Ecological Footprint Part III

This weekend I was inspired to create a website called Save the Planet: Ecological Footprint Education. One of the most valuable things we can do is to become stewards, or protectors, of the Earth. This website has resources, videos and suggestions on how to reduce your ecological footprint. If you know of any other great ideas on how to save the planet or other helpful resources, please share them with the class. (Click on the title of the email. It’ll take you to the blog where you can post comments for all of our benefit.)

We are currently in a very consumer-based culture, which is not living at a sustainable level. We need to question the value of this pattern, if we are to change it. Do you feel better when you make a purchase? Does it give you a deep sense of satisfaction or is it temporarily filling a void? Creating a shift in awareness and values will be important aspects of healing the planet. Are you willing to question your shopping impulses?


  1. perr1ker5h said

    You, or your students, might check out my blog entitled “Enough is Enough” ( I write about our family of four’s attempts to go “consumer-free” for six months in an effort to reduce our ecological footprint. We’re almost done, but plan to continue on into 2007–perhaps purchasing a few necessary items, but otherwise continuing to simplify the way we live and be more conscious of the things we consume, including food and “stuff.”

    Hope you or your students find this interesting and are perhaps inspired to give it a try!

  2. kristi c. said

    I really like this web. you are doing a great job on this

  3. kristi c. said

    hi ms newbern, its me kristi cascio! I relly like what you are doing and i love watching funny vidioes on your web site This is cool that we can talk on line together. Great job!

  4. Mehnaaz (a.k.a. drama queen) said

    Hi ms. n this is a really cool way to picture our selves. Just think if i had every one spend money like i did i bet there would be more malls than people in the world. ha ha.

  5. claudia v. said

    i think i could live with out shopping for a while. and some times i do feel bad for some things i buy

  6. Companies spend billions of dollars on figuring out how to make teenagers buy things on impulse! What you need to do is educate yourselves (and your friends) and learn some strategies so that you don’t get manipulated into buying things you don’t really need. Using the Rule of Three is one thing you can do. Remember it has to match three things in your wardrobe before you can buy it. Don’t shop when you’re depressed or bored. You’re more likely to buy things you don’t need. Go for a hike or over to a friend’s house instead of to the mall. Not being in the mall will prevent you from seeing something then having that “must buy” impulse.

  7. Heather R. said

    ms. Newburn, this website is totally awesome! I absolutely love it. i can’t wait for u to add more. I learned that if I keep living the way I do, and everyone on the earth lived like me, I would take up 4.8 earths! Yeesh, I should take more care of the environment!

  8. Tess R. said

    Hi Ms. Newburn! i just took the footprint test and found out that i if everyone lived like me, we would need 5 planets. Ooops! I didn’t know that i was being so wasteful. I am going to right away (starting with taking a shower that is shorter than 30 minutes)!

    Oh, and by the way, this web sight is great! Keep up the good work.

  9. Quinlan said

    Hi, I just took the footprint test and found out that if everyone lived like me, we would need 1.5 planets!! Not bad, but I should ride my bike more, eat less meat, and grow my own veggies, I also should make sure I turn the lights off when I leave the room, and turn the computer off over night.

    This is a really good test!!!!! Love the website, keep up the good work!!!

  10. Clara said

    Hey Ms.Newburn!! Me again. By the way thanks for that tip about using steel water bottles instead of plastic. I checked out the Ollie saves the planet website. I thought it was really cool and they had some very interesting facts! I learned about different types of energy.

    Here are some cool facts I learned about. Tidal energy is where the waves produce energy and we can turn it into electricity, but it is destroying the coast. I also learned about Biomass energy where you can burn methane and produce energy or you can even use things like animal waste, sugarcane waste, and woodchips to create biomass energy.

    I also learned how to reduce the energy you use in your house. You can turn off lights when you don’t need them and try to use curtains and natural light. Also you can use fluorescent lighting in rooms that you are in a lot. And if you aren’t using applliances, turn them off at the power source. I really learned a lot from that website.

    Happy Holidays!!

  11. Dylan G. period 4 said

    One of my suggestions is that I should try to get around more without using a cor. My second is I should carpool more than just driving to the same place as somebody else but not driving with them. My third is that when I do drive I should try and get my parent’s to drive my mom’s car because it has a better miles per gallon. I think I should try to use less recourses and eat less packaged foods. These are my five suggestions.

