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How Big is Your Footprint?

2012 March 29

Our teacher, Ms. Tilson , asked us how big our footprint was today. We started to take our shoes off and measure our feet, but she stopped us and asked if we knew the size of our Carbon Footprint.  The class looked around confused because we didn’t know that we had another footprint.

We leave footprints when we walk on the sand at the beach or when get our feet wet and track mud into the house. Our carbon footprint is a little different. We can’t see it, but it’s there and it impacts the earth by leaving a mark just like the ones in the sand and mud.

When we use fossil fuels like heating oil or coal to keep our homes warm in the winter and our cars running, that’s creating a carbon footprint.  These actions emit carbon dioxide, also called CO2. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and makes up our carbon footprint.  The more CO2 that is created, the more carbon dioxide is released and the bigger our carbon footprint gets.  A big carbon footprint is not good for the earth. 

I know. I know. It’s easy to get picked up by our parents after school but doing so contributes to the carbon footprint. Instead, we should walk or bike to and from school or our friend’s homes. At the grocery store, check out where the fruits and vegetables come from. If they’re from another country, think about the amount of energy and gas it took just to reach the store.  That’s another big carbon footprint.

The best way to make your carbon footprint smaller is to use less electricity and less fossil fuels. Be sure to turn off your computer, television and lights when you’re not using them. Keep temperatures lower in your house during the winter even if you need to wear a sweater to stay warmer. Walk and bike whenever you can instead of using the car or bus. It’s great exercise too. I found out local farmers markets are a great way to get fresh fruit and vegetables. Buying from them reduces carbon footprints because it doesn’t take a lot of energy or gas to get them to us. Even though I still haven’t figured out how to get my favorite fruit, avocados, locally I’m going to try shrinking my carbon footprint.  

Lorenzo is a middle school student in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood.  He’s into spectrology, the TV show Ghost Hunters and watching the NHL.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

8 Responses leave one →
  1. Jane permalink
    March 31, 2012

    Lorenzo, not many people have a good understanding of the term, but you have given a clear, simple and easy to understand definition of “carbon footprint.” Once people have the understanding, especially younger people, it becomes easier to be aware of how to tackle this issue in your everyday life small steps at a time.

    Good post!

  2. Holger permalink
    April 2, 2012

    Hello Lorenzo!
    What a wonderfull post. I wish more people in the usa would think that way. Maybe we in Germany are one step ahead, but also just the beginning. We have to be smarter in every way :-)

    best wishes
    Holger

  3. Devaughn permalink
    April 30, 2012

    Great way of explaining “carbon footprint”

  4. Anonymous permalink
    May 3, 2012

    It’s great to see somebody with such a clear understanding of their carbon footprint. Hopefully we can spread this knowledge to others and make the world a better place. It’ll take time, but I think it’s possible. Keep up the good work.

  5. Anonymous permalink
    May 8, 2012

    Thank you for sharing this post. You have great community here. Great to see that there still good resources in the net! Thumbs up for this blog guys!

  6. Maria Greene permalink
    October 8, 2012

    Great Post Lorenzo.

    Very clear and to the point. Helped me to understand the term. Would recommend to others. Time to lessen my carbon footprint now.

    Thanks.

  7. sohail permalink
    November 3, 2012

    wonderfull post.

  8. Anonymous permalink
    March 17, 2013

    what an awesome post ! we all know that the earth is in need of understanding like you do lorenzo, i mean, if not from now on, when will we get started? i love your post ! super!

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