You will need:

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Module 3: Energy

Walk the walk

Walk the walk

What to do:

This is activity has been adapted from one by George Marshall.

You can split this activity into two halves if you like.

First half

Begin by referring to the last slide in the 'Energy Footprints' slide show which demonstrates global CO2 emissions per capita, per country. Take pupils into the hall or the playground. Each pupil chooses a country to represent, and they all stand in a line against a wall. Explain that each ton of CO2 emissions is represented by one average size step. (You could practice taking steps together if you want a warm up activity and to regulate step sizes!) After a countdown, each pupil takes the correct number of steps to indicate the CO2 emissions of the country they have chosen, and then stops. Of course some pupils will still be very close to the wall, and others will have travelled 30 steps.

Explain that if everyone in the world were to emit a fair share of CO2 emissions, then each person would be able to take 2.5 steps. This would mean that populations in high emitting countries would rapidly reduce their emissions, and populations in very low emitting countries would be able to increase their emissions slightly to build up basic infrastructure. (Eventually, we would then expect to reduce our global emissions to zero.)

Second half

Ask the pupil representing the UK to remind everyone how much CO2 we currently emit every year – about 11 tonnes. Explain that this activity is a way of investigating how our everyday activities contribute to this. This will help us decide which things we do to reduce our footprint will make a big difference, and which will make a small difference.

Distribute the slips of paper describing everyday activities to each pair of pupils. The activities are things like ‘average car use’ or ‘watching TV’. The pupils think about how many steps they will need to take to represent their activity. Then in turn, the pairs of pupils take the steps they think is correct. Involve the rest of the pupils to see whether they agree before revealing the correct answer from your sheet.

Allow time to discuss the results at the end. Were they surprised by anything? You will probably discover that they imagined using electrical appliances or carrier bags to have a bigger impact than they actually do, and they may be surprised to discover the impact of flying is as big as it is.