Protect the Environment!
"We must all see
ourselves as part of this Earth, not as an enemy from the
outside who tries to impose his will on it.
...Being a living
part of the Earth, we cannot harm any part of her without also
Welcome to the Earth's Kids
Environmental Activism page!
This is the place to learn more about our
environment and it's various habitats. This is also where you can
learn how to take action to make the world a better place for all the
creatures we share this Earth with!
When the first astronauts traveled out into space they were struck by an amazing vision:
planet Earth, sitting like a blue and green jewel in the blackness
of space. An extraordinary place of life, and the only planet
we know of that definitely has life, and in such abundance.
And the more scientists learn about life on Earth, the more they realize
Earth is wrapped in a delicate
web of environmental systems
that connect, each to the other. Food webs, climate cycles, ocean
currents, animal migrations, carbon/oxygen exchange and so on.
We are now aware that changes in any one of
these systems can have a huge impact.
Similarly, other changes underway, such as
human beings cutting down forests to harvest wood and clear new
farmland destroys wild animal habitats, and in many cases the
animals themselves. It even drives many native peoples from
the land. It often creates top soil erosion and destroys the
forest watershed that provides clean drinking water to cities
downstream. And it slows the exchange of carbon dioxide into
oxygen. Which in turn causes global temperatures to rise.
Too much carbon dioxide leads to temperature
changes... which leads to krill die offs in the ocean.. which leads
to the decline of fish populations that feed on krill...which leads
to the ocean birds and mammals (penguins, whales, seals, etc.) that
feed on fish struggling for food -- competing even more with human
beings who are also finding the supply of fish dropping to dangerous
lows. So low that not enough baby fish will be born and grow
to maturity to supply the creatures that depend on them.
worry too that if all these systems get too off balance, nature may
not be able to set things right again -- ever.
Hopefully that wouldn't be the case.
Certainly planet Earth has been through some pretty major changes
over the millenniums and although many species of creatures have
become extinct, life on Earth has continued on, in some form or
another. And new species always develop and multiply. So
far at least. But as scientists look to some of the other
worlds in our solar system, including moons of some of the larger
planets, they wonder: did life thrive there once upon a
time... until some terrible change or error happened that threw the
delicate balance too far off? Could this happen to our own
planet? Could we make this happen through careless harm
Even if changes that catastrophic could not
happen-- that is, even if we could trust Earth to always find her
balance again -- we know now that
big enough changes are underway on our planet right now that we
humans have to change our ways of doing things,,,
if we don't want to be one of those species that goes extinct.
Or, at the very least, if we want to cope effectively with the
changes in weather patterns, crop growth, rainfall, pollution
levels, global warming, and the depletion of our fisheries. So
that we have enough food and water, clean air to breathe, and safe
places to live.
But if it all seems overwhelming, consider
right now we have more
technological know how than we have ever had before. And we
have more ability for scientists, inventors, activists, and world
leaders to communicate with one another, all over the world, than
ever before. We are able to spread the word about problems,
share ideas, work together, pressure our leaders for change more
effectively than any other generation in history.
Yes, the problem is big. But
the group we have assembled to work on it is big too. And
guess what? YOU are part of that group.
You, your friends and family, even your teachers and kids at school. So do your
part. Learn. Spread the word. Email your
government leaders. Share your ideas and your concerns.
Together we can make it happen. One step at a time.
Take Action To
Help the Environment!
& Marine Life
Learn more about fish, whales,
coral reefs, seals, dolphins and other creatures - and what you can
do to help preserve our fisheries and keep our oceans healthy.
on with Climate Change, and what we can all do.
Learn more about this critical environmental issue. Contains a
summary, recent news, common myths and how to debunk them, useful
articles, plus links for teachers, kids, and anyone else willing to
learn more. Find out how to email the President!
Kids Can Help the Animals!
Take action for the animals, learn
Making Every Day Earth Day
Lots of ideas for simple and easy
ways to make a more positive impact on the Earth!
beings and many other species on Earth go the way of the dinosaurs
(that is, become extinct)? Not if we make some necessary changes!
Find out what you can do to help!
Volunteer In Your Community
There's plenty you can do to help
right in your own community!
the Power of Information Technology.
Learn what you can do to spread the word about critical problems --
and their solutions!
The Endangered Species Program
Sponsored by the
US Fish & Wildlife Service
This is the place to get the straight skinny on just what qualifies
an animal to be on the endangered species list, which animals are
already on the list, and what is being done to help them.
Great source for news about the challenges and progress going on in
the Fish & Wildlife Service.
Be sure to check out their
kids and for
As a side note, did you know you can even volunteer your time at
your local wildlife preserve? If they don't have any other
jobs open right now, I'll bet they can always use help getting their
newsletters and other materials folded and mailed. (One Earth's Kids
junior staff member volunteers her time with the Fish & Wildlife
Service on a regular basis. They are nice people and helping
them help the animals always puts a smile on her face.)
