Globe with recycling arrowsWhat's the problem?

Global warming. Expanding land fills. Water wastage. Air pollution.

This one is different to most other social justice issues. With most justice issues, we join the battle, standing up from our positions on the sideline and joining the fight on behalf of those who can't fight for themselves.

But where the environment is involved, it's almost certain that you're already in the battle. But the problem is that most of us are fighting on the wrong side without even realising.

Regardless of how old or how young you are, we all need to be passionate about protecting the environment. Otherwise we all might find ourselves guilty of one of the greatest injustices in history - causing serious, permanent damage to our planet.

How can I get involved?

1) Turn stuff off

You can make a difference by just turning off appliances when not in use.

  • Turn off the TV at the socket instead of leaving it on stand-by.
  • Turn off the computer at the socket. Your monitor uses about 60 per cent of all power that a computer needs.
  • When you leave a room, turn the lights off to save energy.
  • If you don't really need that heater, rug up with some gloves, socks, trackies and jumper and top it off with a nice doona or blanket. Do this and you'll be toasty-warm in no time.
  • Don't leave the tap running while you brush your teeth, turn it off.

All these little things add up to make a big difference, especially if everyone joins in.

2) Recycle

Australians, on average, throw away the equivalent of their own body weight in waste each year. Making small changes to this can go a long way.

Most local councils offer recycling bins at home. Doing something as simple as sorting waste can reduce the size of landfills and you can do it from home. Rinse containers and jars before recycling them and check with your local council for what is accepted, as certain areas can differ.

3) Use your feet

By travelling by foot or bicycle, not only are you exercising which will help your health, but also you'll reduce the carbon emissions that your car produces.

Alternatively if where you are going is too far to walk (more than three kilometres) try and car pool with friends, catch public transport, or jump on your bike.

4) Clean Up Australia Day

Each year in March, thousands of Australians gather for 'Clean Up Australia Day'. It only takes a few hours and can really make a difference to an area that has had a lot of rubbish dumped there.

So why not check out the website, gather some friends or your youth ministry and serve others by making the community a better place to live. You'll be surprised at how much fun you can actually have while caring for the environment.

5) Start a compost heap

If you don't mind a bit of gardening and getting your hands dirty, ask your parents if you can start up a worm farm or compost bin in your backyard for food scraps. Visit Worm farming and composting for a helpful guide in getting started.

6) Write a letter

Write a letter to your local member of parliament about the Kyoto Protocol.

Because they have signed the agreement, the Australian government has a lot of targets to meet and promises to keep. By writing a letter to your local MP, it shows that you are concerned about what the government is doing to reduce the affect of climate change, and puts pressure on them to act. Get your friends or school mates to write a letter as well. 

Where can I find out more?

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