If you’re struggling to come up with a New Year’s Resolution here are nine things that you can do to help protect Scotland’s wildlife for the future.
Make your garden better for wildlife
Creating a mini-meadow with plants like cowslip and ox-eye daisy is a great alternative to plain grass lawns and adds eye-catching colour. You could also relax your mowing regime to give flowers a chance to grow!
Stop using products containing microbeads
Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic found in lots of products including some facial scrubs and toothpastes. Every time someone uses these products the beads are washed down the drain and into our seas – which is harmful to marine life.
It’s not always easy to know if products contain microbeads. The best way is to check the list of ingredients for the following plastics:
- Polyethylene / Polythene (PE)
- Polypropylene (PP)
- Polyethylene terephthalate (PET)
- Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)
The Beat the Microbead campaign has more information and an app to help identify products that contain microbeads.
Volunteer with the Scottish Wildlife Trust
Our volunteers carry out vital conservation work including undertaking wildlife surveys, clearing invasive non-native species, and creating new habitats. We offer a wide range of opportunities including flexible volunteering to week-long residential programmes on Handa Island and the Isle of Eigg.
Support peat-free horticulture
Peat extraction for horticulture continues to have a big impact on blanket and raised bogs in lowland Scotland, damaging biodiversity and vital carbon stores. More than half of peat use in the UK is by gardeners, so using peat-free alternatives on your own patch could make a big difference.
• Make sure you buy plants that have been grown and potted in peat-free soil, and that your compost is peat-free.
• Unless a product is specifically labelled 'peat-free' then it is safest to assume that it may contain peat. ‘Multi-purpose', 'environmentally friendly' and 'organic' composts can actually contain as much as 70-100% peat.
Take part in a #2MinuteCleanUp
Even if you don’t have much time to spare you can make a big difference to your local environment by taking part in a #2MinuteCleanUp. Get a group of friends or colleagues together to tackle a local green-space or beach, or simply pick up some litter on your way to work. You’ll be surprised how much difference you can make over a short space of time.
Report squirrel sightings to help protect native reds
Saving Scotland’s Red Squirrels is a project led by the Scottish Wildlife Trust to stop the decline of core red squirrel populations by combatting the spread of the non-native grey squirrel. There are fewer than 120,000 red squirrels left in Scotland, representing 75% of the UK population.
By reporting sightings of red and grey squirrels in your garden, local park or woodland you can help build up a clear picture of their squirrel distribution across Scotland.
Commit to buying MSC certified fish and seafood
The Marine Stewardship Council's blue label and fishery certification programme help to show fish and seafood products are sustainably sourced. This means that seafood is caught at sustainable numbers in areas where there are healthy stocks, and where fishing has a minimal impact on the environment and other marine life.
If you commit to only buying MSC certified fish and seafood, you’ll be in good company. Recent research shows that nearly one in two of us have changed our diets because of concerns about environmental impact.
Take a break from the wheel
Did you know that most cars on Scotland’s roads are only carrying one person? Reducing your mileage by walking or cycling more often, making more journeys on public transport or organising a car pool will reduce carbon emissions and air pollution, as well as save you money. Less traffic on the roads could even speed up your rush-hour commute!
Say no to single use
Introducing a 5p charge for single use plastic bags has drastically reduced the number being used each year, but there are lots of other single use plastics that are on the increase. Bottled water is one such product, with the average Scottish consumer drinking more than 3 bottles of water each week.
While plastics recycling is on the increase, the majority still ends up in landfill. Reducing your reliance on single use plastic containers and ensuring that what you do use ends up in the recycling is a great way of reducing your impact on our environment. Find out why we’re supporting a Deposit Return Scheme for cans and bottles for Scotland through the Have You Got the Bottle campaign.
Join the Scottish Wildlife Trust
By becoming a member of the Trust you can help us protect wildlife for the future. Our members safeguard some of Scotland's most vulnerable wildlife including dolphins and ospreys, and help us protect and restore wild places.