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Although society fails to acknowledge it in almost every collective decision it’s made in the past few decades, people need wildlife habitats to remain intact and thriving. A common misconception is that the average Joe or Jane doesn’t have any individual power to affect positive change in habitat conservation. Here’s four tips on how you can do just that:

Shop Responsibly

Plastic waste ends up in either a landfill or the oceans. Either way, it occupies space, pollutes natural ecosystems, and drives out the wildlife that inhabits it. Plastic waste is also mistaken as food by many species of birds and fish, which results in millions of deaths per year. Choose paper bags when buying groceries or better yet bring your own reusable bag.

Support National Parks and Wildlife Refuges

Rather than go to zoos and aquariums owned by private companies who are more concerned about profits than the welfare of the animals, support wildlife refuge centers and national parks that promote public education and wildlife repopulation. Aside from your attendance, these organizations also rely on donations to keep running their operations. Consider making a regular donation to your local wildlife rescue center or park.

Volunteer

If you don’t have money to donate, consider giving some of your time. Most organizations have limited staff who are spread quite thin across various departments and roles. Volunteer programs, such as beach cleanups, animal rescues during natural calamities, and visitor education, are all good uses of your time that have a significant impact on wildlife habitat preservation.

Go Vegan

To raise livestock for their meat, thousands of acres of land are cleared out every year, majority of which is forest land that is home to hundreds of species of animals. Going vegan helps you curb the amount of space cleared out for agriculture, plus it’s a good way to save animals’ lives from being slaughtered brutally and unnecessarily. Start by making small dietary changes, such as substituting dairy milk with soy milk.

A future without wildlife is a very dim one. If people want to conserve wildlife for future generations to enjoy, protecting their habitats is the first step. And the best way to protect these threatened habitats is by involving more people and speaking up about these issues.