Now in its 42nd year, Earth Day has become a symbol for the care and protection of our natural resources. Orlando Science Center is celebrating Earth Day 2012 with its first “online mini-exhibit”. Over the next five days (corresponding to the number of oceans on the planet), we’ll be publishing articles on the following subjects:

  • Conserving energy
  • Conserving the land
  • Conserving the water
  • Conserving the air
  • Conserving the climate

These articles will not necessarily take a stand on any given issue. Instead, they’re designed to get you to think and decide where you stand. Each day, you’ll see three articles…

  • Learn – an article that helps you learn about a given subject.
  • Do – an article that gives you an activity you can do as a family.
  • Act – an article spotlighting an organization where you can lend your time and energy should you choose to act.


In celebration of Earth Day, take a look at this video from the Sierra Club featuring some of your favorite celebrities:


We hope that you enjoy our celebration of Earth Day and it gives you new ways to think about the planet you call home!

Here's a cute video, courtesy of the Enviropals about air pollution. It's a bit long, but it's great for smaller kids!

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The Florida Conservation Alliance is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization that works to protect, conserve and restore Florida’s natural environment through citizen education and action. The organization’s mission is to make sensible conservation policies a top priority for elected officials, political candidates, and voters across the state.  They accomplish this by educating legislators on pro-conservation issues and legislation, as well as supporting candidates that share their goals.

The organization’s priorities when it comes to water conservation are in line include funding the Florida Forever program and reaffirming Florida’s commitment to restore the Everglades.  In addition, they support:

  • Making sure there is adequate funding for Florida’s regional water management districts to provide for water quality protection, adequate water supplies, flood protection, and natural resources protection.
  • Managing Florida’s water resources at the regional, not state level.
  • Ensuring that growth management laws and policies support sustainable use of water.
  • Promoting efficient use and conservation of water.
  • Opposing efforts to privatize Florida’s water.

To find out more about this organization, please visit their web site.

Publishing this article does not represent an endoresement of the organization.  It is for informational purposes only.

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Did you know there are ways to conserve water and save money?  One way is through the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense label.  The WaterSense can be found on high-efficiency products, homes and programs. They provide water efficient options that give you the same performance and quality you've come to expect, but with the added benefit of water savings.

For example, did you know that standard showerheads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute (gpm)? Showerheads that earn the WaterSense label must demonstrate that they use no more than 2.0 gpm. The WaterSense label also ensures that these products provide a satisfactory shower that is equal to or better than conventional showerheads on the market.  To ensure this, the EPA worked with a variety of stakeholders—including consumers who tested various showerheads—to develop criteria for water coverage and spray intensity. Independent laboratories test showerheads for these attributes before certifying them to earn the WaterSense label.

According to the EPA’s web site, the average household could save more than 2,300 gallons per year by installing WaterSense labeled showerheads. Since these water savings will reduce demands on water heaters, households will also save energy. In fact, a household could save 300 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, enough to power its television use for about a year. If every household in the United States installed WaterSense labeled showerheads, we could save more than $1.5 billion in water utility bills and more than 250 billion gallons of water annually, which could supply more than 2.5 million U.S. homes with their water needs for a year. In addition, we could avoid about $2.5 billion in energy costs for heating water.

At a time when energy consumption and independence is such a critical issue on so many levels, this small change clearly makes a big difference!


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Here in Florida, water conservation means so much more than watering your lawn less, or taking shorter showers.  Because so many of us live near coast lines, water conservation also means taking care of the natural treasures we’re lucky enough to enjoy every day.  To issues that face Floridians are littering and ocean dumping.

We’ve all seen it.  You spend a day at the beach, expecting to enjoy nature at its finest.  When you arrive though, the picture is often different.  Trash and litter from the visitors before you are carelessly discarded.  For us, it’s an eyesore.  For the wildlife we share these oceans with though, it’s a different story.

Marine animals sometimes mistake debris for food and swallow it or become caught in it and die.  Debris and trash can be carried downstream in rivers endangering all aquatic life on its way to the sea where it will drift through the ocean currents for years and years.  Plastic floating in the ocean can resemble jellyfish.  Many leatherback turtles die from ingesting plastic bags which they mistake for their favorite food, jellyfish.  As a result, the leatherback is listed on the U.S. Endangered Species List as endangered worldwide.

Of the approximately 7 billion tons of litter that enters the world's oceans each year, about 60 percent is of a plastic composition including bags, bottles, synthetic ropes and fishing nets, and more.  These items can last for 10-20 years before finally decomposing.  It is estimated that 1 million seabirds and 100,000 other marine animals, including endangered species, die as a result of having swallowed plastic litter or been caught in it.

In addition to trash, the oceans and waterways that surround us also become at risk due to pollution.  Two thirds of the major cities in the world are situated along coasts, and millions of people vacation at shorelines.  Pollution from developed areas drains into the ocean killing marine life, threatens human health, causes toxic algae blooms, and forces beach closures.  Human pollution is destroying coral reefs and coastal habitat which are vital for breeding, food and shelter for marine species.  Vast amounts of pollution are draining into our ocean waters daily from human-related activities.  Ocean currents can carry pollutants far from the source of entry, and species consume and absorb them.  Pollutants have caused major declines in species, and are threatening the planet's ecological stability; and therefore, our life support system.

Needless to say, pollution of any kind does great damage to our environment.  When it comes to conserving our oceans and waterways though, Floridians have an added responsibility.  It’s a small price to pay for living in such a beautiful state.



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The Sierra Club works to protect communities, wild places, and the planet itself. It is the largest, most influential grassroots environmental organization with over 1.4 million members across America. The goals set forth by the club are to have safe and healthy communities to live in, implement smart energy systems to battle global warming, and to create a lasting legacy for the wild places that still remain in the United States.

The Mission of the Sierra Club is, “to explore, enjoy, and protect the wild places of the earth; to practice and promote the responsible use of the earth's ecosystems and resources; to educate and enlist humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment; and to use all lawful means to carry out these objectives.”

The Central Florida chapter of the Sierra Club consists of 2,100 members in the four surrounding counties. Monthly meetings are held on the third Wednesday of each month at Leu Gardens where a guest speaker is featured or an education session is presented. The topics discussed at the meetings are centered on Florida’s distinctive ecology. The Central Florida chapter also partakes in weekly outdoor adventures including hiking, bicycling, kayaking, camping, backpacking, and conservation oriented walks into natural areas that still remain around the area.

If you would like to join The Sierra Club, click here.


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