You know the planet is an amazing place to live ... and it needs YOUR help! Check out these 10 easy tips to help save the Earth, then get 52 more Earth-saving tips in the April issue of Nat Geo Kids!
2. STRAW SENSE
Experts estimate that Americans use about 500 million plastic straws a day, and they're one of the top 10 trash items found during ocean cleanups. If you must use a straw, find a rusable metal straw or a paper version.
3. SAFE SUNSCREEN
Sunscreen helps keeps your skin healthy, but certain chemicals in some of the blocks can be bad for coral reefs. Before slathering just any sunscreen on your nose, check that the bottle identifies it as "reef-safe."
4. BUST THE BALLOONS
Balloons eventually fall back down to Earth ... and can end up in the ocean, entangling animals or being mistaken for food. Skip the balloons at your next party, and ask friends to do the same.
6. SLAY THE VAMPIRE
"Vampire" appliances suck energy even when turned off. Kill these monsters by unplugging phone and laptop chargers when not in use, and use power strips for lamps and TVs. (Bonus: It'll save your parents money on energy bills!)
7. SKIP THE SELFIE
Riding elephants, holding monkeys, and snapping pics with lion cubs might seem fun, but these animals might have been snatched from the wild and aren't being properly cared for. Avoid these activities on vacation unless you know the group is trustworthy and not exploiting animals. Ask your parents not to "like" similar photos on social media.
8. SHOP SMART
Don't buy souveniers or other items made from animals parts like scales, teeth, feathers, tortoise shells, seashells, coral, and especially ivory. Animals might have been harmed or distrubed to make them.
9. SHOE SLEUTH
Clean your shoes before going on a hike, especially in a new place, The mud caked in your sneakers may contain seeds of invasive plants, which can push out native plants that keep the ecosystem healthy.
10. SEND A POSTCARD
Send a letter, postcard, or drawing to your mayor, government representative, or even the president asking them to do something about these issues.
Credits: PAI-SHIH LEE, GETTY IMAGES (cat); LEVENT KONUK, SHUTTERSTOCK (reef); TOMMIDDLETON, DREAMSTIME (sea otter); Arun Roisri, Dreamstime (elephants); Brian Lasenby, Shutterstock (Everglades)