Assessment Brief A: Individual Essay
Reducing Carbon Foot Prints
It has been observed by Chen et al., (2020) that over the past few decades the effect of global warming has been alarmingly increasing. The increased use of carbon footprint by mankind has been profoundly affecting the environment. Rising sea levels, occupation of warmer water compared to cooler water, and changing patterns of vegetables and plants are some of the direct effects of a rising carbon footprint. The rising carbon footprint is also alarmingly affecting human health. It also poses a potential threat to the change in the climatic condition (Weirs and Osborne, 2020). Thus it is important to reduce the usage of carbon footprint which can have alarming impacts on the environment. It has been argued by Sangwan et al., (2018) that on average a university directly or indirectly generates around 51% of carbon emissions. According to the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions (2020), CO2 accounts for around 76% of the GH (greenhouse) gases [refer to appendix 1]. For this reason, the reduction of carbon footprint has been chosen as a topic to be addressed by the social impact team and with rising concerns regarding the rising impacts of carbon footprint can somewhat control the harmful effects of it.
Identify the University of Leicester (UOL) students who perform and manage their carbon footprint and determine their level of awareness of reducing their carbon footprint.
To evaluate the current knowledge and factors affecting the carbon footprint of UOL undergraduate and graduate students (who are enrolled on campus in the 2018/2019 academic year)
To measure the awareness and to reduce the carbon footprint habits prevailing within the undergraduate and graduate students of UOL (who are enrolled on campus in the 2018/2019 academic year)
In order to achieve how UOL undergraduates and graduate students (who are enrolled on campus in the 2018/2019 academic year) can reduce their carbon footprint through effective measures or methods.
To identify the main motivations and barriers prevailing within the UOL undergraduates and graduate students (who are enrolled on campus in the 2018/2019 academic year) towards reducing carbon footprint practices
To discover short-term and long-term ways to encourage UOL undergraduate and graduate students (who are enrolled on campus in the 2018/2019 academic year) towards reducing their carbon footprint practices.
A research paradigm is an important approach that is to be considered while conducting research. As opined by Kivunja and Kuyini, (2017) it is an approach through which research is effectively carried out by using models or approaches that have been verified or widely accepted by the research community for a long time for the past years.
In this research, an interpretive research approach has been used this approach believes that shaping individuals have the capability to shape society and thus uses qualitative methods for conducting research. Again, an inductive research approach has been adopted for conducting this research as the collection of data occurs on the basis of specific reasons and through examining trends the data is assessed (Woiceshyn and Daellenbach, 2018). Exploratory research has been used for the study as it aims in offering insights regarding the problems faced by the research. Ad-hoc market research has been adopted as this typically comprises short-term projects which have the capability to tackle specific objectives.
These research approaches are appropriate for this study as this research aims to understand the ideas regarding the emission of carbon and practices to be adopted for their reduction by students of UOL. Theories will be developed on the basis of answers received by the qualitative research this is an alarming situation so ad-hoc market research is appropriate for the study.
Identifying the sampling plan is an important aspect while conducting any research as it offers an outline of the basis of approaches that need to be followed while conducting a study. Through the use of a sampling plan, the category, sample size, and number of respondents can be identified (Aslam, 2018). The sampling plans which have been used for conducting this study constitute non-probability sampling. Through this sampling, the samples or the students to be interviewed for the qualitative research have been chosen on an individual basis to gain data that appears informative in nature. This sampling approach has been selected as it has been identified that non-probability sampling is suitable for conducting qualitative research. The target population for the research was the students of UOL. Showkat and Parveen (2017), state that non-probability sampling constitutes judgment. So, the sampling technique used for conducting the study was judgment sampling as this technique involves participants having specific characteristics (Etikan and Bala, 2017). Participants for the study were chosen on the basis of age and hierarchy. The sample size chosen for the study constituted 7 participants. Students, who live far from the school and regularly used a mode of transport for traveling to the university, were recruited as participants for the study.
Data collection is a type of process involved in the collection of information from relevant sources to determine answers for a specific research problem by testing through obtaining hypotheses or theories and evaluating results through outcomes (Paradis et al., 2016). Data collection methods can be two types which constitute primary and secondary data collection methods. For this study, the primary data collection method has been chosen and qualitative research has been performed for understanding the awareness regarding the carbon footprint by the UOL students it is necessary to obtain a greater depth of ideas prevailing among the students. For conducting this study focus group discussion was adopted. Focus group discussion has been preferred as it facilitates the generation of views and ideas (Herd, 2020). The mode of data collection chosen for the interview was a face-to-face interview so that the idea and awareness of each student regarding carbon footprint generation are well reflected [refer to appendix 4]. A sample size of around 7 has been taken. For conducting this study a smaller size group has been preferred as each group member gets plenty of opportunity to put forth their views and ideas regarding the topic. The reason behind choosing this data collection method is that focus groups have the ability to generate insights and ideas through effective interaction (Herd, 2020). It also has the capability to create a supportive forum that helps in expressing suppressed views. On the contrary, to raise awareness and change ideas prevailing within the students it is necessary to involve them in effective conversation through which the aim of the study can be suitably served.
