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Lesson 5: How Do Humans Impact the Production of Greenhouse Gases?


The purpose of this lesson is for students to consider where they currently obtain their energy from and their subsequent impact on the carbon cycle. The goal is to help students understand that humans extract energy from a variety of sources including carbon based resources (e.g. wood, coal and petroleum). Many of the activities and decisions that humans make everyday impact the amount of greenhouses gases (particularly carbon dioxide) that they produce. The lesson begins by having students compare the energy usage and subsequent carbon dioxide production from an incandescent light bulb and a compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb. Then students use a carbon emissions calculator to estimate how much carbon dioxide they contribute to the atmosphere and how they can make decisions to decrease their carbon emissions.