|Climate Change - Your Family Can Fight Global Warming
Your Family Can Take Climate Action Together – and Turn Down the Heat on Our Planet
It’s never too late to help nature by combating climate change. There are many things families can do around the house to reduce energy consumption. Doing so will result in fewer greenhouse gas emissions – one of the main contributors to global warming. Choose an activity and get your family started today!
How far has your food come to get on your dinner plate? One of the biggest causes of climate change is the transport of goods like food on trucks, boats and planes. Planes are particularly harmful to the climate because not only do they burn fossil fuels that make greenhouse gases, they put these gases high up in the atmosphere where the effect is worse.
One way we can help reduce climate change is to eat food that is grown locally and to have fruit and vegetables that are in season in your part of the country.
Climate Action: Have a look at different foods you have at home, and see if you can read on their packaging which country they come from. On a map, place an “x” where each item came from and then draw a line from there to your province. Now, look at the longest lines and the next time you go to a supermarket see if you can find the same sort of thing from somewhere closer to home.
As a family, try following these three rules:
What do plants, worms, frogs, and butterflies all have in common? They each reveal important truths about climate change. All you have to do is watch! Families across the country are recording simple observations about the world around them, such as bloom times for certain plants or frog populations in local ponds, as part of our national NatureWatch Program.
These easy recordings help scientists understand the impacts of climate change in Canada. You can participate in NatureWatch at your own pace and chosen location, even in your own backyard. Like most NatureWatchers, you’ll probably find that it is simple to incorporate nature observation into your regular routine.
Climate change affects all of us, including wildlife. The more people know about global warming, the better prepared they’ll be to do something about it. And everyone can do something – family, friends, your school, local businesses, big industry and governments.
So spread the word. The knowledge you pass on may make all the difference.
Climate Action: Use the internet, newspapers and magazines help your child or grandchild find 5 things he or she didn’t know about global warming. This could be a new discovery by scientists, or new technologies that produce fewer greenhouse gases, or even tips from conservation groups about reducing your impact on the environment. Let them pick their favourite story or fact.
Once your child has found 5 things he didn’t know before, tell 5 other people about them. These people could be teachers, relatives, friends or anyone they choose – even a newspaper!
Labels can be found on most of the products we buy. They tell us many things – who made the product, what colour it is – and they often contain information that can help you decide how much a product affects climate change.
Reading the label before you buy something is one way to be a green shopper and a friend of the planet.
Now that you know more about the products you bring home, shop around for things that have less impact on climate change.
There are many reasons to turn the lights on – imagine how many stubbed toes we’d have if we left the lights off at night! Fortunately, there are ways of lighting our homes while consuming less energy.
For example, compact fluorescent bulbs use about 75 per cent less electricity than older incandescent bulbs. Low energy bulbs not only use less electricity to power them, but they also last longer, so you don’t need to buy as many of them. In fact, in some parts of Canada, incandescent bulbs are being legally phased out of use.
Light bulbs are marked in “watts” to show how bright they are. The higher the number of watts, the more electricity they use.
Climate Action: With your child or grandchild, look at the writing on the light bulbs in your house. If they are low energy they will say so and will typically be 25 watts or less. How many bulbs in your home use more than 25 watts, and how many use fewer than 25 watts?
Next, think about which bulbs are on for the longest and as a family decide which ones you can replace with low energy bulbs. If you already have low energy bulbs, great!
Did you know? If all 12 million households in Canada replaced 16, 60-watt incandescent lightbulbs with 15-watt CFC lightbulbs, it would reduce the same amount of greenhouse-gas emissions as taking 1 million cars off the road.
We are a mobile society. Busy families have places to go – and many ways to get there. How do you like to get around? By car, even for short trips?
Most cars use fossil fuels and put out a lot of carbon dioxide in their exhaust fumes. So do buses and trains but they carry a lot more people, so every time you use public transport instead of a car, you are doing your bit to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere.
Even better, if you cycle or walk for short trips, you not to only release far less carbon dioxide, which is kind to the environment, but you and your children will experience the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
Climate Action: With your children, draw up a list of all the trips your family takes in a week or month. Trips to the grocery store, school, the office, soccer practice, a grandparent’s house – now write down your transportation options. Can you walk, cycle or take the bus for some of these trips? Can you car-pool? Try to commit to reducing your use of the car where you can.
People and wildlife need water to survive. The water we use comes from rain that is collected in lakes, rivers, reservoirs or from the ground. It may seem like there is a never-ending supply of water coming from our faucets and showers, but climate change is starting to have an effect. Climate forecasters tell us that we’ll have much hotter, drier summers in the coming years, so there will be less water when we need it more. It takes a lot of energy to turn rainwater into drinking water. And the more energy we use, the more impact we have on the climate. So saving water is great for wildlife as well as the climate.
Climate Action: Ask your child to count the number of taps you have in your house, and don’t forget outdoor taps. Now see if any of them drip when turned off normally. If none do, great! If any do, explain why that tap should get fixed.
Posters and drawings can make a difference. A big, simple, eye-catching message gets people’s attention and starts them thinking.
Climate Action: Ask your child to make a poster and put it somewhere where people will see it – in a window or on a wall. Suggest that they make their poster as bright and eye-catching as possible, but make the message clear. Here are some suggestions of climate change themes your child can use for a poster.
They can paint or draw their poster, use different materials – let them use their imagination! Just make sure it is big and bright so people will notice.
Every time we leave a computer, television, lamp, or electrical appliance on, even on standby, we are wasting electricity – and contributing to climate change. How?
Electricity is made by burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas. Fossil fuels, which are formed from plants that have been dead for millions of years, contain carbon which is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide when we burn them. Carbon dioxide is one of the main greenhouse gases that cause climate change.
Climate Action: With your child, count the number of electrical appliances in your home. How many are left on standby? Now count how many appliances – TVs, computers, radios – can be unplugged when not in use.
Your child may also want to draw small signs and stick them to some appliances as reminders to shut them off completely when no one is using them.
Adopted from resources provided by Nature Canada's BirdLife International partner in the UK, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.