Knowledge: Being in the Know
You learn about important subjects in school, such as History, Science, Math, and English. The environment is just as important, but sometimes it is difficult to find information on ways we can help save our earth. Your generation can make a huge difference; and we are asking you to start helping now. To make a difference in our environment, you need to understand what type of impact you and your family are having on the earth.
Understand Your Carbon Footprint
Your carbon footprint represents how much carbon dioxide (CO2) your lifestyle creates. Home energy use, cars, and airplanes are how most of us produce carbon. The average American is responsible for 9.44 tons CO2/year. This can have a significant negative impact on our earth in the following ways:
- Global warming
- Smog in cities
- Acid rain
As fossil fuels and deforestation continue to increase, there will be more and more carbon dioxide polluting our earth. That is why it is important to identify ways to decrease your carbon footprint. A list of ideas follows(please make sure to ask your parents if the ideas are OK):
- Change Your Thermostat
– By simply changing your thermostat by two degrees, you will get an estimated decrease in carbon emissions of 2,000 pounds and save $98 annually!
- Run the Dishwasher full
– The energy used to heat water, spray it on the dishes, and finally dry them can add a lot to your carbon footprint. Try loading the machine completely before running it. By doing so, you could save $40 annually while reducing your carbon emissions by 200 pounds.
- Ride your bike, take a bus, or carpool
– This will decrease your carbon emissions and save money.
Fun Activity: Based on what you know, calculate your carbon footprint to see what kind of effect you are having on your environment. Calculate your carbon footprint at the site below.
We use energy on a daily basis to light our homes, power machines, cook food, and operate electronic products such as TVs. Reducing the amount of energy used around the house and in the community can not only protect our environment but save a lot of money. The energy we use to heat our homes or turn on the television cost your parent’s money each month and by wasting energy, you are wasting money.
Energy Usage Facts:
- Ninety percent of a washing machine’s energy is spent heating water. That means the less wash that you family does, especially using hot water, the less water and energy will be used.
- A color TV left on standby can eat up to 85 percent of the energy it uses when it is turned on.
- Half of your home’s energy bills are due to heating and cooling. In fact, 10 percent of the bill is caused by air leaking through the ceilings, floors, walls, and windows.
Greening Tips for the Home:
- If you wash two loads of laundry a week and switch from hot to cold water, you can reduce water usage by more than 3,300 gallons a year, which will save your parents a lot of money.
- All the little appliances in the kitchen (such as the coffee machine, toaster, TV) use up energy even when you or your parents are not using them. Ask your parents which ones can be unplugged when not in use.
- If every home in America replaced just one incandescent light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified CFL, in one year it would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes. That would prevent the release of greenhouse gas emissions equal to that of about 800,000 cars
Fun Activity: When your family is considering purchasing new electronic equipment (TV, toaster, microwave, oven, washer and dryer), discuss how the products will affect the environment and determine ways to reduce your energy output. You can visit www.energystar.com for energy-saving products and tips
Learning is part of our everyday lives and it is important to continue our education even outside of the classroom. Thanks to the Internet, information is constantly at our fingertips, including information on greening the environment. Read up on greening facts and suggestions by visiting Web sites that teach you how to make a big difference in the world we live in.
List of websites to learn about how to take care of our environment: