What is your ecological footprint? Why don’t you find it out? Click here and here. Compare the results. Are they the same? Are you happy with the feedback or do you need to change something in your lifestyle? What suggestions are you given as to how to change your ecological footprint for the better?
Think of the possible ways you could implement in your daily routine to reduce your carbon footprint and compare your ideas with your classmates’.
Read what you could do to reduce your carbon footprint. Which piece of advice would you be aple to pursue easily. Which one is impossible for you to fulfil? Why?
Human activities have an impact on the environment – this impact can be measured as an emission of carbon dioxide. Find out how average emissions differ depending on where you live.
Measuring the impact of carbon dioxide on the environment
A carbon footprint is a measure of the impact our activities have on the environment. It calculates the greenhouse gases we are expected to produce in all our activities and measures them in units of carbon dioxide. The world average is about 4,000 kg of carbon dioxide per person per year. In the UK it is nearly 10,000 kg per person per year.
This pie chart shows what contributes to the carbon footprint of a typical person living in an MEDC.
As a country develops its carbon footprint tends to increase.
Some heat energy from the Earth’s surface escapes into space. If too much heat energy escaped, the planet would be very cold. However some gases in the atmosphere can trap escaping heat energy, causing some of it to pass back to the surface.
These are called greenhouse gases, and they keep our planet warm, which is a good thing. Carbon dioxide is an important greenhouse gas.
Increasing carbon dioxide levels
Humans burn fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas. The energy released is used to power cars and other machines, to generate electricity, and to keep buildings warm. The burning fuel releases waste gases, including carbon dioxide. As the human population increases, more fuel is used, and more carbon dioxide is released.
The extra carbon dioxide increases the greenhouse effect. More heat is trapped by the atmosphere, causing the planet to become warmer than it would be naturally. The increase in global temperature this causes is called global warming.
Humans are very successful living things. We compete with other organisms for many natural resources. These include:
- land (for farms, buildings and roads)
- water (for drinking, watering fields, and industry)
The world’s population of humans is increasing all the time. In the year 1800 it was about 1 billion, and now it is more than 6 billion (that’s 6,000,000,000).
More people mean more use of natural resources, and bigger changes to the environment. The graph shows population growth over the last 200 years.
As an Ambassador of the United Nations Leonardo Di Caprio addresses the Assembly to make a strong point about Climate Change. While watching the speech, jot down a few words that catch your attention. What do you like about his speech? Why? What don’t you appreciate (if there is something you do not find congruent or somehow coherent) and why?