  12. Michael L. said

    from the meatrix video, i learnd that the meat producing companies drug the animals with growth hormones. I eat meat, but i think that eating it in moderation is good. i also learned that they de-beak the chikens and cut off the cows tails. i think that it is so wrong that they put the animals through so much pain just be killed. i would hate to be in those little stalls that the animals stay in almost their whole lives. i am not a vegitarian because it would just be to hard to keep it up.

    i am not a vegitarian because it would just be to hard to keep it up. from these videos, i can understand why people become vegitarians, but i still dont get how people are vegan. i could never live without dary products.

    i cant understand why i got 10.8 earths on the ecological footprint. i think i answered some of the questions wrong because i didnt know the answer. i think that people should definately recycle because in 100 years the earth is going to be full of landfills. people should also be careful around gutters like not dropin trash in them.

  13. Micaela said

    Things I could do to help the environment and use up less energy would be to car pool with friends to school, to use up less gas, oil and energy. Make my mom do less laundry loads per month by not throwing clothes in my hamper that aren’t dirty. I should really also buy more food that is organic or sustainably grown and start planting vegetables and fruits in backyard garden. My last goal would have to be to reduce the minutes per day I’m in the shower.


  14. Micaela said

    Here are some scary and interesting facts I learned about my Ecological Footprint. I didn’t know that a water bottle, which is made of petroleum, takes millions of years to create. I really didn’t know that packaging was all that bad and a waste of natural resources. So now I’ll try to buy things with a minimum amount of packaging. I will use some of those holiday wrapping ideas for presents on Christmas. Now when I buy something especially a pair of jeans that it must last as long or longer than it takes to make the raw ingredients to be sustainable. I think it’s so sad that in 2002, commercial farmers cut over 20,000,000 trees in the US alone. Maybe now I should go to the UC Berkeley School of Forestry to buy tree that have been cut from national parks that are a fire hazard. Since I celebrate Christmas, that’s a great idea.


  15. Jenna said

    Hej, Its Jenna from period 6.
    Yestarday I took the ecological footprint quiz. If everyone on the planet lived like me, we would have to have 3.9 planets!!!!!! YIKES!!
    Well, today I learned what I can do to help save the world. I should start a compost pile in my backyard. By doing this, I will not be contributing as much to the local dump. I also should carpool when ever it is possible.
    I also learned that when I go shopping I should always remember the rule of three! It will save me some $$$$, and it will save the environment!

  16. Emily said

    Hey Ms. Newburn-

    I just took the quiz and learned that if everyone lived the way that I do now, we would need 4.3 planets! (or something like that!) Wow, that’s a lot! I never thought that I use so many non-renewable resources! I beter change some of my habbits.
    Here are some things that I think I could to to improve:
    1. On the days that I don’t walk to school, I should try to carpool with my friends so we don’t waste gas, oil and energy.
    2. I think that I could use a water botle that is reuseable- so we don’t use up all of the petroleum.
    3. I could remember to turn the hall light off and my computer, when I go to bed.
    4. Aside from all of the fruit trees in my backyard, I could plant some vegetables, so we don’t have to buy tham from the store. And if I do buy vegetables from the store, I could get organic foods.
    5. One last thing that I could do is try to recycle more often and try to write on recycled parer as often as possible.

  17. Ms. Rebecca Newburn said

    It’s not a matter of how long it takes to make something. It’s how long we use it in relationship to the time to create the raw materials that’s the key to being sustainable or unsustainable. For example, compare cotton in jeans versus cotton used in disposable diapers. Cotton used in disposable diapers: takes a year to make cotton (not to mention the millions of years for the plastic lining) but they are thrown out after a couple of hours. Jeans are sustainable. Disposable diapers are not. Yet both use cotton.

    Emily, glad to hear that your family already is part of the eco-trend for gift wrapping. 🙂

  18. Katie said

    Oh my gosh, the videos are so creative. Espically the Store Wars one! That is so cool how it describes what happens to our food. Haha if food could talk, it would make it a lot harder to eat it.

