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Discussions Discussion Student footprints
Tamia Y-USA, Oct. 17, 2013

Hi my name is Mia, I live in Northern California and I’m also doing the carbon footprint challenge. One of the first things that shocked me was that due to my dislike for walking, my transportation footprint was two thirds more than the average for my region. For example I drive to school, home, mall, trips to San Francisco, and eating out. Even more shocking is that my purchasing footprint is ten times larger than my region, because when I shop, I buy high-end and name brand products.

I suppose when I move to Asia my carbon footprint for transportation will decrease due to taking the train. Likely things will cost a lot more so my purchasing footprint will sky rocket even more since I want to go live in Japan and South Korea.

Tamia Y-USA
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Discussions Discussion Student footprints
Charles Hwang, Oct. 16, 2013

I live in California in the United States. According to footprint.stanford.edu/footprint, the average carbon footprint in California is 21,445 pounds-per-year (9,727 kilograms-per-year). My carbon footprint is 25,475 pounds-per-year (11,555 kilograms-per-year). The average carbon footprint for transportation in California is 5,637 pounds-per-year (2,557 kilograms-per-year). My carbon footprint for transportation is 1,936 pounds-per-year (878 kilograms-per-year). The average carbon footprint for home energy in California is 8,282 pounds-per-year (3,757 kilograms-per-year). My carbon footprint for home energy is 11,074 pounds-per-year (5,023 kilograms-per-year). The average carbon footprint for food in California is 4,900 pounds-per-year (2,223 kilograms-per-year). My carbon footprint for food is 11,536 pounds-per-year (5,232 kilograms-per-year). The average carbon footprint for purchases in California is 2,626 pounds-per-year (1,191 kilograms-per-year). My carbon footprint for purchases is 928 pounds-per-year (421 kilograms-per-year).
My carbon footprint for home energy is more than one-third (33.71 percent) higher than the average carbon footprint for energy in California. This brings me to my first carbon footprint reduction. I think that there are many ways in which I can save energy. One of them is by turning off unused lights. Unused lights in my household are commonplace and are usually left on for hours as we forget to turn them off and, upon remembering, are reluctant or indifferential towards turning them off. Another way is by decreasing the intensity of the air conditioning unit in the summer and heating in the winter. Air conditioning can almost be entirely replaced by simply opening windows and letting the breeze in or using ceiling fans which consume much less energy than an air conditioning unit. Also, I could keep myself cool by drinking water and other cold beverages or eating cold food, like ice cream. On the other hand, my house is already protected by thick layers of insulation, which keeps the heat inside the house. Heating could be replaced by wearing a jacket or extra blankets.
My second carbon footprint reduction is on my carbon footprint for food. My carbon footprint for food is more than four-thirds (135.43 percent) higher than the average carbon footprint for food in California. However, seeing that I eat two half meals and one full meal per day (one half meal for breakfast, one half meal for lunch, one full meal for dinner), I do not believe that this figure is accurate. A part of this unusual error could be attributed to the fact that a majority of my dinner meals include meat, which significantly increases my carbon footprint for food due to manufacturers and meatpacking plants shipping the meat. Another reason for the error could be my unknowingness of my own daily calorie count and the website setting a default calorie count for males (4,040 kcal).

Charles Hwang
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Discussions Discussion Student footprints
Shannon Bates, Oct. 16, 2013

Hi everyone!
My name is Shannon, I’m from Florida. I really enjoyed doing the Carbon Footprint Challenge because it is truly an eye-opener. My footprint was about average for American people (which is by no means, a good thing). We recycle every week. I have a car that gets decent gas mileage. The main problem I had was electricity and the amount of miles I drive. I’m a nanny so I’m constantly driving the kids from place to place to place; not to mention, I have to go to school 5 times a week. The amount of electricity my household uses was a big problem, too, because we live in a 5-bedroom house with 6 people. Between my online college classes, cell phones, and TV, we use up a lot of electricity. Since I started my Environmental Science class, I’ve thought a lot about the things we use. I try my hardest to drink from reusable, glass bottles rather than using plastics. I’m about to reduce my footprint by selling the car I have now and getting one with much better mileage, so hopefully that will fix my constant need for gasoline. I’m really glad I got to see my carbon footprint compared to other peoples’ all around the world.

