Beyond recycling: Three great ways to help stop climate change

Three Leaves

Just three ways…and millions of KIDS can use them!

There are so, so many ways to prevent climate change from getting out of hand, like buying an electric car, or having solar panels installed on your roof, or (better yet) voting for leaders who care about the climate. But if you’re not an adult and you can’t do these things yet––although if your family can, please encourage them to do so––what can you do?  Here are some of the best ways for kids to help defeat global warming.

The “Five Rs!” Recycling is useful, but it’s just one part of the five-part solution. Another way to un-trash (totally a word!) our planet is by using the “five Rs:” Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Rot, and of course, Recycle. Yes, recycle! But don’t JUST recycle:  refuse––don’t even buy––products that are unfriendly to the earth, like single-use items, items made of plastic,  or items with too much packaging; reduce your carbon emissions and the amount of things you do buy; reuse and/or repurpose the stuff you already have, and rot organic matter in your compost bin. 

Biking or walking! If you live in an area where the grocery store and other places that you visit often are close by, biking (or walking) is a great way to get some exercise and “go green”––! 

Take action! Ask others to join your cause! Educate people! Show them the facts! One of the very best ways to stop the Climate Crisis is by educating other people. Even if they’re adults who are stubborn or disbelieving, you can still plant a seed in their minds that makes them start to wonder if the world might really be heating up due to greenhouse gasses, after all…Educating other kids is great, too! If the kids who will inherit the earth care about it (even if their parents don’t) and fight against the rising temperatures and tides, our Home will have a fighting chance.

These might only be three small ways of fighting the Climate Crisis, but just imagine if everyone on the planet did these things? The earth would be in a lot less trouble. Yet these are only three in…infinity! Because there are an infinite number of solutions just waiting to be discovered, hiding in the light of your own imagination.

Got a recycling bin? Still bored? Make recycled art!

Because “Earth” Without Art is Just “Eh”

An Even-More-Fun Way to Recycle!

Dragon In Hands

Love art? Me, too! Art is one of my favorite things in the world. I’ve always wanted to be an artist and illustrator as well as a writer.

But, you say, you’re running out of things to make art with, because the coronavirus has you staying inside, unable to make an art store run?

No worries, fellow artist! I have a solution for you.

How about that recycling bin?

Check your recycling bin––you’ve got plenty of art materials in there!  Just consider: you’ve got paper and pasteboard (the stuff cereal boxes are made of) in a bunch of different colors; you’ve got jars and cans you can put paint in (and on), and boxes you can use to made all kinds of things! And you’ve probably also got bags, and containers, and cardboard, and old magazines or newspapers, and bottle caps, and those loop things that come on bottles and cartons, and bread ties, and more… You’ve got tons of art materials!

Here’s how Callisto and I recently made art from our recycling bin here at home. These ideas might just help to get your creative juices flowing, too…

Saturn V

Recycled Project #1:  Saturn V Rocket

My space-fan sis, Callisto, created this cool model of the Saturn V rocket (above). Sure, you can buy kits for this rocket online––they’re from Japan, and cost over $1000!  But hers cost $0 (except for the tape and glue) and her model did our planet some good. Now, that’s great value for money!
Materials used: Paper towel roll, toilet rolls, scrap paper, 3 kinds of tape, glue, markers, & LOTS of patience
Her artist’s statement
“I made this rocket on the 11th of April, 2020, the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission and launch of the original rocket…and because I love space. [Since] it helps the earth, I used recycled materials; I think that it would make the Apollo 13 astronauts more proud that I used recycled materials than a bought model kit. The astronauts had a really tough time on that mission, just like we are having today [with the Coronavirus pandemic]. But they survived, and we will, too!”
Dragon 1

Recycled Project #2:  SolarBear’s Original Fire Dragon! 

Materials used: Junk mail, old calendars, a discarded piece of foam core (for the backing), marker, glue
And here’s my artist’s statement:
“It’s better for the earth to use recycled materials than new ones…and, honestly, it’s more fun. [It WAS fun!] But you shouldn’t see my room right now (because it’s covered in scrap paper). I’m going to hang this on my side of the room in a special spot when I get my room cleaned up..which might take a while!”
Now, it’s your turn!  Go check out your recycling bin, and use what you find to craft some amazing art! If you want to submit your own work please contact me!

PS––If none of these ideas spark your imagination, try this funny trick to help you get an idea: with just your eyes––not your head––look back and forth as quickly as you can. This type of eye movement apparently connects the two sides of your brain, and literally helps you become more creative. (I learned this on the cool Netflix show, Brainchild––check it out!)

PPS — And just a reminder from my mom: Don’t forget to clean up your room afterwards! Although you probably also have a parent to tell you this. And you probably––I mean, definitely––won’t need the reminder!

Bored? Start a Recycling Bin

Recyclilng PersonMake a difference with a recycling bin!

An Alternative to Trash––?

Stop! Don’t throw that away!

“Then, what should I do with it?” you may ask. “It’s just trash.”

You can recycle it, that’s what!

But…you say you don’t have a recycling bin?!? And yet you love the earth, and want it to stick around?

Well, at least that’s easily fixed! Come on, we’ll make one!

