This blog is for students in Environmental Science Classes at North-Grand High School in Chicago. Teachers will post assignments as well as links to articles and other media relating to issues in the environment. If you have questions contact Mr. Cantor, Ms. DeVaughn or Ms. Mandera.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Our Ecological Footprint
The following link will take you to a website at which you can calculate your own ecological footprint.
Follow the steps below and answer the questions as you work.
1. Go to the site and select the United States as your location. Why do you think the site gives you different choices of countries and continents? Do you think ecological footprints the same or different in different locations?
2. Before you begin, predict how many planets it takes to support your lifestyle.
3. When you get started you don’t have to put in your e-mail… just get started. You will have a choice between “Basic Information” and “Detailed Information.” Please select detailed information so you can get an idea of all the factors that go into your footprint.
4. Why do you think the types of meat and dairy foods you eat are important to your footprint?
5. You may not know where your food comes from… If you grow a garden or buy food at a farmers market, it is grown nearby. If you eat fruits and veggies in the winter in Chicago, that produce must have been grown far away. Why do you think the distance your food travels is important to your footprint?
6. Click on the different types of housing to see which is closest to the building in which you live. Why does the type of house or apartment you live in matter?
7. Would having more people living in your household make your footprint bigger or smaller? Why?
8. Here in Chicago, most of our energy does NOT come from renewable resources. Our homes are mostly heated with natural gas and our electricity comes mostly from burning coal and nuclear plants. Unless you have solar panels on your home or a wind turbine in your yard you use 0% renewable energy. Just estimate as well as you can when it asks you about how much your household spends on gas and electricity.
9. When you are answering questions about travel, keep in mind that it is about one mile between Armitage and Diversy or between Cicero and Pulaski. Big main streets in Chicago are about a mile apart. A typical large SUV gets about 13 miles per gallon (MPG) and a small car such as a Honda Civic gets about 20 MPG. A hybrid Prius can get about 40 MPG.
10. Summarize your ecological footprint:
How many Earths?_____ How many acres? _____ Tons of carbon dioxide?_____
Roll over the pie chart to get % for Food ____ Shelter _____ Mobility _____ Goods ____ Services ______
Which 2 areas do you have the most control over? _____________________________________________
11. Explore the site for a few minutes and write about some actions you can take to reduce your footprint. What is one action you are ready to take?
12. Please comment on your footprint in the comments section of this post. Was your footprint more or less than you expected? What was most interesting about the questions on the quiz? What was most interesting or surprising about your results? What changes do you think you will make? Please describe the experience of finding your environmental footprint. Sign your comment with your first name and last initial to get credit.
You can learn more about how the Ecological Footprint idea got started by watching all or part of the movie at the following link.