Mar 17

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!  We’ve got our shamrocks at the ready, but before we get too carried away with the celebrations, we thought we could learn a lesson from today’s colour scheme. After all, you don’t only have to be green on Saint Patrick’s Day. Here our some of our top tips for living a greener life:

Reduce

Reducing consumption is one of the best ways to lower your carbon footprint. We could learn a lesson from the Arctic fox – this species is able to reduce its metabolic rate by half, while remaining active, thereby conserving energy and allowing more time to find food before starvation occurs.

Arctic fox walking across ice

Arctic fox walking across ice

Reuse

Before throwing anything out, consider its potential for reuse. Some species of bird, like the stilt sandpiper will often reuse the same nesting site for more than one year, saving time and energy that can be spent on egg production and provisioning instead. Need some inspiration? National Geographic has a great guide to reusing plastic bags.

Stilt sandpiper on nest, camouflaged

Stilt sandpiper on nest, camouflaged

Recycle

Recycling is a great way to avoid landfill. Perhaps don’t take this advice as far as some species do though! Gorillas, rabbits and chinchillas all exhibit a behaviour known as coprophagia, where faeces are re-injested to allow further extraction of vital minerals and vitamins from food. Waste not!

Male mountain gorilla feeding on plant stalk

Male mountain gorilla feeding on plant stalk

For more information on how to recycle, check out this recycling guide.

Save water 

Water is a surprisingly sparse resource. It’s the middle of winter here in the UK, yet we’re experiencing drought. Treating, transporting and heating water also uses a lot of energy, all contributing to climate change. Many species like the Bactrian camel and baobab trees effectively conserve water. Help reduce your water use by turning off taps, taking shorter showers, fixing leaks and reusing water. Here are some top tips on saving water from the National Geographic.

Grandidier's baobab

Grandidier's baobab

Wild Bactrian camel with newborn calf

Wild Bactrian camel with newborn calf

 

Wrap up!

Follow the style of the fashionable mouflon and dress for the season – when it’s cold, wrap up with extra layers and pile on the coats! 

Mouflon shedding coat

Mouflon shedding coat

 

Turn things off

Don’t leave electrical items on standby or ‘sleep’. You’ve probably heard it all before, but this uses as much energy as if it was fully on, so switch appliances off at the mains!

Honey bee asleep during cold weather

Honey bee asleep during cold weather

 

Compost

Composting is an easy way to use up kitchen and garden waste and is great for your garden! Earthworms will love you for it too, as they feed on the organic waste! Not sure how to compost? RecycleNow have a great guide.

Earthworm exiting burrow

Earthworm exiting burrow

 

Grow your own

What better way to reduce the distance food travels to your plate. A vegetable grown from scratch by you will taste better than any from the shop shelf, so if you have a garden put it to good use!

Leaf-cutter ant carrying leaf with guard ant 'rider', thought to ward off parasitic flies

Leaf-cutter ant carrying leaf with guard ant 'rider'

 

Creative Climate Change Challenge

Living a greener lifestyle will help reduce your impact on the environment. One of the biggest problems facing the global environment today are the impacts of climate change. In an effort to raise awareness of this problem, we are currently holding a Creative Climate Change Challenge – so get involved!

Have a happy, green Saint Patrick’s Day!

Lauren Pascoe, ARKive Media Researcher

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