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Protecting the environment: a quick guide

Human activities are damaging the natural environment, undermining its ability to provide essential benefits for people. Everyday actions can help - like buying products made with consideration for the environment and encouraging wildlife in your garden.

1. Choose products produced with consideration for the environment

Labelling schemes can help you make greener choices

When buying products, from foods to furniture, there is often a greener choice. Look out for labels that show a product has been produced with more consideration for the natural world - for example, Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fish or Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood products.

2. Reduce waste

Everything you buy has some impact on the environment, so making sure you don’t waste things can help. For example, you can cut down your food waste, hang on to your mobile phone for longer, avoid excess packaging and plastic and take your own bag shopping.

3. Choose products with less potentially harmful chemicals

You can clean your home without potentially harmful chemicals

Many household products contain chemicals that can be damaging to the natural environment. It is often possible to choose effective alternatives produced with fewer harmful chemicals, or make your own cleaning products from everyday ingredients like lemon juice and vinegar.

4. Dispose of waste carefully

When it´s time to throw something away, make sure you dispose of it carefully and safely. For example, many electronic items contain chemicals that can damage natural systems if not disposed of properly. 

5. Garden with wildlife in mind

Make space in your garden for Britain´s wildlife

Gardens provide important habitats for wildlife. The estimated 15 million gardens in Britain help provide refuge for animals whose natural homes in the countryside are being lost. Making spaces for wildlife in your garden, avoiding peat-based compost and using pesticides only as a last resort can all help. The National Trust, for example, has a policy of not using peat.

6. Enjoy the natural world where you live and get involved

There are many opportunities to get outdoors and spend time somewhere green, even if you live in the middle of a city. Find a local green space or nature reserve using the links below. You can also get more actively involved by volunteering to help the environment, creating a new green space in your community, or even getting involved with recording animals and plants where you live.

7. Add your voice

Find a wildlife organisation to support

Many organisations working to protect wildlife have opportunities for people to get involved or show their support. Wildlife and Countryside Link is a an umbrella group bringing together many such organisations, which together are supported by nearly 8.5 million people in the UK – the link below takes you to a list of organisations you could get involved with or support.

You can also use your civic power and make sure that those who represent you, like your MP, reflect your environmental concerns.

8. Avoid buying gifts made from endangered animals or plants

Some gifts and foods available in certain countries can be made from endangered plants or animals, like animal skins, ivory, orchids, coral or ramin (a type of tropical hardwood). It may be hard to find out when you buy something whether it came from an endangered source. Check before you go away, but if in doubt avoid buying animal and plant gifts.