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Carbon Calculator
http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/students/calc/index.html

Environmental Protection Agency, EPA

This carbon calculator, developed by the EPA, guides students in calculating their carbon footprint and then using that information to make decisions about how to reduce their carbon emissions.

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Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Humans may be able to mitigate climate change or lessen its severity by reducing greenhouse gas concentrations through processes that move carbon out of the atmosphere or reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
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A combination of strategies is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The most immediate strategy is conservation of oil, gas, and coal, which we rely on as fuels for most of our transportation, heating, cooling, agriculture, and electricity. Short-term strategies involve switching from carbon-intensive to renewable energy sources, which also requires building new infrastructure for alternative energy sources. Long-term strategies involve innovative research and a fundamental change in the way humans use energy.
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
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Actions taken by individuals, communities, states, and countries all influence climate. Practices and policies followed in homes, schools, businesses, and governments can affect climate. Climate-related decisions made by one generation can provide opportunities as well as limit the range of possibilities open to the next generation. Steps toward reducing the impact of climate change may influence the present generation by providing other benefits such as improved public health infrastructure and sustainable built environments.
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
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Energy Literacy

Environmental quality is impacted by energy choices.
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7.3 Environmental quality.
The quality of life of individuals and societies is affected by energy choices.
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Energy affects quality of life .
Humans transfer and transform energy from the environment into forms useful for human endeavors.
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4.1 Humans transfer and transform energy.
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Various sources of energy are used to power human activities .

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Decisions to slow the depletion of energy resources can be made at many levels, from personal to national, and they always involve trade-offs involving economic costs and social values.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • There is a link to many examples of how this EPA Global Climate Change website, including the carbon calculator, can be used. The link can be accessed at the horizontal menu at the very bottom of the screen under Educator Resources.
  • A possible follow up activity is to have students convert English units into metric units.
  • Follow links to get more background information.

About the Science

  • A nice resource from the EPA that complements the "Calculate your carbon footprint" calculator. This one converts current activities (and those the user will change) to pounds of carbon saved and finally miles driven by cars. A quick exercise involving 16 activities like "Turn off the water when you brush your teeth, "Bike or walk to school instead of getting a ride", "Recycle newspaper", "Unplug chargers when they are not in use", "Enable the sleep feature on your computer", etc., gives savings for each activity as well as personal totals. Reduction of carbon emissions is translated into a carbon equivalency of miles driven in a car. Additionally, information on the basis of the calculations is given in "sources and assumption" tab on the downloadable spreadsheet.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The Carbon Calculator is a straightforward exercise that gives the user a clear understanding of the impact of individual and collective carbon choices. Assumptions behind each calculation are not specifically stated.

About the Pedagogy

  • This is a self-directed website designed primarily for middle and high school students in both formal and informal educational contexts, including classrooms camps and after-school programs.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The interface is easy to use.
  • Finding "sources and assumption" tabs at bottom of spreadsheet is somewhat difficult.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/students/index.html

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