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What Can You Do to Lessen Your Environmental Impact?

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Presentation on theme: "What Can You Do to Lessen Your Environmental Impact?"— Presentation transcript:

1 What Can You Do to Lessen Your Environmental Impact?
A Lesson on Environmental Impact

2 Learning Objectives At the end of this lesson students will be able to: Define Environmental Impact and measure their own. Understand ways to lessen their impact in the home, on the road, in the school, and on their own.

3 What is an Environmental Impact?
The consequences of human action and behavior on the natural environment In this presentation we will be concerned about human actions/behavior related to energy (using electricity, heating, cooling, driving, etc.)

4 Measure your impact! The ecological impact calculator allows you to:
Measure how much biologically productive land and sea you are using by looking at: What kind of food you eat How much trash you produce Where you live: what kind of house? Do you have electricity? What transportation you use: Do you ride by a car most often? Do you carpool? How much do you use public transportation? How much you fly in an airplane each year Compare this amount to how much land and sea is available See how many Earths it would take to support your lifestyle!

5 Measure your impact! Calculate your ecological footprint using Earth Day’s online calculator Measure Your Impact

6 So the real question is… What can YOU do to reduce your ecological footprint and lessen your impact on the environment? Let’s take a look at 4 categories: In the home On the road In the school On your own

7 In the Home

8 In the Home Everyone in the world can make a difference, no matter where we live! Take a look at the different things in our homes that use energy: Heaters & air conditioners Lights Appliances Windows & insulation Waste

9 Where Your Home Uses Energy

10 Some things you can do to lessen your impact
During the winter: set thermostat at 86°F/30°C during the day and 60°F/15.5°C at night During the summer: set thermostat at 78°F/25.5°C Turn the heat or air down when not home If it’s not unbearably hot in the summer, save energy by turning the AC off, opening the windows at night, and shutting them during the day Shut the doors and windows when AC is on

11 Windows Double or triple pane windows are recommended to save energy
Windows provide views, lighting, and solar heating. Unfortunately, the heat that leaks through them also accounts for 10-25% of your heating bill. During the summer, poorly insulated windows make your air conditioner work 2-3 times more. Caulk windows Use curtains to insulate

12 At home, you can… Keep water heater set to low (120°F/48.9°C)
Turn off the lights when not in use Take advantage of natural light Use CFL (compact fluorescent lamp) light bulbs instead of traditional incandescent bulbs; CFL bulbs provide the same amount of light, but use 1/5 to 1/3 of the electric power used by incandescent bulbs and last 8 to 15 times longer. Although CFLs cost more up front, they can save over 5 times of the purchase price in electricity costs over the bulb’s lifetime. One CFL uses as much energy as 9 traditional incandescent light bulbs

13 Did you know turning off the lights in your house can save up to 10-20% of your TOTAL household electricity usage? Now that’s a lot of energy and money!

14 When you’re in the kitchen…
Choose what you want before opening the fridge! Shut the fridge and freezer when not in use Cook with stove, microwave, & toaster oven instead of oven Lower heat on stove after reaching a boil Use reusable utensils and dishes Wash with cold water Thaw food in warm water instead of thawing with microwave!

15 Turn all appliances off and unplug when not in use
Use manual appliances; you don’t need an electric can opener or toothbrush Turn OFF computer instead of putting it to ‘sleep’!

16 Energy-efficient products
Choosing energy-efficient products can save families about 30% ($400 a year) while reducing our emissions of greenhouse gases. ENERGY STAR is the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency. The ENERGY STAR label makes it easy to know which products to buy without sacrificing features, style or comfort that today's consumers expect.

17 Water Use dishwasher and laundry only when full
Clean full loads & select for low water usage Use tap water instead of bottled water Take shorter showers and choose showers over baths Turn off water when brushing, washing, shaving Fill up the sink with water when hand-washing dishes; don’t wash each dish individually

18 On the Road

19 To reduce your impact on the road:
Ride your bike or walk: not only are you saving energy, but you’re getting healthier by exercising! Use public transportation when possible Carpool! Combine car trips Keep a record of car trips you can avoid A study at the University of Virginia shows students drove significantly less when recording avoided car trips and calculating the amount of gas and money saved

20 When you do drive… Don’t use the car AC: the AC decreases gas mileage by up to 20% Inflate car tires to psi; the recommended tire pressure will be located in the owner’s manual Use cruise control on flat roads and highways Coast on downhill roads Don’t idle car for longer than 10 seconds When buying a car, check fuel efficiency & if the car takes renewable fuels For every 2 minutes a car is idling, it uses about the same amount of fuel that it takes to go one mile

21 At School

22 To reduce your impact at school:
Print double-sided Ask your teacher to put notes online to view at home instead of printing them out Turn off computers in labs at night and when not in use for awhile Turn off lights! Another great option is to put automatic light sensors in rooms Replace paper towels with hand driers

23 When you’re at school… Shut the doors to classrooms to keep heat or air inside (don’t prop doors open during class!) Make sure books/furniture aren’t blocking vents Shut the windows when heat/AC is on During the winter: set thermostat at 86°F/30°C during the night and 60°F/15.5°C at night During the summer: set thermostat at 78°F/25.5°C

24 Recycling Materials you use to recycle are used to create products you buy When products are recycled, less materials need to be harvested from the environment for production You SAVE energy when you recycle! At your school, find out if there is a recycling program; if not, start one An easy way to start a recycling program is by re-using the unprinted side of paper Separate bins for recycling and trash; place recycling bins in classrooms, offices, bathrooms, the cafeteria, etc. Raise awareness for recycling!

