Families Take Challenge to Go Green

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Kalluk (left) and Chinook

Kalluk (left) and Chinook

The San Diego Zoo has recruited six families for a fun and educational challenge—to see if changes they make now can reduce their “carbon footprint.” What is a carbon footprint? It is the total set of greenhouse gas emissions caused through burning fossil fuels for electricity, heating, transportation, and more. In the past several decades, humans have been releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere much faster than plants and oceans can absorb it.

To help reverse this trend, we’ll issue challenges to these families and ask them to share their experiences in a new blog section called Polar Blogs:

Challenge #1: What’s your carbon footprint?
We’ll find out how many tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) each family typically produces (the average American is responsible for 21 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year). The San Diego Zoo will purchase acreage in a South American rain forest to offset each family’s footprint.

Challenge #2: Staying Warm for Winter
How do our families keep the chill at bay during the winter months, and what are some ways they can reduce their carbon use and still stay toasty? Readers can vote on the best reduction attempt, and the “losing” family will take a ceremonial “polar bear plunge”!

Challenge #3: A Green Valentine’s Day?
Can each family come up with a creative way to make a climate-change-reduction dinner, from store to table? Readers will vote on the best creation, and the winning family will receive the San Diego Zoo’s own Zoo Brew coffee.

Challenge #4: In the Dark?
Families will monitor their home’s electricity use and share their attempts to “hibernate.” Vote for the family you think made the best effort, and the winners will receive San Diego Zoo sweatshirts.

Challenge #5: It’s All Fun and Games
Our families will take a look at their recreational and entertainment choices. See what ideas they come up with to make going green fun! Your favorite family will receive a Caravan Safari Tour at the Wild Animal Park.

We hope you enjoy getting to know these brave souls. Please cheer them on by posting comments, suggestion, and tips for them. You can even figure out your own carbon footprint by using our online calculator. The choices we make in our daily lives—at home, travel and transportation, the food we eat, and what we buy and throw away—affect the health of the planet.

Can these families reduce their footprint upon the Earth over the next three months? We’ll find out!

Read blog posts from the families…