The research procedure used for conducting this study involved a semi-structured question pattern. This pattern has been chosen as Levis et al (2018) have studied that in semi-structured data questions, the collection of data does not necessarily obey a formal pattern present in the relational database and presents consistent characteristics which make it the researcher easier to analyze the data. While conducting the research the interviewees participating in the discussion have been chosen randomly and data or ideas presented in the discussion have been stored by recording them.
The group discussion was conducted prior to the interview and each interview was constituted of seven minutes. The duration of the group discussion was around 10 minutes as the participants start to lose interest prior to this time period. The fieldwork was conducted in an empty classroom of the university after class hours to avoid interruptions from external sources. In the focus groups, undergraduate and graduate participants belonging to the age groups of 17-23 were included. It has been studied by Borin et al., (2020) that by making students aware of sustainable practices, beliefs and attitudes toward sustainability can be fostered. For this reason, in this study students were selected as participants.
Among the seven participants, 3 were graduates and 4 were undergraduates. During the division of the group, a homogenous group of participants was selected so that a specific idea within different age groups can be generated and this type of grouping also helps in saving time. As opined by Fauziah and Latief (2016) homogenous grouping also increases enthusiasm among the participants. While grouping the participants it was also made sure that those students were selected who lived far from the school and used a specific mode of transport for their convenience.
The data analysis of the study was conducted by systematically inspecting, converting, and modeling the collected data (Ori, 2020). The integrity of the data was ensured through accurate analysis of the research findings. The data were analyzed by recording the received information. The recorded data was then structurally assessed to develop key themes. Transcript of the data has been kept in a record where the views and ideas of the participants have been stored. Key themes were developed using the recorded discussions where the difference in opinions was identified by breaking the analysis into small subgroups. Ori (2020) states that dividing the analysis into small groups has the potential to drive the processes followed in the study. This practice helps the researcher to explain and develop unanticipated findings. Data were interpreted on the basis of opinions and ideas received through the discussion.
The main theme or the questions raised in association to the focused group discussion among the UOL students is as follows:
What awareness and ideas prevail within the students regarding the harmful impacts of carbon footprint, and how they view it in their daily lives?
How can the students manage and control themselves in relation to the reduction of emissions of carbon footprint?
The research findings indicate the awareness and ideas possessed by students participating in the face-to-face interview and focus group discussion regarding carbon footprints and their harmful effects. Most of the participants discussed the aspects and the current scenario in relation to the environmental impacts of carbon emissions. It was found that in certain cases, the participants chose to avoid certain perspectives when they felt the topic was getting out of control. Again, participants were seen to agree on certain control measures and changes in attitudes that can control the daily carbon emissions occurring in their lives. These discussions also further surfaced obstacles and reasons with act as a hindrance in adopting the preventive measures related to reducing carbon footprint. It has been found that the students disliked this lack of control and wanted to get rid of it.
Through the focus group discussion, the major factors leading to the emission of carbon footprint in the daily lives of the participants surfaced. One of the respondents pointed out that the daily habits followed and the eating habits are one of the major factors which lead to the emission of carbon. Other participants commented on the personal attitudes and traveling habits having an impact on the harmful carbon emissions into the environment. One of the graduate participants found a quote that “Personal habits have led to the increase of pollution to a major extent which is increasing the harmful emissions of carbon”.
Again, when a discussion arose regarding the extent to which the students are aware in relation to the choice of green public transport, the majority of the participants indicated strong consciousness but few participants were seen to control and reflect on their behavior sincerely. “Convenience, weather, and other external factors seem to be the major factors due to which we forget to choose a green mode of transportation while coming to school” have been found to be quoted one of the undergraduate participants.
The discussion further took a turn where the responsibilities that should be adopted by the participants in reducing carbon footprint emissions. Major methods and measures discussed increasing awareness and changing habits and daily consumption which have an impact on carbon emissions.
