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25 Projects to get Green & Crafty!


  • 1. .. .' " '... ~ .- . ... -. .- . . .- . . 25 Environmental ProjectsYou Can BUild Yourself .- . -... ,.' . '.... '

2. 25 Environmental ProjectsYou Can BUild YourselfKathleen M. Reilly 3. Nomad PressA division of Nomad Communications10987654321Copyright 2008 by Nomad PressAll rights reserved.No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing fromthe publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.The trademark "Nomad Press" and the Nomad Press logo are trademarks ofNomad Communications, Inc. Printed in the United States.ISBN: 978-1-9346700-4-0Questions regarding the ordering of this book should be addressed toIndependent Publishers Group814 N. Franklin St.Chicago, IL 60610www.ipgbook.comNomad Press2456 Christian St.White River Junction,VT 05001 4. 9 ree n ================:iI pressI N ITI A TI V ENomad Press is committed to preserving ancient forests and natural resources.We elected to print Planet Earth: 25 Environmental Projects You Can Build Yourselfon 100% postconsumer recycled paper, processed chlorine free. As a result, for thisprinting, we have saved:Tree(s): 39Solid Waste: 2,499 lbWater: 23,588 galSuspended particles in the water: 15.81bAir Emissions: 5,4881bNatural Gas: 5,719 ft3It's the equivalent of:Tree(s): 0.8 american football field(s)Water: a shower of 5.0 day(s)Air Emissions: emissions of 0.5 car(s) per yearNomad Press made this paper choice because our printer, McNaughton andGunn, is a member of Green Press Initiative, a nonprofit program dedicated tosupporting authors, publishers, and suppliers in their efforts to reduce their use offiber obtained from endangered forests.For more information, visit www.greenpressinitiative.orgENERG Y FSC 5. * ......... . GREATC VI WAR PR J. TYou Can Build YourselfOther titles from Nomad Press 6. oooooo00oooo 0o 0o 000 0 IntroductionPlanet Earth: Our Ecos~stelll I----.. ----.. -------------.-.-------.-.---..... -.... ---------------r--_-_-----__-----------_---------------._.-------Part IUnderstandingOur WorldChapter IEarthOur Spot in Space 5Chapter 2Air, All Around Us 16Chapter!Water,Water Everywhere 26Chapter 4Our Star,The Sun 36ChapterSLife on Earth 47Glossar. ResourcesPart IIThe Proble s theEnvironlllent FacesChapter 6Pollution 57Chapter 7Global Warming 72Chapter.Ozone Depletion 80Chapter 9Nature at Risk 85Chapter 10Recycling 99Chapter IIThe Balanceof the Environment 109Index 7. Ear EnvironmentalistsHenry David Thoreau (1817-1862) wasa naturalist and philosopher who tried tolive a simple life off the land.John Muir (1838-1914), the "Father ofOur National Parks," was one of thefirst preservationists. Muir believed inkeeping natural areas untouched.Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)was the 26th president, but he also waspassionate about the outdoors. Hecreated the first national bird preserveandwas the last trained observer of thepassenger pigeon before its extinction.President Roosevelt designated many ofour national monuments, includingMuir Woods and the Grand Canyon.Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) was consideredthe father of wildlife management;he founded The Wilderness Society.Rachel Carson (1907-1964) was abiologist who wrote Silent Spring, a bookthat had a major impact on the waypeople looked at the environment.Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1910-1997)was an underwater explorer whointroduced sea life to people with hisfilms and cared about the protectionof the marine world.James Lovelock (1919-) suggested thatEarth is a whole, living organism, whichhe called the "Gaia" hypothesis.Edward Abbey (1927-1989) wroteDesert Solitaire and was an outspokenenvironmentalist. Major OrganizationsProtecting the EnvironmentConservation International, seeks todemonstrate that human societies willthrive when in balance with nature.Earthwatch Institute, brings scienceto life for people concerned about theEarth's future.National Wildlife Federation, seeks toinspire Americans to protect wildlife fortheir children's future.World Wide Fund for Nature, protectswildlife and the natural environmentaround the globe.Nature Conservancy, works to protectecologically important lands and watersfor nature and people.Sierra Club, is America's oldestand largest grassroots environmentalorganization, protecting communitiesand the planet.The Wilderness Society, protectswilderness and inspires Americans tocare for our wild places. 