From Furry Friends to Eco-Friendly Companions: The Importance of Pets on Earth Day and Beyond
Earth Day is a global event celebrated annually on April 22nd to raise awareness about the importance of protecting our planet. It was first observed in 1970 and has since become a worldwide movement. The day serves as a reminder that we all have a responsibility to care for the planet and protect it for future generations.
This year on Earth Day, we decided to recognize the role that pets play in our environment. Our furry friends bring joy and companionship to our lives, but they also have an impact on the planet. This article delves into the impact of pets on the environment, how pets are making a positive impact on the planet, and ways pet owners can adopt sustainable pet care practices to reduce their pets’ carbon footprint.
The impact of pets on the environment
There’s hardly any love more unconditional than that of a pet. The good news is that the new demographic of pet parents are doing more to give their pets happier and healthier lives. Interestingly, according to a 2022 survey by Team Lewis Foundation and HeForShe, Gen Z’s concern about the climate crisis surpassed that for gender equality and economic opportunities. This is a generation that wants to build a cleaner, greener tomorrow for the future of our people and planet. Now we all know the main contributors to climate change are human-led actions such as overuse of fossil fuels, deforestation, certain industrial processes, livestock production and more. So, owning pets should almost seem harmless as far as the environment is concerned, right? But the truth is quite the opposite. Pets have a significant impact on the environment, from the resources they consume to the waste they produce. According to a 2017 study by the University of California, the meat-based diet of dogs and cats is responsible for a quarter of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the United States. Additionally, pet waste can contribute to water pollution and harm wildlife.
How pet businesses are making a positive impact on the planet
The global pet care market was valued at USD 150.67 billion in 2021. Despite the impact of pets on the environment, the pet industry is fast understanding the changing preferences of pet parents to join hands in making a positive impact on the planet. Many pet-related businesses such as Project Blu have adopted eco-friendly practices, such as using sustainable materials in their products and reducing their carbon footprint. Moreover, pets can serve as companions in outdoor activities, such as hiking and camping, that promote environmental awareness and conservation. Some pet-related businesses have implemented recycling programs, while others have switched to eco-friendly packaging materials. Additionally, some pet-related businesses have partnered with environmental organizations to promote sustainability and conservation. Marleybones is the world’s first and only dog food company with a guaranteed net-zero plastic footprint and has a partnership with rePurpose Global, an organization dedicated to solving the global plastic waste crisis.
Eco-friendly pet products and practices
With responsible choices, pet owners can also take steps to reduce their pets’ carbon footprint. Meat based foods consume significant water, land and energy, contributing to higher carbon emissions, but brands like Bright Planet Pet create delicious treats using sustainable, all-natural plant-based ingredients that create fewer carbon emissions. What’s more? Dog’s love it because it smells and tastes like real meat!
There are other eco-friendly pet products available, such as biodegradable poop bags, sustainable pet toys made from recycled materials, organic pet food, or nutrition from alternative sources of proteins such as crickets! Yes, you heard that right. Jiminy’s is helping consumers make responsible choices, without compromising on nutrition or quality. By replacing meat-based protein with insect protein along with plant-based ingredients, this disruptive solution has our heart!
Adopting sustainable pet care practices
Pet owners can also adopt sustainable pet care practices to reduce their pets’ impact on the planet, such as using energy-efficient pet products like LED pet collars and automatic water dispensers. Additionally, composting pet waste can reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
Ways to involve your pet in Earth Day activities
To promote environmental awareness, involve your pets in Earth Day activities. For example, pet owners can take their dogs on a beach clean-up or participate in a tree-planting event with their cats. If you know of any such activity happening in your city, tell us in the comments! Pet owners can also use their pets’ social media accounts to raise awareness about environmental issues and promote sustainable practices.
The importance of reducing pet waste
The harsh truth about pet waste is that waste generates more (hazardous) waste. The popularly used doggy poop bags in the US alone are a common source of single-use plastic. Around 0.76–1.23 million tons of plastic waste was produced by these bags annually, accounting for 0.6% of the total plastic waste generated. Only a third of these get recycled; the rest end up in landfills or the open environment, causing serious ecological harm, and thereby risking lives of humans and other animals. Pet waste can contain harmful bacteria and parasites that can contaminate water sources and harm wildlife. Pet owners can reduce their pets’ impact on the environment by properly disposing of pet waste and using eco-friendly poop bags.
How can pet owners make a positive impact on the planet?
Uninformed pets parenting choices can lead to an increase in pets’ carbon footprint, but pets also have the potential to make a positive impact on the planet. With the adoption of more sustainable pet care practices and eco-friendly pet products, pets too can join forces in leaping forward towards a world that’s cleaner, greener and more sustainable for all.