The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Wonderfully Wild. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, Wonderfully Wild.

50 things to do on Earth Day

50 Things to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day with The Living Desert on our 50th Anniversary

April 15, 2020

It may seem like the actions of one person will not make a difference to help conservation. However, as Jane Goodall has said “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” If we all do what we can, we will be able to make a real difference to help wildlife and wild places.  

Below are 50 things that you can do, right now, to make a difference to benefit conservation. Many of these will directly benefit the conservation efforts of The Living Desert, our region, and our conservation collaborators. Find those that you can do, and go! 

Thanks for all you do to help further conservation in our rich and lovely world! 

Dr. James Danoff-Burg and the Department of Conservation Engagement and Learning team. 

Things you can do to help our conservation efforts 

  1. Sign up for our Run for Wildlife - Virtual Run Series. You will be able to learn about 7 species from North America or Africa, and the many things that we are doing to help conserve them! Sign up now!
  2. Learn more about the challenges facing the Vaquita in the Gulf of California by watching this video for free: Watch Now; or by searching for the feature-length documentary called Sea of Shadows on Netflix. 
  3. Support our Vaquita conservation efforts by buying some nifty themed merchandise
  4. Sign an Earth Day letter to thank each of our many conservation partners! 
  5. Buy Fair Trade Certified Products>>
  6. Learn about the challenges faced by Desert Tortoises here in Southern California by watching this video: Click Here.
  7. Be politically engaged at the local and national level so you can support eco-conscious policies by writing a letter to one of your representatives 

Help collect data for conservation at home 

  1. Become a Citizen Scientist to help gather environmental data with Earth Challenge 2020.

  1. Conduct a Backyard BioBlitz by identifying and recording animals and plants in your yard.

  1. Help Snapshot Ruhana identify wildlife in Tanzania from camera trap images. Click Here. Under ‘Learn More,’ scroll down to ‘Get Started’

  2. Report raven sightings to iNaturalist to help inform management of ravens and help protect the desert tortoise.

Things you can do to make your home greener 

  1. Start a compost bin.

  1. Make your own cleaning products

  1. Swap out bottles of soap for soap bars, shampoo and conditioner bars and dish blocks.

  1. Eat more plant-based meals, as meat has a very large impact on the planet. Learn more.

  1. Swap out tubes of toothpaste for toothpaste pellets.

  1. Use eco-friendly laundry detergent. 

  1. Wash your laundry on cold water and run full loads to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint. 

  1. Put a bucket in your shower and catch the cold water to use in your yard or for your pets. 

  1. Find out which parts of your lifestyle have the largest ecological and carbon footprints by taking these tests: 

  1. Set timers on landscaping lights to end a bit earlier, to help cut down on light pollution affecting our nocturnal wildlife.

  1. Instead of buying water bottles, install or use a water filter.

Things you can do in your yard/outside 

  1. Use desert landscaping: switch out grass for dirt, gravel, and native plant species 

  1. Plant water efficient plants.

  1. Build a frog pond.

  1. Plant a Butterfly garden.

  1. Use permeable pavers to let water recharge our aquifer, like we have in our parking lot at The Zoo.

  1. Dump and drain any standing water around your property to stop invasive mosquitoes.  

  1. Start a vegetable garden to grow some of your own food.

  1. Put up a bird house.

  1. Put up a bee house.

  1. Plant native plants.

  1. Use a compost bin/pile for green waste.

Things you can do when you shop 

  1. Shop at local farmers’ markets.

  1. Try to purchase sustainable seafood.

  1. Use reusable mesh produce bags and reusable containers to purchase things in bulk.

  1. Check out your local Thrift Stores first before you buy brand new stuff - vintage is in - and it reduces impact on the earth and often your wallet 

  1. Be proactive when it comes to managing food waste. When buying groceries, have a good estimate of what food you need and will consume before it spoils. Save or freeze leftovers to reduce waste. 

Things you can do at work 

  1. Use Ecosia for a search engine instead of other search engines - it plants a tree when you use it: 
  2. When printing things, print 2-sided, or print on the back of single printed papers that you no longer need. 
  3. Consider reusable and refillable k-cups/coffee filters.
  4. Pack your own silverware, reusable straws, and reusable to-go containers with you for use when you eat out. 

Things you can do when you travel 

  1. Namibia: Visit Cheetah Conservation Fund.

  1. Purchase carbon offsets to reduce your carbon footprint from air (or driving) miles.

  1. When you travel, look into your destination’s resource use and sustainability practices and choose travel providers that are the most green. 

  1. South Africa: Volunteer to help our conservation partner Transfrontier Africa, the sponsoring organization behind the Black Mambas Anti-Poaching Unit, to help monitor species.

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