8. ur Ecosystemhat's the world like outside yourwindow? A grassy backyard, full oftrees? Maybe some swaying palm treesor pine trees brush gently against yourwindow at night. Or maybe there aren't any treesbutdry, desert air drifts in through your window.Maybe pigeons gather on your window ledge, farabove the urban streets below.Whatever you see out your window-that's theenvironlllent. Everything natural that's out there,living and nonliving, is what people are talk-ingabout when they say "the environment."The plants, like grass and trees; theanimals, like birds, bugs, and bears; therain falling; the sun shining down-evenyou. You're part of the environment, too. 9. A ~oPlanet Earth ---...!", 0 0 ~~o~ ~ --rIt's nature, the world around us, the world that existed beforethe first human invention was even a dream. It's the things you cansee-like critters and rocks and water-and things you can't see,like earthworms pushing through the ground under your feetand the air that's hugging you right now. And what's really neatto know is that all these elements, all these parts, areconnected somehow, working together to create what we callthe environment. Talk about teamwork!Imagine the environment like an heirloom blanket, knitted from differentpieces of yarn by someone a very long time ago. When it's whole, youcan snuggle in its comfort. But if a thread is pulled, an entire section of yourblanket can unravel-unless you catch it in time, that is. When you hear peopletalking about the environment lately, they're probably talking about the overallhealth of the earth, because more often now than in the past, scientists are studyingthe impact people have on the environment. They're studying how our habits,behaviors, and inventions are affecting the natural world.And those scientists and people who care about the environment don'talways agree about what's going on. Some believe the state of the environment isworse than ever, while others believe that it's part of a natural cycle. Some believecertain extinctions thousands of years ago happened because of humans, whilesome feel those extinctions occurred because of a changing global climate.Why the debate? Usually, it's because these people are so passionate about theenvironment that they want others to understand what they believe in order to helpcare for our planet.If you're new to learning about the environment, the best advice is tolisten to everyone's viewpoint, learn as much as you can, and figure outwhere you stand on the issues. This book will give you an overview of what'sgoing on. The first half of the book explores the parts that make up theenvironment, and the second half touches on some of the issues that the environmentcurrently faces. If a topic really interests you, head to the library to learn moreor check out the list of resources in the back of the book.Environmentalists are usually eager to talk with others toshare their knowledge. 10. OUf EcosystemAbout the ProjectsIn the first half of the book, you'll explore the different elements of theenvironment-land, water, air, sun, and life. Use the projects to enjoy how amazingour planet really is. It's so easy to forget. After all, you've lived here all your lifeand you may barely even notice the trees you pass every day on your way to schoolor that water you just slurped up from the water fountain. But all those parts arecrucial to our existence. In the second half, you'll find projects that will help youtake steps toward protecting the environment.As you read and explore, be aware of the materials you use. For instance,you'll see many of the activities call for plastic, two-liter bottles. If you already getyour drinks in this kind of bottle, it's a great way to recycle the container. If youdon't get drinks in two-liter bottles, ask a neighbor or friend to save you one oftheirs-that way, you're not making a purchase you don't need, and materials aren'tbeing used to make an extra bottle that you wouldn't have purchased otherwise.Same with other materials used for activities. Ask at photo-processing centersfor leftover film canisters or hardware stores for the scraps that are destined to betossed out. See if you can buy items in bulk to reduce packaging, then divvy up thecontents with a friend. Maybe you can come up with alternative materialsfor the projects so you can reuse something you already have. It'ssurprising the creative ways you can use things if you try to look at themdifferently.Some of the projects involveliving creatures or plants. Handleeverything with great care, andreturn them, unharmed, to theplace where you found them sothey can continue playing theirpart in the environment. And(but you knew this already!) besure to stay safe when you'reworking near a body of water orusing a knife or tool.environment: everything in naturelivingor nonliving-including plants,animals, rocks, and water.environmentalist: someone who worksto preserve the environment. 11. A ~oPlanet Earth ---...!", 0 0 ~~ o ~ ~Ever~one Pla~s a PartMost people do really care-people do love animals and nature. Few would thinkit's okay to pave over the national parks and chop down all the trees. People havehumanity, people care about living things, and that's what you can tap into whenyou learn all you can about the environment-even parts of it that aren't cute andcuddly, like jaw-snapping crocodiles or freaky-looking spiders.Although it can be easy to just sit back and say humans are responsible for allthe woes in the envi