As World Wildlife Day nears, we are reminded of the importance of protecting wildlife and their natural environments.

In conjunction with the five pillars of sustainability (energy, water, food, waste, and ecology) there are several things you can do to help conserve wildlife and their natural habitats.

1. Energy: Energy contributes nearly 70% in greenhouse gas emissions globally. Wildlife are affected by this when they inhale, ingest, or absorb harmful air pollutants. You can help avoid this by reducing your energy usage. Try unplugging electronics when you’re not at home and use compact fluorescent lightbulbs. You will use nearly 75% less energy and save on your electricity bill!

2. Water: Many animals rely on rivers, streams, and lakes for food and water. Not only will conserving water help to conserve energy, it will also reduce the amount of water that is diverted from natural waterways. Some easy tips on how you can conserve water: turn off your faucet when you’re brushing your teeth and take shorter showers. The products you pour out into sinks and tubs can also make their way into rivers and streams. One way to avoid this is by never pouring chemicals and other pollutants down drains.

3. Food: By maintaining an ethical diet, you can help reduce soil erosion and greenhouse gas emissions. The meat industry accounts for more than 50% of greenhouse gases. To produce a single pound of beef, well over a thousand gallons of water is needed! By eliminating meat from your diet you can greatly reduce these harmful air pollutants while also reducing water usage.

4. Waste: Although throwing that small piece of trash out of your car window may seem convenient, it could end up inside an animal’s stomach, leading to injuries or even death. Plastic items such as bottles and bags placed in landfills can also be harmful to animals as well as the environment. Surprisingly, it takes well over four hundred years for one plastic bottle to decompose! So instead of throwing them away, try recycling plastic containers or, better yet, invest in a reusable water bottle.

5. Ecology: Human beings and wildlife interact in a variety of ways and must coexist in order for all species to prosper. Consequently, it is vital that humans respect wildlife and their natural habitats. You can help do this by preserving natural habitats. Avoid using harmful pesticides and other chemicals outside. Also try planting native plants to help restore destructed habitats!

By keeping these tips in mind and making small adjustments in your every day life, you can help promote wildlife conservation and help to maintain their natural habitats!