The greenhouse effect is when gases in the air act like a blanket trapping heat from the sun. The greenhouse gases keep the temperature on earth at an average of 16°C. Without these gases the earth’s surface temperature would be about -18°C, way too cold for us!

Because of our high levels of energy use, as well as the way we make energy, there's too much of the gas Carbon Dioxide in our atmosphere. Carbon Dioxide acts like a thicker blanket, making our planet too warm. This is often called Global Warming.

With your teacher’s help you could check out the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) statistics.

For carbon dioxide emissions:

http://data.oecd.org/air/air-and-ghg-emissions.htm

For greenhouse gas emissions:

http://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx > Environment> Air and climate> Greenhouse gas emissions

Choose clean energy sources

1

The first step is to choose clean sources of energy like solar and wind if you can. These are naturally occurring and don’t pollute the atmosphere. And you can tell your parents it will save them money too!

2

Use your own energy! Walk or ride a bike to school, or maybe even car-pool with your friends so there are fewer cars on the road. Could you could catch public transport?

3

Use natural sources of light and heat. Who does the washing at home? Encourage them to use the Sun’s natural energy by drying clothes on a clothes line instead of using an dryer. 

4

Close the windows and curtains in your home if it’s going to be extremely hot or cold. This helps keep the warm air inside and the nasty weather out so you don’t have to rely on energy-hungry air conditioners and heaters.

A family is carelessly and unknowingly wasting energy from the moment they wake up.

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Change your habits

Turn it off

Did you know that many household appliances like TVs, microwaves, stereos, computers and phone chargers, still consume energy when they’re on stand-by? Turn them off at the power point when you’re not using them to save energy. Same goes for lights. Switch them off when you leave the room.

Cook cleverly

If you need to warm up a snack, use a microwave. It’s quicker and more energy efficient than an oven. If you need to cook in the oven, don’t open the door too often. Each time you do, you’ll lose 14-20°C. 

Use cold water

When your clothes are being washed, make sure the machine is set to use cold water. This uses much less energy than hot water and still cleans your clothes.

Wait for a full load

Only put the washing machine or dishwasher on when you have a full load, to save both water and energy in your household. It’s a great way to be energy smart.

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Keep it close to home

Most of the things in your supermarket have travelled a long way! Think of all the energy used to package and transport each product from the farm or factory to your supermarket. Often buying things that are made or grown nearby means less energy used.

Buy local

Have a look outside your local supermarket. Farmers markets and smaller shops often have the same fresh food, but are grown either in your state or just around the corner.

Feed yourself

Many families and schools now grow their own vegetables. More homes have chickens. Not only are these healthy options, but they help to reduce the energy used in transporting food.

Reuse and recycle

Don’t throw things away that could  bereused or recycled! We can save lots of energy by not buying everything new. Swap books, clothes and toys with your friends to save energy.

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Wrap up

1

It’s important that we all learn how to be energy smart. If we all make small changes, we can significantly reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.

2

At home, switching off stand-by appliances is an easy and effective way to save energy. Being smart about when and how you use appliances is important, too. 

3

Being smart about the types of products you buy can save energy. Look for locally grown produce and recycled goods.  

4

Don’t give up! If we all do our little bit, we can make sure we live in a cleaner environment.