Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Annalise. Annalise Wonders, “How can we reduce our carbon footprint?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Annalise!

Have you ever celebrated Earth Day? Many people take time each year to honor the planet they call home. On Earth Day, you’ll likely learn about recycling and being “green.” You might also hear the term “carbon footprint.” 

Your carbon footprint isn’t easy to see, though! It’s the sum of greenhouse gases caused by your activities.  It’s measured in tons of carbon dioxide.

What are greenhouse gases? They are gases that scientists believe are causing climate change. They include carbon dioxide, ozone, methane, and several others. By producing high levels of these gases, you could be damaging the planet.

Many daily activities add to a person’s carbon footprint. Think of the last time you rode in a car. A car’s engine burns fuel. That makes carbon dioxide. Heating your home or school also creates carbon dioxide. So do most activities that use electricity. 

Carbon emissions can be direct or indirect. The fuel you burn in your car is a direct source of carbon dioxide. Most emissions, though, come from indirect sources. One example is buying an item at a store. Many goods are made in other countries. It takes fuel to ship them to where you are. Buying that item indirectly caused carbon emissions.

As you can see, measuring your carbon footprint may not be easy. In fact, it might be impossible to measure it exactly. Still, scientists have come up with many ways to estimate your carbon footprint. 

You might be surprised to learn just how much of an impact your activities have. Global climate change is a worldwide problem. That means it takes a worldwide solution. Each and every one of us can make decisions that reduce greenhouse gases. Measuring your carbon footprint is one way to learn about the impact of your activities.

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.W.4, NGSS.ESS3.A, NGSS.ESS3.B, NGSS.ESS3.C

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