Most conservation work is done by regular people just volunteering and dedicating some time to make the world a nicer place. We could use more people willing to do that - if you're one of them and want to help out a bit, here are some ideas!
Trail cleanups! Whenever you go on a hike, bring a garbage bag and pick up the litter you see. Feel great about leaving the path cleaner for hikers behind you.
Adopt a local stream or park. Every couple of weeks, take a walk around your adopted area and clean up any trash or debris!
Join a river / stream cleanup! American Rivers has a great tool for finding cleanups near you:
Lead your school or office in adopting greener practices: develop recycling systems, implement energy saving devices and behaviors, or create policies that use more eco-friendly products.
Lead a letter-writing or social media campaign to encourage local governments to take environmental action: ban plastic bags from grocery stores, straws from restaurants, or even limit fertilizer use near streams and rivers.
Initiate a research project to help improve conservation science!
- Harshal, a highschooler from NJ, has designed and is currently executing a five yearlong research is to develop a cost-efficient, effective, and eco-friendly method to prevent Harmful Algal Blooms. He's researching different materials to determine their application potential for agricultural runoff filtration.
- Courtney, a graduate student, is focusing her research on conserving Hawksbill turtle populations in the Indo-Pacific - specifically on how humans are influencing their distribution. Together with Florida International University, MADA MEGAFAUNA, and the Wildlife Conservation Society of Madagascar, she's conducting surveys around the Nosy Be area to understand where Hawksbills can be found and why.
We should all strive to make minimal negative impacts on the world as we live. Sometimes choices and changes can be difficult, but here are some great ways to live more sustainably:
Stop using straws. At coffee shops, restaurants, and convenience stores - just don't ask for a straw. We're all capable of drinking without one, and it really does make a difference in the amount of plastic pollution that ends up in waterways.
No disposable plastic bags. Keep a few durable, reusable grocery bags in your car - or just remember to take some with you next time you go shopping. Plastic bags are a huge environmental hazard when they end up in rivers, lakes, and oceans.
No disposable plastic bottles. 50 billion of these are produced every year.
Skip meat one meal per week. You'll hardly notice, but the environment will be grateful.
Recycle everything you can. Check the numbers inside the recycling symbol; #4 are usually not collected by local recycling, but most grocery stores will have a collection bin, and they'll recycle them for you.
Support businesses with eco-friendly processes. Buy high-quality, long-lasting products.
Opt for standard shipping over rushed (2-day, etc.) shipping. This allows for more optimized and efficient shipping, reducing the GHG production associated with your package.
Cut out beef from your diet entirely. Cattle have a shocking impact on the environment - from GHG production and resource usage to watershed pollution - and avoiding beef consumption is one of the best ways to reduce your environmental footprint.
Walk, bike, carpool, or take public transit to work or school when available.
Switch to sustainable energy sources. Many homes have the option to buy solar- or wind-generated electricity.