Theo and Frida are siblings and almost your age. Around 4 to 10 years old. They like to listen to music while building a little neighborhood with their toys. There are houses and stables and parking lots for space shuttles. Dad is carefully vacuuming around them not to suck up the tiny carrots from the farm animals.
But what is that...? Why did the music stop? Why did the vacuum cleaner switched off...? And why are the lights out...?!?
»Hhhmm, I think we have a power outage«, Dad says, flipping the light switch on and off.
»Oh-oh«, says Frida. Theo looks around for his flashlight. »Found it!!«, he shouts. But the batteries are very low and the light is not bright enough to see the toys.
The kids follow Mom to the basement to check the grey box. »Is this where the power comes from?« Frida wants to know. »No!«, says Theo, »the power comes from the energy factory!« But how does it get to our house? And what exactly is energy? And why actually is it good to save it?
We all need and use energy all the time. There is electric power that comes out of the outlets in walls but also energy that makes things run wirelessly. There are different ways to provide energy and the problem
with most of these ways is that they create lots of stinky and sticky stuff called CO2 (carbon dioxide).
Factories and big plants burn coal to produce energy to warm people’s homes or deliver electricity through wires. Planes and cars have an engine that burns gas (fossil fuels). All these CO2 emissions go up in the air into our atmosphere. The CO2 not only stays in the atmosphere - it traps heat – like an extra layer of wool under your sweater. Like the glass of a green house traps heat from the sun and keeps it in the green house. That’s great for plants to grow but trapped heat around our planet without a window to open is not good. The heat can’t get out of the atmosphere and warms up our planet. The oceans absorb more than 90% of that heat. Without the oceans this trapped heat would warm up the earth to more than 50°C/120°F! That’s a massive amount of energy, which goes into our oceans and makes them also warm up a little bit. Only in 2°C warmer water the ice in the Arctic is melting and the sea levels are rising. That causes stronger and more unpredictable storms and floods. People along the coasts have to move away to survive. Longer draughts in some regions make gardening and farming very hard and people need to move to areas with better farming conditions.
To produce energy through a nuclear power plant might have no CO2 emissions but it is very dangerous process. The radioactive waste is super poisonous and if there is an accident at the plant, the whole area around the plant is inhabitable and can make people very sick.
The best source for power comes from renewable energy. Wind and sun are free and very powerful. Many people in cities, companies and homes are switching to these renewable energy sources and you can see more and more solar panels on roofs and turbines in windy areas.
Not matter where the energy comes from something, what we all can do right now is: saving it. Using less energy has the biggest impact on saving our planet from global warming.
Use this space to write down all the things at your home that need power to run.
Color this Climate change chart and explain it to a grown-up.
Try to find things around you to improve or change to save energy. List them here and share them with people around you: