rior to beginning work on this discussion, read Chapter 9 and 10 of the course textbook. Also, view these two short videos on reducing waste: Disposability Consciousness (Links to an external site.) and Two Adults, Two Kids, Zero Waste | Bea Johnson | TEDxFoggyBottom (Links to an external site.).
In this week’s discussion, you will recalculate your ecological footprints from Week 1 and determine whether or not your actions taken over the past five weeks have made a difference in the size of your footprints. You will also have the opportunity to discuss additional actions one might take to live more sustainably. In particular, you are encouraged to focus on techniques for reducing the amount of waste that we generate in our everyday lives.
Complete the following:
- First, redo your three footprint calculations from Week 1: your ecological footprint (What Is Your Ecological Footprint? (Links to an external site.)); your household carbon emissions footprint (Carbon Footprint Calculator (Links to an external site.)), and your daily water footprint (Water Footprint Calculator (Links to an external site.)).
- Copy and paste the footprint table below into your post and complete the table with your data. You can also access the Footprint Table here. Calculate the differences between your Week 1 and Week 5 footprint data.
- Compare your new answers from the ones you obtained back in Week 1. How did the footprints change, if at all? Do you suspect that any changes are the result of the actions you took? Why or why not?
Week 1Week 5DifferenceECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINTHectares: # Earths: Top 3 Consumption Categories: CARBON FOOTPRINTCarbon Emissions (lbs): WATER FOOTPRINTGallons per day: Top 3 Contributors:
In a well-crafted discussion post of at least 200 words, report on the results of all five weeks of the Ecological Footprint Reduction Project. Did you meet with success? If so, what activity or activities do you think made the biggest difference? What additional actions would you consider taking to reduce your footprints in the future, particularly in terms of lessening the amount of materials you consume and wastes you produce? What did you learn from this experience? Do you think that individual efforts to live more sustainably matter? Why or why not?
You will not be able to view others’ posts until you have made your own.
Note: If you encounter any difficulty accessing one or more of the three footprint calculators, you may need to try a different web browser. For instance, if you are using Google Chrome, you may need to use another option (Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla, etc.).
Nature Experience Project
Response posts to fellow students (optional) are due by Day 7. Prior to beginning this assignment, please listen to the podcast, ‘The Sound of a Snail’: A Patient’s Greatest Comfort (Links to an external site.).
Throughout this course, we have been exploring environmental issues and challenges, such as fresh drinking water scarcity and biodiversity loss. But what would our own lives be like without nature? How might nature experiences benefit us? In this activity, you are asked to spend time in nature, record your experiences, and then share your reflections with the class. This project is due on Day 3 (Thursday) of this week. Incorporate feedback that you have received and complete the sections below.
Note: You will not be able to view others’ projects until you have posted your own.
Go Outdoors: Find a place outside where you can be in nature for at least one hour. This could be a national, state, or local park, a city square with trees and gardens, an old cemetery, or even your own backyard. Be creative. For those of you who may think there is no nature whatsoever around you or you will not have the opportunity to get out into nature, the podcast ‘The Sound of a Snail’: A Patient’s Greatest Comfort (Links to an external site.) will give you get a sense of creative ways to complete this assignment, particularly if you are living in a highly urbanized setting.
Observe: Once you are outdoors, choose a comfortable spot where you can stand or sit quietly for at least 1 hour of uninterrupted solitude. Turn off all electronic devices. Quietly take in your surroundings. What do you notice? Use your senses of sight, hearing, smell, and feeling to take the world in. Be as still and quiet as you can.
Please note: You should plan to complete this step no later than Week 4.
Write: Either while you are outdoors or as soon after your return as you can, set aside at least a half an hour of uninterrupted time to write about your nature experience. It should include both what you directly experienced during your time outdoors and your feelings and reflections on the experience itself. In your writing, consider this question: Are human beings a part of nature, or apart from it?
Please note: You should plan to complete this step no later than Week 4. It is not necessary to share your journal work with anyone, but taking the time to write about your experience will provide you with valuable raw material for the next step.
Create: Choose a creative means of sharing your nature experience, and what you learned from it, with the class. This could take the form of a series of photographs with captions, a poem, a song, a brief personal essay, a work of art, the design for a board game, a video of some kind, or any other creative avenue you can think of. The work should be entirely your own product.
Please note: You should plan to start on this step by Week 4 at the latest.
Share: Share your completed creative project with the class by uploading it to the Nature Experience Project discussion board by Day 3 of this week. If your work is entirely visual or auditory (e.g., fine art, photography, music, etc.), please include a brief statement of 100 to 200 words that (1) relates your work back to your original nature experience; and (2) relates your work to the question of whether you feel you are a part of nature or apart from it. Upload visual or auditory content to an online repository that allows you to share a link to the content with others. Follow the directions for uploading your video to YouTube (Android Upload videos (Links to an external site.); iPhone/iPad Upload videos (Links to an external site.)) or other web-based video platform to obtain the link to share with others. Audio can be recorded or uploaded in Vocaroo (See Vocaroo’s (Links to an external site.) for more information).