What is global warming and how to teach children to take care of the planet

Every January 28, the World Day of Action against Global Warming is celebrated. The aim of this day is to raise awareness of the serious consequences of climate change for the environment and people. In this post we tell you what global warming is, what causes it and how to teach children to take care of the environment.

What is global warming?

Global warming or global warming is the excessive increase in temperature at the Earth’s surface that has occurred over the years and that results in climate change.

Almost every day we can read in the press news about the historical maximum temperature in summer, the rise in sea level or the melting of glaciers. The action of man is fundamental in all these effects and it is also in our power to stop everything that harms our planet.

Earth warming occurs due to the absorption of solar energy by the Earth. The Earth warms up and emits heat into the atmosphere and the atmosphere sends it back to the Earth’s surface so that warming occurs. This is a natural phenomenon, but when the increase in the Earth’s temperature is excessive, negative effects occur.

If we look at the United Nations data, the future prospects are worrying. The UN Meteorological Agency’s report states that:

  • There is a 50% chance that, at least in one of the next five years, the average annual temperature of the planet will temporarily exceed 1.5º C of pre-industrial levels.
  • There is a 93% chance that at least one of the years of the period between 2022 and 2026 will become the warmest ever recorded.
  • Until the emission of greenhouse gases ceases, the temperature will continue to rise, the oceans will warm, glaciers will melt and sea levels will rise.

Causes of global warming

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Among the causes of global warming we can differentiate two types:

1. Natural causes. Among the natural causes of global warming we highlight the activity of volcanoes and solar radiation, but, by themselves, they are not enough to produce the terrestrial warming that exists today.

2. Unnatural causes. As we said before, man is one of the main causes of global warming and among the actions that most influence we can highlight the following:

  • Deforestation. When trees are destroyed, a very valuable tool for transforming CO2 into oxygen is being destroyed. If we do not take care of forests, CO2 will increase and concentrate in the atmosphere.
  • Livestock. According to FAO data, livestock is the cause of 26% of CO2 emissions and 50% of methane emissions.
  • Waste generation. Based on data from the World Bank’s What a Waste, a person generates an average of 1.11 kilos of garbage per day. This means that a family of four can generate 1.6 tons of garbage in a year. Much of the waste is plastic packaging and bags.
  • Excessive energy expenditure. We tend to have various devices plugged in at home even when we use ourselves (television and computer, among others) and to leave the lights on.
  • Buildings that are not energy efficient. The energy consumption of a home can be reduced with good insulation and avoiding air leaks. On the other hand, with good ventilation the need for cooling can be reduced.

How to teach children to fight against global warming?

Raising children’s awareness of global warming is an essential step to ensure a future in which the natural environment is cared for and excessive temperature rise is controlled. These are the measures that can be taken:

1. Educate in values of respect for nature. Teaching our sons and daughters the importance of caring for the natural environment from an early age will help develop future generations aware of the importance of controlling global warming and the causes that produce it. Education in this sense can be provided through books, movies or nature walks, for example.

2. Use non-polluting transport. It is important to control the use of the vehicle and choose less polluting models. In addition, the vehicle can be replaced by a bicycle or a scooter. Another good option is to walk and enjoy the fresh air and exercise while protecting the environment.

3. Save light and water. You can teach your children to turn off the lights in the rooms they are not using or the television when they are not watching it. You can also replace the bathrooms with showers, use energy-saving light bulbs or turn off the tap while we brush our teeth.

4. Teach how to recycle and reuse. One of the first things that the little ones in the house should learn is to recycle. Throwing everything into the right waste bin is an essential step to take care of the natural environment. It is also important to take care of things and reuse what we have. A toy that has been broken can be fixed or if it is not used it can be donated to an association dedicated to children with few resources.

5. Responsible consumption. Responsible consumption in all aspects is fundamental. For example, before buying clothes it is essential to think if we need them or it is just a whim. We can teach the same thing to our sons and daughters. On the other hand, we can also promote responsible consumption when we go to the supermarket and choose local and seasonal products.

In short, global warming is a problem that everyone, adults and children, must be aware of and know to act with small daily actions that gradually change the situation.

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