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Discussion: Human Impact on the Carbon Cycle
As the winter holidays near, you hear several neighborhood children complain about the lack of snow in your area. You realize it has been a bit warmer this season. In fact, as you think about the weather a bit longer, you realize you did not have much snow last year, either. Is this what scientists are talking about when they refer to global warming?
Global warming is a popular topic in today’s media. In spite of this wealth of information, it may be difficult to understand what global warming is, the science that explains it, and its impact on the survival of living organisms on the Earth.
For both this week’s Discussion and Assignment, you have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of global warming and its relationship to the carbon cycle on which all living things depend. For this week’s Discussion, you explore global warming’s correlation with CO2 (carbon dioxide) levels in the Earth’s atmosphere and evaluate how your own activities, as well as human activity, in general, influence the carbon cycle.
To prepare for this Discussion:

Review Chapter 5, “Life in the Greenhouse” in Biology: Science for Life, and focus on the following:

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What the greenhouse effect is
How water, heat, and temperature are related
What CO2 is and how its amount in the atmosphere is changing
How CO2 levels correlate with global warming

Consider how your personal actions may increase or decrease CO2 levels by calculating your carbon footprint. Links to several carbon footprint calculators are listed in the Required Resources section. Use one of these calculators to estimate your carbon footprint.
Learn about the atmospheric history of CO2 by reading the article “Past Climate Change” listed in the Required Resources section.
Conduct additional research to learn more about the relationship between human carbon footprints and CO2 levels in the atmosphere.
Read the Discussion Spark topic/question or comment posted by your Instructor in the Discussion Thread on Day 1.

With these thoughts in mind:
By Day 2
Post a 1- to 2-paragraph response to the Discussion Spark. 
Important Note: The Discussion Spark and the weekly Discussion topic below will be graded together. You will see one score in your My Grades area.
By Day 4
Post two or more paragraphs that evaluate whether your carbon footprint impacts the carbon cycle. In this Discussion, be sure you:

Explain how your carbon footprint relates to the carbon cycle, the atmospheric history of CO2, and a national or global average
State whether you think decreasing your carbon footprint can impact the carbon cycle

If you agree, suggest two ways you can decrease your carbon footprint and explain how these suggestions will help
If you disagree, provide at least two reasons for your position

Include references to at least two sources outside the Required Resources
Cite all references in APA format

 What do you know about this week’s discussion topic, your carbon footprint. It may be a lot of it may be nothing! We can learn from each other. Tell what you think will be particularly interesting to learn about this topic 



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