  19. Peter said

    Oh my goodness gracious. It is amazing how many planets it would take up if everyone lived like me in the ecological footprint quiz.

  20. Jenna said

    I can’t believe that a plastic water bottel takes a million years to make. That is such a long time just to make a little thing that we will throw away after we use it. In my family, we try to save the plastic water bottles until the can no longer be used.
    And to think that a pair of jeans takes a year to be grown from cotton, that is pretty amazing. I think that if you are a kid you should always buy pants with a good amount of growing room, so they can last longer, and you get your money’s worth.

  21. Michael L. said

    i just listened to ollie and his planet saving rap. its not anything that 13 year olds would listen to but its a really good way to make little kids start recycling and not wasting energy. I also read some of the little facts. The said some stuff that i had never thought about before like that if you by things with less packaging, it helps save energy. It helps to save energy because it takes more energy to make more packaging.

  22. Jay D. said

    I saw store wars and I think that it is really funny.

    The meatrix was a wierd way to learn about food processing.

    I was amazed that if everyone lived like me it would take three planets to sustain everyone.

  23. Michael said

    I learned that only 1% of the energy used in the unided states comes from coal or solar power. I think that americans should really start to put solar pannals on their houses. 85% of the energy we use comes from fossil fuel. im pretty sure that this means fuel that comes from the ground. people really needs to find another way to make fuel because eventualy, we will run out of fossil fuel

  24. Dylan G. period 4 said

    When I read “Save the Planet: Ecological Footprint Education” there some things I thought were very interesting. I already used comics for some of my presents because it always seemed more thoughtful and eviroment friendly to do so. I also thought it was very resourceful to use those same boxes so many times. When I saw the rule of three I remembered the first time I walked into your classroom and seeing who was in my class but before we knew we had a math problem about being nice to the environment and I knew it was going to be a different year in math.
     I watched store war and thought it was great funny way to show how everyone should eat organic food. I really enjoyed the names in it over everything else. I remembered you talking about sustainability but I didn’t think that water bottles were so wasteful. Now I realize how much resources we use.

  25. Dylan G. period 4 said

    I watched meatrix one and 2 this time and realized how bad it is to buy and eat foods from factory farms. the first one showed me that pigs are stuck in small places without getting fresh air. When tey said THAT THEY DIDN’T EAT WELL IT MADE ME THINK THAT IF THEY HAVE DESEASES AND WE EAT THEM THE RESULT WON’T BE GOOD. Sorry about the capitals.
    I watched the second meatrix and saw how cows are injected with that growth stuff which made me tink we’re not eating cow we’re eating cow grwth seerom. I was really astounded that the blood of dead cows is feed to the calves. The only good part to it was that most countries that have these farms had enough sense to ban the growth injections

  26. Emily said

    I just watched the Store Wars video! wow if food could talk it would most likely have a lot to say! Of corse organic food is better for you and it concured the other food too. The movie shows how even though organic food is more expensive, it’s better for your health. You may never know what is in or on the other foods. I know that fruit and vegetables are good for you but with all of the bad stuff in them are they really still good for you?
    My friend from the lower pod told me this story about her mom. Her mom went to volenteer for a maraschino cherry company, because she loved them
    a lot. She saw the other people wearing gass masks. Well in order to make them, they take perfectly good cherries and soak them in a big tub of acid in order to get all od the juice out. Then they take the pits out and put in fake juice that’s mixed with chemicals. After they put on a fake stem. It makes you never want to eat one again, after finding out how bad they are and whats in them.

  27. Lia said

    Hi i am jenna, from period 6’s, cousin. I live in Folsom, California, near Sacramento. Jenna just showed me this blog and i think it is so cool. Jenna also showed me the footprint quiz. If everyone on the planet lived like me, there would have to be 4.5 planets!!!!! WOOOOOOOOOOWWWW!!!!!!!!

  28. Jenna said

    Ms. Newburn,
    My cousin, Lia, thought that this blog was really cool, and she thought that it would be neat if her teacher had one too!

  29. Jackson L. said

    WOW!! I need 4 Planets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! holy cow! I thought I would need only about one or two, since i bike almost every where, but alas, it seems i am guilty of global warming : ( (I am typing this with all the lights off in my room and I am holding my breath so I don’t put out co2)

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