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.


Let's get started.


  1. 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!)
  2. 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!)
  3. 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!)
  4. 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 of trees.
  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 it!
  9. 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!).
  10. 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!



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