The Ecological Footprint Dilemma
Winona State University
Is it better to have a new parking lot on campus or use that space to develop a community garden? This is the issue presented in this "clicker case," which pulls students into the decision-making process. Students learn about concepts related to sustainability and the challenges of developing more sustainable life styles. They also calculate their ecological footprint. The case combines the use of personal response systems (clickers) with case teaching methods and formats. It is presented in class using a series of PowerPoint slides (~800KB) punctuated by questions that students respond to before moving on to the next slide. Written for a non-majors introductory biology class, the case also is suitable for use in courses in ecology, environmental science, conservation biology, environmental studies, and general biology.
- Learn the concept of "ecological footprint."
- Understand the difference between renewable and non-renewable resources.
- Measure each individual's footprint.
- Propose methods to develop a sustainable community after an analysis of the footprints generated by the class.
KeywordsEcological footprint; natural resources; non-renewable resource; renewable resource; sustainability; sustainable development; carbon dioxide; global climate change; campus greening; environmental decision-making; environmental stewardship; bioethics
Educational LevelUndergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Type MethodsClicker, Dilemma/Decision, Interrupted
Subject HeadingsBiology (General) Ecology Environmental Science Earth Science Natural Resource Management
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