Friday, September 7, 2007

895 Re: The final project -- conducting a survey to find a solution to environmental problems

Message no. 895[Branch from no. 893] Posted by Thomas Culhane (1311520071) on Monday, April 30, 2007 12:52pm Subject: Re: The final project -- conducting a survey to find a solution to environmental problems

Thanks for asking Pat!

1) First, read this:

You can click on many of the documents and reports and calculators to get a really good overview of the ecological footprint approach.

2) Then, take this brief quiz (around 3 minutes) and write down the results from the simple calculator. Report to us how many "earths" it would take to survive if all of us lived like you:

3) Next, fill in this survey and write down the results (takes 5 -10 minutes). See how they compare with what you got from the simpler calculator above. How many earth's will it take according to them?

4) Finally, if you have a windows based machine, see if you can download and use this ecological footprint calculator (try the version that includes Java VM)

See what it comes up with and compare.

5) Now, calculate your CARBON footprint from electronic appliances from this calculator and write down the results. It is one thing to know how many earth's we would need to accomodate a population of clones of you, it is another to know just how much you are contributing to global warming.

6) Read the following information on ecological footprint methodology.

7) Then do a web search for another web based ecological footprint or carbon footprint calculator that I haven't listed and try it out. The Australians and the New Zealanders and the British have great calculators you can try (don't worry that you aren't living there!) Compare the results you get.

8) Share all the results and discoveries with the rest of us in posts.

You should see that each calculator gives different results because they use different ASSUMPTIONS about how our behavior affects our environment and vice versa.

To do good science we need REPLICABILITY and REPEATABILITY and we need to be able to make comparisons. There is no one TRUE value, so we have to estimate.

Step one of the final project is to get as accurate an estimate of your ecological footprint (including carbon footprint) as possible. This can only be done by trying out as many different calculators as possible and then taking the AVERAGE of all the values you get.

As usual we start with our rule of threes -- to get reliable results we need to repeat the experiment at least three times. The more times you repeat the experiment, the better the results.

Once we know how many earth's you need, living as you are now living, and how much carbon you produce, we can go on to part two of the assignment, which is to survey at least 10 of your friends, relatives and acquaintainces. Our survey, however, will include other information not found in the carbon and ecological footprint calculator, such as income and awareness of environmental problems. We will seek to correlate the behaviors that are asked about on the ecological and carbon footprint calculators with variables such as wealth, housing situation, education, and awareness of environmental issues. This way we can see IF ENVIRONMENT AFFECTS THE PSYCHOLOGY OF BEHAVIOR in any predictable way.

Once we have done that, we will have reached the end of this introduction to the field of Environmental Psychology, for we will have done real statistical science, proving or disproving the hypothesis that there is a correlation between environment and psychology.

Neat, huh?

So for this week, let's see how your ecological and carbon footprints measure up!

P.S. I'll be in the Sinai desert for the next three days, so I will give detailed instructions on the survey part of this over the weekend.

The Professor

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