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Environment: Treading lightly on the Earth

Introduction

Unit image

This unit focuses on the problem of greenhouse gas emissions, especially carbon dioxide, and explore what you can do to lighten those emissions to help reduce the rate of climate change. You will assess your ‘carbon footprint’ and see what actions you and, if relevant, other household members could take to lighten that footprint. You will also better understand which actions are more and less effective, and the scope and limits of what individuals can do at the personal and household level.

This study unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course U116 Environment: Journeys through a changing world [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

Figure 1 The greenhouse effect due to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere

You'll explore the answers to questions such as:

  • What is the carbon reduction effect of changing your eating habits, compared to driving fewer miles or flying less often?

  • By how much would you need to reduce your carbon footprint to achieve an environmentally ‘sustainable’ level of emissions?

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