National Wildlife Federation
The quickest way to take action for the environment. This
site features news in the world of wildlife conservation and
environmental issues, and highlights specific actions you can
take -- right now -- to help with wetlands preservation, ending
government funded harm to the environment, and urging government
to take positive action on behalf of wildlife. Be sure to
check out their
cool stuff for kids
including their excellent
action tips. (Be sure to check out
Garden for Wildlife.
World Wildlife Fund for Nature
Another top level site with news about events going on around
the globe that impact the future of our natural world. It
also features great information on how you can help -- through
campaigns, wise shopping, donations, and educating others.
And if you needed one more reason to visit their site, their url
The Green Squad teaches kids about the relationship between their schools and environmental and health issues. The site is designed primarily for students in fifth through eighth grade, but also offers information for younger and older students as well as parents and teachers.
The Green Squad is a project of NRDC, the Natural Resources Defense Council
The Kids For A Clean Environment homepage. Learn all about this
take-action environmental group that was started by a 9 year old
girl.... and now numbers more than 300,000 members! Fill out the
on-line membership application and receive information about
what YOU can do. While your there, you can read the latest Kids
Roots & Shoots
Sponsored by the
Jane Goodall institute
The mission of this program is "to foster respect and compassion
for all living things, to promote understanding of all cultures
and beliefs and to inspire each individual to take action to
make the world a better place for the environment, animals and
the human community. All Roots & Shoots members, from pre-K to
university, demonstrate their care and concern for living things
through service projects in their communities."
For more information about how you can get involved, visit their
web page, read up
on what Roots & Shoots are doing in your area or how you can
help start a local chapter yourself. There are also ideas for
things that you can do all on your own such as to grown native
plants, build bird houses, and pick up trash.
this page has great ideas for
helping wildlife! Learn about writing letters, fundraising
and more! From
Defenders of Wildlife. Be sure to visit their
Wild Life Action Center
important news and current actions and
Help Donate A Tree
you can actually help people around the world
even reverse deforestation by donating money for HI to
give them trees and seedlings.
Find out how one caring, determined kid decided to stop the
destruction of trees caused by Los Angeles pollution. The
organization he began, now called Tree People, has planted over
2 million tree in Southern California. Find out how you
The Web of Life
A great online illustrated story for kids.
Read one page at a time -- remember to click the "Next" at the top
of each page to read the next story.
Antarctic Whales -- Food Chain
Baleen whales, leopard seals, penguins,
phytoplankton -- see how it all fits together.
Food Chains & Webs
Take a look at the energy pyramid. See
how food chains work in different biomes. Plus... create your
own food web!
Play the food chain game! Learn about
The Living Sea -- Predator and Prey
A fun activity to help kids see the
connections that make up an ocean food web.
In any ecosystem, there are many different life forms that depend on
For example, in a forest, the deer and the rabbits eat the
grasses and other plants (which depend on water, sunlight, good
soil). Wolves or other large predators prey upon the deer and
rabbits. And scavenger animals and certain insects feed upon
Meanwhile the plants depend on the predators to keep the number of plant
eating animals from growing too large (and thereby eating up the plant
material faster than it can grow and replace itself). The
droppings (poop) of both predators and plant eaters nourish the soil on
which the plants depend. And the urine of of these animals is a
source of important nutrients for certain insects, such as butterflies.
When we disrupt an ecosystem (forest, pond,
grasslands, desert, ocean, etc.), we disrupt the food webs that
various creatures depend on to live.
Pollution, habitat destruction (cutting down trees, building houses,
etc.), and over-fishing are all examples of actions that disrupt
ecosystems and food webs. The results of such disruption can
be extinction -- amazing plants and animals disappear.
When they go, they take part of the wonder and majesty of our world
with them. The complexity and beauty of Earth is diminished.
We have no way of knowing how much diversity
can be eliminated (how many kinds of creatures can be destroyed)
before the living world is in danger of disappearing forever.
But scientists do know that there have been
times when great changes have occurred upon the Earth that have led
to the destruction of vast numbers of species. The
end of the Age of
was only one example of this cataclysmic destruction! There
have actually been many others!
So we must wonder, if there had not been any
tiny shrew like creatures at the end of the Dinosaur Age, what would
the Earth be like today? This is an important question because
scientists also tell us that
it was from
these small creatures
that all the mammals alive on Earth
today evolved -- including human beings!
What would the world be like today, if these
small creatures had already gone extinct --
dinosaurs died out?
What small creatures exist today, that could
some day change the entire future of life on Earth?
What's For Dinner?
About Eating Low On The Food Chain...
remember that deciding what to eat is a very personal matter -- one that
you should talk over with your family and your family's doctor.
