Green Practices

It is said that actions speak louder than words, and that certainly rings true where wildlife and conservation issues are concerned. As a world leader dedicated to the conservation of endangered species and their habitats, San Diego Zoo Global is committed to green practices at the workplace, as well as providing green ideas for friends, members, and supporters to consider.

The “web of life” has become almost cliché, but the fact is that everything is interconnected. Everyone is “downstream,” and everyone’s actions have an effect on the planet. With a bit of foresight and a dash of effort, we can greatly mitigate our impact on the environment and directly benefit wildlife around the world—and in our own backyards! Some of the connections may surprise you. Check out the 4 Ws—Water, Waste, Wildlife, and Watts—for interesting environmental correlations and easy and effective ways you can help the Earth.

Be water wise: Over watering our yards in San Diego attracts nonnative Argentine ants, which then displace the native Southern California ants, which then causes the now-endangered San Diego horned lizard to starve!


Greening the Garden

  • Use drip irrigation to minimize evaporation.
  • Reduce the watering schedule for your landscaping.
  • Use mulch around your plants to keep moisture in.
  • Purchase native, drought-tolerant plants.


Swimming Pool

  • Cover your pool whenever you’re not using it. An uncovered, medium-sized pool loses from 1/4 to 1 inch of water each day through evaporation, depending on temperature, humidity levels, and wind conditions. A pool can lose from 200 to 450 gallons of water each week.



  • Take short showers.
  • Turn the water off while brushing your teeth.
  • Use a low-flow showerhead.


Whittle Down Your Waste

Every ounce of recycled aluminum represents an ounce of bauxite, an ore used to produce aluminum, that doesn’t have to be mined. There are major bauxite deposits in Africa, South America, Russia, the West Indies, and the United States, often located in prime wildlife habitat. Chemicals from the mines often pollute waterways.

  • Recycle aluminum cans, glass, and paper products.
  • Compost kitchen waste and yard trimmings—learn about the power of “greens, browns, water, and air.”
  • No paper, no plastic—use your own reusable grocery bags for shopping.
  • Save a tree, get rid of junk mail (free do-it-yourself tips here and sign up with—the average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year.
  • Do not let your excess paint, oil, or chemicals run down the street into storm drains, as that will contaminate waterways and oceans.


Another Wild Way to Protect Wildlife

Domestic cats kill millions of wild songbirds each year—they cannot distinguish between common and endangered species. Domestic dogs off leash often thrash through thickets, disturbing nests and chasing birds like the rare California gnatcatcher. Keep your kitty indoors and your pooch on a leash to protect wildlife.

  • Purchase shade grown coffee, which keeps trees intact on the plantation so they can provide erosion control, homes and perches for arboreal animals, and cleaner air.
  • Eat only sustainable seafood at home and in restaurants.
  • Volunteer at a local animal shelter, zoo, or rescue center.
  • Join the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy today!


Watts Up?

Whether your electricity comes from coal, petroleum, hydroelectric dams, natural gas, wind, solar, geothermal, or biomass, it behooves us all not to squander this precious commodity. Electricity’s byproducts contribute to climate change, which can have devastating effects on plants, animals, habitats, and resources around the world. Species that are already endangered probably won’t have enough “wiggle room” in their numbers to adjust to a warmer climate.

  • Unplug electrical units not in use (printers, chargers, etc.) to save electricity and reduce carbon emissions.
  • Dry your laundry on a clothesline.
  • Turn off lights when leaving a room.
  • Make sure washers are full for dishes and laundry.
  • Open a window to cool off, or put on a sweater to warm up instead of firing up the air conditioning or heater.
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