Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Week 14 Featured Journal Entries

This week's featured entries come from Zoe Doss, Louie Knolle, Robbie Ludlum, Sarah Martynowski, and Will Merck. Matt Despotes also had a top journal entry for the week.

Week 14 Journal Prompt

Sustainability is a global issue, but it also is a local issue. In what ways might you make your lifestyle more sustainable? List five achievable goals that you can implement in your everyday life. (If you need inspiration, check out http://www.worldwatch.org/resources/go_green_save_green and http://www.yousustain.com/knowledge/articles/Top_10_Easiest_Ways_To_Become_More_Sustainable_For_2008). Take a picture of yourself accomplishing each goal or accomplishing a task related to each goal. Post the photos on your blog with explanatory captions.

Zoe's Week 14 Journal

1. Think more before purchasing.

There are a whole host of things I wish for products to be before I buy them--organic, local, vegan, minimally packaged, and made by a company that strives for overall sustainable practices. It's a lot to manage when you're in out in the market! Because standing around reading labels for 10 minutes is not something I always want to spend time on, I'm trying now to research products beforehand to make shopping easier. The little icons (vegan, recyclable, forestry initiative certified, etc.) make it easier too. These are products I've bought recently with the things mentioned above in mind.

2. Reduce electricity use.

It's a big part of almost all of our energy use. This is a CFB I just replaced in my desk lamp (I know now that LEDs are actually the best choice...but quite expensive, so this is at least better than an incandescent). Other things I try to do are turn off power strips and lights and use less hot water. Every time I'm using power I try to think "you're burning coal right now!" and that image can help me remember the small things.

3. Generate less waste.

Zero waste is a dream of mine that I haven't been pursuing enough. So this goes back to purchases, buy things with less packaging. Reusable bags are a small thing that make a big difference. I have these three...but sometimes I make an unplanned stop by the grocery and end up with a thin plastic bag. I've now made a habit of always keeping a small one in my backpack/purse for such occasions.

4. Eat more sustainably.

This may not be the best example as it displays processed, packaged foods... But the point is that it's local (the cookies) and takes less energy to produce (almond milk instead of dairy) than the traditional alternative. And plus a picture of my produce is boring. I'm trying, albeit gradually, to eat no animal products, more local, and more organic foods.

5. Reduce fossil fuel use in transportation.

I drive too much. I should take the bus more, and here is my metro card ready to be used! Some people do seem to act like taking the bus uses a negligible amount of fossil fuels...but that's only if enough people are riding (often not the case, but I guess that's a reinforcer for more to ride rather than stop riding). But I already walk just about everywhere I can, going more places on the metro should be a good transportation footprint reducer.

Louie's Week 14 Journal

Goal 1: Actually use my Nalgene water bottle more frequently. I drink out of it a lot, but sometime I slip and find myself drinking from a disposable bottle of Kroger water. Professional photo, I know.

Goal 2: Substitute dish soap with Dr. Bronner's organic pure castile soap to cut down on the chemical products I use. I already use Dr. Bronner's for my everyday soap/shampoo. Why not cut dish soap too?

Goal 3: Continue to have my meals centered around vegetables every day, but try to buy more local, seasonally appropriate vegetables from farmers' markets.

Goal 4: Actually program the the programmable thermostat. My family has always had a programmable thermostat, but we could utilize it better by having it set at a cooler temperature when no one is home during the day to save energy.

Goal 5: Recycle more than I already do. My family is generally pretty good at recycling most recyclables, but sometimes things get carelessly thrown in the trash that can be recycled. Whether if it's because it needs to washed out some more, someone in my family doesn't know its recyclable, or it's just pure laziness, more can be recycled of what we use. We take all of our recyclables to the community recycling center.

Robbie's Week 14 Journal

This produce came from my local farmer, Mike. I belong to a 'Community Supported Agriculture' which is a way to eat local, organic food while supporting your local farmer. The average distance food in a grocery store travels is 1200 miles. That's a lot of fuel. My food traveled 61 miles. Less fuel and no fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides means a lot less petroleum goes into the food I eat.

Choosing to use my motorcycle as a primary means of transportation greatly reduces my carbon footprint. I get about 40-50 miles per gallon. It costs me $10 to fill up using 93 octane. And it means I'm a pretty cool dude too. So, as you can see I've got a lot going for me.

Here, we collect rainwater that overflows from the gutters. We use it to water our veggie garden, trees, and bushes. Also, it reduces the amount of water that enters the storm sewers during a rainstorm.

Gardening my own food also lowers my carbon footprint even more than belonging to a CSA. Seeds cost only a few dollars, and are fun to start and watch grow. This season we've also planted a myriad of perennial, fruit-producing bushes and trees: paw paws, peach, fig, chokeberry, serviceberry, plum, raspberry, strawberry, and blueberry. It also keeps me from purchasing from supermarkets.

Composting is a great way to reduce the amount of stuff you throw into the trash bin. So, not only are you reducing the size of Rumpke Dump but also are reusing old food by turning it into soil. It requires hardly any effort which is good because I am certainly a lazy man. I collect my food scraps in an old coffee container in the kitchen and when it's full I dump it into this bin. This is a new pile I've started as I just spread the compost all over the garden in preparation for the veggies I'm planting.

