The purpose of this lab is to learn more about how connected you are to the ecosystems and
biosphere that you inhabit. You will learn how your everyday choices contribute to the human
impacts on our environment you’ve been learning about. Most importantly, you will learn
about benefits that you can achieve by joining the increasing number of people who are making
choices that reduce their environmental impact.
The objectives of this lab are to:
• Identify the products and practices that contribute most to your environmental
• Identify solutions for each of these products and practices and estimate your savings of
BOTH carbon emissions and money.
• Consider the multiple benefits (e.g., environmental, economic, health, etc) that
humanity can achieve by reducing our individual and collective environmental impacts.
1. Find out your ecological footprint:
a. Visit the Global Footprint Network web site. Use the footprint calculator to measure
your ecological footprint and learn “how many earths” it takes to support your lifestyle.
Be sure to choose the “detailed response” option for each question.
b. Answer each question in the quiz honestly and record your answers in the following
• Your food (how much of it is animal products, processed, produced locally, and
• Your home (energy sources, how much trash you generate, how much new clothing
and furniture you buy each month)
• Your mobility (how many miles you drive, the mileage of your vehicle(s), your use of
c. On the results page, click on “Explore scenarios” to learn how to reduce your footprint.
d. Use the questions that follow to reflect on your experience and feelings when taking
2. Learn about specific products and practices that will help you reduce your environmental
footprint and can even save you money.
a. Visit the EPA Household Emissions Calculator and complete its questions to learn more
about your environmental impact and the benefits of solutions:
• Section 1: Estimate your current total household emissions (from home energy use,
vehicle use, waste).
• Section 2: Explore actions you can take to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions,
energy use, and waste disposal costs.
• Section 3: See how much you can save (in dollars and emissions) by taking the
actions you chose in Section 2.
1. What are the 3 everyday products and practices that contribute most to your
– Services, foods, and goods.
2. What impacts might result if everyone in the world enjoyed the same lifestyle? For
example, what might the impacts be on:
a. Earth’s climate? By burning lots of fossil fuels
b. The health of ecosystems and biodiversity? A majority of studies of regional climate
effects on terrestrial species reveal consistent responses to warming trends, including
pole ward elevation range shifts of flora and fauna. Responses of terrestrial species
to warming across the Northern Hemisphere are well documented by changes in the
timing of growth stages
c. Humanity’s natural resource base and thus economic security? WSSD recognized that
human activities are having an increasing impact on the integrity of ecosystems that
provide essential resources and services for human well-being and economic activities
3. Identify solutions to each of the 3 components of your environmental footprint that you
listed in question 2. What are the savings of BOTH carbon emissions and money you can
achieve via each solution?
a. How much would this amount to if every household in America (roughly 100 million) did
this? Each person would use 38,199.15 lbs of emissions and save $85 a year.
b. If everybody did this, what might the impact on the health of our environment be? For
example, how might these collective actions benefit our air and water quality? The
health of the world’s forests? If everybody did this, what might the impact on the health
of our environment be? For example, how might these collective actions benefit our
air and water quality? The health of the world’s forests? There will be less animals being
killed for food and farmers wouldn’t use steroids in animals.
c. How might these environmental improvements benefit human health and, in turn, our
economy? It will decrease the amount of humans and animals that are killed.
4. Does reducing the size of our footprint necessarily mean reducing our quality of life? Why
or why not? Are there ways of enhancing quality of life while lowering impact? It does, with
you reducing the size of your footprint will eventually show that you’re making all the steps
necessary to building a better ecosystem. Yes, there are ways to enhance quality in life
while lowering impact.