Footprint Futures

Footprint Futures
The key stage 2 and 3 eco-footprint teaching resource from the Centre for Alternative Technology

Other Slide Show Activities

  • Footprints
    This slide show explains what eco footprints and carbon footprints are.
    (From module Module 1: The Big Picture)
  • The Big Picture
    This slide shows some of the major global environmental issues in a nutshell.
    (From module Module 1: The Big Picture)
  • Myth busting
    This slide show explains why recycling and switching off the lights isn’t going to save the planet!
    (From module Module 1: The Big Picture)
  • Transport Footprints
    This slide show introduces how we use transport and the impact it has.
    (From module Module 2: Transport)
  • Sustainable Transport
    This slide show introduces some sustainable transport solutions.
    (From module Module 2: Transport)
  • Walk the walk
    (From module Module 3: Energy)
  • Renewable Energy
    This slide show introduces some sources of renewable energy.
    (From module Module 3: Energy)
  • Building Footprints
    This slide show demonstrates the sustainability issues behind a lot of the buildings we have in the UK.
    (From module Module 4: Buildings)
  • Eco Buildings
    This slide show illustrates several types of eco buildings and eco refurbishments.
    (From module Module 4: Buildings)
  • ‘Stuff’ Footprints
    This slide show draws attention to some of the wider global impacts of the stuff that we buy.
    (From module Module 6: Stuff)
  • Good Stuff
    This slide show draws attention to some sustainable examples of the ‘stuff’ that we buy, including organic and Fair Trade products.
    (From module Module 6: Stuff)
  • Food Footprints
    This slide show demonstrates the sustainability issues behind much of the food we produce and consume in the UK.
    (From module Module 5: Food)
  • Global Footprints
    This slide show recaps some of the major sustainability issues they have studied over the project.
    (From module Module 7: Think Global, Act Local)

Things needed for this Module...

Solar Power Cans:
  • 4 aluminium drink cans of which:
    • 3 are painted with matt black paint (or blackboard paint) of which:
    • 2 have been insulated with pieces of insulation that is safe to handle – sheeps wool for example covering the back half or two thirds of the can of which:
    • 1 is placed in a clear plastic bag or container  such as a clear 2l bottle with the bottom cut off
  • Thermometer
  • Recording sheet
The Green House:
  • Downloadable activity from CAT (coming soon)
Walk the walk:
Regional plan - energy:
  • Hopefully the mystery guest will be able to stay for this session
  • Maps and aerial floor photo mats if you have them
  • Variety of media for recording
Power Up! – Solar Power:
  • Whole class in groups
  • Small photovoltaic cells, motors, crocodile clips and propellers (available from the Centre for Alternative Technology shop and other education suppliers)
  • Clean floatable materials – eg plastic bottles (with lids), cartons and cups and containers, rubber bands
Power Up – Wind Power:
  • EPK20850
    ‘Wind Kit’ from the Centre for Alternative Technology
    (or a wind power kit from another education supplier)
  • Bits of corriflute plastic and/or other suitable scrap materials like thin card and plastic, scissors, tape.
  • Large electric fan with wide blades, the ones which come in cages designed to sit on the floor are best. (tall bathroom fans with thin blades will not work so well.)
Mystery Guest:
  • Mystery guest from the sustainable energy industry. This could be someone who works to install renewable energy systems, or an engineer who designs them. It could be someone from the council with responsibility for energy efficiency, or someone who promotes energy efficiency. Or it could be someone from a local group such as Friends of the Earth.

Useful Websites

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<< Module Overview

Module 3: Energy

Energy Footprints

Energy Footprints

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This slide show demonstrates how most of our energy is currently produced in the UK.

What to do:

Use the slideshow images and text and the information below to lead a discussion.

file_pptDownload the PowerPoint Slideshow: Energy Footprints (2.59 MB)

By now the pupils will be familiar with the first graph.

Explain that todays topic is energy. The second graph shows the breakdown of energy emissions by sector in the UK. Use this to point out that it’s not just us that need to save energy in our homes - businesses, transport and services need to as well.

The next graph shows how much energy we use per person in the UK. This is useful for pointing out areas of most significance, such as the energy used to make the stuff that we buy, compared to the energy used by lighting and gadgets. For example the carbon footprint of a pint of milk is 700g, the carbon footprint of running a small fridge is around 500g per day.

At the moment, most of our energy in the UK and in the world, comes from burning fossil fuels. There are two major problems with this. Firstly, we are running out of easy to reach oil and gas. As oil and gas becomes more scarce it becomes increasingly expensive to discover, extract and refine; this forces us to find alternatives or face conflict.

The second problem is that the burning of fossil fuels for heat, electric or transport energy releases CO2 into the atmosphere, adding to the greenhouse effect. On top of these two global issues, there are also local environmental problems caused by fossil fuel extraction (many pupils will have heard about disasters in the news such as the BP oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico but are unlikely to have heard that a similar level of pollution and damage occurs as a result of oil extraction by foreign countries in West Africa every year).

How much you want to dwell on the issues related to nuclear power will depend on the age of your group, and time for discussion. The related issues listed in the slide show are to do with depleting uranium stocks and the storage of radioactive waste. Others include the cost, the amount of time and energy used to build and de-commission nuclear power stations, the transport of nuclear waste and the disposing of it in other countries, safety threats as with the Fukushima power station in Japan, and the terrorist target it poses.

The final slide shows maps revealing global greenhouse gas emissions per country, and per capita. This is very useful for pointing out global inequalities. It is also important to draw attention to countries like China, which as a country is a very large emitter. The per capita map however, shows a very different picture, showing that people living in China emit about half as much CO2 per person as people in the UK. After discussion about our current energy mix, pupils will probably conclude that a) we need to use less, and b) we need to generate energy from other sources.


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