Sunday, August 22, 2010

Exciting News

So I have some cool news! The Green Mommy has been asked to have a booth at the Sustainability Fair this September. I just need to get some info together. I am thinking a poster and some hands on stuff like a few different kinds of cloth diapers, some compost tea, maybe some cloth wipes.... My head is already a buzz. So In that spirit the Green Mommy Blog is going to really get cracking on some good informative entries. So far I have been focusing mostly on Green Mommies with babies... since that is where I currently am in life, but there are a lot of ways to get older kids (4+) interested in being Green. So I will keep posting some cool activities you can do with older kids.

Today's experiment is to test your local rainwater for acid rain. This is best tried on a rainy day, since you need rain water.
The things you will need are:
1 bucket (clean)
3 jars
tap water
masking tape
pen or marker
red cabbage
coffee filters or white printer paper

Before you do anything set the bucket outside where it can collect rainwater.
First take the cabbage and the bowl and cut the cabbage into little pieces into the bowl. Next pour very hot water over the cabbage. Let an adult do this part. Let the cabbage water sit until it is dark purple. Then take the cabbage pieces out or pour the water into a new bowl. Throw the cabbage away and keep the purple water. Then dip the filter or the white paper into the purple water. Let it dry. After it is dry cut it into strips. Now you have made your own litmus paper. Litmus paper lets you tell if something is an ACID or a BASE. 
Now into one of the jars pour just tap water. The second one pour half water half vinegar and label it "strong acid" with the masking tape. The third jar pour mostly water and just a little vinegar. Label that "weak acid". 
Now dip a strip of litmus paper in each jar. The two with acid in them will turn pink. 
Now dump out the jar with just water and label it "Rainwater". Pour some of the rainwater from the bucket into the jar. Test it with the litmus paper. Compare that strip to the other three. Does it still look purple like the tap water strip or is it just a little pink like the weak acid or very pink like the strong acid? This will tell you how acidic your rainwater is.

Acid Rain: Acid rain causes acidification of lakes and streams and contributes to damage of trees at high elevations and many sensitive forest soils. In addition, acid rain accelerates the decay of building materials and paints, including irreplaceable buildings, statues, and sculptures that are part of our nation's cultural heritage. Prior to falling to the earth, SO2 and NOx gases and their particulate matter derivatives, sulfates and nitrates, contribute to visibility degradation and harm public health.

What Society Can Do About Acid Deposition:
Understand acid deposition's causes and effects
Clean up smokestacks and exhaust pipes
Use alternative energy sources
Restore a damaged environment
Look to the future
Take action as individuals
Turn off lights, computers, and other appliances when you're not using them 

Use energy efficient appliances: lighting, air conditioners, heaters, refrigerators, washing machines, etc.
Only use electric appliances when you need them.
Keep your thermostat at 68 F in the winter and 72 F in the summer. You can turn it even lower in the winter and higher in the summer when you are away from home.
Insulate your home as best you can. 
Carpool, use public transportation, or better yet, walk or bicycle whenever possible 
Buy vehicles with low NOx emissions, and maintain all vehicles well. 
Be well-informed. 

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