Learn More About Ways to Go Green!
Cars and buses use gasoline to get moving—but bicycles use “people power!” With every mile you ride on a bike, you prevent about a pound of greenhouse gas emissions from entering the air we breathe. And when you put on a helmet and push those pedals to get around your neighborhood, you have fun by getting exercise that keeps your body healthy and strong. It’s a winning combination for you and Planet Earth!
Electric cars are powered by rechargeable batteries. You plug them in, charge them up—and go! You can even use a home power outlet to charge them! These energy-efficient vehicles help keep a lot of pollution out of our air, and they help conserve gasoline—a precious natural resource that comes from fossils buried deep in the Earth. You’re driving smart when you drive with electricity, an Earth-friendly “fuel” that even makes cars run quieter. Now you’re reducing noise pollution, too!
Swirl bulbs, also known as CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights), use about 75 percent less energy than regular lightbulbs. If every home in the United States swapped just one regular lightbulb for a CFL, in a year, there would be enough energy saved to power a city of 1.5 million people.
Planting a tree is a great way to give back to Mother Nature, and it’s an Earth Day tradition! Trees clean the air and produce oxygen. They can help reduce energy consumption by slowing cold winter winds and providing cool, refreshing shade on hot summer days. These “green giants” also provide shelter for many birds and animals, and help stabilize soil by reducing erosion. Any time you exercise your green thumb by planting a tree or plant, you’re doing a world of good!
Only two human-made structures on Earth are large enough to actually be seen from outer space: the Great Wall of China and the Fresh Kills Landfill, located on the western shore of Staten Island, New York. People create about 2.6 trillion pounds of garbage each year, and that’s heavier than 225 million adult elephants! Much of this garbage will not decompose for thousands of years. So whether it’s paper or plastic, we recycle to reduce the amount of garbage we leave on Planet Earth. You’re doing your part by not being a litterbug as you recycle and reuse materials. That way we cut down fewer trees and produce less toxins making plastic.
The sun gives off more energy in one second than people have used since the beginning of time. There could be no life on Earth without it. Solar panels generate electricity from this inexhaustible source—clean energy that is pollution and noise free, and also free of charge! Solar panels are also called photovoltaic panels. “Photo” means light and “voltaic” means electricity. They use silicon, which is the same thing that makes up sand. When the sun’s light hits a solar panel, it makes electrons in the silicon move around. As the electrons flow through the cell, they generate electricity. Each hour of the day, the sun beams onto Earth more than enough energy to satisfy global energy needs for an entire year.
Large groups of wind turbines are called wind farms. You might see them in the countryside as you’re driving around the United States, so keep an eye out! Wind power is both clean and renewable, and involves turning energy from the wind into other forms of useful energy, like electricity. Windmills have been around for a long time. They were used in Persia (Iran) as far back as 200 BC.
Hydropower generates electricity by harnessing the gravitational force of falling water. Most hydroelectric power stations use water held in dams to drive turbines and generators, which turn mechanical energy into electrical energy. Today, some countries produce the majority of their electricity through hydropower, and our neighbor, Canada, is the largest producer of hydropower in the world.
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