Seven Steps Kids Can Take

1. Use less paper.

Since most paper comes from trees, using less paper can help save the rainforests. Use recycled 100 percent post-consumer waste (PCW) paper whenever possible. You can also use rainforest-safe paper or tree-free paper which can be made from plants like kenaf, or from farmers’ leftovers like corn stalks and wheat straw. If paper is 100 percent PCW or tree-free, it will say so on the package. If it doesn’t say “recycled” or “tree-free” that means it most likely isn’t. You can ask the stores where you buy paper to have rainforest-safe paper options. Remember to save paper by writing on both sides of the sheet, and by using half-sheets and scratch paper whenever you can. And remember to always recycle.

Another way to use less paper is to use a lunch pail or canvas sack for your school lunches, and take a canvas bag to the grocery store instead of using a paper or plastic bag. Use cloth napkins at home and at school instead of paper napkins, and use cloth towels to dry your hands or wipe up spills instead of paper towels. If you must use paper napkins or towels, use only one at a time instead of grabbing a handful.

2. Use less gasoline and plastic.

Gasoline and plastic are two things that are made from petroleum, or oil. A lot of oil comes from the rainforests through a process called extraction. Since oil extraction is very harmful to the rainforests, using less oil products can help save the rainforests. Instead of using gasoline to drive somewhere in a car, ride your bike, walk, carpool, or take the bus whenever possible. Also make sure your family’s car tires are inflated properly since low air in tires uses more gas than is necessary.

Reduce the amount of plastic you use by choosing glass bottles and containers whenever possible and by re-using the plastic containers and bottles that you already have. If you have a plastic water bottle, do not throw it out and buy a new one. Instead, rinse it thoroughly and refill it again and again.

3. Eat less red meat.

One big reason rainforests are being destroyed is for beef. Millions of acres of rainforest are slashed and burned, which means that the land is set on fire in order to clear it. The cleared land is then turned into grass pastures for cows. These cows get butchered and are often sent to the United States to be put into fast-food hamburgers, frozen meat products, and canned pet food.

When ordering food at restaurants, find items on the menu that do not contain beef. Ask your parents to help you create a list of healthy foods that you can eat at home that do not contain beef. When choosing pet food for your dog or cat, choose a flavor that isn’t beef. By reducing the amount of beef you choose to eat, you are doing a lot to help save the rainforests!

4. Fundraise for the rainforest.

Raising money to help protect rainforest land is easy and important. You can join together with kids from your classroom or neighborhood to hold a popcorn or lemonade sale, a car wash, a rainforest play, a rummage sale, or to collect aluminum cans to recycle for cash.

The money you collect can go to Rainforest Action Network’s Protect-An-Acre program. This is a program that gives money to the native people that live in the rainforest so they can protect the land they live on. Since they’ve lived in the rainforest for thousands of years, they care very much about their rainforest home, and want to protect it from destruction.

Donate online or send a check to: RAN Protect-An-Acre, 221 Pine St. #500, San Francisco, CA 94104. Remember to include your name and address so we can thank you!

[Check out our list of fundraising activities for the rainforest!]

5. Write a letter.

Writing letters to the presidents of companies, or corporations, that destroy the rainforest is a very powerful thing to do. Unfortunately, there are many corporations that destroy the rainforest by logging the trees, drilling for oil, or using rainforest beef in their products. The “Help Save Rainforests” section always has ideas for a company to write to. Tell the company that you care about the people and animals that live in the rainforests. [See some letters that kids have written.]

6. Educate yourself and others.

Rainforests are magical places that are important to every living thing on earth. Whether we live in the city, country, mountains, or deserts, rainforests affect all of us. Learn more about the rainforests and why they are so magical and important. Keep checking out our website to get more information, or go to your local library for books on the rainforest. Tell your friends and family what you have learned about the rainforests and encourage them to join you in helping save them.

7. Keep in touch with RAN!

Sign up to receive Hero Update emails from RAN about how you can join other kids in the fight to saveĀ  rainforests!