Going Green

Going Green

Get ideas for how you can "go green" in your home, school, or community.


3 - 12+


Earth Science, Experiential Learning

Picture of pink flowers against green stalks, all under a tree trunk.
Photograph by Charcrit Boonsom, MyShot

Get ideas for how you can "go green" in your home, school, or community. Go beyond recycling and turning off lights—really work to make a difference.

Picture of a turtle in a net.
Beach Pick-Up

Clean up an ocean beach or the beach of a lake or pond.

Picture of a faucet.
Fix Leaky Faucets

Watch for drips in any faucets in your home. Ask an adult to fix them.

Picture of cell phones.
Use Rechargeable Batteries

Recycle them when they can no longer be recharged.

Picture of laundry hanging outside.
Donate Things

Collect things you no longer use and clothes you've outgrown. Give them to charity.

Picture of light flooding trees.
Plant Trees

Plant trees in your neighborhood or community.

Picture of people picking up trash.
Pick Up Trash

Clean up litter on your street.

Use Fluoresenct Lightbulbs

When traditional lightbulbs burn out, replace them with compact fluorescent lightbulbs.

Picture of books.
Borrow Before Buying

Borrow books and movies from a local library instead of buying new copies.

Picture of pink and green ropes.
Creative Wrapping

During the holidays, recycle wrapping paper and ribbons. You can also wrap presents in the comics section of the newspaper.

Picture of a shower.
Conserve Water

Research ways to save water, such as watering the lawn early in the morning or late in the day, using drip irrigation, and using a bucket instead of a hose to wash the car.

Picture of dish soap.
Throw Out Harmful Products

Under the supervision of an adult, investigate how to safely use, store, and dispose of cleaning products, fertilizer, oil, and other harmful substances. What types of products are safe for the environment?

Picture of grass at the beach.
Prevent Erosion

Plant shrubbery, trees, or other plants to help prevent erosion on hillsides or land without enough plant life to keep the dirt in its place.

Picture of gas jars.

Clean up a vacant parking lot or piece of land in your community.

Picture of a recycling bin.

Start a recycling program in your community.

Picture of leaves in a river.
Water Clean-Up

With an adult, clean up a stream, river, or other body of water in your community.

Picture of a water drop on a leaf.
Test Water

Test the water and soil in and around your home.

Picture of a sparrow.
Green Your Yard

Practice backyard conservation, such as planting vegetation, cleaning up green spaces, or hanging a bird feeder in the backyard.

Picture of chickens on a compost pile.
Create a Compost Pile

In layers, add “wet” waste, such as kitchen scraps or grass clippings. Add “dry” waste, such as dry leaves or hay. Add some water as you go. Fruit and vegetable material is great for compost; never add raw meat, eggs, or human or pet waste. Consider getting worms to help with the project.

Picture of plastic bottles.
Start a School Recycling Program

Ask a teacher to help you get bins for recycling in the lunchroom. Ask the principal to buy recycled paper.

Picture of a sprinkler.
Calculate Your School's Daily Water Usage

Use this online tool to help. Start a school-wide campaign encouraging everyone to use less water.

Picture of vegetables in Stuttgart.
Shop Locally

Encourage your family to shop locally. Always bring reusable shopping bags to stores.

Picture of water running out of a faucet.
Research Your Local Water Supply

How do the people who live upstream behave? Are they aware of those downstream, or do they contaminate the water? Do you do things that might pollute water for others? What are some steps your family could take to minimize its impact on air and water quality?

Picture of colorful slippers.
Before You Recycle, Upcycle

Take something that you would otherwise throw out and find a way to make it into something else that you can use. For example, make a bag with fabric from clothes you don't want. Or turn a broken bowl into a plant pot.

Picture of shoes and flowers.

Instead of throwing away items such as margarine tubs, jelly jars, or milk cartons, think of other uses for them, like pots for house plants.

Media Credits

The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit. The Rights Holder for media is the person or group credited.

Christina Riska Simmons
Jessica Shea, National Geographic Society, National Geographic Society
Photo Researcher
Emily Connor
Last Updated

March 18, 2024

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