YUPI®, a regional footprint calculator
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Many tools to quantify the environmental impact of human decisions have been developed, but all of them seem to have a limited application at the regional or local level. A free-of-charge, Argentina-based personal footprint calculator software (YUPI®) has been developed in order to raise awareness among local citizens about the environmental impacts generated by their daily habits. The extensive use of the tool will generate information suitable for future scientific studies based on local data.
The software calculates the ecological, carbon, and water footprints of individuals, implementing specific regional data from Argentina developed by the CLIOPE group, complemented with data from the Water Footprint Network and the Global Footprint Network. The calculator was developed focusing on interface attractiveness, ease of use, language simplicity, and a good trade-off between completion time and fullness.
Results and discussion
The YUPI® software allows its users to understand at a glance their contribution to the environmental impacts of modern society and to quantify the reduction opportunities they have at hand. The program’s language and variables reflect local lifestyle choices, making the filling process accessible for children. The calculator was placed online as an educational tool for teachers and students from all educational levels, and it was also used by visitors in local science and educational fairs. Valuable data was collected for future initiatives on impact mitigation.
Amplified by the mass media, the new tool has helped raise awareness and discussion about the individual environmental footprint, both in the educational and in the domestic terrain. The strategy of creating a simple, easily administered, and widely available quiz helped bridge the gap between the academy and the people, making available to them the continuously updated information generated by the research groups. This is facilitating citizen not only to understand the complexity of the environmental problems but also to take informed actions leading to their mitigation.
KeywordsArgentina Carbon footprint Community outreach Ecological footprint Online calculator Water footprint
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