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Carbon Footprint

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Just about everything that you do releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. If you commute to work by train, then CO2 gets released into the atmosphere. If you use electrical appliances at home, again CO2 gets released. If you buy a box of cookies at the supermarket, eat them, and throw away the box, then this releases CO2 too!

Energy use creates carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming. The carbon footprint measures CO2 use. Commuting to work and using appliances contribute to your primary footprint, which measures direct emissions. You have control over how much or how little energy you use here. However, your secondary footprint measures indirect emissions. For example, the box of cookies must be manufactured. The ingredients must be grown, harvested, and transported to the factory. This all requires energy. Your purchase thus requires energy, albeit in a roundabout way.

Preview the lesson material:

Warm Up: Discuss the question with your partner for five minutes.

  1. What do you know about global warming? Are you concerned about the problem?

Comprehension Questions: Answer the questions before/after your read the article.

  1. Commuting to work is an example of direct emissions.  T / F
  2. Your secondary footprint also measures energy use.  T / F

Summarization: Summarize the article with a partner. Try to do so with only two or three sentences.

Discuss: Discuss these questions with a partner. Remember to support your answers.

  1. Had you ever heard about "carbon footprint" before? What are your impressions?
  2. How large is your carbon footprint? Is it big or small? Why do you think so?
  3. How large is the carbon footprint of your country? Is it big or small? Why do you think so?

Download the lesson:

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