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Harvard University


5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Mathematics, Health

Resource Type

  • Interactive Media

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - Northeast, Massachusetts

Foodprint Calculator

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  • This simple online calculator by Harvard University provides an easy way to calculate the carbon, nitrogen, and water footprints of your diet. 
  • The results page provides relatable context for the footprints and provides the upper limit of per capita carbon emissions to avoid a climate disaster.
Teaching Tips


  • This is a great tool that anyone can use to see how their food choices affect the planet.
  • There is a link to Harvard's Healthy Plate, which provides nutritional guidance for a sustainable and healthy diet.

Additional Prerequisites


  • Social studies classes could use this resource when discussing cultural differences and the way diet is incorporated into social gatherings and celebrations.
  • If students are interested in changing their diet, they could watch this YEARS project video or this Vox video about ways to change your diet to help fight climate change.
  • School clubs could look to start a Meatless Mondays program at their school or students could advocate for more plants in their diets at home.
  • To extend the lesson for more advanced students, the global impacts of food production and agriculture can be explored in this interactive data resource and in this StC lesson plan about the impacts of food on the climate.
Scientist Notes
This resource is a simple (< 5 minute) survey that calculates your carbon, nitrogen, and water footprint based on the foods you eat in a given week. Your results are compared to the U.S. average and to an estimate of a sustainable diet. Although simple, this resource is a great introduction to one's personal dietary footprint, and thus this resource is recommended for teaching.
  • Science and Engineering
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
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