When a creature or plant dies, its remains are slowly absorbed into the earth and sometimes (after many hundreds of millions of years), with exposure to heat and pressure in the earth’s crust, they transform into crude oil, coal and natural gas.
We can access these ‘fossil fuels’ and convert them to energy for use in our homes, cars, schools and factories. But every time we use these forms of energy, we also cause carbon dioxide gas (CO2) emissions to be released into the earth’s atmosphere, which are bad for the planet.
So it’s important we reduce the amount of energy we use.
There’s lots of great information on the web about all the ways you can cut down on your energy use.
Here are just a few simple ideas:
- Try to conserve heating by turning the temperature thermostat down in your home, especially at night or when you are out. During colder evenings, you could even wear a jumper rather than turn the temperature up in your home!
- Many buildings lose heat through gaps in windows and doors, so always keep doors shut. If you do have drafts in the house, you can put strips of insulating foam around doors and windows, so the heat doesn’t escape.
- Most home appliances have energy-saving settings, so be sure to use these when you are washing clothes or dishes. It is better to put a full load in before you start – small loads use the same amount of energy as full loads.
- Always turn off lights when you don’t need them, and use energy saving light bulbs.
- If you are making a hot drink, be sure to only fill the kettle with the amount of water you will need: this will save time and money.
If you are putting hot food in the fridge, be sure that it is cool first: that way, the fridge won’t have to work extra hard to cool it down. And never leave the door open.The fridge should be kept full, so that it doesn’t waste energy.
- Try not to heat food straight from the freezer: this wastes energy and can add as much as 25% to the cooking time (and energy) needed to cook it from room temperature. Plan your meals well ahead.
Transport is a major source of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the UK: CO2 is the main gas that causes climate change. If you are going on a short car journey, why not go by bicycle instead? There are many cycle routes in cities now, and it’s a great way to get fit. Try to persuade your family to cycle too! If you have to go to
your destination by car, then it is best to drive a car that is kinder to the environment – there are now many electric cars on the market.
We have listed just a few simple ideas that will help, but there are now many, many excellent websites you can visit with detailed information, such as www.eia.gov/kids/
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