Shannon Bates
Comments (5)
  • Morgan k-USA Morgan k-USA Oct. 17, 2013
    Hello Shannon I am studying carbon in my science class as well. I love how you recycle every week. I have some suggestions that could make your foot print even smaller. Taking shorter and fewer showers will help reduce your carbon footprint and reserve water at the same time . Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is by turning the water off when you brush your teeth. It’s a small price to pay for helping the planet. Also you can leave more lights off and eat more locally grown food! I hope I helped!
  • Alexa K-USA Alexa K-USA Oct. 17, 2013
    Hi Shannon,I have the same problem, using to much electricity. Although i am just a student and go to school for most of my day, i make it up on how many electronics i use. I hate to admit it but Im on my laptop probably way more than i should be on. However i don't travel very much so i don't use up as many miles as you do.
  • Kira S-USA Kira S-USA Oct. 17, 2013
    I think that you have a few great ideas, I use a metal water bottle everyday and it is so much better for the environment and it is actually a lot easier to use. I also really like that you are doing such a big change, selling your car for a more efficient one. recycling is a big help which I am going to try and do more often.
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Discussions Discussion Student footprints
Bailey J-usa, Oct. 16, 2013

I found that my carbon footprint was very far past the average on all except purchases. This activity surprised me because i did not know that i used that much carbon during my day. I Didn’t know that the things i used released that much energy. When i got my results i was extremely surprised that my results were almost double the average. My house was the highest of my categories because the amount of light bulbs i have in my home. My purchases were the lowest because we do not buy very many items with large amounts of packaging. to lower the amount of carbon i use i will turn off the lights when i am done using them and only turn them on if i actually need them. also i am going to shorten the length of my showers. These changes will not make it perfect but it will help to lower my carbon usage and help save the earth.

Bailey J-usa
Comments (1)
  • madeline tuazon madeline tuazon Oct. 18, 2013
    Bailey :{)
    It was interesting to read your post because I can totally relate to what you are talking about. Before this whole little project I never gave the slightest thought to what I do in my everyday life could really have a bigger effect in the bigger picture. Just like your results I had a high whooping number in my house because I do tend to leave on lights in my house all the time! I am pretty bad about leaving them on, sometimes leaving them on all night by accident :/! As for my lower purchases, I too, didn't have a high number just because I hardly order anything besides Christmas or my birthday and if I do the packages tend to be smaller. I agree with you that even if we were to try to change our ways right now drastically it wouldn't make up for all these years we've been doing all these things, but at least we could have a chance to help with lowering the carbon usage, and possibly save our planet (:

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Discussions Discussion Student footprints
Anna E-USA, Oct. 14, 2013

Many people don’t realize that doing everyday tasks at home can actually affect your carbon footprint. Keeping your lights on when you are not using them is a huge waste! It is also important to turn off the water when you are brushing your teeth, rather than letting it run. I sometimes forget to do these things, but I try to remember because I know it is helping the environment. Another action that you can take to reduce your carbon footprint is to not keep your chargers plugged in when you are not charging your cell phone or laptop. This is a waste of energy, so you should just keep them unplugged unless you are actually charging something. These are only a few of the many things that you can do to improve your carbon footprint. These actions may be hard to remember at first, but you should try to implement these tasks into your daily life, so it becomes a routine.

Anna E-USA
Comments (6)
  • Shannon Bates Shannon Bates Oct. 16, 2013
    Anna, I am so bad about leaving my phone charger constantly plugged up! I'm trying to change my ways; but as you said, it's just a routine. I really enjoyed your post. It was extremely helpful :)
  • Michael C-USA Michael C-USA Oct. 17, 2013
    Yeah, I use my phone charger a lot because i need my phone most of the day to answer calls from my mom or dad, check my grades online and Google many subjects. Also, I try to turn off water as much as I can while brushing teeth and washing hands. And you are fully correct when it comes to making these simple tasks of turning off lights, saving water, etc. a habit because if more people around the world started to develop these habits, less carbon would be produced overall.
  • Annie D-US Annie D-US Feb. 27, 2014
    I always try to turn my lights off when I leave my room but it seems that keeping my cords plugged in is my worst habit. Buying a power strip is a great way to avoid wasting power! When your appliance is in idle, the power turns off automatically. Its a much easier way to save money!
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Discussions Discussion Student footprints
Sophia L-USA, Oct. 13, 2013

