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Grist, Peter Kalmus


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences

Resource Type

  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus

North America, United States

A Climate Scientist Who Decided Not to Fly

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  • In this article, climate scientist Peter Kalmus explains why he stopped flying in airplanes after he realized how much flying contributed to his carbon footprint.
Teaching Tips


  • This article prompts students to think about how their individual choices contribute to the global issue of climate change.
  • The article includes a pie chart and a graph that show Peter Kalmus's carbon footprint before and after he decided to make changes to his lifestyle.
  • Students will also learn about other ways the author was able to reduce his carbon footprint through vegetarianism, growing his own food, biking to work, and composting.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should know how and why burning fossil fuels causes climate change.


  • Students can use this carbon footprint calculator to learn more about their own carbon footprint and then create an action plan to reduce their emissions.
  • English language arts classes could read this article and discuss the techniques that the author used to convey his message. Students could think about the tone of the article and how it shapes the reader's opinion on flying.
Scientist Notes
There is no standard parameter or instrument the author used in measuring or estimating the amount of emission from the gasoline he burns or during air travel from 2010-2014 (period of survey). However, the content can guide students on how to mitigate individual carbon footprints.
  • English Language Arts
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • 9-10.RI.1 Analyze what the text says explicitly as well as inferentially; cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support the analysis.
      • 9-10.RI.2 Determine a central idea of a text and analyze in details its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details. Provide an evidence-based summary of the text.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 4.ESS3.1 Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and that their uses affect the environment.
      • 6.ESS3.5 Ask clarifying questions based on evidence about the factors that have caused climate change over the past century.
      • HS.ESS3.4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
  • Social Sciences
    • Social Science Analysis (K-12)
      • 6.27 Assess individual and collective capacities to take action to address local and regional issues, taking into account a range of possible levers of power, strategies, and potential outcomes.
      • 8.34 Analyze how a specific problem can manifest itself at local, regional, and global levels over time, identifying its characteristics and causes, and the challenges and opportunities faced by those trying to address the problem.
      • HS.75 Evaluate options for individual and collective actions to address local, regional, and global problems by engaging in self-reflection, strategy identification, and complex causal reasoning.
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