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Earth Space Science Essay

Assignment # 3

Your Carbon Footprint

A person’s carbon footprint refers to the amount of carbon dioxide produced by an individual over a given period of time.  The carbon footprint calculation is important because carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.  It is a proxy measure of how much energy a person uses, whether that energy is in the form of combustion to power your car, electricity to power your appliances, or the energy required to produce and transport the food you eat.  Watch the following video to learn more about the carbon footprint and the amount of carbon dioxide generated by the average American household.

Carbon Footprint Video

Calculating Your Carbon Footprint

Calculating your carbon footprint is a complicated process that involves accounting for every kilowatt hour of energy you consume.  Fortunately, there are less accurate but quicker carbon calculators we can use to get a rough estimate of our energy consumption.  Use the Nature Conservancy calculator below to estimate the number of tons of carbon dioxide you are responsible for adding to the Earth’s atmosphere each year.  Be sure to include estimates for each of the major categories of energy consumption by selecting and filling out the information in each of the tabs (Home Energy, Driving & Flying, Food & Diet, Recycling & Waste).  Note – the website urges you to donate to the Nature Conservancy to offset your carbon footprint, but you are under no obligation to donate any money and can use the carbon calculator free of charge.

Carbon Footprint Calculator

This is a short essay assignment.  All short essays submitted for this course should be written in complete sentences and full paragraphs, each with a coherent beginning, middle, and end.  A rule of thumb for short essay lengths is 2-3 full sentences per question. 

After watching the video and calculating your carbon footprint, write a short 2 to 3 paragraph short essay answering the following questions:

1.     What is your carbon footprint?

2.     What steps could you take to reduce your carbon footprint?

3.     Do you think you will try to take these steps anytime in the near future?

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