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Mission Planet Save 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 (CO 2) 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 CO 2 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 CO 2 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 Why 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 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 CO 2 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 8 L 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 walk This is the easiest and best way to reduce your carbon footprint. Each gallon of gasoline produces 20 pounds of CO 2. Walk or ride your bike whenever you can; it is good for you and the environment. On average, a carpool saves 4536 tons of CO 2 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 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 thermostat by 2 degree F you save 350 pounds of CO 2 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 CO 2 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 CO 2 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 CO 2 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 CO 2 from going into the air. Recycled paper uses 65% less energy, 80% less water and 95% less CO 2. 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? Menu Dinner item Where from Meat Seafood Vegetables Pasta/Rice Fruit Continues on next page Miles from Home
Drinks Dessert Other Total Miles