How to make a recycling bin

  1. First, my plastic-bottle-using friend, find a large box you aren’t using.
  2. Second, you put your recycling––like that plastic bottle in your hand––in it!

Sooo easy!

And what do I mean by recycling? Well, I mean these things:

Recycling Types 2

Got that? Awesome! If you have any of the items shown above headed for the trash, clean them out, and put them into your new recycling bin, instead! Worried about it getting stinky or yucky? Just rinse out those containers, cans, and jars, and it won’t be a problem.

Then, when you’ve filled it up, either take the box of recycling to your local recycling center, or if your area has recycling pick-up, leave it out on the curb on trash-day.  You can look for your county’s or city’s recycling rules online. It’s that easy!

Note: Some recycling centers take more (or different) items for recycling, so be sure to check out what your local center can take.  That way, you can recycle even more items, or avoid contaminating a load with something that’s not supposed to be in there.

And remember, you’re not doing this for your own gain––although you will have less trash to take out––but to make the world better! Recycling is a huge part of stopping climate change.

And best of all…the polar bears thank you!

Polar Bear Thank You

On our 50th Earth Day, 22 April 2020.

One Girl One Planet Banner 1

Dear Planet Earth,

I’d like to tell you how beautiful and bountiful you are before that’s all gone. And I’d like to say Thank you.

Love Earth

Thank you, water––that liquid that keeps all alive. That liquid that’s refreshing when climate change makes the days hot, that liquid that gives us the fish we use for food, that ingredient that makes life possible. I am sorry that we are clogging and fogging you with plastic and oil, killing ecosystems that we depend on.

Thank you, fish and birds––those animals that fly and swim, those animals that fed us before we knew much else, those animals that have inspired us to go down deep beneath the waves and high into the skies. I am sorry that we are killing you and feeding you deadly things that are not food.

Thank you, trees––those magnificent towers, much more beautiful than any man has made, that reach to the skies, that give us shelter in a storm, that give us forests to explore, that give us houses and fires that keep us warm on the coldest of nights, that give us inspiration for the accomplishments we have made, and that help us undo what we have done by giving back that oxygen that we replace with carbon dioxide. I am sorry we are killing you for our own personal gain.

Thank you, plants––those living things we ate before we left the trees, those things we make into medicine, those things we make into clothing, those things we use to make our gardens, those things that are bravely standing at the bottom of the food chain, those things we need for countless reasons. I am sorry we are killing you and destroying the vast wildernesses that you have created.

Thank you, mammals––those creatures that we love, those creatures that we are, those creatures that run and dig, those creatures that climb and fly, those creatures that swim and leap, those creatures that kill and eat, those creatures that keep us company when no one else will, those creatures that have armor and fur, those creatures that dominate and co-exist, those creatures that live and die. I am sorry we are killing you, selling you, and using you. 

Thank you, soil and rock––that keep us standing, that keep us together with the wegiht of gravity, that provide the minerals that help make us possible, that make life possible, that have been smashed, that have been cracked, that have been eroded, that are older than everything. I am sorry we are drilling into you and bombing you so much that it seems we are at war with you.

And thank you, so, so much, for us. I am sorry, so sorry, that we are destroying ourselves.

Earth, I want you to know that you are the most unique planet that ever was. I want you to know that we love you even if it seems we don’t. I am sorry we have bashed, cracked, fracked, polluted, melted, cut, deforested, neglected, used and abused you.

I only hope we can revive you.

With love,

MeSleepy Pangolin


Bright Side: The 2020 coronavirus pandemic has a silver lining?!?

Welcome to the Bright Side, where optimism rules and we see the glass half full instead of half empty. This is where we walk on the sunny side of the street…even while we’re social distancing. Yes, even during what may be the worst pandemic of all time, we need to find something positive. But, wait––are there any positive things???

Photo Credit: CNN

Whoa! What happened to this picture of the famous India Gate?

Did someone just put a filter on one side? And how about all those people in the background on that side? Don’t they care about “flattening the curve” to help coronavirus?!?

Well, they didn’t have to worry about that…then. That’s right: one half of the picture was taken in a different time––or as a friend says, BC, “before coronavirus”––in November of last year.

What about the other half? That was taken recently, on March 30, 2020.

But…what does this mean? You see that half that looks like a layer of see-through brown plastic? Well that’s a layer of smog (pollution) from factories, cars, trucks, and planes. Crazy, right?

And the other half? Can you guess why the air is cleaner since the coronavirus came along? Well, if you guessed, “because nobody’s there to drive and fly,” you’re absolutely correct: the coronavirus lockdown, during which everyone has agreed to stay home to keep people healthy, is actually making the air cleaner!

So, is the coronavirus a good thing? No way. But at the same time, there is a “silver lining” to the awful black storm cloud of this pandemic…a little bit healthier planet.

(In fact, if we had cleaned up the planet like this without a pandemic and people being out of jobs, just by working to make things more efficient and clean, expert Dr. Katherine Heyhoe says we’d already be a quarter of the way toward meeting our climate goal (StarTalk 45:55). Wow!)

However, I understand it may be no fun to wait it out at home during this time. Here’s a web comic my sister Callisto made, that might help make waiting it out just a bit more bearable:


callisto art 3callisto art 1callisto art 2