Going Green

Going Green

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

Grades

3 - 12+

Subjects

Earth Science, Experiential Learning

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.

Beach Pick-Up

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

Fix Leaky Faucets

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

Use Rechargeable Batteries

Recycle them when they can no longer be recharged.

Donate Things

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

Plant Trees

Plant trees in your neighborhood or community.

Pick Up Trash

Clean up litter on your street.

Use Fluoresenct Lightbulbs

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

Borrow Before Buying

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

Creative Wrapping

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

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.

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?

Inventory Your Family's Trash

Don't forget to wear gloves! Classify the trash by type, such as food, paper, or plastic. Make note of what could have been recycled or reduced somehow. Come up with suggestions to reduce your family’s trash production.

Play a Game

Gauge your greenness by playing the Human Footprint Interactive. You'll discover the impact of your choices and learn things like how many bananas you'll probably eat in your lifetime.

Pay Attention to Current Events

As you watch the news on television or read the newspaper, note issues that are related to conservation. How can you help?

Conserve Nonrenewable Resources

Have family members go from room to room creating a list of products. Then identify the resources used to make each product. Divide the resources into two categories: renewable and non-renewable. Have a family discussion about the use and conservation of products made from nonrenewable resources in your home.

Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Use the Environmental Protection Agency's Household Emissions Calculator to figure out how you can reduce your family's greenhouse gas emissions.

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.

Clean-Up

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

Recycle

Start a recycling program in your community.

Water Clean-Up

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

Test Water

Test the water and soil in and around your home.

Green Your Yard

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

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.

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.

Calculate Your School's Daily Water Usage

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

Shop Locally

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

Keep the Mosquito Population in Check

Purchase small dark-colored fish NATIVE to your area and put them in any water plants or human-made ponds in your yard where mosquitoes lay eggs. The fish will eat the larvae, and no chemicals will be needed to prevent mosquitoes! NOTE: You should never introduce animals into non-manmade environments such as creeks or ponds.

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?

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.

Reuse

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.

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

May 20, 2022

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