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This is a seven part investigation into the carbon footprint of different kinds of food and diets.
Investigation #1: What We Emit When We Eat: This is a list of 20 different foods, including meats, dairy, vegetables and grains and the amount of carbon released during their production. Students calculate the equivalent in miles driven by a car, as well as the amount of carbon released per ounce.
Investigation #2: Students investigate the carbon footprint of three different meals. The first is a standard "omnivore" meal of a meat, vegetable and grain. The second is a "pescatarian" meal with salmon, vegetable and grain, and the third is a "lacto ovo" vegetarian meal of macaroni and cheese. Students calculate the carbon footprint of each meal.
Investigation #3: Students create three meals of their own with different carbon footprint "targets." The three meals are 8 - 10 pounds of carbon, 4 - 7 pounds, and then under 4 pounds of carbon.
Investigation #4: The Food in Your Weekly Shopping Cart: Students calculate the amount of carbon released from the foods they consume in a week.
Investigation #5, 6, and 7: Your Yearly Carbon Diet: students calculate the amount of carbon released based on the ten foods they eat most often, then calculate how it would compare if they adopted a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, and then a vegan (non-animal product) based diet.
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This activity uses the most current and precise data for carbon footprints for various agricultural products.