Teacher ideas: food's hidden carbon

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What you need

Access to the internet

Teaching focus

Raise health and environmental issues related to food, shopping, preparation and storage. Students are to find out about relevant issues, reflect on their own household and think of ways to address potential food issues.

What to do

Provide access to the Australian Greenhouse Calculator (AGC). Students are to calculate what component of their family's greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions are a result of the food they purchase, store, cook, eat and finally dispose of.

The AGC in quick mode provides ghgs based on the dollar amount spent on weekly shopping, transport to go shopping, refrigeration, cooking and waste disposal.

As an alternative, students can use the AGC in detailed mode to find out the impact of choosing fruit only in season.

As a way of calculating where the ghg emissions for fruit and vegetable originate from, use the student activity sheet Food's hidden carbon. Students complete the table individually or in pairs. They discuss the use and impact of fertilisers, transport, storage and waste.

You can use the completed student activity sheet to discuss ghg emissions related to foods including:

  • food production
  • transport to purchase the food
  • refrigeration to keep the food cool
  • energy used for cooking/food preparation
  • disposal of waste.


Student activity sheet: Food's hidden carbon (Word, 70 KB, pdf, 37 KB)