10 Simple Things to Do
to Save the Earth
You say you care about this revolving speck we call home. And
you really want to do something to protect our environment, but
you just don't know WHERE TO START? You are in the right place
at exactly the right time.
HERE and NOW.
Let's get started.
- Recycle glass. It takes a lot more energy to make a new glass bottle than it
does to make one out of recycled glass. So stop throwing away
jars and bottles at home and at school. Lots of communities do
curbside recycling. If yours doesn't, find the nearest recycling
center (in the phone book) and get the glass there. (They'll even
buy it back from you!)
- Recycle aluminum cans. After you've drained the last drop of goodness from that soda
can find a recycling bin. None around? Then stomp the life out
of that can and stick it in your backpack. Bring it home and recycle
it from there. Like glass, it takes a whole lot more energy to
make a new can than one out of recycled aluminum. And when you're
out in the world, pick up those cans (and bottles) other people
have tossed! You'll be cleaning up our planet and your recycling
center will pay you about $.65 a pound for aluminum. (Not bad
for something you used to throw away!)
- Cut up those plastic six-pack rings. While we're talking about soda, it's a really good idea to cut
up those rings before you toss 'em. Too often animals, birds,
and fish get their heads stuck in the rings (they're practically
invisible underwater) and are badly cut. Or they choke to death
in the rings or die from starvation. Not nice and a real simple
problem to solve. (Get out your scissors!)
- Down with Paper Bags. How many times have you bought a candy bar or a bottle of shampoo
and the store clerk wants to put it in a paper bag? Don't let
'em! Just say, "I don't need a bag. Thanks anyway." You'll be
saving a whole lot of trees. Also, when you or your parents do
a big food shopping, bring along grocery bags from home and use
them again. Or better yet, get some cloth bags with handles. They
are strong, reusable for ever, and don't cause the destruction
- Save Water. Those of you who have ever lived through a drought know that saving
water is a really good idea. Did you also know that the average
5 minute shower uses 25 gallons of water. (When was the last time
you were actually out of the shower in 5 minutes?!) Multiply that
by the number of people in your family and the number of showers
taken every week and you get an awful lot of water going down
the drain. We're not suggesting you stop showering... just raise
your awareness about how much time you actually spend in there.
Also low-flow shower heads are available in hardware stores. And when you're
brushing your teeth, just wet the brush and turn off the faucet
'til you need to rinse!
- Get rechargeable batteries for your electronic toys. Regular batteries have mercury (a poisonous chemical) in them.
When those batteries are chucked out the mercury eventually leaks
into the ground and the water table. Not good for plants, animals,
or people. Rechargeable batteries are made to be reused, not thrown
out (and anything reusable is good for the Earth). Sure they cost
more at first, but in the long run it's a much better deal than
having to keep on buying batteries for you calculator, video game,
boom box, etc.
- Save electricity. That way you save energy which keeps the environment cleaner.
So when you're not using something electric, turn it off. So simple.
So easy to forget. Build it into your consciousness and spread
the word amongst the people you live with. Flip that switch when
you leave the room. During the day, open the shades and tap into
the sun... it's free and clean.
- Close the refrigerator door! The 'fridge uses lots of energy. Think about it... it's on all the time! Whenever you open the door (and stand there trying to figure out
what you feel like eating) the cold air escapes and the warm air
from the kitchen rushes in. Know what that means? The refrigerator's
motor now has to work that much harder to bring the temperature
inside back down to that nice cool level. So figure out what you
want before you open the door. Then get what you need and close
- Use alternate forms of transportation. If you don't need to use a car to get where you're going... don't!
Walk, or run. Ride a bike, take a bus, roller blade, skateboard.
Every time you leave the car at home you're doing your part to
make the air cleaner and the roads less jammed. You'll also be
giving yourself a good physical workout (as long as you jog to
the bus stop and back!).
- Write letters to people in power. If there is an environmental issue in your community that you
feel needs attention, let people know. Write a letter to the editor
of the newspaper. Or the mayor, or a county official. If it's
an international issue, like the world-wide ban on whaling...
go to the top. Write to the President or Prime Minister of your
country or the top person in any country involved in the issue.
Guaranteed your letter will make an impression. Because political
people figure that if one person writes a letter, then there are
probably a thousand other people who feel the same way who didn't
write. And if two people write a letter or two hundred people...
well, then obviously this is an issue that needs attention, which
is exactly what you thought in the first place.
Got more ideas of simple things young people can do to help the
environment? Tell us!
S P A C E S H I P
E A R T H
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January 5, 2005
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