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ENST 246: Spring 2022 Feed


Reflection, encouragement, and relationship building are all important aspects of getting a new habit to stick.
Share thoughts, encourage others, and reinforce positive new habits on the Feed.

To get started, share “your why.” Why did you join the challenge and choose the actions you did?

  • Tristan An's avatar
    Tristan An 3/08/2022 6:09 AM
    This week I chose the spend time outside and the go for daily walks challenges. These Challenges were actually something I looked forward to everyday. I love spending time outdoors and going on walks especially hikes, however recently being at college it has been really difficult for me to do this especially with track. As a track athlete feeling fresh is really important to do well in meets and practice. Although it may not seem like a big difference to walk the day before a meet however if you are on you feet a lot the day before a meet, it can impact you negatively. Which is a part of the reason why I avoid walking a lot. However recently due to the challenge I have been able to partake in walks with my friends as well as spending time outdoors with my friends often times at night to watch the stars. This has been extremely beneficial to my mental health and has allowed me to relax and have a time to relieve my stress, away from work and technology.  I have also chose to do some challenges that require me to reduce waste. I chose to not use plastic bags and also use reusable water bottles. These challenges have been really easy for me especially because they are so easily avoidable I could have been doing these my entire life and can continue too. In the passage " Defining and Debating conservation, on page 20 it states, "There has come gradually in this country an understanding that waste is not a good thing and that the attack on waste is an industrial necessity". This quote emphasizes how it is factual and common understanding that it is essential to reduce waste being produced so that the environment can be less polluted with waste. I believe that there will be a few challenges that I will continue to do for the rest of my life and some including the spending time outside along with the walks. These challenges are extremely helpful to my mental health and performance especially in track. Running and jumping on a clear mind and also practicing with a not as stressed mind can help a lot especially during training. I believe that these are very beneficial and can help me and my mental health. 

  • Riley DeBaecke's avatar
    Riley DeBaecke 2/21/2022 5:16 AM
    Surprisingly, there is no concrete definition of sustainable fashion, but Make it last believes Green Strategy’s definition of “more sustainable fashion” (because the fashion industry relies on fast consumption) is a good start:
    More sustainable fashion can be defined as clothing, shoes and accessories that are manufactured, marketed and used in the most sustainable manner possible, taking into account both environmental and socio-economic aspects. In practice, this implies continuous work to improve all stages of the product’s life cycle, from design, raw material production, manufacturing, transport, storage, marketing and final sale, to use, reuse, repair, remake and recycling of the product and its components.” (Make it last, “What Is Sustainable Fashion?”)
    As you can probably surmise from the last sentence, doing “continuous work to improve all stages of the product’s life cycle” is strenuous, and many companies are unwilling or unable to afford putting forth efforts to do so. Moreover, the ones that do are unaffordable for me. 
    Committing to the practice of sustainable fashion has often seemed out of reach for me, partially because a friend has always given me her clothes when she’s done with them, and I’ve accumulated so many that it feels like I don’t need any more. They also feel “new” to me, and I recognize that I am lucky to have such a constant influx of durable secondhand clothes. However, I have now begun to accumulate many of her clothes, and I still have some she gave me years ago! Once I stop wearing them as much, my two younger sisters usually don’t want to wear them because by that time, they are out of style. Therefore, I am stuck with an ever-growing wardrobe, unwilling to part with many clothing items but running out of space. I am unwilling to part with the items for the common reason of “but what if I need to wear it somewhere someday!”, in addition to my low budget for buying new clothes to replace them (and my internal opposition to buying new clothes unless absolutely necessary).
    Based on my research this week and my circumstances, it sounds like I should definitely look into local consignment and thrift stores and make a conscious effort to go through my closet and separate the clothes I haven’t worn in months or years from the ones I wear regularly. This will be my first step towards parting with them. Then, I will take them to Community Aid in Selinsgrove, or one of the new secondhand boutiques on Market Street. It seems that I will also make a little bit of money from selling these clothes, which I can then save to buy more sustainable clothes. I am committed to doing this because I participated in a clothing swap event with the Environmental Club in which I donated an entire bag of clothes in the fall, only to find later that they were taken to Goodwill because it was “easier.” My research tells me that Goodwill often throws away their clothes because they have an overflow of clothing donations. Last year, it trashed over 13 million pounds of waste (NPR)! Goodwill is in a difficult position because they don’t want to discourage donations for fear of not getting enough, but people donate broken, disgusting items—their garbage, mostly—that cannot be reused. Government-sanctioned municipal education programs training citizens how to properly recycle and reuse their household items could be really valuable in curbing this wasteful practice and teaching people how to upcycle their items into new, useful goods.
    There are seven forms of sustainable fashion, according to Anna Brismar of Green Strategy. I attached her pie chart delineating these forms to my post. She recommends that all garments involve each of these 7 elements in their life cycle to achieve more sustainability. Right now, clothes from giants like Shein and American Eagle will never fit into many of the categories (much less the first one), but can consumer pressure force them to conform to the sustainable fashion movement beyond empty claims of ethical practices?
    Finally, for the Transportation category, I emailed Dr. Victor Udo of the BCSE to ask for the Winter 2021/February 2022 sustainability report and BCSE’s consideration of electric cars or lower parking pass prices for students who bring electric cars to campus. Among the information I shared with them about Lewisburg’s transportation issues, my friends were most surprised to learn that the average Lewisburg household owns two cars, and most Lewisburg residents spend 20 minutes commuting to work (Data USA).