An undergraduate participant described that despite being aware of the different harmful impacts of carbon emission; due to certain obstacles she was unable to adopt appropriate corrective measures regarding this global concern. Describing her situation she quoted that “…as I live far away from the school, I often have to rely on Uber at the times of rush as public transports are often crowded and uncomfortable”. Adding to this several participants agreed that similar problems were faced by them at school. It was found in the discussion that the school cafeteria has been providing disposal paper towels and tableware which are potential sources of generating carbon footprint. The discussion advanced by highlighting that ignorant attitude and lack of action was one of the prime factors which failed to control the carbon footprint emissions.
In this study, the researcher aimed to explore the level of awareness prevailing within the students of UOL regarding the reduction of carbon emissions and activities through which the highlighted issues can be managed. This study has been successful in finding the major factors affecting the carbon footprint emissions and underlying obstacles which is acting as a hindrance to the suitable adoption of practices within the students.
The study conducted by the research also highlights the daily habits of people, traveling styles, eating habits and personal attitudes possessed by humans are some of the main factors affecting the emissions of carbon footprint. It has been identified that motor vehicles, household activities, and air travels along with food and electricity are one of the major sources of carbon emissions [refer to appendix 2]. It has been identified by Phys.org (2020) that different lifestyle generates similar levels of carbon within the environment. Reports by Phys.org (2020), highlight that different households generate the same amount of GH gases despite having different sources contributing to the emission.
On the other hand, the results also indicate that the participants were less flexible in self-control in behavior which restricted the adoption of green practices despite strongly being conscious of the harmful impacts of increasing carbon footprint. Our results indicate that raising awareness by stressing having a change in behavior and daily life practices can help in mitigating the harmful impacts of carbon emissions. Schanes et al., (2016) argue that people can adopt hundred of responsible actions by adopting green lifestyles. The researcher presents evidence that a change in behavior in the right direction can act as an important first step in controlling the emissions made by mankind in their daily lives.
It has been highlighted in the study that despite being strongly conscious of the impacts of carbon emissions lack of actions, government policies, and the ecological lifestyle promotes the participants to choose convenient options. One of the major, as indicated by Arnold et al., (2018) in adopting behavioral actions, consists of the impacts of the environment and its contextual factors which influence choices made in the everyday lives of humans. For example, the carbon dioxide that is emitted through the use of bicycles or green transport differs from the use of cars or public transport. The researcher has identified that personal affluence can also have an impact on ecological lifestyle which in turn affect the behavioral action showcased by an individual.
The study conducted has been successful in identifying barriers and the obstacles acting as a hindrance to the adoption of green practices among students which highlights that the heterogeneous selection of participants helps the researcher in strengthening the conduct of group discussion. It also helps in identifying certain measures that can be adopted by the social impact team to encourage students of UOL.
Some of the recommendations provided to the client on the basis of the above findings have been presented below:
The study incorporates certain limitations which involve missing some major ideas that come under this scenario. The study also needs to involve several questions which can provide potential outcomes for the study. Again, the involvement of professors and faculty members could have indicated certain results as they have the potential to spread awareness among the students.
The solution to the above limitations can be achieved by incorporating ideas and professional feedback obtained from students having relevant major degrees in their respective fields. Also, the limitations can be solved by entering into suitable communication with the faculties and teachers in relation to implementing better plans to address the situation in an effective manner. Budget limitations can be one of the main limitations faced by the team while organizing awareness activities. The team can introduce online donation programs to raise funds and solve this limitation.
To conclude it can be said that the involvement of graduate and undergraduate students have been able to highlight certain key factor regarding the emission of GH gases which when addressed properly have the potential to reduce the carbon footprint. The study highlighted that awareness regarding attitude and behavior can have a major impact on controlling the harmful emissions of carbon generated on a daily basis. Apart from this, the study highlights that with stringent government and administration policies, harmful emissions can be controlled to an extent.
Finally, the social impact team should choose our agency, as this study was conducted with utmost dedication. Our agency was able to highlight certain true facts associated with the topic. On the other hand, our recommendations have been thoroughly studied and if followed can demonstrate long-term positive results.
Arnold, O., Kibbe, A., Hartig, T. and Kaiser, F.G., 2018. Capturing the environmental impact of individual lifestyles: evidence of the criterion validity of the general ecological behavior scale. Environment and Behavior, 50(3), pp.350-372.
Aslam, M., 2018. Design of sampling plan for exponential distribution under neutrosophic statistical interval method. IEEE Access, 6, pp.64153-64158.
Boarin, P., Martinez-Molina, A. and Juan-Ferruses, I., 2020. Understanding students’ perception of sustainability in architecture education: A comparison among universities in three different continents. Journal of Cleaner Production, 248, p.119237.
Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, 2020. Global Emissions | Center For Climate And Energy Solutions. [online] Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. Available at: <https://www.c2es.org/content/international-emissions/> [Accessed 26 March 2020].
