Friday, 23 July 2010
Be Bright Green and E-Cool.
We can all be Superheroes and help Save the Earth. Being green is good for your health and well-being and good for the planet too. How we choose to live our lives makes a big difference. Do you know how big your carbon footprint is ? This is the mark we leave behind us depending on how much carbon our lifestyle uses. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in our atmosphere leading to global warming and climate change. Once you know how much you create you can reduce it. Try this: Carbon Footprint Calculator, to find out more.
What can I do to help ?
Get to know your planet
It's hard to care about something if you don't understand it, or get out there and be a part of it . You might choose not to know, if all you ever hear about the world is doom and gloom instead of hopeful and bright. Being bright green is all about having fun.
What you can do outdoors:
Insect hotel, IanVisits image
Sow nectar-rich flowers and soon you'll have a host of bees and butterflies to help pollinate the nature around you. You will have have created a mini eco-system.
Magalie L'Abbe image
Compost: Instead of filling up the landfill even more you can compost most of your food waste to make nutritious soil to feed your plants that will then feed you with scrummier, jucier fruits and veggies. Avoid adding meat, diary and cooked food. You can add cardboard, teabags, hair and nail clippings, lint, sawdust, grass clippings, leaves and egg-shells. Almost anything that was once living can make compost, just make it into a pile on the soil, mix it well, the worms will help, add water if it gets too dry and in a year you'll have compost: Kids make compost. What happens to the food waste at your school ? You could ask if your school can become an e-cool, eco-school and have a compost bin or wormery ? Make a wormery
Plant a tree: "Mighty oaks, from little acorns grow." The earth needs trees. Trees help the earth to breathe and help the fight against climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide. They are also great to climb, provide shade and are home to birds and other animals. If you havn't got space you can get involved with a community planting scheme: How to plant a tree.
Walk or cycle: As well as being good for you, this is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint with harmless footprints. Car exhausts cause pollution that is toxic to breathe, bad for your health and harmful to the environment. If you have to go a long way maybe you can car-share for fresher air, or ask the driver if they can turn the engine off, when waiting for longer than 30 seconds. If you need a new car, look for alternatives, such as electric cars.
Clean-up: Litter is waste in the wrong place. You can organise or participate in a clean-up of a local stream, park or beach. Remember to wear gloves and sensible footwear. It's best to avoid broken glass and recycle any cans you find. As well as making the area around you a nicer place to be and enjoy, you can save an animal's life by gathering up litter.
Plastic kills more than one million sea creatures a year. Turtles think plastic bags look like jellyfish, swallow them and then die. Birds mistake bits of plastic for food and choke on it. Plastic 6-pack rings can strangle a creature that gets trapped in it. It's a good idea to snip the rings before disposing of them to prevent this. Animals get tangled in discarded fishing lines and swallow lead weights, and ciggarette butts can kill fish. Being a litter picker is a great way to help wildlife.
Take Action: Spread the word and get involved. Your voice matters and you can get involved in an environmental campaign or even start your own. Check out Tree Musketeers; Kids saving theRainforest and Cool Kids, for ideas to get started, or One Climate Net to find like-minded "greenies". You may even end up getting a Eco Hero Award. It's also worth writing to, or emailing your local M.P. or elected official. It's their job to pass the laws and listen to you about your concerns and ideas. Find out if there's a local zoo or aquarium you could support by volunteering or maybe you could ask to "adopt an animal" for a birthday present, or ask your school to adopt one. Remember, knowledge is power, so find out as much as you can about our wonderful world and the balance of nature. There are lots of great websites and books out there to help you become an expert.
At the shops:
Buy Green: Reduce waste by looking for zero-packaging items or toxic-free and biodegradable goods. Look for long-life products when you need new batteries or lightbulbs or buy rechargeable batteries. The longer they last the less you have to buy them, which means less packaging and less products dumped on landfill. Search out products with recycled packaging and buy recycled paper or paper made from sustainable sources. Look for the FSC label which is a sign of well managed forests.
It's worth thinking "Do I really need this ?". If you buy things only when you need them it can help you to enjoy them more. Not only will you help save the planet you'll save money too !
Drinking bottled water may seem like a healthy option. The water is, but the bottle isn't ! The plastic can contain dangerous chemicals and it takes up millions of gallons of oil to create them and transport them, just to throw them away. It takes energy to deliver the bottles to the shops, when all you need to do is turn on the tap. Most of us have safe drinking water on tap, and if you don't like the taste you can get a water filter. Keep it in the fridge and fill up reusable bottles to take with you when you go out. To make an e-cool packed lunch, take a re-usable lunch box instead of plastic wrap and silver foil.
In the home:
Save Energy: By turning off lights when they are not in use you save the earth a lot of energy. Don't leave things on standby and unplug unused electronics and chargers. A laptop uses less energy than a desktop PC. All this helps to save the earth.
Instead of turning the heating up, get cosy in snuggly jumpers and blankets, or cuddle up with a friend or pet and share body heat, you can always dance and get fit at the same time as saving energy, for a guaranteed feel-good. Block draughts and close curtains at night to conserve the heat in your house. If you use air conditioning to cool down in Summer, there are some great and fun alternatives such as ice lollies and water pistol fights !.
Save Water: Conserve water by looking for leaks and getting them fixed. Turning the tap off while you're brushing your teeth and taking shorter showers instead of baths saves a lot of water. This stops unnecessary water needing to be cleaned and recycled which is an energy-thirsty process.
Save packaging: Learn to cook. It's great fun and avoids all the extra packaging that comes with processed, takeaway and fast food. Healthy and tasty too.
Now you have the challenge. Spread the word and.. Save the Earth.