How to save the planet: a kids’ guide!
Check out our top tips for becoming an eco-hero…
Here at National Geographic Kids, we know how much our readers want to make a positive difference to our world! So, read on to find out how to save the planet…
1. Be a habitat hero!
All over the world, wild places are in trouble. As the human population has increased, we’ve taken over more and more land for our homes, farms, factories and roads.
In the rainforest, around 80,000 acres of trees are cut down every day to make way for farming, or to provide wood for industry. In other countries, habitats like grasslands, underwater habitats, and wetlands are also at risk – and so are the animals and plants that live there.
Luckily, lots of people are working hard to protect these precious places, and you can be one of them!
- So, how can you help save our habitats?
- – Stand up against deforestation, by avoiding foods that contain unsustainable palm oil. You can find out more about palm oil, and how to steer clear of it, in this article.
- – Keep your local habitats safe by sticking to the paths.
- – Make your garden wildlife-friendly by setting aside space for nature! You could build a bee hotel, have a log pile, or even create a pond.
- – If you own a cat that goes outdoors, put a bell on its collar so that vulnerable wildlife can hear it coming and make their escape!
2. Reduce, reuse, recycle!
We live in a ‘throwaway culture‘, where many of our things aren’t built to last. Each year, every house in the UK produces about 1 tonne of waste – that’s about the same weight as a great white shark!
What’s worse, is that 60% of what we throw away, is actually recyclable! That’s why it’s super important to check the label on every piece of rubbish, to make sure you’re putting it in the right bin.
Check out our article on the circular economy to find out more about this wasteful culture…
Even better, you can avoid throwing things away altogether, by buying fewer things, taking better care of the things you have, and finding ways to repair or reuse things that are old or broken.
- So, how can you reduce your waste?
- – Before you throw something away, stop and think about what else it could be used for! For example, rather than using disposable paper towels to clean up in the kitchen, why not turn old clothes or bedsheets into cloths? Then, you can use them over and over again!
- – Ask a grown-up if they can teach you to mend small rips in your clothes, so that they last longer! And if you really have to get rid of something, see if you can give it to charity instead.
- – Fight plastic pollution by using reusable water bottles, bringing reusable bags with you to the shops, and always taking your rubbish home with you.
- – Take your plastic prevention one step further by checking out our ten top tips, learning how to make plastic-free gifts, and reducing plastic waste in school too!
3. Be a green eater!
In the past, people thought that we could take whatever we wanted from the planet, without any consequences! Now, we know that’s not true. If we keep taking as much as we want, whenever we want, our planet’s resources could one day run out.
That’s why it’s important that we try to live sustainably. Issues like overfishing, water scarcity (when there’s not enough clean water to go around), and climate change are all affected by our lifestyle choices. Thankfully, there’s lots we can do to help.
Around the world, we eat a whopping total of 360 million tonnes of meat and 156 million tonnes of fish every year. That’s an astonishing amount!
If we could all cut down, just a little bit, it would take the pressure off natural ecosystems, and ensure that these animals – and their habitats – have a healthy future.
- So, how can you become a green eater?
- – Talk to your family, and ask if you could all try some vegetarian or vegan meals. There are loads of meat-free and plant-based recipes available online, or you can try our veggie pasta bake!
- – Know where your food comes from! When you’re in the supermarket, ask a grown-up to help check things like tins of tuna for signs that they’ve been sustainably fished, like the blue MSC label. These will have been sourced responsibly, in a way that helps protect fish populations.
4. Keep an eye on what you use!
Our daily lives require an amazing amount of water and energy. In countries like the UK, Australia, or the USA, these things are available at the push of a button or turn of a tap – but sadly, that’s not the case for everyone…
Around the world, 2.5 billion people have no (or unreliable) access to electricity. Plus, 4.2 billion struggle to access clean water every day, which they need for drinking, bathing, washing, growing crops and rearing animals. That’s why those of us that have access to these precious resources should be careful not to waste them.
- So, what can you do to save energy and water?
- – Go on a vampire hunt! Household appliances that are unnecessarily left on standby are known as ‘vampire devices‘ as they sneakily suck up lots of electricity! Make sure they’re all turned off at the wall, to stop them wasting power.
- – On a sunny day, hang things outside to dry! This saves energy that would have been used on the dryer.
- – If you can, try cycling, walking, or using public transport to get out and about, rather than using the car.
- – Turn off any dripping taps, and make sure you don’t run them for longer than necessary. Turn the taps off while brushing your teeth, and take short showers of four minutes or less!
5. Be a planet advocate!
The real secret of how to save the planet? Sharing your knowledge with others, and helping them to become eco-heroes too! Whether it’s spectacular habitats, cool creatures, or eco-friendly living, don’t be afraid to speak up and tell others about your planet passions! It takes lots of people working together to make change happen – so share, share, share!
Now, get out there and save the world – you can do it!