Learning Center
WHAT IS CLIMATE CHANGE?

Climate change is a phrase you’ve probably heard a lot in school or on the news. But what is it, really?

Seasons change, and the weather changes all the time. Why is climate change different?

Climate change is the overall change in the planet’s weather systems over the course of many years. When we discuss recent climate change, we are talking about the fact that scientists have discovered gradual warming of the planet to the hottest temperatures ever recorded in the last two decades.

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NATURAL RESOURCES

Did you know that if you were to count all of the things in your room that weren’t made from a natural resource, you wouldn’t even get to number one?

Everything on Earth depends on natural resources. Natural resources are the things that nature produces that allow us to survive. These include air, sunlight, water, soil, rocks, vegetation, fuels, and animals. All of these resources together help to create the diversity of life on Earth.

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HOW DO HUMANS INTERACT WITH THE ENVIRONMENT?

When was the last time you went outside?

You probably go outside every day. In fact – practically everyone goes outside every day! It’s a completely normal, not-particularly-exciting part of life (except when you’re going someplace awesome, like to the beach to snorkel or the mountains to snowboard, of course). However, even doing regular things outside like riding your bike or cutting the grass has an effect on the environment.

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EARTH’S FOUR MAIN SYSTEMS

Do you know what an ecosystem is?

An ecosystem is all of the living and non-living natural elements in a specific location. Every place has its own ecosystem. There is a distinct ecosystem in the region where you live that is different from one even a few miles away.

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CYCLE MATTER AND ENERGY TRANSFER IN ECOSYSTEMS

You’ve probably seen plenty of worms. If you’ve seen a worm in a pile of leaves on your lawn, that worm was probably eating those dead leaves. After that worm has broken down those leaves, it releases matter into the soil in the form of nutrients. The surrounding grass then absorbs those nutrients through its root system. When the grass grows, it attracts insects that eat grass, such as beetles and grasshoppers. Birds then might eat the insects. All of these creatures feeding on different things in their ecosystem are examples of cycle matter and energy transfer. Matter is cycled and recycled, and cellular energy is transferred. It’s how all living things survive – including humans!

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FOR-PROFIT FORESTRY: CARBON CREDIT TRADING AND OFFSETS

What does carbon credit trading mean? It’s complicated, but here’s an example that might help you understand the process.

Let’s say it’s your job to cook dinner for your family. The last time you cooked, you used up every pot, pan, and dish in the kitchen, and it took more than an hour to wash up afterward. Because the whole process used lots more time and work than necessary, the next time you cook dinner, you decide to organize your time and equipment so that you don’t have to use as much energy. Maybe instead of using a different bowl for every step in the cooking process, you only use one. Maybe you tidy up as you go, so you don’t have a big mess at the end. This is called improving your efficiency, and it not only saves you time, but it also saves labor and even soap and water since you aren’t washing as many dishes.

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FOREST MANAGEMENT: THE IMPORTANCE OF PROTECTING OUR FORESTS

Forests are magnificent places – they’re filled with so many fascinating animals and plants that researchers are discovering new ones every two days! The world’s forests keep the planet cool, cause precipitation (rain), and purify our air and water. Forests are so important to humans and animals that if all the forests suddenly disappeared, the earth would become uninhabitable, meaning that the remaining life on the planet might not be able to survive.

So, who is in charge of the forests?

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THE FOREST BIOME – TYPES OF FORESTS

How much do you know about forests? You probably know them as mysterious green places where you can find lots of animals and plants. You might have even read about people living in or near forests, like in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House in the Big Woods and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. But forests are much more than beautiful, tree-filled places where people (and sometimes wizards) have adventures – they also help people and animals everywhere have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.

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INVASIVE TREE SPECIES: HOW INVASIVE TREES AND PLANT SPECIES THREATEN NATIVE FORESTS

When you think of invaders, you probably think of big armies that flood into a place and frighten and even harm everyone that already lives there. But did you know that some of the pretty trees and flowers that you see in people’s gardens or even on the side of the road are invaders that are harming the naturally occurring plants and animals that had been there previously? These invaders are non-native plants, and while they can be beautiful to look at, they can be dangerous to wildlife and – over time – humans.

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