Global warming is a common theme these days for everything from dinner parties to movies to kids' video games.  So it's more than likely that your kids have heard about it, and will come to you with questions about what it is and what they can do about it.  Be prepared.  Here's a cheat sheet with answers to some of the most common questions that kids have about global warming.

1. What is global warming?

Global warming is a change that is occurring on the Earth.  Around the world, the average temperature of the planet is rising. 

(For older kids: you can tell them more about the science and history behind climate change.  Check out the kid-savvy climate change info from the Environmental Protection Agency's Climate Change Kids site.  

2. What causes global warming?

Global warming is caused something called the greenhouse effect.  (If your kids have ever been to a greenhouse, ask them if they remember how warm it was inside.)  The greenhouse effect occurs naturally on the Earth as gases trapped in the atmosphere with the planet.  The problem is that human activities are releasing extra gases into the atmosphere that are making the planet too warm.

3. Is global warming a big problem?

Yes.  The effects of global warming make it hard for all of us...plants, animals, and people to live on the planet.  That's why there are so many people hard at work to find a solution.

4. What can I do to help?

We all need to pitch in to help prevent global warming.  At home, there are lots of things that kids can do to reduce their impact on the planet.  Here are some ideas:

  • Ride a bike or walk instead of asking for car rides
  • Recycle
  • Turn off the lights
  • Buy less stuff
  • Take shorter showers
  • Turn off the faucet when brushing teeth
When talking to kids about global warming keep the conversation age-appropriate and positive.  Global warming is a serious problem, but kids don't need to be burdened with details if they're not ready for them.  The most important thing they need to know is that they have the power to prevent global warming.  And its up to you to help them get started!

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