By Stephanie Curson
Between pollution, deforestation, burning fossil fuels, and factory farming our home is really heating up – humans are in the process of causing irreversible damage to our planet. As tweens, do you ever wonder if there’s anything you can do to help the Earth? The answer is YES!
16-year-old Greta Thunberg is a climate and environmental activist. Greta started the movement “Fridays for Future” which now involves over 100,000 school children. She stages protests asking those in charge to take action to help stop climate change. She believes no one is too small to make a difference. If she can take the international stage with her marches, speeches, and social media posts, you can certainly get involved too!
Greta has changed her carbon footprint by doing a few simple things each day. Here are some ways you can help the Earth like Greta.
- Eat less meat. Raising animals for food requires huge amounts of land, food, energy, and water. Globally, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gases than all the world’s transportation systems combined. By leaving meat off your plate you are helping to save those precious natural resources. The billions of animals trapped in factory farms will thank you too.
- Carry a tote. Every time you buy something, chances are you take it home in a plastic bag. Plastic bags are often used once and thrown away. Unfortunately, these bags do not break down in landfills, kill many wild animals, and end up releasing harmful chemicals. By carrying your own reusable tote, you can stop contributing to this terrible problem. Reusable bags come in great colors and designs, and they fold up and can go anywhere you go.
- Carry a reusable water bottle. Disposable plastic water bottles, like plastic bags, take a lot of energy to make. They are often not recycled, and end up creating massive amounts of litter. By bringing your own handy water bottle wherever you go, you can reduce your trash impact. There are countless fun stainless steel and BPA-free durable plastic bottles in stores everywhere. Show off your favorite team, vacation place, or saying with your new reusable bottle.
- Donate your old clothes and toys. Other kids would love to have the things you’ve grown out of or stopped using. People buy so many new things, and most of these things end up as trash. By buying less and donating more, you are making a big difference.
Finally, just speak up and speak out. Tell others what you are doing and what you’ve learned about helping fight climate change. You can get some friends together and start a club, pick up trash at the beach or park, and post about your new Earth-friendly ways.
Stephanie Curson is an elementary school teacher with masters in school counseling and reading literacy. She volunteers for The Humane League and other environmental and animal welfare nonprofits. Stephanie teaches her students about helping the Earth, empowering them to make a difference in their everyday lives.