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25 Projects to get Green & Crafty!


<ul><li> 1. .. .' " '... ~ .- . ... -. .- . . .- . . 25 Environmental ProjectsYou Can BUild Yourself .- . -... ,.' . '.... ' </li></ul><p> 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 environment, the fact is we're woven into the environment justas much as a leaf on a tree or the soil we walk on. If we had the power to messthings up a bit, we surely have the power to straighten things back out. As youlearn about the environment, you'll find some people are extremely exuberantand even extreme in their ideas about taking care of the environment-just likethere are other people who don't seem to care at all. Once you learn everythingyou can about how our environment works and some of the problems it's facing,you can figure out where you fit in. And learning about the environment andtaking steps to protect it is really about doing your personal bestmakingchoices that you can accept. If that means makingsome changes and not others, then somechanges are better than none. If everyonetries, within their own limits, then somechange is good.There's no way to cover every environmental subject in depth in just onebook, so use this book as a springboard to get started discovering the worldaround you. Pick out the parts that fascinate you, and have fun learningabout the environment. Nature is full of amazing living and nonlivingthings-from incredible animal and plant adaptations to how the same waterthat you drink today may have been the water a dinosaur swam in. Get out andexplore, and then come back and share your discoveries with everyone who willlisten. Watching documentaries on television is a great way to learn-but gettingout there and getting your hands on nature yourself is unbeatable. 12. ur pot in pacemagine you're traveling across the Milky Waygalaxy, closing in on a bright star. ~As you get closer, you realize it's our sun,and then you pass the planets with allthe familiar names, getting closer ~ ~ ----.....and closer to home: Saturn, ~ ~Jupiter, through the asteroid belt,Mars ... all these are unique and I ,..-~~interesting, but they're lacking ~ ~ ~something extra special: life. ~~~-:ii~Except for the few astronauts who were lucky ~~ ~/ ~ , ,enough to go into space, the rest of us didn't ~~ , ,get our first glimpse of what Earth really looks 13. Planet Earthlike until 1968. That's when Apollo 8sent back what's now a famous photo ofour planet-the familiar "blue marble," agorgeous blue, brown, green, and whiteswirledglobe against the pitch darknessof space. Move in closer, and you whiskthrough the clouds toward your continent.When you're back with your feet on theground, you see the plants, animals, andpeople that are familiar to you-your environment.Your home.But what makes life on Earth possible?How can we live here and not, say, on thered planet of Mars? Why is the earth theonly spot where life exists?It's all about our star, the sun, and theway our planet is perfectly placed in the solar system. Our global ecos,stelll allstarts with the sun, which provides the light, energy, and heat for living thingson Earth to exist. It also activates our world's water c,cle, evaporating waterfrom lakes, oceans, and rivers. The water then condenses and falls again to Earthas rain, providing water to plant life. Plants are the source for all the global foodchains-for humans and all the animals.Our earth looks like a pretty rugged place. Add in the power we can see innature, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and molten lava, and it seems like nothingcould hurt our strong planet. But, if you look closer, you'll find it's a world thatneeds to maintain a careful balance in order to continue to grow and flourish.Anywhere you look in the world, the environment is playing a balancing actbetween plants, animals, and natural resources, such as fossil fuels and water.Take the food chains, for example. The sun provides energy to plants, whichsmall animals-like rabbits and mice-eat. Then larger carnivores eat the smalleranimals. Seems simple, right? But what if part of that food chain were to bedisrupted? 14. Earth: Our Spot in SpaceThat's what happened long ago with seaotters. From the late 1700s into the early1900s, people relentlessly hunted sea ottersfor their fur. As the sea otter populationdeclined, the sea urchins-the sea otters'favorite food-didn't have any predatorsgobbling them up. So the sea urchinpopulation grew and gobbled up all thekelp (their favorite food). With less kelpin the sea, other animals like fish and smallcrabs disappeared because they needed thekelp beds as protective hiding places or forfood sources. An entire mini-ecosystem waswiped out, all because the sea otters weren'taround to keep the sea urchin population inbalance.ecos.stelll: a community interactingwith its environment, creating aworking system.cOllllllunit.: all the living things withina particular region that interact witheach other.water c.cle: the process where theplanet's water evaporates, condenses,and returns to chain: the feeding relationshipbetween plants and animals in anenvironment.carnivore: a creature that eatsother creatures, also calleda predator.---------------------------------------This example shows just how delicate t...</p>