    • Andrew Stuhl's avatar
      Andrew Stuhl 2/22/2022 1:47 PM
      Whoa, so cool Riley! Thanks for this very interesting and well-researched Journal. I really appreciated hearing about your personal connection to donated-clothes and, ugh, how heart-breaking about the donations to GoodWill that end up as trash. Disappointing. Obviously GoodWill is not the problem - the fast fashion industry is. And re: Lewisburg's driving culture -- yikes! A 20 min commute? I wish there was more public transit here. Actually, one form of public transit just started up in our region, tho it does not serve Lewisburg -- it serves the Sunbury / Northumberland / Shamokin Dam / Selinsgrove area. It is called "Stop Hopper" and is free for those 65+ - check it out:

    • Jacqueline Rounsavill's avatar
      Jacqueline Rounsavill 2/24/2022 8:17 AM
      I also researched sustainable fashion, and I think that you are doing a really good job with this practice. Getting most of your clothing from your friends, rather than spending money on new clothing, is beneficial because it does not require the production of goods (and it also eliminates waste, as your friend gives her old clothes to you instead of throwing them out). I think it is a great idea for you to give some of your clothes to different thrift stores in the area. We have many thrift stores around Bucknell, and I know that “thrifting” is gaining popularity among college students, so this may encourage others to stop buying new clothing as well. I never knew that Goodwill threw out so many of their donations. I have known that clothing makes up a large percentage of our municipal waste, but I never thought that Goodwill contributed to this. I agree that we need to have better education programs so that people are informed about what can be donated. The chart that you provided is really interesting! Large corporations are definitely not deemed sustainable. Through my own Eco-Challenge last week, I actually learned about a new Fashion Sustainability and Social Accountability Act that is trying to get passed in New York. This act will force corporations to disclose 50% of their supply chain and material production volumes and to explain where their supply chain is the most and least sustainable. If they are found to violate the law in unethical practices after a year, they have to give 2% of their revenue to the Department of Environmental Conservation. Hopefully this act will get passed to help mitigate the problem of unsustainable fashion!

