We don’t always realize how much our everyday actions impact animals everywhere. Every choice we make has an effect on other living beings. It’s really easy to live a compassionate life, but sometimes we have to take a minute to sit back and think about all of the many easy ways we can help animals…without making anything difficult for ourselves. So, here are just a few simple things we can all do to help animals!
1. Pick up items on the street that may be harmful — like elastic bands or plastic rings from cans (which can be cut up and then disposed of). If we all get into the mindset of thinking about whether something on the street will harm animals then, in turn, less animals will be harmed.
2. When throwing something out, think about how it could harm an animal and fix it (like cutting up the plastic rings from cans, for example). Everything we use and throw out has an impact on others, even if we don’t see it. Our garbage affects animals tremendously, so it’s important that whatever garbage we’re throwing away, we make sure that it will have as little impact as possible.
3. Even better, work at creating less waste. The less garbage we can create, the less of a negative impact it will have on, not only animals, but the environment in its entirety. I’m definitely not suggesting to reduce your waste to one little jar a year, but rather, think about any small changes you can make that work for your lifestyle.
4. Don’t release balloons. I know there are a lot people who do this for different reasons (in memory of a loved one, symbolic of letting something go, or some other reason) but it really does have a terrible impact on wildlife. We have to remember that the balloons eventually pop and come back to the ground. It ends up in our waters and in the stomachs of all kinds of animals — which, sadly, kills them — and it also causes all kinds of other problems.
5. Create small shelters for homeless animals (like cats) in the winter using plastic containers. Check out this diy tutorial!
6. Choose eco-friendly/biodegradable products. Every product we use in the shower or at the sink goes down the drain and affects fish, water, plants, and the entire ecology.
7. If you have a large enough yard, consider planting some trees. Animals need and use them to create homes, eat, hide, etc. Trees also create shade for animals during hot summer months.
8. Also, plant as many wildflowers in your yard as you can. The bees need them, and without bees we have nothing. Experts say that 1 out of every 3 bites of food is dependent on bees. So keep planting those wildflowers!
9. Choose foods and products that contain sustainable, ethical palm oil. Unsustainable palm oil is a huge issue. I’m actually planning on writing an entire blog post on palm oil in the near future, but, in short, unsustainable palm oil is destroying the rainforest and the habitats of many animals — which is killing them. We need the rainforest and so do animals.
10. Save wildlife by “adopting” an animal through World Wildlife Fund. Kids will love the plush toy and your money will be used to help animals.
11. Keep your cat indoors. Not only will this protect birds and other small animals, it will also keep your cat safe. Indoor cats typically have longer lifespans than outdoor cats. Plus, there are a lot of dangers that an outdoor cat can encounter.
12. Put out water dishes/containers in your yard in the summer. Animals (like birds, squirrels, rabbits, etc.) will appreciate this more than you know, and it will definitely save a few lives during hot days.
13. If you see an animal left in a hot car or left outside (either in bad weather or all the time), or if you suspect neglect, report it. Don’t second guess yourself and don’t wait for someone else to do it. Your actions will save a life.
14. In the cold winter months, bang on top of your car before getting into it. When it’s cold out, cats and other animals look for sources of heat and sometimes they’ll choose to crawl up under your car to stay warm. By giving the hood of your car a quick tap with your hand, it will encourage any animals to get out so that they won’t be injured or killed when you turn your car on and drive away.
15. And last but not least, to really help animals, leave them and their by-products off your plate and out of your products. Choosing plant-based foods and vegan, cruelty-free products saves many, many animals…and it feels so good not contributing to those cruel industries.
I hope some of these tips inspire you to make more compassionate choices! We can’t forget that our planet is not just our home, but is home to every species. As humans, it’s our responsibility to help other animals when we can, and try to have as little impact on them as possible. By living compassionately toward our fellow animals, it will only do good.