Fellow Creatures aims to promote awareness of the growing numbers of endangered, threatened and vulnerable animals worldwide and the possible solutions to stop the extinction of these animals. Climate change caused by unsustainable farming practices and the use of fossil fuels is causing extinctions. Habitat loss due to pollution, farming and population growth is causing extinctions. Wild animal poaching is causing extinctions.
Tropical rainforests are often called the “lungs of the planet” because they draw in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. Just four commodities—beef, soy, palm oil, and wood products—drive the majority of tropical deforestation. The rainforests are home to some of the world’s most endangered animals.
Adopting a meat free, preferably vegan diet can help stop deforestation of the world’s rainforests. By far the leading cause of the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest in South America is due to animal agriculture. Fires are started to clear land for more cattle. Most of the soy grown there is to feed cattle. More resources are needed to raise cattle than to grow plants directly for human consumption.
Much of the deforestation of the rainforests of Southern Asia is due to palm oil production. Palm oil is used extensively in everyday consumer items such food, cosmetics, cleaning products etc… Palm oil is even used in cattle feed. Palm oil is used to make biofuel, which was thought to be a sustainable replacement for fossil fuel until it became obvious the destruction of the rainforests due to palm oil was not acceptable nor sustainable. In recent years the Indonesian Government has been reducing imports of foreign beef and has encouraged local farmers to raise more beef, and has even enacted laws to ensure increases in cattle population, saying that female cows must always be pregnant either by artificial insemination or natural mating. There is also government regulation against the slaughter of productive females.
The billions of chickens, turkeys, pigs, and cows who are crammed onto factory farms produce enormous amounts of methane, both during digestion and from the acres of cesspools filled with their feces. Scientists report that every pound of methane is more than 84 times as effective as carbon dioxide is at trapping heat in our atmosphere. The United States Environmental Protection Agency shows that animal agriculture is the single largest source of methane emissions in the United States. Burning fossil fuels (such as oil and gasoline) releases carbon dioxide, the primary gas responsible for climate change. Producing 1 calorie from animal protein requires 11 times as much fossil fuel input—releasing 11 times as much carbon dioxide—as does producing 1 calorie from plant protein.
The oceans’ fish and mammals are disappearing due to human consumption, pollution and climate change. Eliminating fish from your diet can help save not only the fish you eat but also the bycatch: the animals that get caught in the nets, die and are discarded. Climate change, pollution and over-fishing are causing imbalances in the oceans which then causes die-offs and extinction of many of the seas’ amazing animals and plants. The ocean produces oxygen through the plants (phytoplankton, kelp, and algal plankton) that live in it. These plants produce oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis, a process which converts carbon dioxide and sunlight into sugars the organism can use for energy. So, climate change kills the ocean’s plants which in turn causes further climate change. Plastic and discarded fishing gear are choking our oceans and the creatures who live there. Fishing and transport vessels disrupt whale and other animal migrations and are making it impossible for these animals to rebound from near extinction.
How you can help…
The easiest steps a person can take is to:
- Reduce or eliminate meat, fish and dairy consumption.
- Reduce or eliminate purchases that contain animal products.
- Drive more fuel efficient vehicles. Drive personal vehicles as little as possible. Reduce air travel. Use public transportation. Ride your bike or walk more.
- Avoid buying products made with unsustainable palm oil.
- Avoid buying products made with unsustainable tropical hardwoods.
- Reuse and recycle.
- Reduce use of plastics.
- Reduce paper waste.
- Sign petitions that benefit endangered animals and environmental concerns.
Links to Endangered Animal Organizations:
- Center for Biological Diversity
- Last Chance for Animals
- Wildlife Conservation Network
- Humane Society International
- Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
- Save Elephant Foundation
- Pattaya Elephant Sanctuary
- Care for Wild Rhino Sanctuary
- Save the Rhino International
- Game Rangers International
- Africa Wildlife Foundation
- Orangutan Foundation International
- World Wildlife Fund
- Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
- Sea Shepherd Global
- CITES – Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species