  • sophie Langa's avatar
    sophie Langa 2/20/2022 7:59 PM
                This week the two challenges I chose for waste and transportation were to use a reusable mug and to drive less. I personally thought that using a reusable mug was going to be a lot easier than it actually was. I found that when I was out I tended to forget to bring a reusable mug with me so when I wanted to stop in the library for coffee I could not. There were a few times that I did end up buying coffee in the library because I really needed it but if I was not conscious of using fewer cups I would have bought a lot more coffee this week than making it at home. For my second daily challenge, which was to drive less, I found it actually fun. Instead of running out to do errands whenever I needed something, I made an effort to use my car a lot less or if I had to use it I would bring friends along who also needed something. Piling up my errands to do them only once or twice this week instead of daily was really interesting because it also made me more conscious of how much I was spending at that time. For the instances when I did need to finally go run errands I would bring friends along and this act made the process of running errands more exciting and meaningful. It gave me time to be with my friends where we were more concentrated on being together and achieving something together rather than hanging out while doing our own thing. Now my last challenge for the week, which was a one-time action, was to collect my trash for a certain time period. I choose to do this over the course of two days with the exception of trash that would start to smell or be disgusting if I were to leave it out. Through the process, I realized I tend to throw out the same things every day and even though there was not a huge quantity, the majority of it was plastic. If someone had asked me before this challenge how much plastic I threw out every day I would have confidently said I did not use that much, but now I see that I do use a lot of plastic. Even the little amounts of plastic add up throughout the day and the pile of it at the end of this challenge was really eye-opening. In the end, I feel as though I do not see any major barriers for me to consistently keep doing these challenges other than the fact that sometimes convenience and productivity of my everyday life sometimes need to come first. 
                When I was collecting my trash over the course of a few days the images of the apocalyptic future and ecological body kept coming to my mind. These images in my mind were repeated with the quote in the reading by Neiburger who warned, "All civilization... will pass away, not from a sudden cataclysm like a nuclear war, but from gradual suffocation in its own waste” (Page 74) I was thinking about the mother and child in gas masks and was relating it to our world being covered in plastics in the future. I was thinking that there might come a point in human history where we are literally buried in the trash just trying to breathe. This image is haunting and really did make me second guess if my trash was even absolutely necessary or in other words if I really needed the thing I was just about to throw the container away for. 

    • Genyss Duncan's avatar
      Genyss Duncan 3/05/2022 9:40 AM
      Hi Sophia! Thank you for sharing about your struggles with remembering to use a reusable mug. When things like getting coffee from the library cafe are so much more convenient than making coffee at home before we leave, it makes it more difficult for us to make individual changes to our lifestyles. I think that this connects to the idea that systems constrain individual actions, as it would be much easier to avoid disposable coffee cups if they were not made available in the first place. I also found your reaction to your driving less challenge interesting, as you used the challenge as an opportunity to spend more time with your friends and get all of your errands done at once. I wonder whether getting your errands done all at once meant that you took less time to get them all done. I also liked how getting your friends involved made something mundane, like running errands, into something that you actually found enjoyable. For your one-time challenge, I found it interesting how your awareness of what you tend to throw out changed as a result of the challenge. I think that this speaks to the extent to which we have been conditioned to throw things out without considering where they came from, or what happens to them after we toss them in the dumpster. I also liked how you connected your experience with collecting your trash to some of the readings that we did for class. I hope that this experience sticks with you, and that you continue to be aware of the waste we produce on a daily basis. 

    • Andrew Stuhl's avatar
      Andrew Stuhl 2/22/2022 1:41 PM
      Nicely done Sophie! I'm so curious about the plastic you are throwing away / using -- mostly because I notice this too in my trash audits. Things like little plastic wrappers or plastic that wraps around a drink cap -- useless packaging really. It's a bummer this is part of a lot of our products -- I wish the designers / manufacturers would come up with better solutions. I get that plastic is lighter, easier to ship and therefore 'cheaper' to producers but what is the cost of waste and living with plastic -- especially for the future, as you describe?

