Environmental Facts

Our environment is really important. We need to understand it to be able to look after it. We have put together a huge amount of resources and factsheets to help you understand all about our environment.

Image by: Bas Boerman

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2015 is warmest year ever recorded

Data collected by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showed that the global average temperature was 0.13C warmer t...

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2016 set to be hottest year on record

A report published by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) was published at the Marrakech global climate summit yesterday.  It says that the...

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Acid Rain

Acid rain is a result of air pollution. When any type of fuel is burnt, lots of different chemicals are produced.

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Activities on Environment and Wildlife

We get many emails from young people asking us what they can do to play a greater part in the conservation movement, and so we have compiled this l...

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African Savanna: Plants and animals

Children will enjoy learning about plants and animals in this unfamiliar habitat. As always, this lesson plan is accompanied by a Powerpoint presen...

Agreement in Warsaw

In the meantime, the delegates will be returning home  to work on their own countries’ ‘contributions’ to reducing carbon emissions, which will com...

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Animal rights

Should animals be given more rights, to live and not suffer?

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Antarctica

Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent, containing the geographic South Pole. It is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphe...

Being green isn’t black and white

But the full picture is more complicated than this.  A recent study comparing  electric and conventional cars, authored by the Norwegian University...

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Biodiversity

Biodiversity describes the whole range of the different varieties of living things and systems on this earth. Biodiversity can be found everywhere ...

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Biosphere

We humans not only live in the biosphere but are absolutely dependent upon it for almost every aspect of our existence. 

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Birds in the City

Over the last hundred years or so, large cities and their surrounding housing suburbs have grown, replacing countryside habitats. Many species of b...

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Boats

How does a boat or ship carrying heavy cargo float while that same cargo would sink to the bottom of the ocean if dumped overboard?

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Britain's Rare Flowers

Explore the UK's rare flowers, each section gives ideas about what you can do to help.  

Broken silence

 You can see some photos of some of the action on YPTE’s Facebook page. And since we got back from there, we have been judging the entries for t...

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Climate Change

The earth's climate has seen many changes in its 4.55 billion years.

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Climate Change and Animals

This factsheet takes a look at some of the challenges that animals might have to face in the future.  How does climate change affect them?

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Copenhagen Climate Conference

The Copenhagen Climate Change summit was a gathering of world leaders in the capital of Denmark over a two week period from 7th - 18th December 200...

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Desert Regions

When you hear the word 'desert', what picture does it bring to mind?  Perhaps you think of a very dry place, a place without people or plants livin...

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Desertification

It has been said that forests came before human beings, deserts followed them. Desertification is becoming a major problem as more and more of the ...

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Earth Summit 2002

The World Summit on Sustainable Development organised by the United Nations (UN) in Johannesburg was held in August and September of 2002.

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Ecocide

It is against the law to steal from or hurt other people, and it is against the law to kill another person.  But, is it against the law to destroy ...

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El Nino and Indonesia

This Fact Sheet was originally written in November 1997, when major fires in the forests of Indonesia were blamed on the El Nino effect.  

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Endangered Animals of the World

Endangered means to be under threat or near extinction.  When a species/animal is endangered it means that they are disappearing fast or have a ver...

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Energy

The following chapters describe the various forms energy can take and the story behind humans, energy, fuel and the environment.

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Environment

Our planet is changing.  We need to help it change for the better and we're asking for your help to do that!

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Extinction

A species becomes extinct when its death rate is continually greater than its birthrate.

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Feeding Garden Birds

Birds appreciate being fed throughout the year, but winter is their most difficult time, when they find it hard to find their natural food, such as...

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Food of the Future

As the world’s population grows every minute, there are more and more mouths to feed.  In fact, there are so many mouths to feed that ‘overpopulati...

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Fukushima

The powerful earthquake which hit Japan on 11th March 2011 caused a tsunami which added to the destruction of millions of people’s homes and liveli...

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Genetically Modified Foods

There is much concern about GM foods, some of which are being tested and some of which are already used as ingredients in the food we eat. 

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Global Warming

Global warming is the increase of average world temperatures as a result of what is known as the greenhouse effect. 

Have your say on sustainability!

For the competition, young people aged 11-18 are invited to create a short video clip sharing their views on the environmental issues that concern ...

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Heathland

Heathlands are human-made habitats. They only persist if they are managed. The lowland heaths of southern England would quickly become woodland if ...

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Hedges

The Anglo-Saxon word for enclosure was ‘haeg’ or gehaeg’ and this is were we get the word ‘hedge’.

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Hunter-Gatherers

Groups of hunters can still be found in Canada, North America, South America, Africa, India, South East Asia, and Australia.  

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Leaves

Leaves are nature’s food factories.  

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Local environment: Plants and animals

The curriculum encourages children to use the local environment to explore plants and animals in their habitat. This suite of lesson plans and acco...

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Making a Pond

Here is a step-by-step guide to making your own pond

Mass walkout by NGOs in Warsaw

The Conference of the Parties (COP) in Warsaw should have been an opportunity to make some progress.  And with the horror and devastation caused by...

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Meat Free Mondays

Meat Free Monday is all about reducing the amount of meat we consume because of its health and environmental benefits.

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Migration

Animals do many different and amazing things. Some of them ‘migrate’. This means they travel to other places where the weather is warmer or they ca...

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Mirage

A mirage is a phenomenon where you think you see water... 

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Nestboxes for Birds

Nestbox building is a good activity for the autumn, ready for occupation (hopefully!) the following spring.

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New lesson plans for Year 5 teachers!

The three extended lessons cover the differences in life cycles of mammals, amphibians, insects and birds; how animals reproduce; and how the work ...

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Oil Pollution Case Study

The 147,000 tonne oil tanker Sea Empress ran aground on February 15th 1996 at 8.07 pm, despite being under the control of one of Milford Haven’s ha...