Yellow let it mellow. A toilet uses between 1.6 and 4 gallons of water every time you flush. Drinking water that is. Our mothers always told us to finish what was on our plates at dinner because "there are starving children in Africa." More Africans die of dehydration than a lack of food. There are two kinds of people in the world: those that piss in drinking water and those that don't. While the neighbors will probably call the cops if I start going on the front lawn, I can still mitigate my wasteful usage of drinking water by being mellow.

Sarah's Week 14 Journal

I am very excited to have this prompt this week, especially so close to Earth Day! Recently I went on a scavenger hunt with UC Sustainability and discovered multiple ways to green my life. From recycling to growing a garden to petitioning law makers, there is something for everyone. Together we can make a difference!

The first goal I had was recycling. My roommate and I have a recycling container at our apartment however I wanted to go beyond that. I searched online and found some great opportunities to recycle and give back to the local community.

1. New eyes for the needy: Often libraries take donations of old glasses. If you wear glasses this is an awesome way to get rid of your old glasses, declutter and help your local community.

2. Donate old magazines: Current issues as well as old issues were donated to the local library. This is a great way to recycle organize, and give back to the community.

3. Support our troops: donate your old coupons to military families! On the base and overseas commissionaires, military families can use expired coupons up to six months past the expiration date. I clip all my old coupons and send them to the Charity In Action (CIA) group at my home church. For a list of places where you can drop your old coupons off check these websites:


Another option is to check with your local American Legion Auxiliary to see if they participate.

As you can see I became very passionate about recycling to help my local community. In addition to recycling I started saving all the glass jars from products purchased at the grocery store. A huge pile is building. I plan on using them as cookie jars for graduation gifts because I have 3 cousins and several friends graduating this year!

The third way I can create a more sustainable life is to pack my lunch and take water and Gatorade to school in reusable containers. My mother also made me a reusable shopping bag that I love taking with me into stores!

I am also looking to grow a garden at my apartment in Cincinnati. I grew up with a garden at my home in Cleveland with strawberries, grapes, peppers, tomatoes, herbs, onions, and apples. I miss it. Therefore, I have been researching different ways to grow an urban garden.

Finally, I would like to eat less processed food and meat products in general. After watching Food, Inc. and Forks over Knifes, my eyes have been opened but my mouth shut. I have been consuming lots of vegetables and fruits as well as pasta. It's difficult to consume a whole foods-plant based diet being a runner. However I find that when I consume more vegetables and fruits and lessen my intake of dairy and meat that my energy level increases, my attentiveness in class increases and much more. 

I also did more sustainable projects during Lent. Here is a link: http://40days-alentenjourney.blogspot.com/2013_03_01_archive.html 

Will's Week 14 Journal

Week 14 -- Woot!

My first picture is of me in front of my lovely west-facing windows. These windows allow me to not even turn my heat on during the winter, and even to open the windows to let some of the heat out. This last winter, no matter how cold it was outside, it was a balmy 70-74 in my apartment, and sometimes even warmer. In the warmer weather, I leave the windows open at night, then shut them in the morning and close the battened blinds to limit the solar gain during the day. This keeps my dog nice and cool while he's home waiting for us.

My second photo is of one of my dad's Christmas presents to me. It's a ultra-efficient LED bulb that supposedly lasts for an outrageously long time. We have the Duke bulbs around the apartment, but this is the light we use the most, so this is where we keep the super-duper high-tech bulb. The map in the background is of Boston in 1884, because it's pretty much the best city ever.

The third photo is of our newest experiment, diluting the dish soap that we use to clean items like pots and pans. We are lucky enough to have a dishwasher for everything else, but cutting boards and bigger stuff still require the old-fashioned method. My genius girlfriend Tara has started cutting our dish soap with around 30% water so it lasts longer and we waste less, because these premium Target brands are too rich for our blood. Those chocolates in the background are called Mozart Kugeln, and I will walk to Jungle Jim's to get them if I have to.

The next picture is of my water bottle that I can't leave home without. Literally won't do it. I have been late to EVST because I felt my pocket and didn't have my water bottle. I went to a sleep-away camp for 7 summers, and learned to carry a Nalgene like it was an extension of my being. I wouldn't have it any other way, and it reduces my bottled water consumption to next-to-nothing. I also try to use good refillable coffee cups every day, but none were available for a picture, seeing as they were all in need of a good washing. That's my dog, Fenway, who refused to acknowledge that he was being photographed.

My last picture is of my beloved Green B.E.A.N. delivery bin. They deliver the produce we need every other week, which reduces our trips to the grocery store by a large margin. They also send us local produce when available, and it's pretty much all organic. I wasn't a big believer in organic until I started cooking more often, and then I could really see and taste the difference. It also limits the number of plastic bags we have lying around our apartment, even though they come in handy as a dog owner. Resting on top of the bin is a Schlafly APA, a beer which I've never had before but am enjoying thoroughly. It's been a long week for my hometown, and since I can't buy those brilliant first responders at the Marathon a beer, I might just have one myself.

Thanks for a great semester, Dr. Arnold. I learned more than I ever thought I would.

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