  • Jake Wortman's avatar
    Jake Wortman 2/20/2022 7:59 PM
    This week the daily and one-time challenges were a little tougher. I had to take a trip to Charleston for baseball this weekend so it was difficult trying to keep my challenges in mind and stay up to date with them. I believe the more that we travel it will be a little bit easier each time to implement the daily challenges into the road trips to ensure they are done more efficiently. It was surprising to see how the change of routine really impacted my ability to keep up with the daily challenges and do them when on the road we are constantly doing one thing after another and do not have much a lot of time for downtime to focus on schoolwork or mental health. The new daily challenges I began this week were to drive less and only when necessary and also to use a reusable water bottle. It was pretty easy to use a reusable water bottle in the beginning of the week but once we got to Charleston is was harder since I did not bring a reusable bottle and we only had plastic bottles to drink from. So, I had to improvise and use one plastic bottle and then just kept filling it up to prevent from using seven or eight plastic bottles a day. It was generally pretty easy to only drive when necessary and drive less. I limited myself to just driving to the field and back everyday and only going to get groceries once this week instead of going two or three times when I felt that I needed something. 
                The barriers that I am facing and especially this past week was getting into a travel routine and being able to implement these daily challenges while traveling. I felt that it was a lot tougher trying to do these daily challenges when traveling and it made it difficult to keep up and remind myself to do them. Traveling definitely took a toll and after a game it was hard to keep up with some of the challenges since my family was in town and all I wanted to do was relax and prepare for the next day. 
                From my experience this week with driving less and only, when necessary, I am willing to make this lifestyle change permanent. In the article “Reimagining Our Streets as Places:  From Transit Routes to Community Roots”, the author states “…increased vehicle emissions have degraded air quality and contributed to the greenhouse gases causing climate change; and a lack of transportation options for many communities has caused uneven access to jobs, social services, healthy food option, and community interaction”, so I believe that it is important for me to reduce the amount that I drive so I can feel that I am helping the environment even though one less car on the road a day probably does not have much of an impact, but I will be able to influence others to do the same ( If I can show people that I can drive less and use public transportation I will be able to make a greater impact in the community. I am also willing to make the change from single use plastic bottles to using a reusable water bottle. It was a relatively easy fix and next time I will remember to bring a reusable water bottle with me when I travel. 

    • Jacqueline Rounsavill's avatar
      Jacqueline Rounsavill 2/24/2022 8:28 AM
      I think you did a great job navigating the difficulties that come with travel. It was great to hear that even though you forgot to bring a refillable water bottle on your trip, you were able to improvise and only use one plastic water bottle. I definitely understand the challenges that come with traveling and a disrupted schedule. This weekend, I will be traveling for an away swim meet, and I have already thought about how I may struggle to implement my daily challenges as well. One of my daily challenges is to limit the use of single-use plastics. I think this will be the hardest to achieve this weekend because of the availability of snacks provided by the team that are in disposable containers and plastic packaging. It would be interesting to see sports teams come up with more sustainable initiatives, but I do not think this is typically their primary focus. You mentioned that you just wanted to spend time with your family and prepare for the next day, which is common among athletes. As a result, I don’t think that environmental-consciousness is on the forefront of athletes’ minds, but maybe we can change that.
      I also tried to drive less this week, which was challenging. The quote that you included to show the impacts of increased carbon dioxide from transportation was helpful, as it reminded me of just how important this practice is. Initially, I thought that reducing the amount that I drive would mean walking more, but this can also take the form of carpooling. Maybe carpooling would be an easier option for you as well.

    • Andrew Stuhl's avatar
      Andrew Stuhl 2/22/2022 1:36 PM
      Appreciate this journal, Jake! Can definitely resonate that disrupting our normal routines makes these challenges -- and an overall eco-friendly life -- much harder. After hearing from a few students in the class who set up "rides only" group chats, I wonder if that could be a solution for getting to/fro practice? Would save gas money and also give time to connect/chat with friends on the team?

