Wildlife Week at Rutgers University

By: R.PolarBear_ThomasDMangelsen_ImagesOfNatureStock Theodora Appleton

As midterms crept into the middle of October, Rutgers students learned about their place in the ecosystem and took action in saving endangered species by participating in Wildlife Week from Oct. 5-11.

Sarah Indano is a School of Arts and Sciences senior who is a member of the Rutgers University Seeing Eye Puppy Raising Club. Indano understands the important relationship between humans and their environment.

“By protecting endangered species and wildlife, we are not just saving animals lives, we are preserving a world of knowledge” said Indano. By protecting wild life, we are saving information about genetic diseases and animal survivorship.

Jennifer Molidor, senior food campaigner for the Population & Sustainability at the Center for Biological Diversity in Arizona is working with colleges in America to fight danger that targets wildlife and endangered species.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a nonprofit conservation organization with a total number of 1 million and growing.

The center dedicates their time working to save species on the verge of extinction through “science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species need to survive” says Biologicaldiversity.org.

Take extinction off your plate is the nationwide campaign that started Wildlife Week for the first time at college’s this fall. Take Extinction Off Your plate works with individuals and groups to specifically address meat consumption and its effects on the environment. Their website highlights the fact that you can become a part of this movement by starting with yourself or joining with a group of friends.

During wild life week, each day is dedicated to something new. Monday was named “meatless Monday,” Tuesday was “saving the hellbender,” Thursday was “Turtle Thursday” according to takeexctinctionoffyourplate.org. Other days of the week were dedicated to various topics including sushi, butterflies and sustaining the endangered species.

The overall mission of Wildlife Week is to “highlight the link between the production of meat and the harm it causes to wildlife through pollution, climate change, predator control and habitat loss” Molidor said in an email interview.

This past week Rutgers students hosted veggie meal nights, tabling events, movie nights and spread the word about helping out wildlife by changing minimal daily habits to the student body. Even Endangered species condoms were handed out for free.

You might be wondering what an endangered species condom is, don’t worry it isn’t frightening. Endangered species condoms are popular and have a recycled material packaging. Each condom has an endangered species’ picture on it with funny slogans like “wrap with care, save a polar bear” said Molidor.

Wildlife week teaches people the ultimate destruction that the meat industry has on the planet. Americans eat about 203 pounds of meat per person per year, which is much higher than any other country said Molidor.

When considering eating habits that can prevent meat over-consumption, do Rutgers students think dining halls provide enough vegetarian options?

Some students would like to see more vegetarian options at Rutgers dining facilities. “At the dining hall I can think of maybe 4 or 5 options for a vegetarian to eat which is not salad. Those are consistently the only options, every day, every week” said Indano.

Itzel Sanchez, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore tries to eat as ‘green’ as possible. “I don’t eat meat everyday, because I know that meat overconsumption is a large problem in our country,” said Sanchez.

One suggestion made by Wildlife week is that students ask for more information on earth-friendly veggie meals.

Molidor said that our diets cause between 14.5% and a possible 51% of our greenhouse gases to rise, which creates unhealthy climate change. Starting with our eating habits, we may be able to control some of the issues we will face in the future.

Students can find more information when it comes to wildlife week and making healthy lifestyle changes at TakeExtinctionOffYouPlate.com. Students are encouraged to start their own wildlife week and spread the word that could save endangered species.

As a community, we need to start recognizing the important place every species has on the planet. Animals have incredible and specialized jobs today, said Indano.

“There are land mine detecting rats in Tanzania, guide dogs across the world, and working animals that quietly do their job without a second glance. Regardless of your stance on research, eating meat, or the not so pretty side of human-animal interactions, our relationship with them as a whole is as important as our relationship with technology” said Indano.

Photo taken from Biologicaldiversity.org on October 19th, 2015

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