This is because taking care of your body is a very important
responsibility -- one you will have for the rest of your life!
But there is another body that
supports us all as we go through life, and that is the Earth herself.
Because we want the Earth to be in good health, able to support us, it's
important to think about how what we eat affects the environment of the
Currently, most of us with
access to a computer also have access to a lot of meat. If you
study food webs or food chains, you already know that eating meat is
eating high on the food web energy system. In short, each
animal we eat must itself eat a LOT of plant food to create and maintain
the flesh that we eat as burgers, meat balls, hot dogs, lunch meat, and
You might be surprised to learn
that, on modern factory farms, these "food" animals are actually being
fed (plant) food that could be fed to humans. Lots of grain like
corn and wheat as well as legumes (like soy beans) are fed to cows,
pigs, and chickens. This is food that could have fed human
beings -- a lot of them!
In fact, a lot more human
beings could be well fed if we just fed the grain and legumes to humans
-- instead of first feeding it to animals and then eating the animals.
This is because each animal burns up a lot of the food energy in the
grain and legumes (to fuel it's movement, breathing, and other life
processes) before turning some of it into the meat that gets eaten.
In addition most people in the
world can't even afford to buy this meat. Meat simply costs more
money than plant food. This is because it costs a lot of money to
feed, house, and care for the animal for the year or two before it is
"harvested" for food. All this expense, plus the farmer or
rancher's own need to earn a living, adds up to a big price tag. A
price tag that many poor people, especially in third world countries,
Unfortunately, when a lot of
plant food that could be eaten by humans is fed to animals, that plant
food becomes more scarce and more valuable, and therefore more
expensive! This means that plant food too becomes harder to
afford. Which translates into hungry people.
more about the causes of world hunger and what can be done about it.)
Now don't worry, no one's
suggesting we starve the animals! Naturally we must continue to
feed those animals we already have. However, if we could stop
raising more and more animals every year -- and feeding more and
more of the grain and legumes to them -- and instead feed the tons
of extra corn, soy beans, and other foods to human beings.
We wouldn't even have to stop
eating meat all together -- just cut back. This way, the
plant food that the Earth can provide will go farther and be more easily
capable of feeding all the children of the world. This means
that poor children, in the U.S. and in other lands, will never face a
time when there is not enough grain or beans to go around.
What's more, it means that
right now people could stop burning down the rainforest
to create new pastures to raise more and more herds of cattle (to
provide more and more hamburgers and pot roasts). And leave the
habitat intact for those animals who already live there.
Furthermore, if we did not need
to grown so much extra food each year, to feed to growing numbers of
farm animals, it would save our soil. Soil can actually get used
up -- or more exactly, the minerals and other nutrients that plants
depend on can get used up. This makes it so that plants do not
grow, or if they do grow, they don't produce very large fruits,
vegetables, or grain seeds.
For this reason, many farmers
feel they have to use chemicals in order to get their plants to grow and
to produce a big harvest. This would be fine except many of these
chemical fertilizers produce harmful waste products.
Clearly, over-using the soil
can lead to serious problems.
Limiting the amount of food crops we must grow each year (by needing to
feed fewer animals destined for the dinner table), means that...
Less of our existing farm land
will become depleted due to over-use, making it able to continue being
used for many generations to come.
Fewer harmful waste products
(from fertilizers used on depleted land) will be seeping into our ground
and water, poisoning wild life and people.
Nutritious plant food will be
more available for human consumption, making it easier for the
world's poor and starving to be fed.
By having more of our meals
plant-food-based, rather than meat-based, each of us can do our part to
limit damage to our farmlands, halt the destruction of natural habitats
and the extinction of wildlife species, and to defuse food scarcity
issues that help fuel world hunger.
Just by changing what we eat
for dinner, we can have a profound impact on the environment.
Thank you for taking
the time to read this article! We hope you'll think over
what's been said here, gather more information, and talk it over
with people you know.
Remember that each of
us has the responsibility to educate ourselves and to use our
best judgment. This applies not only to saving the
environment however, but to taking care of our own bodies.
Please do not make a
change to your diet (such as reducing or eliminating meat
consumption) without first learning how to get all the protein
and nutrients you need from plant food sources!
Can Change The World
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Your Big Backyard
More EK Science
Dinosaurs -- Great info, links, books, and
educational toys about these favorite prehistoric creatures.
E.K. Science -- Lots of links,
books, and equipment to help kids learn astronomy, physics,
chemistry, and more.
Body -- Learn how your body
works, and how to keep it healthy!
Garden -- Learn important principles in Earth
Science by preparing the soil, sprouting seeds, growing
plants to bloom or fruition, and coping with pests.
Oceans & Marine Life
Wild Animals -- E.K.
Science News --
Today's top science headlines and news, plus online science