Now that the weather has turned toward fall, I see more and more wild creatures on the farm.
Deer, of course, are everywhere, drawn to the delicious scents of apples. I haven’t seen any bears yet, but I have seen seen their berry-studded scat in the upper field. I even hear the frogs singing away at night again, after a summer of silence. They are getting ready to hibernate, but as long as the temperatures remain relatively warm, frogs are still active and feed on insects, slugs, and worms.
It’s fair to say that, for many, the coolish days of fall offer the perfect chance to discover what wildlife you have around you. Observe the slow progression of the snails and the few birds looking for worms in your soil. There’s no denying it; wildlife is all around if you know where to look.
It’s only fair to support it as best as you can through lifestyle choices wherever you live.
Here’s what you can do to live more mindfully and help wildlife and the environment, too!
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Make Your Home Energy Smart
How does the energy you consume to keep your home running affect the birds in your garden? For a start, the energy consumption in the USA is about 4.5 times greater per capita than the global average. Coal, for instance, is one of the most commonly used sources of energy. It’s also directly linked to acid rain, rising greenhouse gases, and habitat loss as a result of mining. Every source of energy risks damaging the natural habitat of animals though, including solar panels and hydroelectricity. I think the best solution, for now, is just to make sure you are not using more energy than you need. Install insulated roof panels, use programmable thermostats and energy efficient light bulbs, turn off lights and appliances when you leave, conserve water and start practicing other self-awareness habits at home.
Create a Wildlife-Friendly Environment
Gardens, yards and fields offer a safe environment for animals to co-exist. All sorts of creatures can live in your garden all year long and keep it a natural and entertaining space to watch. But if you want to create a welcoming environment to help wildlife, you need to ensure that they have everything they need. Small mammals, pollinating insects and frogs need to find a shelter, such as a few logs piled together or a specialized house. Birds will come back if they find a source of food, so offer seeds and nectar. You can use raised beds to keep slugs and snails away from your vegetables, but you should reserve a part of your lawn for them. They have a purpose, too! Finally, adding a pond can keep your garden irrigated and provide an environment for fish, frogs, and other creatures.
Grow Your Own Vegetables
I know people don’t usually think about this, but buying fruits and veggies from the store can be devastating for wild creatures, as well as the environment. Most conventionally grown vegetables have been heavily doused with pesticides and fungicides. This practice is not only harmful to people and animals, it also dramatically affects the soil, water sources and native vegetation – ultimately destroying natural habitat. Also, exotic produce that doesn’t grow locally needs to be transported, which increases the overall global warming effect on the planet. For each heart of palm from Brazil or fruit from Mexico that you buy, there are countless species of insects, birds, reptiles and mammals that struggle to survive in a damaged habitat. Choosing to grow your food, or purchasing it from local organic farmers, is not only a decision for your own health. It saves the animals you love and the environment, too.
Pick Organic Material
What is the real cost of your budget-friendly, mass-produced furniture? The answer is really kind of unknown. But assuming that a plastic chair doesn’t affect the environment would be foolish. The production of non-organic material generates toxic wastes that endangers the very existence of wildlife. If you can, choose organic furniture that is not only sustainable, but also doesn’t produce any harmful toxins. You can also consider buying second-hand furniture, to reduce production waste.
When you think of upcycling, do you picture a few old cans of soda turned into a decorative frame for a picture? Well, yeah, me too. But there is more to upcycling than questionable works of art. Ultimately, upcycling is the act of using existing items that you would otherwise dispose of to create something new and purposeful. It can take a little DIY know-how, but you don’t need to be an expert to make it work. Instead of getting rid of that old baby crib, turn it into a small desk for your child, or a bench for the living room. Rather than throwing out old glass jars, use them to store bulk items like beans from your local co-op grocery store. Old clothes could become rags for home cleaning, or you could sew them into reusable shopping bags. Be creative!
Walk More, Drive Less
People drive too often and too easily. Give your car a break; it’s not good for you or the environment. Car fumes are linked to global warming and the disappearance of natural habitats. The more you walk, the more you save plants and help wildlife around the planet.
Eat Less Meat
I’m not a vegetarian, and even though I admire those who are, I’m not likely to ever be one. I think there is a valid place for humanely-raised animals in my diet. I also think, however, that people need to consider their meat consumption. Ethics and moral issues aside, factory farming generates massive quantities of waste and pollution, introduces disease and bacteria, and generates most of the world’s greenhouse gases. Try to eat less meat per week, and make sure that meat is sourced from small, locally-owned farms who believe in the humane treatment of their animals, and who raise them without harmful antibiotics, steroids, or growth hormones.
Making the world a greener place starts at home. Helping the wild creatures who share our world starts in the same place.
With a little hard work and small changes, you can transform your household and personal habits to make sure that future generations will also get to enjoy the sight of a robin on the fence post, or the unexpected song of a frog on a chilly autumn evening.
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