  • Tyler Rifkin's avatar
    Tyler Rifkin 2/20/2022 7:03 PM
    I have really been enjoying the Eco-challenge, and have been pushing myself to remember the tasks everyday. This week I picked up four new challenges including turning things off, finding a local recycling depot, car sharing, and using a reusable water bottle. I would say the most difficult for me was the reusable water bottle. I am someone who constantly finds myself losing my water bottles, or leaving them at home when I go places. I constantly then find myself buying water plastic water bottles. I honestly struggled with this all this week as well. That being said, I have definitely been a lot better and some days have not bought any plastic water bottles. I would say that this would be difficult for me to completely make the change to in life after the challenge, yet I am going to do my best to use a reusable water bottle. I found that the other challenges I took on this week were not difficult for me. I do not have a car on campus therefore I find myself constantly walking or catching a ride with one of my friends. The car share challenge allowed me to be more aware of how much I was walking/driving. I believe it allowed me to make a conscious effort to try to walk to class more. This week a couple of friends and I walked to Dunkin rather than driving. It allowed me to do something fun while also being able to explore the area and not utilize a car. Finally, turning it off is something that I thought would be more difficult yet I found very easy and is something that I feel has already become a part of my routine. I find myself always making sure to turn off not only the lights in my room but also around the house. I have also never considered how I utilize the energy in my home and how it reflects in the monthly bills we pay. Since we talked about this in class I have been more aware of things like leaving lights on or keeping my computer plugged in overnight. I think this has also helped me motivate myself to continue to turn the lights off and unplug things. Finally, the article by Laville and Taylor A million bottles a minute: word’s plastic ginge ‘as dangerous as climate change, shows some extremely important data and conversations surrounding the dangers of plastic use. The article states that annual consumption of plastic bottles is up to half a trillion in 2021. Further, that the amount of plastic produced in a year is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity. Overall, this article as well as my experiences made me understand the importance of not using plastic when possible to avoid. 

    • Andrew Stuhl's avatar
      Andrew Stuhl 2/22/2022 11:31 AM
      Appreciate this Tyler! Keep going, you got this! I'm so curious to hear from you and others - what is the appeal of Dunkin? In my opinion -- and I grant it is just an opinion -- I don't think their coffee is that great. There are closer coffee options to campus and they are roughly similar or cheaper price-wise. Not trying to dismiss anyone's Dunkin preferences, just looking for some perspective. Can you help me understand?

    • Nick Wiebke's avatar
      Nick Wiebke 2/26/2022 4:40 PM
      Hey, thanks for sharing your experiences picking up all of these new ecochallenge tasks this week, Tyler! I can definitely resonate with the statement you made about not having a car on campus but the task still making you become more aware of your contribution to driving and carbon dioxide emissions, as I faced the exact same problem from the freshman vehicle rules. While I was still very limited in this way, not taking the shuttle downtown and walking everywhere made me really become conscious of my reduced carbon emission effect while living in the dorms. I also chose the saving energy and using less plastic water bottle tasks, and like you said I am planning on reusing my water as much as physically possible in my life from now on to reduce my plastic use. I felt there with you when you wrote about tasks such as turning off lights becoming part of your routine, as since starting this week I've also found myself automatically performing these small actions to save energy. Such tasks may be simple, but for that reason they stick with you without even really having to remember to do them and can make a big difference in the long run in regards to resource usage. The statistic you shared about the amount of plastic produced in a year weighing equal to the entire weight of humanity surprised and worried me, given the massive population of people on the planet, and it makes me wonder that even if we use less plastic, how can we eliminate so much of it to save the planet?

  • Max Bunzel's avatar
    Max Bunzel 2/20/2022 6:01 PM
    My Eco challenge has been going well. I have continued my wellness actions and have added the other one time water and waste conservation challenges in the process. I would say that as time has passed on, it has become more part of my schedule and I have developed habits that have made it easier to complete my tasks everyday. I have also logged some of my time in a journal to make sure that I am completing all of my tasks everyday. In terms of becoming part off my daily routine, I have been taking walks in the morning before my classes to clear my mind for the day as the first thing I do everyday. I have noticed that my mood has been worse on the days that I move this walk to later in the day and is something I am happy to do every morning as it has become part of my everyday habits. I have done my reading task later at night as a way to destress from the day and has really been something I look forward to during the day. Like the walk task, I have noticed that I do not sleep as well when I don't read before bed and is something that I have loved working into my daily routine. For my waste tasks, I have pushed off doing my laundry for the longest in my life. This has been an eye opening experience because I have never pushed myself to really wear every item in my closet before washing my clothes. I usually just cycle through my favorite pieces of clothing and leave a lot of clothing in my closet just sitting there not being used. I think this habit is a bad one and is something I never really noticed until I started this challenge and added this to my daily habits. I have also started to walk to class more often which is something that has been great for my monthly budget as I have not had to spend money on gas as my use for my car has gone way down since the challenge started.

