Are you better than these misunderstood animals?

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Freddie Wolfe, Journalist/Editor

A jumping spider eats a fly. Courtesy of The Infinite Spider. 

 

 You might think that as a human you are superior. You likely believe you are so much better than a fly. But are you doing your part to help the planet? Climate change is one of the world’s most serious problems. The animals who are causing it are humans! Every single day, many humans all over the world affect the Earth negatively. Here are some misunderstood animals that help the environment, and how you can help them.

 

Bees

A honey bee covered in pollen drinks nectar from a flower. Courtesy of Honey Bee Haven.

 These fuzzy striped insects get a bad reputation due to their defensive mechanisms. But bees only use their stingers as a last resort, if they feel they or their hive is in extreme danger. Bees are pollinators and spread pollen from flower to flower with their feet accidentally when gathering nectar for their hive. Before you say that butterflies do this too, bees actually spread more pollen than butterflies, so it would be much more dangerous if bees went extinct rather than butterflies. Do you help plants grow, or do you help tear them down?

 

Wolves

Two wolves eat a deer. Courtesy of Pet Keen.

 People often think wolves are scary and vicious. Predators are often seen as violent due to what they need to eat in order to survive. Wolves are one of the food chain’s most important animals. As seen in many environments, the removal or lack of wolves causes overpopulation. Overpopulation of the herbivores that wolves eat means fewer plants for other animals and fewer plants that help the environment’s oxygen. So even if you think it’s sad that wolves eat herbivores, remember that too many would cause damage to the planet.  Do you have a healthy diet, or are you contributing to the misalignment of the food chain?

 

Flies 

A fly eats a doughnut. Courtesy of Terminix.

 Flies are seen as gross, disgusting creatures, but flies do a lot for your home and a lot for the Earth in general. Flies are decomposers, which means they eat waste, so they are one of Earth’s janitors. They also lay their eggs in waste, so that the maggots that emerge from that waste can eat it as well. Without flies and other decomposers, such as worms and some plants, the Earth wouldn’t be as clean as it is. It isn’t flies that make an area dirty, but the waste in that area. If you’re thinking of using bad chemicals to get rid of the flies, clean your house. Chances are it’s your house that is dirty. Do you help clean the Earth, or do you make it dirtier?

 

Mosquitoes 

A bird eats a mosquito. Courtesy of Essential Home and Garden.

 Mosquitoes bite animals for their blood. But before you get mad at them, remember that they are a major part of the food chain, and without them, the Earth wouldn’t do so great. Like deer and elk are important to wolves, mosquitoes are important to a variety of animals. They serve as an important food source for the animals that consume them. Mosquitoes are pollinators, just like bees and butterflies, and that’s another reason why we need them. Do you help keep species alive, or are you making them endangered?

 

Spiders

 

 While being one of the most hated and feared creatures, spiders are key to Earth’s system. Like wolves, they keep populations down, serving as free pest control. Wolves eating deer and elk may not appeal to most humans, but spiders eating bugs might! Insects eat crops, destroying farms and gardens. Without spiders, one of the main predators of bugs, these sneaky insects might eat most of our food supply. For sanitary reasons, many people don’t want bugs in their households. Put down those shoes, because without spiders, insects might come to your house as if it was their own. Do you use healthy pest control, or do you kill pests and kill the Earth along with them?

 

How can you help these amazing animals as they save the Earth?

 

  • Plant more, deforest less: Bees need plants to pollinate, so do your part and protect our plant life 
  • Don’t hunt: While it’s okay to kill animals for food supply, hunting for sports kills a great number of animals each year (sometimes resulting in extinction!), which kills off species and gives less food supply to predators 
  • Give your garbage to nature: If you have materials that can be put in compost (certain food, paper, wood, etc.), decompose them so that Earth can absorb them and benefit (recycling helps too)
  • Natural pesticides only: Unnatural pesticides have bad chemicals that can make people sick through contact or food, so use natural pesticides when you want bugs to leave you alone

 

 There are lots of ways you can be like these amazing animals and help the Earth. I hope you enjoyed learning about these often hated creatures. Remember, if you don’t help, you are part of the problem!

Sources:

Preventive Pest Control

Action News 5

Defenders

National Wildlife Federation