Many feel anxious and are unclear how they can contribute to solutions. They’re turning to their teachers to help them navigate this.
Protect Our Future provides science-based learning resources to equip 11–16-year-olds with knowledge and understanding that goes beyond the headlines. By sharing engaging activities, we’re enabling them to develop tools to take the lead in climate conversations, changing their attitudes and behaviours, and shaping minds for the future.
Our free digital platform will provide a trusted source of science-based knowledge, inspiration and practical actions to drive positive impact in schools and within communities. And we aren’t doing this in isolation – we’re collaborating with forward-thinking young people, schools, universities, brands and leading charities to Protect our Future together.
Explore our first teaching and learning resources that shine a spotlight on how we can all play a part to ensure our oceans are healthy and vibrant. The classroom resources cover the ocean carbon cycle and plastic pollution – topics that you can bring to life using the short videos, teaching PowerPoints and practical activities.
This resource helps young people explore the importance of the carbon cycle within the ocean. The short videos and PowerPoint help students link the curriculum-based knowledge with the issue of climate change, specifically how carbon can be locked into the ocean to reduce levels in the atmosphere. They will also find out about seaweed farming methods being used in the UK and how they can make a tasty treat using similar methods to the seaweed farming companies.
This resource gives young people the chance to find out about the issue of plastic waste in the ocean. It links into the science curriculum by gaining knowledge on the structure of plastic and methods for reducing the use of resources. Students will find out from a real ocean scientist why it is a problem and hear about inspiring projects taking place around the world. There is also the chance to get involved with a practical task that challenges them to reuse plastic waste.
This Biology resource focuses on photosynthesis and the important role our oceans and plants like seagrass play in tackling climate change by capturing carbon dioxide, alongside the world’s rainforests.
A whopping 22% of carbon emissions in the UK come from heating and powering our homes. So we have lots of power to make a difference when it comes to energy. Energy can be hard to imagine because we can’t actually see it, but there are quite a few things we can do to reduce how much of this resource we use.
After some bright ideas to help the planet? Switch it up with these…
A huge amount of the energy needed for a shower is actually used to heat up the water, so dialing down the temperature – even just a smidge – will help. Cool showers can actually be really refreshing and even produce feel-good endorphins and boost your circulation, so double down with a quick, cold shower…if you dare!
This is a simple one! Remember to switch things off when they’re not in use like lights, chargers, tablets, gaming consoles and devices that are usually left on standby. Standby still uses energy so it’s best to switch things off completely. And, for a double whammy, flick the switch at the wall too. Little savings are still savings!
Take a peek at the light bulbs in your house (once they’re turned off and have cooled down). Can you spot if they are LED? It might say it on the bulb or, if the watts are under 10 it’s very likely to be LED. This is great because LED bulbs use way less energy than other types. Could you challenge your parents to LED-ify all the lights in your house and help them swap the bulbs over?
What’s that now? A radiator reflector is a clever thing you can pop behind your radiator to reflect heat back into your home that would otherwise be absorbed and lost through the walls. All you need is some cardboard, tinfoil, tape and scissors. Here’s a video (featuring a very good dog) to help. You only need to do this on walls facing outside, rather than those next to other rooms in the house.
And how about renewables? All these words can be super confusing, so it’s time to cut the jargon once and for all. Get stuck into our energy-related explainers and come away feeling like a pro with the power to make real changes.
There’s a lot to know about energy but by learning more we can make better decisions and convince other people to take action, too. Where to start? Well, how much energy does it take to power the world, exactly? If you’re not already doing so, follow inspiring environmental organisations and science heroes (like Protect our Future) on social media. There’s so much cool stuff out there to discover, like these amazing wind turbines that look like flowers.
Do you know what energy your home runs on ? Ask your parents – if it isn’t running on renewables at the moment, could you have a conversation with them about switching? Renewable packages are often cheaper than fossil fuels, so you could help them save money on bills over the year. Win!
When you think about the environment, most people think of trees. But while they are a huge part of it, there’s so much more. All the different plants, fungi, bugs and animals each have an important role to play in the environment, and without any one of them, we’d be in serious trouble! They all support important things like clean air, flood protection and our ability to grow food, so keeping them in balance helps to keep us healthy. Nature is great for our mental health too and research has shown that spending time in the Great Outdoors can help us feel more relaxed, happy and connected.
Want to help the trees, bees and birds, and feel closer to nature? Here’s how to give it a go…grow!
Herbs are a good one to start with as they’re pretty easy going and don’t take up much space. Have a go at sowing some seeds or pop a ready-grown herby friend on your windowsill where it will get lots of light. It’ll smell lovely and (so long as you remember to water it) one day you’ll be able to use it to cook with. Herbs are very commonly wasted food items that come in lots of packaging from the supermarket, so by growing your own you’re helping reduce waste by snipping only what you need! P.S If you’re buying compost to plant your new pal in, make sure it’s peat-free. It’s *so* much better for the planet!
It involves letting things grow by themselves, as they would in the wild. It’s great for the environment as it allows ecosystems to flourish the way they’re meant to, without humans getting involved. If you have a front or back garden, could you leave a few weeds to do their thing or sow a patch of colourful wildflowers? These plants are native to the UK and help provide food for bugs and bees.
