It’s easy to protect the planet! These tips help save limited resources such as water, energy, and animals; prevent landfill waste; or decrease harmful gases, such as CO2, which contribute to global warming. So get green and give the tips a try. Make sure to ask your parents before trying any of these tips!
Recycle and Reuse
- Set out cans and bottles for neighborhood pickup, or exchange them for cash at a recycling center. Most community trash services will pick up your recycled bottles and cans.
Find a recycling center near you.
- Choose rechargeable batteries, then recycle them when they die. You'd have to use hundreds of single-use batteries to equal the energy you'd get out of one rechargable battery. Be sure to recycle all batteries to keep harmful metals from entering the environment.
Learn about recycling batteries.
- The next time you have the impulse to buy a new book to read, borrow it from the library or a friend instead of buying a new copy. Sharing books is a great way to reduce waste and reuse materials.
- When you drink bottled water, reuse the bottle before recycling it.
- Buy toys that last. Toys are made, directly or indirectly, from natural resources. Choose toys that won't break easily so you aren't always buying more stuff or creating more trash.
Improve the Outdoors
- Plant a deciduous (leafy) tree that loses its leaves in fall on the south side of your home. Its shade will cool your house in the summer. After the tree’s leaves fall, sunlight will help warm your house in winter. Trees help clean the air we breathe. They produce oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide.
Learn how to plant a tree.
- Participate in cleanup days at a beach or park. Use those outdoor trash cans! Never litter. Keep our waterways clean. When you visit a park or beach, be sure you deposit your trash in containers and volunteer at some state and national cleanups.
California Coastal Cleanup.
- Don't kill that spider! There are an estimated 40,000 species of spiders, and they all eat insects. They're an important part of the food web and provide natural pest control.
- Safeguard storm drains. Don't litter. Trash tossed carelessly outside often washes into storm drains, which empty into rivers and streams that eventually flow to the oceans. Pollution is a growing problem for all the Earth's ocean and its wildlife.
- Don't ditch your pet. If you can't keep your pet, find it a new home, return it to the store where you bought it, or give it to an animal shelter.
Give to a Worthy Cause
- “Adopt” an endangered animal through a charity.
Learn more about what you can do.
Cut Down on Waste
- Ban all drips. If you have a dripping faucet in the house, ask your parents to replace the washer inside it. If you stop a faucet from leaking one drop each second, you can save 2,700 gallons of water a year.
- Don't pile your plate. "When's dinner?" you want to know. You're starving after a long day at school! Even so, restrain yourself and take only what you know you'll really be able to eat. Enough edible food to feed 49 million people ends up in landfills in the United States each year.
Spread the Word
- Celebrate Earth Day. On April 22, celebrate by starting a new Earth-friendly habit. Spread the word! The more people who treat the Earth well, the safer all its inhabitants will be.
For more green ideas, check out National Geographic Kids magazine.
Text contributed by Emily Busch, David George Gordon, and Catherine D. Hughes