Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability
April 22 is Earth Day! We know that little changes, over time, can have a huge impact. Our choices today don't just affect us - but others around the world. Read below to find out more!
The power of recycling:
- Recycling 1 ton of recycled paper saves 7,000 gallons of water, 380 gallons of oil, and enough electricity to power the average home for six months.
- Recycling one aluminum can saves enough electricity to run a TV for six hours.
- Recycling one glass bottle saves enough electricity to power a 100-watt bulb for four hours.
Facts from Go Green
Initiative Our Environmental Impact is Changing the World
The decisions we make to help or hurt the environment have a big effect on our surroundings. Not only are our decisions changing our landscapes, but are affecting the livelihoods of people all over the world. Although environmental damage is mostly caused by developed nations, developing nations are hit the hardest.
Desertification: Desertification is the process of land becoming desert. Poor soil quality reduces land fertility and makes it difficult to grow crops. For more information, click here.
Agriculture: Changing temperatures have a significant impact on crop growth. Take coffee, for instance: even half a degree can make a big difference. Changing temperatures affect growth, plagues and diseases rise, and farmers find it more and more difficult to make a living. For more information about cl imate change and coffee, click here.
Natural Disasters: Poorer populations are more vulnerable to destruction from natural disasters. When Hurricane Mitch hit Honduras in 1998, poor households lost 15-20% of their assets while the rich lost only 3%.
Disease: Changing climates make more areas vulnerable to disease, such as malaria. Warmer weather allows mosquitoes and other bugs to move into new areas and spread disease. By 2030, climate change may expose an additional 30 million people to malaria in Africa alone. Diarrhea is expected to rise 5% in 2020 because of climate change. To read more about this issue, click here.
Tips and Tricks for Greener Living
- Ditch the water bottle. Americans go through more than 70 million water bottles every day, and only 14% get recycled. Not only are they filling our landfills, but they require huge quantities of oil to make, transport, and dispose. And here’s the kicker: manufacturing plastic water bottles requires two times more water than the bottles will ultimately contain.
- Go veggie. Producing enough meat for one hamburger emits the same amount of greenhouse gas as a six-mile car ride. In the US, we eat an average of 8oz of meat every day- more than twice that is consumed by those in developing nations. According to Environmental Defense, if every American substituted one meal with chicken for a vegetarian meal, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off the roads.
- Stop the spam. Do you or your family constantly get spam sent to you in the mail? Register at Direct Marketing and have your name removed from direct mailing lists.
- Hold the bag. If you were to collect all of the bags you (and your family) received in a week, how many would you have? Reusable sturdy totes are inexpensive and can save a family hundreds of wasted plastic bags each year. Or, if you're purchasing just a few things, opt to carry them out instead.
- Take-out smart. Next time you call for take-out, be sure you know what not to order! If you don’t need napkins, tell them that you don’t want any. If every American gave up one paper napkin a day, we’d save one billion pounds of paper from going into landfills each year. If you don’t need plastic utensils, extra condiment packets, or chopsticks ask them to leave those out as well. China cuts down nearly 25 million trees each year to make chopsticks that oftentimes get thrown away unused.
Tips and tricks adapted from Whole Living's The Best Diet, 2011
- Use your dollar wisely. Choose reusable instead of disposable. Buy items made from recycled materials, and support companies with sustainable and eco-friendly practices. Green companies are easy to find, and your dollar helps create demand for even more eco-friendly products.
- Turn off the lights... and the faucet, and the engine (when it's not running). Simple steps can make a huge difference when you're trying to save on energy and water. Energy to power lights and appliances make up two thirds of all electricity used in the US’s residential sector. Electricity production emits more than 1.9 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide every year!
- Boost your school's eco-friendly practices. Follow California's lead and get your school to adopt a zero-waste lunch. Make sure your school is recycling paper and has plastic recycling bins available in the cafeteria. Over the course of the year, your sch ool can divert hundreds of pounds of recyclable material from our landfills.
This Month's Most Popular...
Facebook Message: Today is INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY. Celebrate the women in your life and community - and check out our Because I Am a Girl Campaign to get involved! www.planusa.org/content1619891 March 8 at 9:52am
Tweet: Way to go, Plan Girls! Check out what girl delegates from around the world were doing at the United Nation's CSW: http://www.planyouth.tumblr.com/ March 4 at 11:01am
Blog Entry: World Water Day - The United States uses 346,000 million gallons of fresh water every day. A girl in Niger can walk four hours to reach any. http://yugacentral.blogspot.com/2011/03/world-water-day.html March 22
Camp Applications due May 31
YUGA Leadership Camp July 17-23, 2011 Click here for more info!
Providence Academy of International Studies plans a Walk for Wells PAIS YUGA students are planning one of the first Walk for Wells in the state! To host your own Walk for Wells, visit http://www.walk4wells.com/. If you're interested in being highlighted in a School Spotlight, send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org
Pick of the Month
Books to Read: The Crash Course: The Unsustainable Future Of Our Economy, Energy, And Environment by Chris Martenson
Film to Watch: The 11th Hour - This film explores how we impact the earth’s ecosystems and what we can do to change our course. Attraction Films, 95 minutes.
May - Global Poverty and Fair Trade: One of YUGA's biggest campaigns is for global poverty, and an integral part of eradicating poverty is ensuring fair trade practices. Because May 14 is World Fair Trade Day, next month will focus on global poverty and how to make sure that workers are treated and compensated fairly.