Wild Wild Life newsletter: How you can 'do your bit' for wildlife

www.newscientist.com
6 min read
fairly easy
Greenwashing is rife and full of ineffectual suggestions for saving the planet. Here are four lifestyle changes that actually do make a difference for biodiversity
Ashley Cooper pics / Alamy

Hello, and welcome to November's Wild Wild Life, the monthly newsletter that celebrates the biodiversity of our planet's animals plants and other organisms. To receive this free, monthly newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.

I've been breaking in a new pair of walking boots on woodland walks, spotting as many fungi as I can. I can't pretend to be anywhere near an expert – the UK is home to more than 15,000 species of fungi. That number isn't quite as daunting as it sounds, though, because many of these species are microscopic and not mushroom-forming. I've had some successes in identifying the most common species, but I still marvel at anyone who is confident enough to eat those that they identify as edible.

This month, in the aftermath of COP26, I'm looking at actions we can meaningfully take to help wildlife and lessen the biodiversity crisis. Plus, why it pays to have really red feathers if you're a waxbill, and a newly recognised species of octopus.

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What you can do to help nature

The COP26 summit in Glasgow, UK, this month was the biggest opportunity to tackle climate change since the Paris Agreement, back in 2015. Amid all the breaking news, big pledges and grand announcements, something kept niggling at me. I couldn't turn on the TV without an advert telling me I could "do my bit" by recycling a plastic bag or eating a veggie burger. My problem with such messages is that they are nowhere near enough to be "my bit" – anything that's promoting easy swaps or simple lifestyle changes sounds great but is unlikely to have any impact on the problem.

Greenwashing has become a familiar concept now, and I've written before about more meaningful action that people can take both to tackle climate change and cope with eco-anxiety. But what about the other great planetary crisis besides climate change: the biodiversity crisis? Humans and our domesticated animals now make up more than 90 per cent of the mammalian mass…
Penny Sarchet
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