100 Ideas to Help Save the Planet
by the Orangutan Conservancy


Your question now may be “can I make a difference?” Margaret Mead said ‘Never think that you as an individual cannot make a difference – in fact that is the only thing that ever has”. Whether locally or globally, directly or indirectly, there are many ways you can preserve the rainforests for future generations. Effective conservation requires an informed, supportive and participatory public. This way we can promote and inspire change.


Organizations such as the Orangutan Conservancy work hard to strengthen the conservation laws of Indonesia, Malaysia and other countries, but the international community must also take responsibility for consumption of illegally produced products such as timber.


BEGIN BY LEARNING AND BEING AWARE
The more we know about a subject (the rainforests) the more we care about them and the harder we will work to protect them.
One of the best things you can do to save the rain forests of this world is to learn all you can about them. Learn what they contain, how important they are to us and what is happening them. Then share what you learn with your friends and family. Tell them about the wonderful gifts of the rain forest. Tell them about the amazing plants and animals that live there. Tell them how important rainforests are to our planet.
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ENDANGERED PLANTS AND ANIMALS
Learn about the incredible treasures of the rainforest. If the last of an endangered species dies, that kind of plant or animal becomes extinct. It is gone from the earth forever.
Learn about the illegal trade in wild life. Be aware and realize that trade in exotic and endangered species is illegal and devastating to the wildlife as most animals and birds and plants die during capture or transit. Also exotic species trade has been linked to organized crime. Learn what “Bush Meat” is and if you ever hear of it on any menu report it to one of our organizations. Learn about the FUR trade and how many millions of animals are slaughtered each year for their fur. Not just for coats but for toys and gadgets.


SPREAD THE WORD
Once you have become aware of the treasures we are losing each day, tell others.
Convert them by example – encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to save resources too.
Learn about conservation issues in your community or state. Write your legislators and let them know you do not tolerate practices that destroy the rainforest...
Teach children to respect nature and the environment. Take them on hikes, or camping. Help them plant a tree or build a birdhouse. Help restore damaged ecosystems by planting trees on land where forests have been cut down.
Support companies who operate in ways that minimize damage to the environment.
Join a conservation organization and volunteer your time to conservation projects
Donate money to conservation projects
Support human rights of indigenous peoples in the rainforests.
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BECOME MORE CONSCIOUS OF SUSTAINABLE LIVING. What are simple ways to live more sustainably?
Look at your life style; make changes toward a less impactful, sustaining lifestyle. When you shop, shop intelligently. Your buying decisions have an impact on the health and survival of the planet. Don’t buy products that cause destruction of the rainforests but buy those that encourage sustainability and fair equity to those living in or near them.
Really think about where things come from and where they go when you are done with them.


RECYCLE EVERYTHING YOU CAN
Try to reduce the amount of waste you produce. Are you recycling everything you can?
Newspapers, cans, glass bottles and jars, aluminum foil, motor oil, scrap metal, etc. Aluminum cans are doubly important because of the bauxite mining used to produce them


INVESTIGATE LOCAL RECYCLING CENTERS THAT TAKE ITEMS YOUR GARBAGE HAULER DOES NOT.
Don’t through away items that are toxic. Recycle batteries, paints, fertilizers. A computer monitor has up to 9 pounds of lead and mercury etc.
Are you using chemicals to kill a weed instead of pulling it? Be very careful of any toxic items in your garden. The birds, cats and other animals may be at risk
Reducing chemical use is important. Think about where things go when you use them. Straight into the ground water…..and then often out to sea.


LAUNDRY
Cloth diapers are the best idea…our land fills are full of disposable diapers
Use dish towels and cloth napkins instead of paper towels and wash them
Use cold water in your washing machine whenever possible
Try to use phosphate-free laundry and dish soaps.


AVOID BRINGING HOME EXCESS WASTE so that you don’t have to dispose of it later.
Bring your own canvas bag with you to the market.
Avoid buying household products or food in plastic or Styrofoam containers whenever possible. (They can’t be recycled and don’t break down in the environment).
You can return your plastic bags to most grocery stores to be re-used.
Buy paper products instead of plastic if you must buy “disposables” They break down better in the environment and don’t deplete the ozone layer as much.
Save wire coat hangers and return them to the dry cleaners.
Take unwanted, re-usable items to a charitable organization or thrift shop.
Use rechargeable batteries
Store food in re-usable containers, instead of plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
Save the Styrofoam peanuts and noodles that come in shipments and return them to Mailboxes etc. They will re-use them
Kitty Litter: Use wheat or pine, a biodegradable source that can be composted. Cat litter is strip mined, then land filled and it will never go away there. When it goes into the local landfill, waste from it is often washed out to sea in the ground water and diseases are transferred to otters and other sea creatures.


WATER is precious
Do you know that we are one of the few nations on this earth who can count on our water being clean and safe yet we are extravagant with our water and wasteful.
Turn off water when brushing your teeth; only water your garden early in the am or late in the pm to waste less
Install a water-saving shower head
Set your water heater at 130 degrees
Are you using water to clean your driveway instead of a broom?


HOUSEHOLD ENERGY SAVINGS: It is not hard. It just takes awareness.
Whenever possible, use and buy efficient appliances. Check the energy ratings.
Use Compact florescent lighting
A timer on your thermostat helps a great deal and shuts off the heat or air when you are not around to use it
Make sure you have good insulation on your water heater, around your doors and windows and in your house
Turn out lights when you leave a room
Burn only seasoned wood in your woodstove or fireplace


YOUR YARD
Start a compost pile
Put up birdfeeders, birdhouses and birdbaths
Pull weeds instead of using herbicides
Use only organic fertilizers – they are still the best
Compost your leaves and yard debris, or take them to a yard debris recycler. (Burning them creates air pollution and putting them out with the trash wastes landfill space)
Use mulch to conserve water in your garden
Take extra plastic and rubber pots back to the nursery


YOUR OFFICE
Recycle office and computer paper, cardboard, etc. whenever possible
Buy recycled paper at the office store. Use your scrap paper for notes etc.
Re-use manila envelopes and file folders
Re-cycle your print cartridges (to Orangutan Conservancy)


IS YOUR CAR EFFICIENT?
Keep it tuned up
Keep tires inflated (Tires properly inflated save gas)
Buy a more fuel efficient model when you are ready for a new car.
Keep wheels properly aligned to save your tires. (It’s safer too)
Can you use it less? Can you carpool?
On weekends, ride a bike or walk


JOIN THE CELL PHONE RECYCLING PROGRAM.
On February 9, 2006 a new law took effect in California making it illegal to toss electronic waste, including used cell phones into the garbage.
Nearly 40,000 million phones are replaced by newer models each year in the US. In 2005 Eco Cell estimated that more than 700 million phones remained unused, many stashed away in homes and offices. By recycling your old phone, this helps prevent mining of coltan an ore found in the middle of the gorilla and elephant habitat in the Congo. If they are discarded into landfills, they leak persistent bio-accumulative and toxic chemicals or PBT’s into the environment.
It is a win, win situation because these phones are recycled and donated to the elderly or individuals who are victims of domestic violence who can use the phone to call for help. Also they are sold as an alternative to new phones in South America.
The Orangutan Conservancy collects these phones.