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Climate Change Audit

Learning Objectives

  • To have students quantify their own carbon footprints.
  • To quantify the school's carbon footprint.
  • To identify ways students can reduce both their own footprint and their school's.

Curriculum Links

  • Social Studies, Science, Math, Government, Economics, Reading, Writing

Eco-Schools USA Pathways

  • Climate Change, Energy, Transportation, Consumption and Waste

Calculating Your Carbon Footprint

"Carbon footprint" is an expression that describes how much carbon dioxide a person (or entity such as a school) releases over time. Assessing your school's carbon footprint is a way to measure the impact your school's activities and behaviors have on the environment. The more energy, paper, and other supplies your school uses, the bigger your school's footprint or impact.

Before assessing your school's carbon footprint, we recommend that you have your students take a look at their own personal footprint. See directions below:

1) Personal Footprints. To begin the process, have students use the calculator at Meet the Greens to determine their personal carbon footprint. When students have their results, review their footprint scores as a class and discuss which activities emit the most and least carbon. Have students think about specific actions they could take to reduce their own footprints.

NOTE: The personal footprint audit is not required, but an optional step to help prepare students for completing the school footprint audit.

2) School Footprint. Next, use our climate change audit form and accompanying carbon calculator to determine your school's overall carbon footprint. You will use the data you collect to create your Climate Change Action Plan.

Follow these three steps to complete your climate change audit:

  1. Work with students to complete the climate change audit form. Try to audit as many classrooms as possible.
  2. Input data from the audit form into the the carbon calculator to determine each classroom's carbon footprint.
  3. Transfer data for each classroom from the carbon calculator to the school tally sheet to calculate your school's overall carbon footprint.

(Note: Make sure that you hold on to your completed audit form and Excel spreadsheets. When you get to the monitor and evaluate step you will want to complete the auditing process again using these forms.)

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