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This is a 2 step assignment:

  • Step 1: Use the EPA’s Carbon Footprint Calculator at https://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator/ (Links to an external site.) to calculate your own, personal carbon footprint. Find out exactly how much YOU, personally, are contributing to the global climate crisis. ( please use 33178 as zip code and 4 household members)
    • What to submit: In a short (150-300 word) essay: discuss 3 ways in which your carbon footprint is higher than you expected and, for each, come up with a realistic (one that’s actually feasible for you to do, starting today) plan for reducing your footprint.
  • Step 2: Unfortunately, reducing our future footprints is only part of the equation. We also need to remove the carbon we’ve already released in to the atmosphere. We can do this through “carbon offsetting”.  Watch the video below for information on how carbon offsetting works, why it’s necessary and its fall backs (nothing is perfect, but perfection should not be the enemy of the good). Then, visit https://www.carbonfootprint.com/carbonoffsetprojects.html  (Links to an external site.) and identify one project you’d be willing to support now or in the future.
    • Scroll to the bottom of the website, and enter the information from your carbon footprint calculated in Step 1, convert your answer from step 1 (which is in lbs) to US tons by dividing by 2000.
    • The site will calculate how much it would cost to offset enough of your carbon footprint to become carbon-neutral (no net emissions of carbon in to the atmosphere). Note: when you click ‘get prices’ the projects are grouped in to regional projects so your chosen project may be put in to one of those categories (click the titles to explore further).
    • You are not actually sending money or resources in this exercise.  This just provides an example of how carbon offsetting would work in a residential framework.
  • Example of a carbon offset policy: FIU’s Earth and Environment Department has committed to offsetting all official department air travel related carbon emissions by paying for carbon offsets through Native Energy https://nativeenergy.com/ (Links to an external site.)  .
  • What to submit: After your step 1 essay, add another 150-300 words discuss which project you chose, why you chose it, and how much it would cost for you, per year, to offset enough of your carbon footprint to live a carbon-neutral lifestyle. In one final sentence, commit to what you are personally willing and able to do, starting today, to achieve that goal. Hot tip: saying you’re not willing/able to do anything would not be considered a right answer.
  • Video to watch:Carbon Offsetting – Funding Solutions to Climate Change (Links to an external site.)Carbon Offsetting - Funding Solutions to Climate Change

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