    • Michael Hardyway's avatar
      Michael Hardyway 2/27/2022 11:38 AM
      Hey Max I enjoyed this journal a lot! I myself have a one time water challenge and it was the cold water wash. This a little bit of an easy one since it made no different to me in the long run. You mention a talk about how time goes on and weeks go by, the routines get easier, and I totally agree. It is sort of developing as a habit instead of a task and I personally think it becomes right ethically more for the purpose of why you are doing it. It is good to hear you have found some mindfulness in your own ways. I have been meaning to get into some late night reading myself to calm myself and create a good habit that is peaceful in ways. It sounds like everything is going well and I that is awesome! Hope this new week of additional tasks isn't too much.

    • Andrew Stuhl's avatar
      Andrew Stuhl 2/22/2022 11:29 AM
      Max, I appreciate this reflection and glad to hear you are getting value out of the EcoChallenge. That said, this journal entry is incomplete. Please review the guidelines for Journal entries ("Guide for Unit 2" document on Moodle, under "General Course Info" tab) and re-submit -- by email.

  • Michael Hardyway's avatar
    Michael Hardyway 2/20/2022 4:33 PM
    In this week’s experiments and daily challenges became a lot easier than the week prior to this. I say this because over time you develop a set schedule and pattern as you set in new ways to do every day things and go out of your way. However, as days pass and things become easier, you find yourself in a rhythm. For me, this is the case with my challenges and experiments. Adding to the fact that weeks prior I missed school for health reasons and before that only had 2 challenges. Over time this process and challenge has become easier. This week, I was surprised by something more simple, the weather. One of my daily challenges in this unit was to watch and acknowledge the beauty present in the sunrise or sunset. I was to set time out of my day to rest my phone and just witness the beauty we have at hand daily. But, throughout the week, the weather was inconsistent and changed. We had colder days, but we also had some nice beautiful days in which the sun was out, we could see some clouds, and temperatures reached almost 50 degrees fahrenheit. In my opinion, these days reminded me of almost California a little. The slight breeze on the quad hill was in comparison to the coastal breeze I get back home from the ocean. It sort of reminded me of something I can look forward to. But then on Saturday morning however, we received a slurry alert on our phone for a potential wind and visibility problem. Being outside already for football, I can see the little snow flurries we had, the wind picking up with branches and leaves flying everywhere on the ground, and then the sky and air becoming a little harder to see and pick out things. This particular morning I had watched the sunrise, unaware of what was to come. Witnessing nature and the beauty of it, is something that I consider very important in my life. This may be a result of being from sunny-side Southern California, but it may also be who I am as a person and what I like. In the article “Valuing Your Values” by Matt James, he says, “Values help us through crisis”. And to me, this hit home and was very true. I say this because back home in California, the beach and ocean was so accessible to me, if I felt like it would always be there. Due to this, I would find myself doing my best thinking or writing or feeling at peace when I would just let things go and not allow my mind to take over and look over the ocean and the horizon as the sun sets. My values in life weren’t as clear until I moved out here on my own across the country. I did not always see what I needed in life versus what I wanted. This has now become clearer than I imagine. It is almost in relation to you don’t knowing what something means to you until it is gone and you can’t have it. To add, I feel this is where a barrier in life comes to making certain changes in life permanent. The fear of the unknown and scarynes of what could possibly change is what people do not like about changing their lifestyle. The fear of not being in control of their everyday lives is what society as a whole struggles with today. Therefore, as I open up and read more resources and look at things differently, I do feel like I am willing to make these lifestyle changes permanent in my life because they have turned me into a better person not only for the environment but for myself within and affecting those around me.

