Blue question mark

What are the most important things kids can do to prevent global warming?
— Armano B., Grade 6

Geologist Ed Mathez answers this question:

Dear Armano,

Thank you for your question. It's a really good one. There is no single solution, so let me give you three things that kids can do to help minimize global warming.

1. Conserve energy in your everyday life.

Making simple choices to save energy  may help avoid the serious consequences of global warming. For example:

  • Turn off the lights.
  • Close doors immediately so heat does not escape.
  • Take short showers.
  • Walk or bike if you can (instead of having your parents drive you).
  • Turn off your computer when not in use (don't leave it on just to keep Facebook or Myspace active).
Planet Earth

We can make simple choices to save energy.

2. Convince the people around you to save energy.

Now, you have to be careful here because people don't like to be told what to do, so convince is the important part. Your parents would be perfect subjects for persuasion, but do it with love and humor. Here are some suggestions that you can provide for your family and friends.

  • Replace incandescent with fluorescent lights. (This saves a lot of money!)
  • Ask your parents not to leave the car running needlessly, for example, when waiting to pick you up at school.
  • Recycle  (this saves energy in manufacturing).
  • Run the dishwasher and other appliances on energy saver mode.
  • Keep the house at 68°F or less. And make sure the heat goes off at night and when everyone is away.
  • Start a conservation club at school to raise awareness. Get your fellow students and teachers on board to have the school reduce energy consumption.
illustration of two recycle pals, one filled with paper and cardboard the other filled with plastic and glass

It takes energy to produce everything we buy. We can save energy by recycling.

In fact, not knowing is one of the problems. Global warming is a significant risk to society. On the one hand, we do not know exactly what will happen. On the other, we realize that what could happen could be serious. And these consequences could affect different parts of the world in different ways.

3. Keep learning.

These ideas all involve conservation. While that's important, what's more important is finding and implementing sources of energy that do not pollute the environment. Who is going to do that? It can be you! So the third and most important thing you can do is get the best education you can get, so that you can be a responsible citizen and continue making good decisions. Maybe you will help find scientific, technological, economic, or political solutions to the present situation.

You Can Make a Difference!

  • It takes a lot of energy and water  to produce everything that we use and buy. Find out how to Be a Water Saver with this checklist.


Explore More:

  • Take this Virtual Water Quiz to test your knowledge about the water you didn't know you were using.
  • Find out how global warming is endangering the planet's species and habitats in Going, Going... Gone?


Ed Mathez

Edmond Mathez

Job Title:
Curator, Department of Earth & Planetary Sciences

Known For:
Ed is a geologist. He researches the origin and composition of  igneous rocks.

Cool Fact: 
Ed has collected rock samples from all over the world, including Greenland and South Africa. He's gone as deep as 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) down into a mine.

Image Credits:
Earth, courtesy of NASA; recycling bins, by Eric Hamilton © AMNH; Edmond Mathez, © AMNH.