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It All Adds Up

It All Adds Up

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It All Adds Up

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  1. It All Adds Up Climate Change: Connections and Solutions Lesson 4

  2. Inquiry/Critical Thinking Questions • How do our lifestyles affect climate change? • What is a carbon footprint, and how is it measured? • What changes in our daily lives would result in lower carbon emissions?

  3. Objectives: • Students will: • Use an online carbon calculator to determine impacts of daily choices on carbon emissions. • Explore ways to reduce their carbon footprint.

  4. Introduction • Brainstorm all of the things they use in a day that require power (or energy). • How is the use of energy related to climate change? • What is carbon and how can it affect Earth’s climate? • Do you think you produce carbon dioxide during their daily activities? • You are about to find out how your carbon emissions (also called a “carbon footprint”) compare to those of an average person living in the United States.

  5. Procedure • Handout: Carbon Footprint Results handout. • Go to and enter your responses. • After you have entered your information (under “Your Current Emissions”) to estimate your total carbon emissions, record your total emissions on the handout, Carbon Footprint Results. • Now experiment with making positive changes (under “What You Can Do to Reduce Emissions” on the EPA carbon calculator site) to see how much less carbon dioxide you can emit, completing the Carbon Footprint Results handout as you go.

  6. Discussion Questions • How does waste disposal affect climate change? What items are recyclable in your community? What are some other ways you could reduce waste (other than recycling)? • Name some energy uses that were NOT included in the carbon calculator. • What are additional benefits, other than reduced carbon dioxide emissions, or reducing energy use? • How might reducing carbon dioxide emissions improve your quality of life? • Carbon footprints can be calculated not only for individuals, but for countries and regions as well. What factors are likely to increase a country’s carbon footprint?

  7. Homework Student Reading 2: What Size Is Your Footprint?