The main contributors to my carbon footprint were ones that I didn’t even think about. My amount of transportation for one, was 5987 kg, way over the normal amount. In addition my home energy was above average at 7614 kg. This was most likely due to my lighting and the heating and air conditioning. Looking at other discussion boards, these seem to be very common problems for people not just in my area, but everywhere. Transportation is a must for everyone, whether driving, flying, or going by train, it is unavoidable, But the gases and energy used by these are a huge part of our carbon footprint predicament. There are easy ways to lower this, such as carpooling, biking, walking, even rollerskating! If these don’t work for you planning ahead and scheduling less driving trips to the grocery store, or shopping, and doing for a week. This could cut some of the emissions by as much as half, and it would take less then five minutes! Addressing the home energy, my emission is pretty high. Some steps to lower it could be to buy more blankets, and sweaters for the cold weather and bundle up to avoid using the heater. And for those sweltering hot days, invite some friends over, or with a dog, and have a party with some water! Whether a pool, sprinkler, balloons or even washing the car and making the parents happy, it will cool you right down without your carbon footprint shooting straight up. Changes with lightning are fairly obvious and easy, we just have to remember them. Turning off the lights when you leave a room, using fluorescent bulbs, letting she sunshine in instead of turning on the lights, or seeing by pretty, yummy smelling candles can drastically reduce our carbon footprints with regards to lighting. Next time you see a friend family member, remember to remind them to try to these, because even the best of us forget.
I believe that while it will take some effort, it is possible to reduce our carbon footprints. Looking at our main contributors like transportation and home energy, we can all take steps to lower these like carpooling and having a pool party with friends. We have to think positive, even a little change can add up and make a huge difference. This is a serious problem and we need to start to take action in regards to it.

Sophia L-USA
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Discussions Discussion Student footprints
Linnea A_Ek11, Oct. 13, 2013

We always discuss our footprint and how much CO2 an average person use per year. But I can still feel that we are forgetting an important matter, Water. Big companies like Coca Cola have had a big influence on the water resources world wide, mostly in developing countries. In these countries water is a limited asset and vital for surviving. Research is showing that big companies, like coca cola, require a lot of water. Because of this fact, a water shortage is created for the inhabitants nearby. Shouldn´t we who live in industrialized countries take more reasonability and maybe stand up against, for example Coca Cola. Shouldn´t we skip to buy their products for a good cause?

Linnea A_Ek11
Comments (5)
  • Erika T-Sweden Erika T-Sweden Oct. 14, 2013
    What do you mean by adapt to their environment? Adapting to life without water is not possible as you need water to surivive and taking their water basically means sending them towards their own death…
  • Linnea A_Ek11 Linnea A_Ek11 Oct. 14, 2013
    Bailey J-usa
    I really don´t agree with you!
    Is it really fair that companies, with big influence and money, can use all the water? Should they really “take” water from the inhabitants, when they are not even able to buy the expensive water back?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=egtKx24dat8
    Please, everyone should see this movie for a better understanding!
  • Charles Hwang Charles Hwang Oct. 16, 2013
    It is not the responsibility of Coca-Cola to care for those who need water in developing countries. Coca-Cola's product is soda. They should be able to buy water from developing countries without us questioning them—they did agree to sell it. Coca-Cola is minding their own business of making soda and we should mind our own business by not questioning them. Coca-Cola isn't “sucking” people's water, they're simply not using their own because it is significantly more expensive than those in developing countries—more commonly known as capitalism.

    Linnea, how is it not “fair that companies, with big influence and money, can use all the water?” The demand for soda is off the charts and therefore Coca-Cola needs water. It's not like Coca-Cola is bribing anyone or doing anything illegal. If developing countries don't want to sell their water, raise the price or don't sell it, by all means. And why would developing countries want “to buy the expensive water back?” They sold it because they're getting money, there's no reason they should want it back.
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Discussions Discussion Student footprints
Olivia BH-USA, Oct. 10, 2013