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Overfishing

It has been estimated by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation that over 70% of the world’s fish stocks are either fully exploited o...

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Overpopulation

At present there is still space enough on Earth for humans, wildlife and wild places; but what of the future?

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Ozone Layer

Ozone is a naturally occurring gas found in the atmosphere where it absorbs most of the sun's ultraviolet light - invisible rays which are harmful ...

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Palm Oil

Have you heard of palm oil?  How about vegetable oil or olive oil?  Oils from plants, vegetables, seeds and nuts have been used for centuries all o...

Paris climate deal comes into force

Delegates from almost 200 countries will be meeting in Marrakech, Morocco next week to consider their next steps.  A UN review of the pledges to cu...

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Plants: Year 3

A suite of four lessons on Plants, each with suggestions for classroom activities.  Accompanied by a presentation filled with excellent photographs...

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Pollution

Pollution is a word that we are all aware of these days. What does it mean exactly? 

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Pollution

Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into the natural environment that cause adverse change. 

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Ponds

A pond is a small area of still, fresh water. It is different from a river or a stream because it does not have moving water and it differs from a ...

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Rainbow

A rainbow is sunlight spread out into an arc of colours and seen by your eyes when the sun shines through water droplets

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Rainforest Animals

Animals of the rain forests are provided with a variety of habitats in the different layers of the forest trees. Some live at the top of the talles...

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Rainforest Tribes

Rainforests are very rich in natural resources, but they are also very fragile. For this reason, indigenous people have become instinctive conserva...

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Rainforests

Rainforests are forests which grow in areas of high rainfall.  Tropical rainforests are found between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capric...

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Rainforests

This set of lesson plans looks at rainforests, with particular focus on the Amazon.  Lesson plans are brought to life by the stunning images in the...

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Recycling

We produce more rubbish today than ever before.

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Renewable Energy

Renewable means that the energy won’t run out, unlike coal, oil and gas which will.  Before we get started on renewable energies let's take a look ...

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Renewable Energy: Biomass Energy

Biomass is a versatile energy source. Organic matter that is used as a source of biomass energy includes trees, timber waste, wood chips, corn, ric...

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Renewable Energy: Solar Energy

Throughout history the suns heat has been used as a form of energy – in the beginning it was used to cook food. Then we learnt to collect the sun’s...

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Rio+20

On 20 June 2012 many young people, scientists, academics, politicians and others met at a very special event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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River Pollution

It seems that almost every day there is another story about pollution of one form or another, in the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we...

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Rivers

Rivers can run for many hundreds of miles. The longest river in the world is the Nile in Africa. It is 6,700km long. The longest river in Britain i...

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Save The Plants

There are around 400,000 plants species recorded in the world and many more waiting to be discovered and named. 

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Sea Pollution

It seems that almost every day there is another story about pollution of one form or another, in the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we...

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Seashore

A rocky shore consists of rocky ledges with pools of salty water, boulders and pebbles.  Living in this habitat is a community of hardy plants and ...

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Snowflake

Some snowflakes look like oak leaves, some are shaped like dinner plates, and millions are very pretty and look like frozen lace.

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Some good news, some bad news

According to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) now looks like 2016 will mark another milestone for climate change for being the first yea...

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Survival at the Poles

Polar bears and penguins never bump into each other! Why is this? The answer, of course, is simple; polar bears live only in the Arctic (the North ...

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Sustainability

If something is sustainable it should last forever.  To sustain something is to keep and support it for the future.  

The problem with biofuel

A report issued today by Chatham House shows that biofuels will cost us more too. Biofuel comes in two basic forms – ethanol, which can be added to...

To Work on Two Wheels!

So, we take the train, we take the bus, or we take the car. We know that taking public transport reduces our carbon footprint, so in many cases it’...

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Trade and Endangered Species

Humans have always used wild animals and plants for their products, such as fruits and seeds for food, skins for clothing, wood for fires etc.

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Tsunami

The word tsunami (pronounced soo-NAH-mee) is Japanese, and it means ‘harbour wave’.

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UK MPs call for ban on microplastics

Huge numbers of tiny pieces of plastic are building up in our oceans, lakes and estuaries.  Microbeads are very small pieces of plastic, which are ...

UK’s new cars are greener than ever

The average emissions of new cars sold in 2011 was 138.1g/km.  By 2015, average emissions must fall to below 130g/km to meet with EU targets and by...

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Using a Quadrat

You will need: Half metre quadrat Pooter Hand lens or magnifying glass Notebook and pencil Reference Books

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Vivisection

Vivisection is the practice of using animals for scientific and medical purposes.

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Whales - Saving the Whales

Whales are warm-blooded mammals and the largest creatures on earth. The magnificent blue whale is the largest animal that has ever lived on this pl...

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Wildlife Areas for Schools

Schools that have begun to develop their grounds often invariably report that this has led to beneficial changes in the relationships, attitudes an...

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Wildlife ID

How we can identify animals by Footprints, Pellets, Nuts and Seeds, Droppings and Skulls

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Wildlife in Winter

Even though our British winter is not nearly so cold and severe as polar winters, plants and animals still have to be able to adapt to low temperat...

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Wildlife in Winter - Adaptation

If an animal or plant is to survive it must be able to fit in with the environmental conditions which occur in its habitat. This fitting in is call...

Woodlands in Spring

A look at the plants and flowers that grow in a deciduous woodland in the Spring.

Yippittee - Issue 11 - Winter

Why does it get cold in winter? What is snow? Do fish freeze? How tall was the world!s largest snowman? Find out here!

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Zoos

The subject of the rights or wrongs of zoos can be very emotive with many unbalanced views being put forward by people who have little real knowled...