This page last reviewed September 15, 2014

what kids can do banner

Information for Kids

What is Climate Change?

Climate change, also called global warming, is the process of the Earth's climate gradually getting warmer.  In addition to the Earth warming, rainfall patterns are changing, sea level is rising, and snow and ice are melting sooner in the spring - which reduces California's water supply.  As global temperatures continue to rise, we'll see more changes in our climate and our environment.  Many of these changes will cause problems for people, animals, and ecosystems.

What is Causing Global Warming?

Scientists believe that the release of greenhouse gases by human-related activities such as burning fossil fuels, like oil (which is used to make gasoline and diesel) and coal (mainly used to make electricity), is causing most of the warming.  Another cause is cutting down forests, since trees soak up carbon dioxide, one of the greenhouse gases in the air.

How is it Climate Change Affecting Us?

In addition to warmer temperatures around the world, some places will get less rain and snow, which can mean too little water.  Some places will get more rain, which can cause flooding.  More hot days can hurt crops and make people and animals sick.  The negative effects of global climate change will be less serious overall if people reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we're putting into the air.

What is California Doing?

The State of California has passed laws and set up programs to reduce greenhouse gases which cause climate change. California is getting more energy from renewable sources, like wind and solar (from the sun) that don’t pollute the environment and don’t release greenhouse gases.  California is also encouraging more energy efficient cars and homes, which also reduces greenhouse gases.  However, California can’t do it alone.  People and governments around the world must also work hard to reduce greenhouse gases to eventually help stabilize the climate. 

What Can Kids Do?

You don’t have to wait until you are fully grown to do something about climate change.  Think about the things you do each day that use energy, like electricity used in your house for lights, refrigerators and computers.  Every time you ride in your car, it uses energy (gasoline for most cars).  By finding ways to cut back on energy use you will reduce greenhouse gases.  Below are some easy things you can do to help the environment and lower the release of greenhouse gases.

light switch

> When not in use or leaving a room, turn off the lights.

can recycling image

> Whenever possible, recycle things like cans, bottles and paper.  

bike image

> Bike or walk short distances instead of asking for a ride in a car.

> Tell grownups at your home that you would like to do more to save energy and help climate change so your family may help with these efforts too.  Everyone's contributions will help!


Check Out these Other Useful Websites:

Climate Change
Helping the Environment
Smiling earth and