See if you can get your parents and friends interested in free solar wind turbinesenergy — that's energy from the sun and wind. Solar panels can help you get much of your hot water and heating from the sun and even generate electricity. If you live in a windy place, a wind turbine — also called 'windmill' — really is a serious option. More and more people are installing them and more and more companies are producing well-designed, sturdy machines. Many of the largest windfarms are now built offshore. Here's a really huge one being built.

Find out more about renewables in my Energy guide.

About wind turbines
Wind turbines are machines which take energy from the wind and use it to generate electricity. There are more and more types available. Some are designed to power single households and generate a few thousand watts of power. Some are real giants and can generate up to 8 MW (= million watts) of power each. These are often built in 'windfarms'. More and more of these windfarms are being built well away from the land, out to sea where they don't bother anyone. Both the little ones and the big ones can be linked together into the electricity grid. A special meter records how much power your turbine generates because the electricity companies will pay turbine owners for the energy their machines make. They can be a safer way to earn money than investing in the stock market.
Giant wind turbines in the North Sea.
SteKrueBe - commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:SteKrueBe
TechnoSpin Inc. - www.flickr.com/photos/41673477@N08/ You have to buy special machines to use be able to use sun or wind energy. But once you've got them, the energy the machines make is free. The machines get cheaper all the time as more and more companies compete to give best value in a growing worldwide renewable energy market.
Marufish - www.flickr.com/photos/marufish/ Solar panels
There are two different ways of using the sun's energy. One is to directly heat water in panels on a roof. The other is to generate electricity using photovoltaic (PV) panels as in the photo.

Cycling uses your energy, not fossil fuel!

Sun-powered cycling
How can you use solar power for cycling? Simple: plants use the sun to make and store energy. Your food mostly comes from plants (or animals that have eaten plants). The food gives you energy... so when you walk or jump on your bike, you too are using stored solar power.

Generating your own power is a great way to reduce your powercarbon footprint.

Solar energy is free