There are several things you can do at home to help reduce your impact on the environment.
- Eat less beef and pork. Fish (check Seafood Watch from the Monterey Bay Aquarium to see what types are OK) and poultry have a much lower impact on the environment, while other protein sources such as nuts and organic soy are even less damaging to the planet.
- Think about packaging before you buy products. Individually-wrapped candy uses resources and generates a lot of trash, while fruits and vegetables are healthier and mean less waste.
- Turn off lights and other electrical devices when you don’t need them. When light bulbs burn out, replace them with energy-efficient bulbs.
- Do not waste water.
- Encourage your parents to drive fuel-efficient cars and not to overheat their house.
- Don’t let your pets go when you don’t want them any more. Feral pets can have a destructive impact on the local environment. Before buying a pet be sure that you are ready to take care of it. Having a pet is a responsibility.
- Think about where the things you buy come from and how they are made. Sometimes it’s better not to buy something new, and buy it used instead. Or skip buying it altogether if it’s not necessary.
- Get involved! Join a local environmental group that is working to make a difference. For example, mongabay has selected the following organizations as recipients of its annual conservation award, which recognizes groups that are using innovative methods for protecting forests, oceans, and other ecosystems: the Amazon Conservation Team, for its work with indigenous tribes in trying to protect the Amazon; Health in Harmony, which is helping protect rainforests in Borneo by providing health care to local communities; and WildlifeDirect, which has created a system for funding park rangers and other conservation workers at dozens of sites around the world.
- Tell your family, friends, and relatives that you want to do more to protect the environment and why it’s important to do so. Spreading the word is very important.
- Don’t buy products made from wildlife skins.
- Don’t buy exotic pets that have been collected from the wild. You can ask pet stores whether animals are “wild-caught” or “captive bred.” “Captive bred” animals are more friendly for the environment.
- Buy recycled paper.
- Don’t buy wood products from rainforest countries unless you know they come from eco-friendly suppliers. A good way to know if wood is rainforest-safe is if it has a “certification label.” An example of a certification label is “FSC-certified” which means the wood comes from more responsibly managed forests. However bear in mind that no certification label is perfect, so do your research on the type of wood you are buying.
- Learn more about rainforests and the plants and animals that live in them. Tell your friends and parents why rainforests are important.
- Join an organization or an Internet group (Facebook has many communities) that is working to protect rainforests or wildlife.
If you would like to learn more about rainforests, please visit mongabay.com's main rainforest site.
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