28 May 2008

We are here to change the world

I have many full-time jobs, from preschool teacher and husband, to son and Disney sponge. I have spent most of my life in cities and urban areas. Though I know my way around a trail and campsite, it would be a stretch to say that I am a Great American Outdoorsman. Alongside that, though I have encountered the occasional coral snake or other predatory animal, I’m lucky if I know if a particular animal is an omnivore, herbivore, or carnivore. Yet, all of that aside, and despite the fact that I shall almost certainly never seen a majority of the vast, open, and wild places on this earth, I am convinced that we must act responsibly to conserve what remains, educate those who can help, and continue to seek out new ways in which to support our home. It is, after all, the only one we’ve got.

Walt Disney World has a few guidelines for Wildlife Conservation Action that may just have a few ideas you and I can install into our daily lives.

1 – Seek out information about conservation issues
Subscribe to wildlife conservation magazines
Contact local chapters of conservation groups to find out what they’re doing in your area
Watch wildlife shows on television
Attend public hearings concerning wildlife and habitat issues
2 – Spread the word to others about the value of wildlife and wild places
Encourage your family, friends and neighbors to reduce, reuse and recycle
Teach children to respect nature and the environment
Sponsor a neighborhood “plant a tree” party
Ensure schools have a balanced environmental education program
3 – Look for and purchase products that are friendly to the environment
Use only organic fertilizers — they are still the best
Pull weeds instead of using herbicides
Don’t buy products that are manufactured at the expense of important habitats, such as rain forests
Try to use phosphate-free laundry detergents and dish soap
4 – Create habitats for wildlife in your backyard
Put up birdfeeders, birdbaths, and birdhouses in your backyard
Build a bat house — one bat can eat up to 600 insects per hour
Plant a butterfly flower garden
Create a small pond in your backyard for aquatic wildlife
Confine domestic pets so they do not disturb wildlife
5 – Reduce, reuse, recycle, and replenish
Recycle everything you can: newspapers, cans, glass, foil, motor oil, etc.
Use cold water in the washer whenever possible
Don’t leave water running needlessly
Take unwanted, reusable items to a charitable organization or thrift shop
Lower your thermostat by one degree per hour for every hour that you are away or sleeping
6 – Choose your pets wisely
Leave wild baby animals where you find them — only their mothers can care for them properly
Some pets have a very long life span — parrots (75-100 years), tarantulas (15-25 years), tortoises (75-200 years). Be sure you are ready for the commitment
Some animals have special care needs; be sure you are aware of these and can provide the care and costs that are required
Veterinary expenses for wild or exotic pets can be high
Some animals in the wild may carry transmittable diseases
Many exotic animals were taken from the wild illegally
7 – Support conservation organizations through contributions and volunteerism
Join a conservation organization
Volunteer for a beach or river clean-up
Volunteer at your local zoo or aquarium
Contribute money to conservation programs such as the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund
Have a bake sale to benefit conservation organizations
While we are sure to talk about many of the options above as we continue this discussion of Conservationism (butterfly gardens, teaching, volunteerism, reusable materials, etc.), one brief note I want to make today is about donating to organizations like the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund (DWCF).

First off, let me say that I understand many of us, myself included, do not have enough disposable income to write checks of substantial amounts to charity, especially those like the DWCF that do not count as charitable contributions, and especially not in this economical climate. As well, I have no binding ties to the DWCF, other than it is an organization that my wife and I attempt to assist when we have the ability to.

So, let’s say that you do have the money to help, that you wish to contribute to an organization that is doing good works in the world, you have researched all the available options, found the right group for you, and that group happens to be the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund. Fantastic, but, how much is enough, and where does your money go? Recently, the DWCF released information pertaining to what they are able to do with various funding:
1 Dollar can purchase thick socks for forest rangers to wear on patrol in Africa
5 Dollars can purchase fuel to operate research trucks and boats
10 Dollars can fund a workshop to train teachers on wildlife in Ecuador
25 Dollars can allow a child to attend a conservation camp in Zimbabwe for three days
50 Dollars can provide a month’s supply of batteries for flashlights used to explore caves for bats
100 Dollars can rent dive gear for a research team to study and map coral reefs

As you can see, it doesn’t take much to help change the world.


Princess Fee said...

Too true, Ryan! Every little helps, and it's great that an organisation such as Disney can help get the message out there.

DD said...

Very interesting post (as usual).

I'll slap Goofy a high-five for you. Have a great week.

Ryan P. Wilson said...

You're right Fee, there is so much to do, and it makes me extremely happy that a company with the reources like Disney are doing their part to help.

Thanks Krissy, I'll try not to be too envious while you are away.