Comments on: ISO Advice to Connect a Set of New-Teen Dots The EPA Blog Mon, 27 Jul 2015 23:22:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: Larry Teller Wed, 28 Oct 2009 14:17:19 +0000 Deb, Thanks for your thoughtful and relieving note–relieving in that, as a parent, my expectation of having much effect on my daughter’s behavior shouldn’t be very high. I’m very interested in your carbon footprint exercise, which I’ll gladly share with my daughter’s science and social studies teachers. And, through EPA’s mid-Atlantic regional office–where I work–we can make it available to many schools, and our summer middle school program, who ask us for curriculum help. My e-mail is

By: deb Wed, 28 Oct 2009 12:16:08 +0000 She needs to take such a huge conceptual leap between understanding the basic science of climate change and understanding how personal daily energy choices add up to affect that. After all even many adults aren’t conscious of how these concepts relate.

We use a carbon footprint exercise with school kids to help them understand this connection. I’d be glad to share this with anyone interested in tools for teaching kids about how energy choices affect the environment but unfortunately don’t have it posted online yet. It’s a playful way to learn how to calculate your family’s carbon footprint by using a variety of characters’ energy profiles/scenarios and comparing their wide range of lifestyle differences. The characters include Sarah Summer, Walter Wastenot, Eddy McAverage, etc.

Following that we try to engage kids in becoming aware of the kinds of choices they could make at home and encourage them to try to change their own and their acquaintenances behavior by some kind of community-based service learning educational campaign. If we can get school and/or community groups to work together on designing a project like this they come away with a newfound consciousness and awareness. At that point they are much more likely to incorporate such behaviors long term – once they see themselves as someone that is environmentally conscientious.

All the parent reminder and lectures are otherwise ineffective. It has to be perceived as their own idea and they have to feel empowered to make a change in themselves and others.