Below are some ideas to help discuss sustainable living with your child and why saving energy is important.
Know the facts: Sustainable Living
There are many different ways to live sustainably and reduce our impact on the environment and the speed at which we are consuming the Earth's resources. The way we live in our own community has an impact on people in other parts of the world.
Some people are almost entirely self-sufficient in how they live, only eating food that they grow (including meat, milk and eggs), using energy efficient transport (buses, cycling, car sharing), and reusing and recycling everything from clothes to household utensils.
However, you don't have to be self-sufficient to make a contribution towards living a more sustainable lifestyle, and just being aware of lifestyle decisions is a big step in itself. You can take action - in the home (e.g. using less energy), by how you shop (cutting down on packaged goods), what you buy (local rather than exotic produce which has been transported from around the world), how you travel and how you use energy. By taking action in these small ways, each of us can make a difference.
How energy is made
- Electricity and gas are generated mostly by burning fossil fuels.
- Coal, oil and gas are all fossil fuels. Burning these fuels creates energy that we use to power our homes and cars.
- Burning fossil fuels releases carbon emissions (CO2) which are harmful to the environment and cause global warming.
- Electricity, gas and oil are all expensive to buy as well as being harmful to the environment.
- Nuclear power, although not a fossil fuel, can still be very harmful to the environment if the radioactive waste is not disposed of carefully.
- Fossil fuels are also non-renewable sources, meaning that they are used at a faster rate than they are produced - one day these sources will run out.
- Energy can be made by sustainable, natural means, such as solar, water or wind power.
- Solar, water and wind energy are renewable sources, so are created as fast as they are used. Relying on these sources more will help to protect the environment.
Why it is important to live a sustainable lifestyle
- As most of us rely on fossil fuels to provide our energy needs, it is important that we try to use less and are careful not to waste our energy.
- The harmful emissions produced by fossil fuels are adding to global warming.
- By living a more sustainable lifestyle, you are helping not to overuse the Earth's resources.
- Waste and overuse are two huge problems facing the planet - in order to protect the planet for future generations, it is important that we all learn how to be more sustainable.
- Recycling, reducing and reusing things are all ways we can live more sustainably.
- Energy is financially and environmentally expensive, so trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle not only helps to save resources but it saves money!
Tips for reducing, reusing and recycling at home
- Turn off switches and plugs when they are not being used.
- Wash clothes at a lower temperature and always fill the machine.
- Wash dishes by hand and dry clothes on the line.
- Always close the fridge, freezer and oven door fully.
- Draught proof doors and windows.
- Have showers instead of baths.
- Use rechargeable batteries and low energy lightbulbs where possible.
- Collect rainwater and use it to water the garden and wash the car.
- Keep household scraps and use them as compost.
- Give away old clothes and household objects, which are in a useable condition, to charity.
- See if you can find a new use for old objects, rather than throwing them away.
- Start growing your own fruit, vegetables and herbs and only buy the amount of food you need so that it is not wasted.
- Recycle household glass, plastic, card, paper and any other objects that your local centre will recycle.
- Walk or use public transport instead of the car.
- By reducing, reusing and recycling we can all live a more sustainable lifestyle.