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Carbon footprints

08 Jun 2016

Our Subjects / Ā Mātou Kaupapa:

Where can I find information about carbon footprints? What are they?

LEVEL: Intermediate

Everyone has a carbon footprint; it is measured by the amount of carbon-dioxide we produce while going about our daily activities.

The NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) website has a nice clear explanation of the meaning of carbon neutral and carbon footprint. NIWA was set up by the New Zealand government to research things that affect our natural environment, so the information should be current and reliable.

HowStuffWorks is a really good website for finding out how all sorts of things work. Search for 'carbon footprint' to find articles like How carbon footprints work. Often the articles we find will go over multiple pages, so we need to click through them to find more info. We can learn more about who runs the website by reading the About page. 

For stories in the media about carbon footprints, have a look at the Science Media Centre. This Centre provides information to the media for news stories on science related issues. Enter the words carbon footprint into the search bar - on this website it is not at the top of the page, instead you will find it half way down the right side of the page! 

HOT TIP: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the ‘about us’ link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Our carbon footprint has an impact on earth's climate - when there is an increase in carbon dioxide (greenhouse gas) in the atmosphere it makes earth warmer and causes sea levels to rise.

The Global Climate Change website from NASA is an excellent site for intermediate students. Search for "carbon footprint" (we suggest using quotation marks as then those two words will be highlighted in the results). If you want to find out how you can reduce your carbon footprint then the Climate Kids part of this website has a page titled How can I reduce my "carbon footprint"? 

HOT TIP: We like sites that are from government or other reputable organisations, because we can trust the information. You can tell these sites by their web address – they have .gov or .edu in their address.

EPIC is a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this. For this question we like Global issues in context. To find the information about carbon footprints go to:

  1. 'Browse issues and Topics'
  2. Choose 'Environment and climate change'
  3. Scroll down the list until you come to Carbon Footprint.

Britannica School has a page on carbon footprint calculation and carbon footprint reduction. To find this go to the 'Secondary' tab and type carbon footprint into the search bar.

HOT TIP: To get to the EPIC databases you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or, you can log on to between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday, and one of the librarians can help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

For more information check out our other ManyAnswers entries on Carbon dioxide and Carbon cycle

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