NATS 101 Writing Assignment Feb. 16, 2009
Due date: IN LAB the week of March 9th, 2009
We have talked a bit about human-environment interactions in this course, and
will continue to do so as the semester unfolds. One measure used to
conceptualize the impact of humans on the physical environment is what is
called an ecological footprint
. This writing assignment will help you evaluate
and analyze the impact your everyday choices and behaviors have on the physical
environment and natural resources.
This assignment is designed to help you:
? Understand what is meant by the phrase ?ecological footprint
? Evaluate your individual impact on the Earth and compare your results with
those of your compañeros
? Identify ways behaviors and everyday actions could be changed to reduce our
impact on the physical environment
Calculating and evaluating your ecological footprint
Step 1: Calculate your ecological footprint
Use the following website to calculate your ecological footprint
To get a more accurate calculation of your footprint
, please use the ?enter
detailed information? portion of the quiz by sliding the bars until they
reach the answer that most closely resembles your own.
When you have finished the quiz, you will need to record your results in the
Table supplied on our D2L site. Enter your results, print the table and take it
to lab the week of March 2nd.
Step 2: Reflect and Research
Once you have completed the ecological footprint
quiz, please reflect on the
? What exactly is an ecological footprint
? Do you think this is a useful
measure for understand and evaluating your impact on the natural environment?
Why or why not?
? What changes could you make in your behaviors to reduce your ecological
? Do you think these changes would actually make a difference? In
addition to reducing your ecological footprint
, what other outcomes could
result from you making particular lifestyle changes? How difficult would it be
for you to make these changes, and why (or why not)?
? In addition to individual decisions, what could you do collectively with
other people (roommates, friends, family, classmates, etc), that could reduce
Hint: You may want to use the webpage provided to read more about ecological
. Likewise, on the results page at the end of the quiz, the
?explore scenarios? button might help you think about the changes you could
make to reduce your footprint
. You should, however, come up with your own ideas
Step 3: Compare your findings
You will be discussing and comparing your results with your classmates the week
of March 2nd, in lab. When your lab meets that week, you should be prepared to
discuss the following:
? How would you define the term ?ecological footprint
?? Do you think this
is a useful measure for assessing individual impact on natural resources? Why
or why not?
? How do your individual results from Step 1 compare with others? In which
categories are you having the largest impact on the Earth, and this true for
everyone in your group? Why or why not? (In other words, which factors seem to
explain differences among peoples? ecological footprints
? What are some concrete changes in behavior that you could implement to
reduce your ecological footprint
? How feasible would it be for you to implement
Step 4: Complete your written summary
Your written summary should address the following:
1. A BRIEF analysis of how you would define ?ecological footprint
? and why
it is or is not a useful tool for understanding human-environment
2. A summary of how your results compared to your classmates, including a
discussion of the total range of overall footprint
values (in global acres) for
your group, and how you compared (in total values and/or individual categories)
to the other people in your group. What are the major factors that account for
variability among peoples? footprints
? Were you surprised by how your results
compared to those of your classmates? Why or why not?
3. A synopsis of two behavioral changes one could implement to help reduce
her/his ecological footprint
. These examples should be pertinent and specific
to your own everyday life and not just copied from the ?explore scenario?
section of the website. Discuss the two changes you think are most feasible
and/or could have the greatest impact on reducing footprints
. Explain your
Your written summary should address the three points outlined above and should
be NO MORE than four pages long.
Guidelines for assignment format
You are required to complete every portion of this assignment and follow all
directions outlined here.
Your assignment should be typed at 1.5 line spacing using 12-point Times New
Roman font. Do not include a title page or report cover.
This paper should be no more than 4 pages total, with 1?? margins.
Well-written papers are concise, right to the point, and carefully edited.
Failure to follow the guidelines for this assignment will result in a loss of
This writing assignment is due in your assigned lab section, the week of March
9th, at the beginning of lab.
Please attach the table that you will fill out with your classmates in lab to
your final writing assignment.
This assignment gives you very clear instructions. Your work will be evaluated
based on your ability to complete the tasks outlined here and address the
questions posed, as well as the quality of your reflections, and the quality of
your writing. Grammar, spelling, punctuation and syntax will be taken into
account when grading your papers.
Do not cheat, plagiarize, or cut & paste, or you will fail this assignment (and
probably the course as well).
There are faxes for this order.
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