Progress is almost inevitable as the human population grows, but it comes with a hefty price tag — damage to the environment. Businesses either positively or negatively impact the environment around them. Once you’re aware of the many ways business affects wildlife in your area, you realize small changes make a big difference.
Humans play a role in the extinction of plants and animals around the world. One study found that without human interference, many additional species would roam the earth today. Big business and industrial growth impact wildlife in different ways. Fortunately, there are solutions to each problem.
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1. Destroying Natural Resources
Sustaining natural resources is simply a matter of changing how companies do business. Estimates put the cost of business on the environment at about $4.7 trillion per year. However, the true cost is the impact on wildlife in an area — species relocated or completely lost because of a lack of natural resources for their daily needs.
If you own a business, any small changes you make to improve the local environment are positive. If you are an employee, campaign with your boss and seek ways to help your company use green practices. Even installing a more efficient heating and cooling system is a good step toward becoming greener.
2. Redistributing Animal Life
Some animals relocate to urban environments and thrive there. For example, surfaces such as concrete make city environments warmer and create a heat island effect. Animals that naturally do better in warmer climates also do better in cities, while animals that don’t tolerate heat don’t thrive in urban areas.
Such redistribution of local wildlife has pros and cons. As urban areas expand, animals are displaced. Some will thrive in an environment that is warmer and has plentiful food. However, other species will flee to non-developed areas or perish in the process because of increased predators and other uninviting elements. Reducing the impact of urbanization is not easy. Careful planning during the building process reduces some of the negative impacts, though.
3. Partnering With Wildlife Conservation
Not everything about big business is negative. Many third-party businesses team up with wildlife conservation organizations such as a business sponsoring drones so that conservationists can survey species population and other factors. This allows conservationists to develop resources to help wildlife. In turn, the conservationists work with the business to create more sustainable business practices for those companies.
When businesses partner with wildlife conservation organizations, they have the opportunity to contribute financially to ongoing research and conservation efforts. Also, the entire company is more likely to become conscious of how their behaviors impact the world around them. The brand may gain customers who share their love of local wildlife.
4. Disrupting the Ecosystem
There is a fine balance to the ecosystems on Earth. Small changes have a big impact on the species that live there. Big industry creates some issues that disrupt these ecosystems.
Industrialization accounts for around 6.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide placed into the atmosphere every year. That level of pollution kills animals, in particular, aquatic wildlife. Also, that much carbon dioxide destroys plant life, and many animals rely on those plants for sustenance.
Adopting green practices reduces the overall carbon footprint of a business. Every employee contributes by reducing their consumption and helping with recycling efforts. When the entire company gets on board with environmentally friendly goals, the business has a big impact on nature.
5. Changing Wildlife
Not all impacts on the environment are negative. Many companies work hard to keep things as sustainable as possible. Still, pollution and chemicals released into the local ecosystem and urbanization all impact wildlife in an area. Today, extinction rates are 500 times higher than they were before industrialization. Some species are gone — or at risk of being gone — from the planet forever.
Some have adapted to new food and learned to live near humans. One thing people can do to help with this process is plan new construction with habitat in mind, creating soft areas for the conservation of local species, such as ponds, parks and natural areas within a business park.
Big Business and Wildlife
Big business isn’t going away soon, but with a little foresight neither is wildlife. Conservation isn’t about stopping progress but learning to adapt environments for the benefit of both human and animal life. When wildlife thrives, people benefit.
Plants add rich oxygen to the air. Animals add interest, and each plays a role to keep the ecosystem thriving. Focusing on wildlife conservation requires focusing on everything from reducing your carbon footprint to actively protecting animals in an area of new construction. With a little planning and a lot of care, we’ll enjoy today’s animals for years to come.