100 years, according to National Geographic.

WHAT WE CAN DO

  • Plant a tree.
  • Use less paper or go paperless.
  • Recycle paper and cardboard.
  • Buy used furniture.
  • Replace wood products with bamboo (which is a type of grass).
  • Find firewood that’s from sustainably managed forests.
  • Avoid palm oil; its production is one of the main causes of tropical rain forest destruction.

4. Protect Water Supplies

Oil spills, industrial waste and pharmaceutical residues contaminate our lakes and oceans. Chemical runoff, fertilizers and acid rain threaten our water supplies.

WHAT WE CAN DO

  • Limit water use.
  • Fix leaky faucets.
  • Dispose of medications responsibly (look up a drug take-back site).
  • Organize cleanup events at rivers, lakes and beaches.
  • Garden with drought-resistant plants.
  • Install low water-use toilets, washers and other appliances.

5. Seek Out Renewable Energy Sources

Fossil fuel emissions threaten the health of humans and animals.

WHAT WE CAN DO

  • Walk or ride bikes when possible.
  • Carpool to work or use public transportation.
  • Turn off lights and other electronics when not using them.
  • Buy energy-efficient appliances.
  • Weatherproof our homes.
  • Learn about solar, geothermal, wind and hydroelectric power.

6. Use Environmentally Friendly Pet Products

We think of function, durability and health benefits, but are the products we choose earth-friendly?

WHAT WE CAN DO

  • Select pet beds made with organic fibers and eco-friendly filling.
  • Use earth conscious kitty litter made from corn, grass or wood.
  • Opt for biodegradable waste bags for our dogs, or use old newspaper.
  • Buy leashes and collars made of bamboo or recycled material.
  • Opt for toys made of repurposed materials, such as fire hoses, car seat belts, or bike tubes.
  • Look for bedding made of nontoxic recycled paper for rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs.

Our day-to-day actions can make a difference for the earth and all its creatures.

For more inspiring animal stories, subscribe to All Creatures magazine.

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