Week 1 – Discussion 1
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p>Your initial discussion thread is due on Day 3 (Thursday) and you have until Day 7 (Monday) to respond to your classmates. Your grade will reflect both the quality of your initial post and the depth of your responses. Refer to the Discussion Forum Grading Rubric under the Settings icon above for guidance on how your discussion will be evaluated.
Ecological Footprints [WLO: 3] [CLOs: 3, 6]
The ecological footprint is a tool for helping us to visualize the impacts we make on the environment. For a brief overview of the concept, please watch this one-minute video The Ecological Footprint Explained (Links to an external site.) prior to beginning work on this discussion.
In this weeks class discussion, you will have the opportunity to learn more about how connected you are to the ecosystems and biosphere that you inhabit. Everyday choices can impact our environment; through those choices, we can either add to our environmental impact, or reduce it.
In a course-long project beginning this week, you will take on the challenge of lessening your impacts on the environment, through reducing the size of your ecological footprint. Specifically, you will identify possible lifestyle changes that would reduce the amount of resources you use and/or the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that you produce. In a course-long experiment, you will determine whether or not it is possible to make a measurable difference in your environmental impact through a few simple actions in your daily life. The first step, of course, is to determine your ecological footprint right now. To do that, you will calculate three footprints: an overall ecological footprint that takes most of our daily behaviors into consideration; a carbon footprint that focuses on our daily carbon emissions that are contributing to global climate change; and a water footprint that assesses daily water use.
Part A: Ecological Footprint
Use the footprint tool from the web page What Is Your Ecological Footprint? (Links to an external site.) to calculate your ecological footprint. At every opportunity, please select the add details to improve accuracy option. At the end of the footprint activity, make a note of how many earths would be required if everyone lived like you. Then click on see details to obtain the following information:
Part B: Household Carbon Emissions Footprint
Next, use the Carbon Footprint Calculator (Links to an external site.) to calculate your household carbon emissions footprint. After answering all the questions:
Part C: Water Footprint
Finally, use Water Footprint Calculator (Links to an external site.) to calculate your daily water footprint. After answering all the questions:
Discussion Post Requirements
Your discussion should include all the information you gathered about your consumption habits from your three footprint calculations, including all numbers with units.
Then, in a well-crafted post of at least 200 additional words, examine the numerical results of your three footprint calculations by answering the following questions:
Note: You will not be able to view others posts until you have made your own.
Guided Response: Review several of your peers posts, responding to at least two classmates over the course of the week, comparing your footprints to theirs, and offering additional suggestions for ways they might lower their footprints, along with possible obstacles to doing so and ways of overcoming those obstacles. You are encouraged to post your required replies earlier in the week to promote more meaningful and interactive discourse in this discussion forum. Continue to monitor the discussion forum until 11:59 p.m. on Day 7, and respond with robust dialogue to anyone who replies to your initial post.
Note: If you encounter any difficulty accessing one or more of the three footprint calculators, you may need to try a different web browser. For instance, if you are using Google Chrome, you may need to use another option (Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla, etc.). If you are having difficulty accessing your usage data, contact me for an alternative.
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