Thank you Susan Z for this inspiration!

FIRST: What does the ocean mean to your kids?  Ask them: whales, starfish, mermaids, underwater volcanoes, mysterious deep water creatures, scuba diving, sailing, swimming, sandcastles, tide pools, haunted shipwrecks…

NOW, WATCH THIS: The ocean means so much to the world, beyond the beauty and mystery, but it desperately needs preservation.  Did you know that the equivalent of one giant truckload of trash (mostly plastics) is dumped into the ocean EVERY MINUTE? 

For this reason, from the Arctic to Zanzibar, millions of people will be celebrating World Oceans Day, this week.  Your children (and you) can get involved by checking out the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory who collaborate with the Youth 4 the Oceans network.  Nearby, the New England Aquarium will offer a brilliant festival, while on Cape Cod, the Ocean Protection Advocacy Kids, will host “One Ocean, One Cape Cod” screening of Sonic Sea.  Elsewhere, your kids can look into someday participating with the Sea Youth Rise Up group.  

For inspiring reads, check out I Can Save the Ocean!,  Follow the Moon Home,  Oil Spill!, and The Pout-Pout Fish Cleans Up the Ocean (younger kids) and At Home in the Coral Reef,  Why Are the Ice Caps Melting? , One Well, The Story of Water on Earth,  Solving the Puzzle Under the Sea,  The New Ocean: The Fate of Life in a Changing Sea,  How to Speak Dolphin,  Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans, and lastly, Song for a Whale, among many others.  Of course, any of David Attenborough’s visually-stunning and educational videos about world waters are sure to be a hooting success for any child — or adult!  

The best thing of all, however, is the 5minutebeachcleanup — can your kids take a BEFORE pic and an AFTER pic of your 5 minute beach clean up this summer?  Post it!  And thank your kids!

Phyllis Theermann

Vacation is a great opportunity to reduce your home energy use and save some money! Many of the setting and use changes can be maintained even after returning home!

Air conditioner: Turn off your air conditioner while you are away – your house won’t mind the heat. When you return try adjusting the thermostat to higher temperatures for lower energy and more efficient operation.

Water heater: Lower the temperature of the hot water heater to the lowest setting. Many have a simple knob. If your water temperature is too hot to keep your hands in then the setting was too high and can be adjusted lower when you return. Learn more here.

Lights: Install timers on any lights which will be on while away. Make sure that these lights have been updated to LED or CFL bulbs. Learn more here.

Refrigerator: Your refrigerator is one of the big energy users. If you have 2 refrigerators consider consolidating into one. When you return, see if you can make it until the holidays without starting the second refrigerator. Learn more here.

Electronics: Many of our gadgets and devices continue to use electricity when “off”. Added together couple of Cable TV boxes use comparable energy to a refrigerator. Unplug all computer, entertainment and charging electronic devices when you leave. When you return, only plug electronics as needed. Learn more here.

Don’t forget to use energy responsibly while on vacation too by shutting off lights and reusing / hanging towels.

Phyllis Theermann

Featured tip from the Wellesley Energy Action Guide is to reduce your thermostat 10 degrees for 8 hours.

According to the Department of Energy, households can achieve savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long.  That’s as much as 10% savings for a ten degree setback overnight and even more for a larger setback on vacation!

Sustainable Wellesley used a Nest web connected thermostat to see how much could be saved on a December getaway…

Image (below) shows how the heating system was affected by reducing the temperature for 5 days from December 26 – 31.  The red bars indicate when the furnace was running and the red circles indicate temperature setting.  The “Away” setting was 50 degrees.  The heat barely needed to run for the first 2 days as the house temperature dropped.  Including more than 5 hours of re-heat time the vacation setback reduced home heating by 30%!

With a little help from a programmable thermostat or a web connected thermostat, like the Nest, the house is already heated by the time the vacation is over.