1.1(a.1) My Carbon Footprint


To find out how we as individuals are contributing to climate change.

You need

Your individual passports, a computer, access to the internet and about 20 minutes.

What's a carbon footprint?

Climate change is caused mainly from a greenhouse gas known as carbon filling up the earth’s atmosphere and stopping the sunrays from escaping. This causes the planet to become hotter. We all use carbon in nearly every aspect of our daily lives and the amount we use is called our carbon footprint. It’s called a footprint because just like leaving a footprint in the snow, the carbon we use also leaves a lasting impression on the world. We use so much carbon we measure it in tonnes and in the UK the national average is 10 tonnes of carbon per individual a year.

Carbon calculators help us to measure the amount of carbon we use in our daily routines in things such as driving our cars, washing our clothes and cooking our food. They show us the direct link between the things we do in our lives and the impact they have upon climate change. It gives us the opportunity to stop and think about what we do and whether there is something small in our lives that we can do to help.

What to do

Building on from the My Passport activity, we need to think about what impact our individual activities are having on the planet.

a) Looking at your Passport for reminders and ideas, take a moment to think about your daily activities and the thing you do and places you go. Before using the calculator, how high do you think your carbon footprint might be?

b) Log on to one of these sites and using the online tool, calculate your annual carbon footprint:

Direct Gov: www.direct.gov.uk/actonco2 Carbon Footprint: www.carbonfootprint.com

c) Now you've got your number! Make a note of it and make a list of the things you do that use the most carbon.

What do you think?

Having worked out your personal carbon footprint think about what this means in reality. Are you putting more carbon into the environment that you thought? What activities are emitting the most CO2? What are the benefits versus the consequences of your footprint?

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