ESO4: Global issues and Carbon Footprint Calculator

WARM-UP: Watch this videoclip by Michael Jackson. What global issues does it address?

LISTENING: You can take this quiz from

READING: Now, read the following definition from

A carbon footprint is defined as:
The total amount of greenhouse gases produced to directly and indirectly support human activities, usually expressed in equivalent tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). other words: When you drive a car, the engine burns fuel which creates a certain amount of CO2, depending on its fuel consumption and the driving distance. (CO2 is the chemical symbol for carbon dioxide). When you heat your house with oil, gas or coal, then you also generate CO2. Even if you heat your house with electricity, the generation of the electrical power may also have emitted a certain amount of CO2. When you buy food and goods, the production of the food and goods also emitted some quantities of CO2.

Your carbon footprint is the sum of all emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide), which were induced by your activities in a given time frame. Usually a carbon footprint is calculated for the time period of a year. Do you want to know how big is yours?

Then, calculate your carbon footprint with this application provided by WWF:
You might want to adapt it to your context (this is from a UK webpage), so change British pounds for euros, instead, and so on. I'm sure you will be surprised with your results!


Notice the tips given on the right while you answer the questions. Once you finish answering questions about your FOOD, TRAVEL, HOME, and other habits like RECYCLING, complete the sentence:

"We would need ___ planets if everyone lived my lifestyle We only have one."

Remember: Your footprint is roughly how many planets we would need if everyone lived your lifestyle (notice the use of the second conditional). A lower score is better.
SPEAKING: What can we do to reduce our carbon footprint?

WRITING: Write a paragraph about what we can do to reduce our footprint. Use conditional sentences to express facts and give tips. "If we use the bicycle instead of the car, we will reduce carbon emissions" / "If we didn't recycle, the planet would be in worse conditions"...

EXTRA: More ideas: WWF proposes a campaign to reduce your footprint. If you wish, sign up to their 7-day challenge and follow 21 tips to reduce your footprint. Then, share the experience with your family and friends!

TO SUM UP. Reflect on this sentence: We can act locally to impact globally. Do you agree or disagree? To what extend?

CAMPAIGNS: Divide into groups of 3 to 5 students, choose a cause and design a campaign.
Suggestions: ENVIRONMENT (endangered species, recycling, carbon footprint, global warming/climate change); GLOBAL ISSUES (poverty, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, bullying...).

Think of the content (problem, causes, consequences, how we can help) and the form of advertising (posters, leaflets, radio announcement, ...). You may want to use the Internet for your cause (virals, meme,, Tweeter hashtags...). Use language creatively (puns, rhymes...) to get your message through!

Comment the aspects of communication in the following campaigns: and identify the source ("emisor") and the addressees ("receptor"), code (language), channel (image, text, video, poster...), and the message itself:
 a) "Give a hand to wildlife"
b)"What on EARTH are we doing to our planet"
c) "Be like a Panda"
d) "Discrimination. The end is in your hands."
e) Poverty Puzzle- Oxfam

f) #bringbackourgirls

EXTRA: Study the communication context and reflect on intimacy levels nowadays.

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