What Is Your Learning Footprint?

In case you don't already feel guilty enough about your personal carbon footprint, here's a site that helps you calculate the "learning footprint" of your school or business.

Learning Footprint is a website dedicated to helping you minimize the environmental impact of their programs. You start by using their free calculator to find out your "learning emissions." They offer you a download of a PDF report of the calculation to include in your next business case.

What can your organization do to help the situation? It starts with actually realizing what you do that is increasing the size of your footprint and then changing the ways in which you operate. As with other industries, there will be some emissions you cannot avoid, but can offset. That can be a dangerous approach to all your "emissions" because it leads some some organizations (and individuals) into believing that we can simply add up its emissions and "offset" them all. Buying that hybrid car doesn't make it okay to waste fuel in heating or cooling your home. That's a zero-sum, no winners game that will not improve the situation. So, the real objective is an active reduction in the emissions produced.

The site lists the Carbon Neutral Protocol steps in the process to becoming Carbon Neutral: 1. Owning the problem 2. Quantifying the impact 3. Reducing emissions wherever possible 4. Offsetting the remainder 5. Communicating effectively.

This site comes from HT2. It is a company that has an interest in promoting E-Learning. They develop multimedia E-Learning, for software training, Web 2.0 websites,Communities of Practice and have developed their own framework, KnowledgePortal, to help create these communities quickly and effectively. Logically, one of their suggestions for businesses is to reduce or eliminate the need to travel for staff training to see a dramatic reduction in your carbon emissions.

When I first entered the world of online learning in 2000, no one really talked about it as being environmentally-friendly or "green." Today, I see that on the promotional materials.

Using the Learning Footprint site could also be a good classroom lesson that crosses disciplines (science, math, communications and social studies for sure) for students to look at their school's emissions and suggest a plan to help reduce the school's impact.


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