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Environmental studies and Forestry WK 10 | UK US Essays
  • March 7th, 2016

Environmental studies and Forestry WK 10

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Calculating your global impact

This week’s forum is more like a mini-activity than our traditional posts.

I want you to analyze your impact on the global environment. You will do this in two ways (1) First calculating your annual contribution to carbon dioxide emissions, and (2) calculating your ecological footprint. We have learned a lot about important environmental issues this quarter, so now is the time to sit back and think about how your daily activities are influencing the environment. This is a web-based exercise, so you will need the internet to complete this assignment.

I would cut and paste the information below into word, answer all the questions, and then paste your responses back here when you post it.

Part 1: Carbon Dioxide calculators

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a major contributor to climate change and global warming. In this part of the lab, you will be going to the following website to calculate your annual CO2 emissions: http://coolclimate.berkeley.edu/carboncalculator (Links to an external site.)

After you complete the calculations, you will see a summary of your emissions and how they compare to comparable households in the US and the global average. Use this information to answer the following questions:

1) What was your total carbon footprint for your household per year (in CO2e/yr)?

2) What was your total carbon footprint per person in your household per year (in CO2e/yr)?

3) How do your values in each category compare to equivalent households? To global averages?

4) What portion of your emissions was the greatest CO2e/yr? The least?

5) What section of your emissions was the worst when comparing to average US households (hint, what section had the highest % relative to comparable households)? Does this surprise you? Why or why not?

Now, redo your calculations at a different web site: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/ind-calculator.html (Links to an external site.)

Before you begin, you will need to know something about your home/apartment energy use. You may need past electric, gas, oil bills in order to look up values. If you do not have all the information you need, try to estimate it the best you can. This calculator is interesting because after determining your total emissions, it walks you through a series of steps showing you how to reduce your emissions, and how much money you can save by making these changes. Answer the following questions based on the results from your summary page.

6) What is your total current emissions (top of table) and how does it compare to an equivalent household in the US (given at bottom of table)?

7) How much did you reduce your emission based on the reduction steps to took?

8) How does your reduced emission total compare to the average value for a person annually in the US? (you will see the US average at the bottom right part of the table)

9) What emission reduction action saved you the most money annually? Is this surprising?

10) What reduction step lowered your emissions by the greatest amount? Is this surprising?

Appliance-specific emissions:

Next we want to analyze how the different appliances you use at home will contribute to your CO2 emissions. Go to the following website:

http://www.gdrc.org/uem/co2-cal/co2-calculator.html (Links to an external site.)

This website is based on typical Japanese appliances, but the ideas are the same. Use this to determine where most of your electricity-derived emissions are from. NOTE: do not check the automobile box(es)…we want to look solely at your appliance uses:

11) What is our total CO2 amount in kgC/day?

12) Redo the calculator and only click one appliance at a time, what are the single values for each appliance you use?

13) What appliance produces the most CO2?

14) What can you do to reduce your appliance-derived CO2 usage? Try to be specific.

15) Are there any appliances you use on a regular basis that were not on the list? If so, what are they?

Part 2: Your ecological footprint

An ecological footprint is a measure of how much land and water is needed to produce the resources we consume and to dispose of the waste we produce. Choose ONE of the 2 options below and complete the footprint quiz and answer the questions given below.

OPTION 1 (need to subscribe for $1.00)

Determine your footprint using the following website: http://www.myfootprint.org/ (Links to an external site.)

Answer the following questions based on your summary page:


1) What category (carbon, food, housing, goods and services) was the largest contribution to your total footprint?

2) What category (carbon, food, housing, goods and services) was the smallest contribution to your total footprint?

3) How many earths would we need if everyone lived like you do?

4) What biome (pastureland, fisheries, forestland, cropland) was the smallest and largest portion of your footprint?

Now, think about areas where you think you can improve and reduce your footprint. Redo your quiz and consider different answers based on things you can realistically change. For example, eat meat less, use biodegradable cleaners, etc.

5) What are your new results? Did your footprint go down? Increase? Stay the same? Comment on these results by discussing how the changes in your daily routines can make a difference.

6) Are there things you think you can do to reduce your footprint that were not asked in this online quiz? If so, what are they?

OPTION 2 (free calculator)

Take the footprint quiz at this website: http://www.footprintnetwork.org/en/index.php/GFN/page/calculators/ (Links to an external site.)

After you complete this quiz, answer the following questions:

1) How many earths would we need if everyone lived like you?

2) How many acres of land are needed to support your activities? What category required the greatest and lowest amount of land?

3) What category made up the biggest part of your overall footprint (food, shelter, mobility, goods, services)?

Now, click on the “edit your footprint” and “explore scenarios” buttons, what can you do to lower your footprint? Retake the quiz and enter answers based on actions you can take to have less of an impact. Did these actions reduce your footprint? How many earths does this represent?

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