Based on the global footprints, it looks like the U.S. confirmed its status as one of the worst polluters in the world. As a whole, the U.S. footprints were the highest. Personally, I think this a cultural attitude that is built largely on excess rather than conservation. For example, though I have never been to Europe, I understand that there is a much greater emphasis on conservation that is just naturally in place and done without thinking in many places. I have heard about a much more sophisticated recycling system than our own in the U.S. and a habit of using a 2 bin system to wash dishes and then use leftover water to water plants or something of that sort. This more mindful culture could be due to Europe’s experience during the World Wars, when resources had to be used preciously to survive. Here in the U.S. we have never had that sort of experience and thus never learned the lesson as a nation as we need to.
For my own footprint, my highest area was transportation. Unfortunately, there is not a lot I can do to change that since I do not have easy access to transportation where I live; however, I do carpool whenever I can. Given that I do have to drive frequently though, I would love to get a car with better gas mileage or a hybrid/electric car, but that is not something I have control over. Honestly, that is one of my main issues with my footprint: I am more than willing to make the changes necessary but do not have the authority or financial means to.

Olivia BH-USA
Comments (4)
  • Olivia BH-USA Olivia BH-USA Oct. 19, 2013
    I definitely agree that we should create much more pedestrian friendly cities, as well as better public transportation. I know Europe has a much more established train system they use to travel, particularly among the various countries, covering comparable distances to those we tend to travel by car in America.
    Also, it's important to remember the data was based on average individidual footprinnt rather than total output by a country. This means the issue of America's larger size and population would probably not be a factor in the discrepancy between European and American footprint sizes.
  • Eugene Binunsky Eugene Binunsky Oct. 20, 2013
    Yes, people around the world have much more efficient systems of transportation, recycling, etc. than in the U.S. It does seem ironic that we are one of the most evolving countries and our wealth is more than most, yet why do we not have one of the most efficient systems? I've heard of bullet trains and recycling bins in every building as a law; I've heard of these things only on other countries, not in the U.S.
  • Corey Parham Corey Parham Feb. 26, 2014
    We do have to drive almost everywhere we go and honestly it's very dangerous for us to walk on the side of the rode with the way people drive these days.
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Discussions Discussion Student footprints
Anna E-USA, Oct. 10, 2013

Transportation plays a huge role in your carbon footprint. Many people don’t realize how much carbon we are emitting into the air every time we drive our cars. Carbon is being produced for each gallon of gasoline that you burn. The average American is responsible for about 20 tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year! That is a huge amount! Therefore, it is better to walk or ride a bike somewhere rather than using your car. Another way to reduce this problem, is to join a carpool. I ride in a carpool to school with three other people. This means that three less people will be emitting carbon into the air that day.

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/infodata/lesson_plans/Calculating_Your_Carbon_Footprint.pdf
Anna E-USA
Comments (1)
  • tessa bollinger tessa bollinger Oct. 16, 2013
    I agree with this, I think people should try to walk/ride bikes instead of driving as much as they possibly can! Not only is it saving gas and money, but you can also get a workout from it and I find that when I walk and ride my bike places I notice more of what is around me and because of that it's a great way to take pictures by simply walking somewhere instead of driving.

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Discussions Discussion Student footprints
Betsy f-usa, Oct. 10, 2013

While calculating my carbon footprint, I saw that transportation and home were the two leading contributors to my carbon footprint. I expected transportation to be responsible for the bulk of my carbon footprint, but was surprised to find that the home section (water usage, lighting usage, heat, air conditioning, etc.) was responsible for an even larger amount of the carbon I release each year. I was even more surprised to find that the main reason for this was not cooling or heating, but lighting! Each year, I release a total of 6663 kg of carbon due to lighting my home. Only 3 out of the 42 lightbulbs in my house were CFL bulbs, which are much better for the environment. However, if I switched all of those bulbs to CFL’s, I would only release about 274 kg of carbon each year. That is a huge difference, and can be achieved so simply. I am going to try to convince my parents to get rid of all the incandescent light bulbs in our house.

Betsy f-usa
Comments (1)
  • Morgan k-USA Morgan k-USA Oct. 17, 2013
    Hello Betsy it is so great of you to take action and change your light bulbs. That is one of the many things us humans have to change in order to reduce are carbon foot print. I am also trying to not use as much carbon in the home section. I did some research and Americans like us produce about one quarter of the CO2 in the air. This would be acceptable if we weren’t only 4% of the population. Our CO2 levels need to decrease or else the earth will change and not for the better. A major affect of greenhouse gasses like CO2 is the climate change. One thing that will affect us from this climate change is the temperatures will rise. The human race needs to adjust their lifestyle in order to reduce their carbon footprints.

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