Chen, S., Long, H., Chen, B., Feng, K. and Hubacek, K., 2020. Urban carbon footprints across scale: Important considerations for choosing system boundaries. Applied Energy, 259, p.114201.
Etikan, I. and Bala, K., 2017. Sampling and sampling methods. Biometrics & Biostatistics International Journal, 5(6), p.00149.
Fauziah, H. and Latief, M., 2016. The Effect of Working in Heterogeneous and Homogeneous Pairs on the Students’ Writing Skill. Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Vol, 6.
Herd, 2020. [online] Herd.org.np. Available at: <https://www.herd.org.np/uploads/frontend/Publications/PublicationsAttachments1/1485497050-Focus%20Group%20Discussion_0.pdf> [Accessed 25 March 2020].
Kivunja, C. and Kuyini, A.B., 2017. Understanding and applying research paradigms in educational contexts. International Journal of Higher Education, 6(5), pp.26-41.
Levis, B., Benedetti, A., Riehm, K.E., Saadat, N., Levis, A.W., Azar, M., Rice, D.B., Chiovitti, M.J., Sanchez, T.A., Cuijpers, P. and Gilbody, S., 2018. Probability of major depression diagnostic classification using semi-structured versus fully structured diagnostic interviews. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 212(6), pp.377-385.
Ori, 2020. Data Analysis. [online] Ori.hhs.gov. Available at: <https://ori.hhs.gov/education/products/n_illinois_u/datamanagement/datopic.html> [Accessed 25 March 2020].
Paradis, E., O’Brien, B., Nimmon, L., Bandiera, G. and Martimianakis, M.A.T., 2016. Design: selection of data collection methods. Journal of graduate medical education, 8(2), p.263.
Phys.org, 2020. When It Comes To Carbon Footprints, Location And Lifestyle Matter. [online] Phys.org. Available at: <https://phys.org/news/2011-04-carbon-footprints-lifestyle.html> [Accessed 25 March 2020].
Sangwan, K.S., Bhakar, V., Arora, V. and Solanki, P., 2018. Measuring carbon footprint of an Indian university using life cycle assessment. Procedia CIRP, 69, pp.475-480.
Schanes, K., Giljum, S. and Hertwich, E., 2016. Low carbon lifestyles: A framework to structure consumption strategies and options to reduce carbon footprints. Journal of Cleaner Production, 139, pp.1033-1043.
Showkat, N. and Parveen, H., 2017. Non-probability and probability sampling. Media and Communications Study, pp.1-9.
Weirs, J. and Osborne, A., 2020. Refocusing sustainability education: using students’ reflections on their carbon footprint to reinforce the importance of considering CO2 production in the construction industry. Frontiers in Built Environment, 6, p.23.
Woiceshyn, J. and Daellenbach, U., 2018. Evaluating inductive vs deductive research in management studies. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal.
Projected rise of CO2
Researcher: Hello everyone!! We have gathered here to discuss and collect views on “What awareness and views do you have regarding the harmful impacts of carbon footprint in your daily lives? And how can we manage and control ourselves in relation to the reduction of emissions of carbon footprint?
Respondent 1 (Graduate): Carbon footprints have been alarmingly increasing and this is highly responsive to the lifestyles and behavior practiced by us humans in our daily lives.
Respondent 2 (Graduate): Yes my friend I completely agree with you that our personal habits have led to the increase of pollution to a major extent which is increasing the harmful emissions of carbon.
Respondent 3 (Undergraduate): Small choices like choosing a mode of transport and food that we consume can promote harmful emissions of carbon within the environment. By changing these small habits we can bring a bigger change.
Respondent 4(Undergraduate): Yes, we are aware of the alarming increase in carbon emissions which is harmful to the environment but unfortunately our everyday lifestyle has been designed in such a way that we are unable to take preventive measures in addressing the issue.
Respondent 5 (Undergraduate): To add up to what my friend said I would like to add that because I live far away from the school, I often have to rely on Uber at times of rush as public transports are often crowded and uncomfortable.
Respondent 6 (Graduate): Strong policies and implementation of actions can highly bring changes.
Respondent 7 (undergraduate): The social impact team can adopt short-term measures by spreading awareness on social media platforms and within college campuses. Again, implementing renewable energy equipment within the campus can control emissions for the long term.
Face-to-face interview questions
Q1. Do you have any idea regarding carbon footprint?
Q2. Can our daily habits affect the generation of carbon footprint?
Q3. What are the transport options you generally choose while traveling to school?
Q4.Can we reduce the generation of carbon footprint?
Q5. What obstacles are you facing while choosing an environmentally green option?
Q6. What can the role of the Social Impact team be in reducing carbon footprint?