Save Planet Earth

Ideas were taken from the book Mission Save the Planet – Things you can do to help fight global warming by Sally
Ride and Tam O’Shaughnessy; Roaring Brook Press 2009
Energy in our Lives:
Energy is essential. We use it for heat,
electricity, transportation and manufacturing.
We all need it to stay warm, to cook food
and to have light in the night. We use energy
to fuel our airplanes and cars and we use it
to make things in factories. Everything from
peanut butter to plastic bottles, from T-shirts
to cell phones takes a lot of energy to make.
Where does the worlds, energy come
from today? Over 85% of it comes
from fossil fuels like coal, oil and
natural gas. The rest comes from
many other sources like wind, water,
radioactive atoms and the sun.
When do I use Energy ?
For one day keep track of all the things you do that use energy and as a result send carbon
dioxide into the air. (for example watching TV, sending emails, calling on a cell phone, turning
on light, riding a car). This will make you aware of your energy consumption.
My Energy Consumption Today:
What’s the problem?
The problem with fossil fuels is when they are burned they send carbon
dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases into the air. Year after year for the
past two centuries carbon dioxide has been piling up in our atmosphere and
more is added every day. This buildup changes our air and makes our world
warmer. We can already see changes all over the globe. Oceans are warmer,
mountain glaciers are melting, ice shelves are crumbling and sea levels are
rising. The CO2 in the air also dissolves in the oceans making them more
acidic. So from the rainforests and the dry deserts to the icy poles and sea,
animals and plants are struggling to survive.
What can we do?
Scientists are working hard to come up with solutions to stop the
buildup of heat-trapping gases in our air. But we can do things too. It
is time to make choices that are better for our planet. When we use
less energy, less fuel is burned and less CO2 goes into the air. It is as
simple as that and you can help to make a difference!
What can I do?
Challenge yourself for one week to reduce your energy consumption. You can start
with the suggestions we have provided on our list. Be creative. You will probably
come up with many more cool ideas to save energy. Keep saving energy!
What I did
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Why this is good/
What is different?
Here is a list of things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint and
conserve energy:
What I can do
Turn off lights when you leave a room
Turn off lights when you are not using them. Check your
home if there are lights on in an empty room
Recycle paper, cans, glass and plastic
We throw away about 4.6 pounds of waste per person per
day. All that stuff overloads landfills. Please recycle but
make sure you know what can be recycled and what not.
Find out where to bring batteries, fluorescent light bulbs
and other hazardous waste.
Avoid plastic water bottles
Americans drink more than 70 million water bottles a day.
Each bottle takes hundreds of years to decompose in a
landfill. Turning oil into plastic releases CO2 into the air.
Turn off water when brushing your teeth
This is an easy way to save water. If you let the water run
for 2 min while brushing your teeth you waste 8L of water
(that’s 2 gallons of water!)
Take short showers
Taking a shower wastes less energy than taking a bath
but it also depends on how long a shower you take. A
bathtub holds about 50 gallons of water. If you shower for
more than 10 min you use more water. Challenge yourself
and your family to take short showers. Who can take the
shortest and still get clean?
Carpool or ride your bike, hop on the bus or
This is the easiest and best way to reduce your carbon
footprint. Each gallon of gasoline produces 20 pounds of
CO2. Walk or ride your bike whenever you can; it is good
for you and the environment. On average, a carpool saves
4536 tons of CO2 each year.
Check for leaky faucets
A simple leaky facet can waste 2,000 gallons of water in
a year. Check all the faucets and toilets in your
house/apartment for leaky ones and talk to your parents
or landlord about fixing them
Lower the thermostat in winter and avoid
the air conditioner in summer
Put on a sweater and socks before you turn up the
heater. Heating takes a lot of energy. By lowering the
thermostat by 2 degree F you save 350 pounds of CO2
each year. In summer don’t run the air conditioner, use
ceiling fans or open the windows instead. Fans use far
less energy than air conditioners and can make a room
feel 7 degrees cooler.
Eat locally grown food
This means buying food that has been produced within
100 miles of your neighborhood. Talk to your parents
about looking for locally grown food in your supermarket
or shop at local farmers’ markets. On average food in
the US travels 1,490 miles to get to your plate.
Transportation by truck, airplane, ship or train uses a lot
of energy and tons of CO2 release into the air.
Decide what you want to get before you
open the refrigerator
If you stand in front of the fridge with the door open for 5
min deciding what kind of food you want, you let out 30%
of the cold air. That's a lot of energy wasted.
Bring your own bag for grocery shopping
When shopping at a supermarket what is more green
paper or plastic?
The answer is neither: Both can be recycled. Paper uses
more water in production and plastic is made from oil
and sends CO2 into the air. The best is bring your own
reusable cotton bag.
Plant a tree
Trees are good for the environment They soak up lots of
carbon dioxide gas during photosynthesis. As trees grow
they remove CO2 from the air and store it in their leaves,
branches and trunk. Each tree planted offsets about 1
ton or 2,000 pounds of carbon over its lifetime.
Buy products with less packaging or those
in recyclable containers
This means buy in bulk (larger quantities), consume less
and choose products that are made from recycled
materials. You will prevent more than 200 pounds of CO2
from going into the air. Recycled paper uses 65% less
energy, 80% less water and 95% less CO2.
Replace conventional light bulbs with
energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs
Talk to your parents or landlord about this. Replacing one
60 Watt light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb uses
Run your dishwasher only with a full load
This is good news for you if you have to do the dishes!
Most dishwashers are more energy and water efficient
than washing your dishes by hand. A full load uses half
the energy and one sixth of water. If you turn the heated
dry cycle off you save even more energy.
75% less energy.
How Far Has My Meal Traveled?
On average food in the United States travels 1,490 miles to get to your plate.
Transporting this food for thousands of miles by trucks, trains, ships or airplanes
uses a lot of energy and releases tons of carbon dioxide into the air.
How far did your dinner travel to get to your table?
Make a list of what you ate for dinner recently at your home. Next time you go
to the grocery store find out where your food came from (maybe with the help
of your parents or the store manager). Pre-packed food will tell you on the
label and fruit and vegetables will have signs in the store. Pick 4 or 5 items
from your list; this will give you an idea. What food traveled the farthest?
What could you do to make a change?
Think globally - buy locally!
How Far Has My Meal Traveled?
Dinner item
Where from
Continues on next page
Miles from Home
Total Miles
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