The following resources can assist you as a teacher or parent in educating children about climate change, and how to reduce your carbon footprint.
For youth involved in the Cool It! Challenge through their school, many of these resources will help you complete some of the actions on the Challenge form and continue those actions into the future!
50+ GREEN INITIATIVES:Individuals and organizations alike have taken it upon themselves to help the world become clean and green, one step at a time. Here are 50+ amazing green initiatives that could very well keep climate change in check.
ACTIVE TRAVEL: Almost half of your family’s carbon dioxide emissions come from transportation. Owning and using a car can cost $5,000-$8,000 per year. As well as contributing to smog which harms health, burning 1 litre of gasoline emits 2.3 kg of CO2 and 1 litre of diesel emits 2.7 kg of CO2. People who walk, bike or take transit rather than driving get more exercise and save money. An option is to replace a car with a car share service to compliment active travel. How much gasoline/diesel does your family’s car use? This information is in the owner’s manual or click here.
LOCAL FOOD: On average food travels 2,500 km by trucks, ships and airplanes. The transportation fuel and HCFC leaks from refrigeration also contribute to GHG emissions. Eating food that is locally grown creates resilient food security. Find out what grows in BC. Find out what is in season in BC. Tip: Go to a local farmer’s market or farm.
ORGANIC FOOD: Producing foods organically emits less GHGs, as chemical fertilizers and pesticides are not used, which are often made from fossil fuels and generate GHGs in their production. Chemical farming also uses much more energy than organic farming. In addition, the use of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers in soils produces nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that is approximately 300 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere. Organic farms, on the other hand — which rely on natural manure and compost for fertilizer — store much more carbon in the soil, keeping it out of the atmosphere.
COMPOST & REDUCE FOOD WASTE: One quarter of what goes to landfill is compostable, especially food scraps, and can account for 40% of home based carbon emissions. Decomposing food emits methane which absorbs more heat than carbon dioxide. About 20%-40% of food is wasted and ends in the landfill or green bin. The average North American wastes 1600 calories per day. Decomposing food emits methane in landfills and wastes money, water and other resources. Sources of food waste comes from buying too much, not planning how to use food, or not finishing your plate. Left-over veggies, meat or fish can be added in soups, stews, casseroles, pastas or stir fries. If you can’t finish your supper, you can bring it for lunch the next day. This will also save money on your food bill.
MEAT-FREE: Meat production is responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide), water pollution, deforestation, soil erosion and habitat loss with beef/dairy responsible for most of this. Animal products comprise 27% of the North American diet. Reducing this to 10% will reduce GHGs by 1 tonne/year. This will also save money because meat alternatives are less expensive. Note that most fish stocks in the ocean are already over-fished and most fish farming harms ecosystems. Alternatives to meat are beans, peas, chickpeas, lentils, tofu, tempeh, falafels, mushrooms, quinoa, nuts, seeds, veggie meat, veggie protein and eggs. Yogourt and soft cheeses (ex. feta, ricotta, cottage cheese) also have lower GHG emissions than meat and hard cheeses.
HOME HEATING: Almost 30% of your GHGs are emitted by heating and air conditioning your home. Each week turn down the thermostat by 2˚ C and save 5% on your heating bill. Instead of walking around the house in shorts, t-shirts and bare feet in the winter, put on a sweater, sweatshirt, pants and socks. Close the curtains at night to keep heat in. You can save 5%-10% on your heating bill and your home will be more comfortable. If you have single pane windows and a space in between the outside door and the door frame help your parents install draft proofing foam tape in between the door and door frame and draft proof your windows/patio doors and frames with shrink plastic. This is an inexpensive way to make your home more comfortable, eliminate condensation and mold on the windows and will save 10%-15% of your heating bill.
WATER WISE: About 11% of your GHGs are emitted from heating hot water. Reduce your hot water and save money. Take a short shower to use less hot water. Time yourself in the shower and aim for 4 minutes. Save up to $140 per year. Every week, wash your laundry in cold water instead of warm or hot and reduce your hot water use by 90% and save money on water heating. Install a low-flow showerhead (˂2.5 gallons/minute or ˂10 litres/minute) for $25 to $50 and use half as much water, save thousands of litres of water and $35 on hot water each year. A faucet aerator is a device screwed into the faucet head that mixes air into the water to reduce water consumption. Tip: For low-income families, BC Hydro offers the Free Energy Savings Kit, which includes a faucet aerator, low-flow showerhead, LED lightbulbs, etc.