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Re: P2 lesson

At 12:25 PM 9/10/97 -0400, you wrote:
>I have just started working on a lesson for middle school kids and need some
>information. I am looking for some data that quantifies the environmental
>impact of a typical American lifestyle in terms kids can understand. For
>example, "It takes an average of four acres of farmland to feed an average
>American family of four for a year" or "For every mile travelled by an
>American car, $40 tax dollars are spent maintaining roads and bridges." (Note
>that these "facts" are EXAMPLES of the type of information I want and are not
>true statistics!)
>Has anyone seen a compendium of info like this?
>Mark Boylan
>22 Executive Park Court
>Germantown MD  20875
Hi Mark,

According to the book "Our Ecological Footprint" by Mathis Wackernagel and
William Rees (New Society Publishers of Philadelphia) the ecological
footprint of commuting by car is 1,530 square meters of land per commuter.
The calculation incorporates the load on the land of resource consumption
and waste assimulation for gas consumption, car manufacture, and road
maintenance and assumes a 10 kilometer round trip commute.  For a bike
commuter, the number is 122 square meters.  A North American lifestyle has
a footprint of 5.1 hectares per person, and if everyone in the world used
that much of earth's resources we would need three planet earths.

Sorry that I have not done the conversion for acres, but you get the
picture.  The book is easy to read and provides a very useful tool for
communicating impact.  When you look at the approach, it will make sense.  

By the way, waste assimulation calculations are only for carbon dioxide,
not toxics!  These estimates may be really off on the size of the impact!

Janet Clark
Technology Transfer Manager
MA Toxics Use Reduction Institute
University of Massachusetts
One University Ave.
Lowell, MA  01854-2866
Tel 978-934-3346
Fax 978-934-3050
email clarkjan@turi.org

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