How? Install ‘Ecosia’! It’s a search engine just like Google but uses profits to plant trees around the world. Make the switch, benefit the planet every time you look something up and *instantly* feel better about your screen time.
Grab something from your recycling bin (an old tub, a milk carton, a jar) and get creative. You could paint it, wallpaper it or stick things on to decorate it. And of course, when it’s ready, plant something inside it.
Head to your local green space and take notice of the kinds of things you don’t usually see. When was the last time you looked up into a tree canopy? Can you hear any natural sounds? How many different plants can you see? Take a closer look, touch, or smell. Plantlife has some super handy Spotter Sheets to help you identify different wildflowers throughout the seasons. Which ones are growing near you?
Rubbish can seriously harm local wildlife. It often ends up washed down drains or goes out to sea, where it pollutes the ocean. Can you get together with family and friends to organise a litter pick, then bin or recycle what you find, to save it causing harm?
Bug hotels are structures you can build to give insects a safe place to live. All you need to do is find an empty toilet roll or old jar, then head outside and find some bits and pieces to fill it up with. Bark, twigs, dried leaves, pinecones and moss are all good. Arrange as many different materials as you can inside your container, leaving little gaps and cracks for bugs. Then put it in a shady spot outside, ready for guests! Want to give it a go? Take a look at this quick video from Chester Zoo.
Did you know bread isn’t the best food to give birds? It’s a lot of carbs, not natural to their environment and can make them really bloated! Oops. They often need help finding food in colder months though: seeds, oats, fruit, nuts and unsalted vegetable fats are all good alternatives. You could even empty half an orange and fill it with some of these ingredients to make a plastic-free bird feeder to hang outside. Check out this easy tutorial.
From books to phones, clothes to cars, packaging to plastic bags, all the ‘stuff’ that’s in the world uses up resources when it’s made and has a big environmental impact. So the more we can reduce, reuse and recycle these items the better. Instead of using and throwing away 300 cups, for example, it’s better to make one, reuse it 300 times and then recycle it by turning it into something else.
Reducing means not buying more stuff, or things we don’t need in the first place. It’s one of the best actions we can take for the planet.
Reusing involves making the most of what we already have, so the resources are worth their impact on the environment. Buying second hand is a great way to reuse what already exists in the world.
Finally, recycling takes materials and processes them so they can be used again. It’s way better than sending them to landfill!
Ready to become a regular at reducing, reusing and recycling? Because you’ll want to try these ideas again and again and again…
You just throw things in a recycling bin… Mm, kinda! There are a few things to check. First of all, each area has different collection rules, so double check your council website to find out what they do and don’t accept in the recycling bin. Putting the wrong things in can contaminate collections (booo!) and means that they can’t be recycled properly – so if in doubt, leave it out! Give your items a quick rinse to make sure they’re clean and no food or drink is left in them. Then, recycle away!
It’s a pretty cool accessory (if we do say so ourselves) and they come in all sorts of colours, patterns and sizes, so find one that feels like you! In the UK, we’re really lucky that we have safe, clean tap water, so you can refill a reusable bottle every day instead of getting all your water from plastic bottles, like people in many parts of the world. See how many refills you can get before you forget (or lose) your water bottle – and then try to beat that high score.
Plastic is a pest to the environment because it’s a material that hangs around for hundreds of years, causing more problems as it breaks into smaller and smaller pieces – and it seems to be everywhere! Is there anything in your family’s weekly shop that could be bought in bulk to reduce packaging? For example, if you buy individual juice cartons with plastic straws, you could swap this for one big bottle of juice and pour yourself a serving each day instead (into your reusable bottle!). Or, if you buy fun-size packets of your favourite snack, you could buy one big bag and separate it yourself. Buying fruit without plastic packaging is also a huge win if you can get into the habit.
Do you use cling film or tinfoil in your lunchbox? There are almost 200 lunchtimes in a single school year. If every one of the 8.2 million kids in Britain takes their sandwiches in disposable wrappers like these, we’re looking at an eye-watering 1,600 million wrappers per year. There’s got to be another way! Thankfully, storing your food in reusable Tupperware instead of wrapping it up is a quick and easy swap you can make.
E-waste means electronic items like phones, laptops and chargers that are wasted and sent to landfills, often even if they still work! It’s bad for the environment because these electronics contain lots of valuable metals that could be used again and again. It took a lot of resources to extract them from the ground and they can be toxic when they break down. If you have any old or broken tech, see if it can be repaired before giving up on it or replacing it. Why not see if there’s a repair cafe running in your local area and take it along to be looked at?
It can probably still be recycled! Most kerbside recycling (the bins you put out each week) won’t be able to process electronics but your local recycling centre, electronics shop or the maker of your item might be able to. Batteries are often collected in special bins at supermarkets or tech stores.
There are some easy ways to protect your electronics so you can use them for longer. Make sure you use a screen protector and protective case on handheld items and don’t bend or stretch your chargers too much, especially at the ends of the cable. Eek.