25 When you’re at school… Use programmable thermostats to minimize operating hours of heating/cooling during low occupancy hours Use CFL or LED lighting Turn heat down in hallways, since oftentimes those are low occupancy areas Turn off computer monitors when not in use


27 Anti-idling at school Idling means a vehicle’s engine is running when it is parked or not in use School buses travel about four billion miles each year, and more than 25 million American students ride a school bus every day. There are a variety of clean diesel strategies for making school buses a cleaner way for children to get to school. One of the easiest ways to reduce school bus emissions and save money is to reduce idling. Another effective method is to replace the oldest school buses in the fleet.

28 Anti-Idling While all new buses must meet EPA’s tighter emission standards, many older school buses continue to emit harmful diesel exhaust. Do not idle because idling negatively affects: human health by releasing fine particulate matter in diesel fuel exhaust; fine particulate matter can get trapped in lungs and create respiratory problems Air quality because diesel fuel contains pollutants that contribute to ozone formation, acid rain, haze, and global climate change Wasting of fuel and money; when idling, a school bus engine burns about half a gallon of fuel per hour (think of all the FUEL and MONEY saved by not idling) Engine wear and tear: extended idling causes engine damage

29 Anti-Idling Campaign Start a campaign to get your school involved in idle reduction Establish an Idle Reduction Policy with rules such as: Buses should typically be moving when the engine is on Engines should be turned off as soon as possible after arriving into loading/unloading areas School buses should not be restarted until ready to depart Limit idling time during early morning warm up to what manufacturer recommends Calculate fuel and money savings from idle reduction Promote your campaign and get others involved!

30 YOU! Here are four categories in which you can personally reduce your environmental impact: Consumerism Food Spreading Awareness Travel

31 Consumerism Buy from local brands and companies: it takes a lot of energy to produce and ship goods across the world… You also will be supporting your local community! Reuse & recycle instead of buying new Buy energy-efficient products and products from “green” companies Buy in bulk or multi-packs to reduce packaging waste If you have old clothing, donate or give as a hand-me-down. If you need new clothing, buying used saves energy that otherwise would be used in the production of new clothing!

32 Use a reusable lunch box instead of paper bags
Use reusable water bottles instead of one-time use recyclable water bottles Use a reusable lunch box instead of paper bags Bring your own bag to grocery & other stores If you do need bags at the grocery store, ask for paper instead of plastic! Plastic bags are hard to recycle, not biodegradable, cause litter, and harm wildlife

33 A single plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to degrade…. That’s 12
A single plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to degrade…. That’s times the average life span of 78 years!! One of the many beaches destroyed by the overuse of plastic bags

34 Food Buy organic food: organic farms have a much lower environmental impact than conventional farms, use natural methods for soil fertilization, weed prevention, and pest control, and growth hormones are not given to animals Buy dairy products with no RBST Buy cage-free eggs

35 Avoid processed food, farm raised fish, and meat from confined feeding operations
Eat leftovers Grow your own vegetables and fruit Finish everything on your plate.. Don’t take more than you can’t eat! Compost your fruits, veggies, & eggshells…You can use this as mulch and in soil

36 Let’s talk about composting
Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to grow plants You can compost by decomposing organic matter such as food scraps, eggshells, grass clippings, etc. By reducing food waste (due to composting) we can reduce methane from landfills. Methane is a greenhouse gas with 21% the global warming potential of CO2 and is produced from rotting food in landfills

37 Composting Continued Benefits of composting include: reducing/eliminating the need for chemical fertilizers, promoting higher yields of agricultural crops, remediation of soils, among many others All compost requires browns (twigs, branches, and dead leaves), greens (vegetable and fruit scraps, grass clippings, coffee grounds), and water There are various types of composting, but one you can do at home is backyard composting Pick a dry, shady spot near a water source for compost pile Add brown and green materials as they are collected (make sure larger pieces are shredded or chopped) As dry materials are added, add water Once the pile is made, bury vegetable and fruit wastes under 10 inches of other compost material Let the compost sit for at least two months before use

38 Lawn and Garden Tips Shred leaves and wood scraps into chips to use as mulch on garden beds Buy garden tools and equipment made from recycled materials To protect young seedlings from wind, frost, and animals, place the cut-off bottoms of plastic milk jugs or small paper bags over the seedlings

39 Travel Reduce air miles travelled each year
Travel light: don’t over-pack Stay in sustainable/eco-friendly hotels, lodges, etc. Unplug appliances at home when going on a trip At hotels, don’t have towels washed every day Underground eco-friendly hotel in Bozen, Italy that uses ecological methods of heating, cooling, & building

40 Spread Awareness Inform family, friends, & schoolmates about energy-saving processes Join/create an environmental club at school & make an effort to reduce energy use Join GO3’s online network

41 What else can you do? Play outside instead of using technology like the computer, video games, & movies (which use a lot of energy) Plant trees! Trees create and store CO2 Participate in a park or forest clean-up What else can you do? Can you and your classmates come up with any other activities or actions to reduce your impact on the environment?

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