M3D2 NS Module 3


Module 3

There has been a great deal of discussion about exactly how we can begin to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and hopefully reach the levels set for the 2 degree solution. We have all heard about many possible approaches to get industry, communities, and individuals to make the changes we need if we are going to reduce these greenhouse gasses. In this discussion, we are going to examine our “carbon footprints” or “ecological footprints,” compare the scores with each other, and examine ways to reduce our impact on the environment and perhaps save us some money at the same time!

An ecological footprint is an expanded look at the carbon footprint idea. A carbon footprint measures direct consumption of products and resources that come directly from or with fossil fuel consumption, such as your car, your home, and air travel. The ecological footprint digs a bit deeper. “The ecological footprint measures the amount of biologically productive land and water area an individual, a city, a country, a region, or all of humanity uses to produce the resources it consumes and to absorb the waste it generates with today’s technology and resource management practices. Biologically productive land includes areas such as cropland, forest, and fishing grounds, and excludes deserts, glaciers, and the open ocean” (Earth Day Ecological Footprint Calculator, 2016).

Completing this activity will assist you in mastering Module Level Outcome 1.


Calculate one score for your carbon footprint and one score for your ecological footprint from the sites listed below or another you have located that has a calculator and provides a score you can compare.

  • Carbon Footprint site:
    • Climatepath – The calculator appears as #2 across the top third of the page. Click on the “calculate your footprint” link and a simple calculator function drops down on the right hand side of the page. Be sure to record your total footprint in tons before leaving the page, as well as any comparison figures.
  • Ecological Footprint sites (choose one):

Next, post to the Discussion Board:

  1. How do your carbon and ecological footprint scores compare to the averages for the U.S., China, and Europe?
    • You can find these figures about U.S. averages and European averages by a simple search, or you can use these figures:
      1. “An average American’s carbon footprint exceeds 20 tons, which is an astonishing amount. If the CO2 emissions we exhale were made into a solid mass of carbon, we would need 40 trucks – i.e., 1540 tons of carbon, which is 5 times more than a Frenchman and an unimaginable 20 times more than a person that lives in India.” (downloaded 6/2016 from factspy.net)
      2. “The per capita emissions in China increased by 9% in 2011 to reach 7.2 tons per person, only a fraction lower than the EU average of 7.5 tons.” (downloaded 6/2016 from: the guardian.com)
  2. How does your carbon footprint compare to your ecological footprint for the overall score? Do you see a consistent trend, either high or low, in comparison to the U.S. average? Do you see a marked disparity from one of your scores to the other?
  3. Which do you think is a more accurate representation of your energy consumption and greenhouse gas production? Why?
  4. Did you find things that you could do to reduce your scores? What are these things? Do you think you will keep up these efforts in the next few years?

Your initial post responding to this assignment should be no shorter than 250 words. Include both in-text citations and complete APA style references for all the sources you used to inform your work

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