Earth Day/Environmental Science Activity

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My Footprint.org is a pretty cool, easy to use online tool that calculates the acres required to support your lifestyle based on a few simple questions. The tool also compares your acreage to the average acreage required by the population in your country. While the activity itself has merit, there are many extensions available such as having students predict which of the input variables would have the most impact on the footprint calculation and then test the prediction. Additional extension activities might be more problem based such as having a team of students come up with a viable strategy that will have the most impact on reducing the footprint while identifying the implementation barriers.

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  1. Excellent resource, Todd. This is a very important exercise to include in your ecology units. For years I would have my students calculate the energy food web needed to support their food needs for a year–based on their diet choices. The investigation came from a lab from Saunders Publishing and relied on data from Pimental, an ecologist from up here at Cornell. What really opened the student’s eyes was how much land was required to support their lifestyle choices and how much fossil fuel was required to provide it. Pimental has updated data now but as far as I know it has not been incorporated into a lab for students–perhaps a place for additional research.

    BW

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