Try This: Make Your Home Green
Now that we've seen the effects of global warming and the greenhouse problem, how can we go about changing the way we live our lives at home and in our communities to reduce our effect on the environment?
How green is your home?
WHAT YOU NEED
Your family Pencil
WHAT TO DO
Read the list in the following Your Notes section. It explains all kinds of things you can do to help the environment.
With your family, use the list to see which things you're already doing and which things you can start doing.
Don't feel like you need to accomplish everything on the whole list all at once. Choose a few things to do at a time. It's always important to make sure you are being ecologically responsible.
Caring for our planet begins at home. By looking around your house and changing simple things in your life, you can do your part to help conserve precious resources. Earth is a big planet with many, many people depending on the same water, food, fuel, and air. We must think like a global community and make wise decisions based on how everyone on the planet might be affected.
Plant a Tree!
Trees are essential to our survival on Earth. By planting an acre of trees, we can remove more than two tons of carbon dioxide from the air.
Make sure the faucet is turned off and not dripping. Leaky faucets can waste thousands of gallons of water a year.
Use less soap when you wash your hands or take a bath. You can still get clean and save soap. This means you won't have to buy soap as often, and you'll create less waste.
Turn off the faucet when you're brushing and flossing your teeth.
Wash dishes in cold or lukewarm water rather than hot water. You'll save energy and money.
Living Room/Dining Room
Turn off the lights when you're not in the room. Electricity comes from a power plant that burns coal. A byproduct of burning coal is carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas.
Turn off the TV and the computer when you're not using them.
Use the backs of envelopes for grocery lists or quick phone messages rather than always using a fresh sheet of paper.
Lower the thermostat by two degrees in winter so that the heater doesn't have to work so hard to heat the house. In the summer, raise the thermostat two degrees so that the air conditioner doesn't have to work so hard.
Throughout the house, replace your regular light bulbs with energy-saving light bulbs. You'll save money and electricity.
So what happens when you recycle? The first step lies with people like you who sort recyclable items into the correct bins—paper, glass, metal—so that they can be collected by the city. Next, the city does another sort and cleans the objects, getting them ready for sale to manufacturers who will use them in their products. The last step lies once again with you to buy products that are made from recycled products to keep the recycling cycle going.
Donate toys, games, and books you no longer use so that others can use them and not have to buy new ones. Reusing and sharing existing products creates less waste.
Donate old clothes or find ways to reuse the material to make bags or hats or scarves.
Use rechargeable batteries so that you don't have to constantly buy new batteries.
Outside the House
Find a large barrel to collect rainwater. Rainwater can be used to water plants in the garden, to wash the car, and to clean the floors in your house.
Plant flowers to encourage bees to visit your garden. Bees are very important for our environment.
Make sure the faucet to the garden hose is tightly turned off. In the winter, disconnect the hose to prevent water from freezing and bursting the hose.
Go to the library to check out books rather than always buying new books. This saves resources and money.
Invent games to play outside rather than always turning on the TV or playing video games. Appliances use electricity, which burns our natural resources. Playing outside is healthy and fun, too!
Walk, ride your bike, or take public transportation when you're traveling around town. Avoid driving in the car unless you're going long distances. Then see if you can carpool with some friends to save gas.
Bring reusable bags to the grocery store rather than always using plastic bags. Plastic bags do not break down in our garbage and biodegrade. Instead, they sit in our landfills for a very long time.
Shop for locally grown produce rather than buying fruits and vegetables that come from other countries. When we import our food, we use up resources that we could save if we bought the food nearby.