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COP26 Lessons: 5 things every family can do to protect the planet

5 ways to protect the planet

COP26 Lessons: 5 things every family can do to protect the planet

Last year, the news headlines have brought the UN’s Climate Change Conference into sharp focus. And quite right too. We know all too well how important this conference is in tackling the climate crisis. As world leaders united in Glasgow to discuss the way forward, the key takeaway was this: TIME TO ACT NOW! 

Sounds terrifying, doesn’t it? 

But the great news is that the things we do (or don’t do) really can make a difference and help protect our Amazing Earth 

Sometimes the problems feel so big that it is hard to know where to start. So we have compiled a list of 5 simple things you can do, starting now!

1. Plant insect-friendly seeds

Linked box: Bee Box

In the wake of the COP26 conference, champion of our planet, Sir David Attenborough, spoke about the importance of biodiversity.

Biodiversity is simply letting the Earth have as wide a variety of plants and animals as possible so that it stays healthy and happy. 

What you can do: 

Bees and other pollinating insects are so important and they love flowers. You don’t need a garden to become a pollinator protector, just a small pot could make all the difference to a tired little bee. Check out Maddy Moate’s Bee Cafe for ideas and our Bee Trump Cards, made in collaboration with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust explores these fuzzy friends!

2. Play the Food Switch Game

Linked box: Healthy Me

If you take a look at the food in the supermarkets, you’ll notice that a lot of it comes from miles and miles away. This means that every time you buy, say, a banana with a sticker saying “grown in Costa Rica”, that means it will have flown for thousands of miles on a fuel-guzzling aeroplane. 

What you can do:

Think more carefully about what food you buy, and where it has come from.

Food from local farms and food shops haven’t had to travel as far, is more often in season and it feels great to support local people. It often helps to know what’s in season in the UK so that you can be sure you’re eating the right local foods at the right time of year.

Could you play the food switch game? Find out what is in season right now and switch it for something that isn’t. Could you create a beautiful plate of food entirely from food that’s in season? 

The BBC has produced a handy table of what’s in season in the UK each month.

3. Be plastic clever

I’m sure you know how harmful plastic can be to our planet. It takes hundreds of years to decompose, and a lot of it cannot be recycled and used again. Unfortunately, our food and drinks industries are taking a long time to catch up and plastic is still the most preferred form of packaging, leading to a lot of unnecessary waste. 

What you can do:

Look at how much plastic waste your family is producing over a week. 

We all have to start somewhere and this will help you identify if there are certain types of plastic you can reduce. Ella and Amy, the founders of Kids Against Plastic have created lots of things to help you out.

4. Ditch the car

Most cars run on petrol or diesel, which emit harmful carbon monoxide into the air. This gas not only hurts people who breathe it in but is also responsible for warming up the planet – or “global warming”, which damages planet Earth.

What you can do:

We know that this isn’t always possible, but every time you decide to hop on your bike, a bus, a train or your legs, you are saving the planet. You may have noticed during lockdown, that you could see further, and things look clearer. That was because the toxic gases in our air halved while so many of us stopped driving and flying! What a breath of fresh air!

5. Transform something

Linked Box: Think and Tinker

Did you know that the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of ALL our carbon emissions? It generates more carbon than all international airline flights and ocean shipping trips combined! Every time we buy a new item of clothing, we are fuelling a very environmentally damaging industry. Clothing also contributes massively to microplastics in the ocean, overflowing landfills and chemical pollution, not to mention a long history of unethical treatment of the humans that make our clothes.

At the same time, every time you throw an old item of clothing away, you are sending it to landfill, which may take hundreds of years to decompose. 

What you can do:

When you next go clothes shopping, think about buying something from a “pre-loved”, charity, or locally-made ethical shop. 

Also, next time you start clearing out some of your old clothes, don’t throw them away – transform them! You don’t even need to be able to sew! Here I’ve turned an old pair of jeans into a pencil case, what could you make?

If you’re keen to learn more about our amazing planet, why not check out our Amazing Earth Science Kit? 

What’s in the box?

🟩 The Greenhouse Effect Jumbo/Tots/Nano: What is it and how does it work?

💨 Amazing Anemometer Jumbo/Windy Wheels Tots/Nano: Sustainable energy is what we all need!

🌊 Acidic Oceans Jumbo/Tots: Looks at how CO2 is impacting our oceans.

📦 Biodegradable packaging Jumbo/Tots: Test the degradability of some common materials.

⚛️ PLUS a collectable CO2 Molymod! *Jumbo only*

Amazing Earth Science Kit

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