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We all cried over the emaciated Polar Bear – but what can we actually do?

Many animal lovers would be familiar with the recent National Geographic photo taken by Cristina Mittermeier that went viral. The photo showed a painfully thin Polar Bear and detailed the photographer’s eye witness account of this beautiful animal that was so was weak, with muscles showing atrophy from extreme starvation, that he could barely stand. I will admit that I shed tears of pain and frustration over that photo.

You will find that story here

The outcry on social media was enormous with people outraged, devastated and some too horrified to even watch the accompanying video. The same week, I saw an article discussing how the Javan Rhino, native to Indonesia, is now officially extinct.

I have to ask this question, ‘What the hell are we doing people?’

As an advocate for the protection and care of all animals I wondered what I could do to make a difference. Am I no different to anyone else, helpless to some extent? What difference can one person make? What difference can I make from my little piece of heaven here in Australia?

The difference I can make is this. As an advocate, I can remind EVERYONE that together we can actually help.

The Ghandi saying

‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’ 

has never been so relevant and true.


One or two small lifestyle changes made by EVERYONE could have an enormous impact for our beautiful planet. To get started, I have collated some useful tips and I would encourage everyone to pick out one or two and work on incorporating them in to your everyday life. It takes approximately 4 weeks for a new behavior to become a habit so persevere, and keep the end goal in mind which is for the preservation of our planet and survival and well being of our wild animals.

  1. Refillable coffee cups and water bottles:

It may seem like a no brainer but refillable bottles significantly decreases your waste consumption almost everyday. If you’re a caffeine lover, just think of how many coffee cups you go through every week, month and year. Keep an eye out, most coffee shops offer discounts for those who bring their own cups!

  1. Say no to straws and plastic cutlery

Over 8 Million tonnes of this stuff enters our oceans and waterways EVERY YEAR!! This type of plastic waste is particularly bad as it is often used just once before being discarded. Please remember, plastic NEVER breaks down. It may separate into smaller and smaller particles but once created, it can never be removed from our planet. These items are one of the main reasons our oceans are turning into ‘plastic soup’.

  1. Reusable shopping bags and containers:

Another no-brainer. When doing your weekly grocery shop, try and steer clear from using plastic bags.  Why not think ahead by bringing your own reusable tote bags from home? Whilst many states have already introduced bans on single use plastic bags, WA shoppers have until 1 July 2018 to come to terms with utilizing more environmentally friendly options. We can go further than this though. Make a small investment into some good quality glass containers. Take them along when you do your food shopping and fill them with items from the meat / deli / fish counters. Most supermarkets are more than happy to use containers you bring in to the store these days.

  1. Give up cling wrap:

Cling wrap is an everyday essential that we often don’t think about. Whether it’s school lunches or leftovers, this non-biodegradable film is filling up landfill. Consider packing food in reusable containers or wax wrap which is easy to clean, reusable and toxin free.

  1. Make your home wildlife friendly:

Our country is known for its natural beauty, so making your home wildlife friendly is an incredible way to protect local animals. This could be as simple as planting some native bushes / shrubs to turn your garden into a wildlife friendly ‘stopover’. Allowing mulch to build up in your garden not only makes for wonderful nesting material for ground birds and small mammals, but also decreases the need for watering your garden. Providing a birdbath (away from cats!) is great for birds, small creatures and our bee populations.

  1. Don’t use chemicals and pesticides in your garden

Whilst snails and other garden destroying creatures can be troublesome, poisoning snails may cause you to inadvertently poison our native wildlife.There are plenty of chemical free alternatives on the market.

  1. Control your cat:

Our cats are natural hunters, so it’s important to monitor their activity. There’s nothing worse than discovering an injured native bird or small wildlife on your doorstep. A simple tip is to attach a bell to your cat’s color to warn other animals of its presence.

  1. One of my BIGGEST pet peeves. Fast Fashion.

Avoid buying in to fashion trends and recycle if you can. Think quality, not quantity, and certainly not landfill! If you can, purchase sustainably produced items. Read this article here to see how fashion is now second, only to oil, in terms of the pollution it creates for our planet.  Think before you buy. Do you really need it?

  1. The Paperless Office.

Two years ago I decided to make the transition from a ‘nearly there’ paperless office to a fully-fledged paperless office. I won’t lie, it was a little hard to get used to initially. In my early days I trained as an accountant, and I LOVED printing out bits of paper, highlighting, reconciling and just generally ‘feeling organised’ because I could lay my hands on anything at anytime.

All filing is now done in electronically and I rarely print anything out. I learned very quickly how to use Preview so that any PDF’s that I’m sent can be filled out online rather than printing and filling out by hand. I request all my suppliers to email invoices, rather than print them for me, if possible and this includes places like Officeworks. I reuse all packaging materials sent to me when I send out packages and ask all my clients to recycle or re-use the materials if possible.  Put it this way, if I can transition to a fully-fledged paperless office so you can! My favourite systems are Xero, Trade Gecko, Scanner for Me and Drop Box. I also love Geami Green Wrap.

  1. A few other no-brainers that everyone should be able to manage

Short showers, ride your bike, carpool, consider the packaging of the items you buy (glass or plastic), can something be fixed rather than being sent to landfill, turn off lights, turn off unused appliances, consider if you are recycling all the waste in your home efficiently.

  1. Buy cruelty free, natural and organic:

One of the most important steps to take everyday is to pay special consideration to the items you are purchasing. If you’re conscious of animal safety, always look for certifications so you can be sure no animals were harmed in the making of the product. Try switching to items that include biodegradable ingredients, are packaged in glass and contain natural safe ingredients (Organic Pet Pharmacy Products tick all these things!)

So there you have it……

Without requiring too much time or effort, each of these tips are truly easy to implement. Being mindful and aware of your impact will last a lifetime, once you get into the habit of doing so. Small changes CAN lead to big changes. Here at Organic Pet Pharmacy we take small steps everyday to benefit the environment. Whether it’s choosing glass over plastic for our bottles or utilising recycled packaging as much as possible, everything makes a difference in some way. If we continue on this path of improvement, we could all contribute to the preservation of our environment and the protection of every animal that lives in it.

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