Focus Challenge: Energy
Most energy today is produced by burning fossil fuels, which releases greenhouse gases into the air. Corporations are responsible for a large portion of energy usage around the world, but we also rely on energy for many of our everyday needs: lighting, heating and cooling, charging devices, transportation. However, there are certainly a lot of things we can do to cut down on the amount of energy we use and work towards making change in certain industries.
Climate Change and Energy
Energy generation operations account for 86% of all greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans, so lessening our energy usage could have a major impact on our climate. In total, 28% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States are attributed to electricity production. Over 75% of electricity worldwide is produced by using energy sources such as coal, oil, and natural gas. Burning of fossil fuels is also a major component in transportation. In the United States it accounts for about 29% of greenhouse gas emissions. This includes personal transportation like cars, planes, and mass transit, but much of this is for shipping of goods. There are alternative energy sources which do not produce greenhouse gases, such as wind, solar, and geothermal, but their use is still quite rare.
- What are ways that people need to use energy?
- What are some actions that could result in wasted energy?
- Are there ways we could use less energy every day?
- What are alternatives to using energy?
- How would these alternatives be helpful to people?
- Is this a good solution for everyone, or just certain people?
- How can we learn more from different perspectives?
- How can we use our understanding to help wildlife?
Interested in growing your understanding of energy usage? Check out the activities below! These can be distributed directly to students through your virtual classroom or sent via email, or they can be printed and distributed to students in person.
- Introductory (recommended for K-5 students)
- Advanced (recommended for 6-12 students)
Reporting Your Results
Make sure to keep track of everything you do and share as much of your story as possible, such as:
- How many events or programs did you host? What were they?
- What were you hoping to accomplish?
- How many kilowatt hours (kWh) were conserved?
- How many CO2 emissions were conserved? Note: Once you have calculated the total number of kilowatt-hours of electricity you are reducing per month, you can convert that number into the pounds of CO2 emissions reduce by multiplying the number by 1.559.
- What immediate and future implications does your work have on local animals and people?