(StatePoint) On average, there has been an astonishing 60 percent decline in the size of populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians in just over 40 years, according to the most recent World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Living Planet Report, and the top threat to species is human activity.
Adjusting holiday traditions to be friendlier toward the planet -- as well as the people and animals who rely on a healthy environment to survive -- can be a meaningful way to spread goodwill during the season. Here are three ideas for doing so:
Wasted food represents about 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and is a main contributor to deforestation and the depletion of global water sources. Shopping for foods grown and raised sustainably can reduce the footprint of your holiday menu.
You can green your holidays further by reducing your plastic consumption. It’s projected that by 2050, the total amount of plastic waste in the oceans will weigh more than all fish, and 99 percent of seabirds will have ingested plastics. Shop with reusable tote bags and opt for gift wrap and décor made only from sustainable materials.
Give Gifts That Give Back
When you make a donation this holiday season, consider giving gifts that help protect nature, such as those found on WWF’s online gift center, For animal lovers, WWF’s wildlife-themed gifts are a good choice. Symbolic species adoptions, are educational and fun. There are more than 100 species available, ranging from favorites like sloths, elephants, tigers, pandas and polar bears, to new offerings like the ladybug, gentoo penguin and hawksbill turtle bale. All symbolic adoption donations made through the gift catalog come with an adoption certificate, as well as a color photo and description card of the adopted species. Adoptions of $55 or more come with a soft animal plush of the adopter’s choosing.
Other gift selections include unique socks, featuring flamingoes, tigers, wolves, hedgehogs and more, t-shirts and sweatshirts, elephant slippers, animal puppets and panda bobbleheads. For more information, call 1-800-CALL-WWF or visit worldwildlife.gifts.
Throwing a holiday bash? Deck the halls with purpose by combining your entertaining efforts with a fundraiser dedicated to protecting the environment. For example, with WWF’s Panda Nation campaign, you can turn any special occasion into an opportunity to protect threatened species and wild places around the world, while raising awareness about important issues.
By making small changes to your favorite holiday traditions, a joyful and rewarding holiday season can go hand-in-hand with helping wildlife and nature thrive.
Photo Credit: (c) WWF-US/Keith Arnold