What the heck is a carbon footprint? Have you heard this term before? You probably have. My daughter heard it the other day and was wondering what it meant. So, we decided to do a little research, a little brainstorming and we came up with an explanation and a solution to the BIG carbon footprint problem.
What is Your Carbon Footprint?
We had to start at the beginning. The generally accepted definition of “carbon footprint” is the amount of carbon dioxide, or greenhouse gases, produced as a result of our daily living. In other words, many things we do creates carbon dioxide, or greenhouse gases. If you add up the amount of emissions our daily activity produces you have an idea of the size of the impact we have on the environment. This might seem like a hard concept for kids to understand, but when we started brainstorming a list of things we do that use energy and emit carbon dioxide the idea of a carbon footprint became a whole lot clearer.
What Things Make Our Carbon Footprint BIGGER?
We started off our activity by stamping a footprint on a large piece of paper. We thought black paint made the most sense…just like a carbon footprint. Once we had our footprint stamped on the poster it was time to start thinking about what causes a BIG carbon footprint.
Driving a car – burning fuel (gasoline)
Flying in a plane – burning fuel (jet fuel)
Wasting energy in our house – burning fuel (natural gas/coal/nuclear energy)
Buying imported food – food that travels great distances – burning fuel (gasoline/jet fuel)
Buying non-organic food – pesticide production and transportation burn fuel
Using inefficient lights – burning fuel (natural gas/coal/nuclear energy)
Wasting water at home – cleaning water uses fuel (natural gas/coal/nuclear energy)
How Can We Have a Smaller Carbon Footprint?
Okay, once we know what leads to a BIG carbon footprint we started to brainstorm ways to make our carbon footprint smaller. This part of the activity was a lot of fun. We discussed all the alternative and environmentally friendlier choices we can make. We started writing our ideas on our Carbon Footprint poster. My daughter came up with the inspiring quotation “Try to have the smallest carbon footprint you can have.”
Turn off the lights
Don’t waste water
Bike/Walk/Scooter when you can
Recycle and reuse paper
Turn off the computer
Don’t waste food
Compost what we can
In the end, we not only figured out what a carbon footprint is, we also figured out how to shrink our carbon footprint. We are going to hang our Carbon Footprint poster in a spot where we can see it and be reminded of the importance of keeping our footprint small.
As we head toward Earth Day, on April 23rd, we are going to be exploring a number of environmental issues. Today’s post is part of the Natural Parenting and Earth Month Blog Hop that is taking place on over 20 blogs. All month long the Natural Parenting and Earth Month Blog Hop will be covering a variety of topics; ways to detox your home, green pregnancy and motherhood ideas, natural food and gardening ideas, green baby ideas and much more. There is also a fantastic giveaway taking place with the Natural Parenting and Earth Month Blog Hop. Be sure to check out the giveaway and enter for a chance to win an eco-friendly prize.