    • Andrew Stuhl's avatar
      Andrew Stuhl 2/22/2022 9:54 AM
      What a powerful Journal, Michael! Thank you for sharing these sides of yourself and the deep contemplation you are doing about your life and your relationship with the more-than-human world. I was right there with you as you talked about looking out over the ocean or the horizon and being filled with a deep peace - I also feel that but I have never been able to fully explain it. I'm glad you are paying attention to that and allowing those feelings and values to guide your life. Being also from a more coastal area, I miss the open water and long to get back there. 

    • Jacqueline Rounsavill's avatar
      Jacqueline Rounsavill 2/24/2022 8:40 AM
      I enjoyed reading about how you grew closer to the environment this week. The weather has been very unpredictable, but it was interesting to see you take note of these specific changes. One thing that I have noted is that the sun is rising earlier and setting later, which makes me happier because it indicates warmer weather and the arrival of spring. I was actually able to see the sunrise on my way to morning practice, instead of just darkness. Maybe you noticed the same for your morning football practices as well. Like you mentioned, this time of the year is crazy because we have snow flurries and warm days in the same week. I’m sure this is a big change from California.
      I also found it interesting to hear you talk about how your transition to college made you more aware of what things mean to you. I can definitely agree with this, as I thought about my values the most when I moved away from home. You added the quote that “values help us through crisis,” which I think is especially applicable to college. When I get stressed at college, I often reflect on my values to make me feel better. I have also found some of my values to be connected to nature, so taking more time to notice the things around me like you have this week has proven helpful. I can see how the fear of the unknown can be a barrier when making some of these habits permanent, but I think that most people will find connecting to nature peaceful.

  • Nina Smith's avatar
    Nina Smith 2/20/2022 4:21 PM
    This week I chose to drive less and skip the straw. I have the tendency to drive a lot to my classes and drive uphill because I live off campus. This is more of a tendency I have in the winter months because it is colder out. I am more likely to walk everywhere on campus when it is warm out. I worked to drive one mile less a day. The mileage was low because I really only drive around campus besides going to the grocery store once a week. Choosing to skip the straw was easier for me because I use a reusable water bottle every single day. Additionally, when I got Starbucks this week, they had lids that did not require straws. This made making this switch easier. The one time challenges I chose were car sharing and going paperless. If I was driving, I would offer my housemates rides to see if they needed to go up or downhill any time soon. Additionally, I am in charge of my house's electric and water bills and chose to receive both of those bills mobily every month. This is honestly going to be easier for me because my house does a poor job of checking our paper mail daily. The cold weather and rain is a barrier in making the change to drive less more permanent. However, since I do not want to receive parking tickets, that can be a motivation to drive less around campus. Skipping straws is an easier change. When going to restaurants, I can drink out of my glass without a straw and if I were to get Starbucks they have no straw friendly lids. Additionally, the bison uses paper straws. I read a resource called “The Last Plastic Straw.” The article explains that 500,000,000 plastic straws are used every day in the United States. The article explains methods to take action and that the first step is not using plastic straws anymore. The article also provides alternatives to plastic straws. This movement is supposed to help with the plastic pollution problem. After reading about plastic straws, I am definitely willing to make this lifestyle change permanent. I am going to stop asking for straws at restaurants and bars. Additionally, I will continue to use my reusable water bottles. I also think I may purchase some metal straws for my house to use when we are drinking out of our glasses. I had no idea how many plastic straws were used each day and the negative impact it had on plastic pollution. Additionally, the straws are hurting sea turtles and causing harm to the environment. Overall, this change I am definitely willing to make permanent and I am interested in seeing how next week's daily and one time challenge go and how those changes will work with these changes. 

    • Andrew Stuhl's avatar
      Andrew Stuhl 2/22/2022 8:59 AM
      Great Nina! Very curious to compare utilities bills with you sometime, and, definitely, the incentive to avoid a higher bill or parking ticket is a great motivator for behavior. I think this is the exact same reasoning for charging for plastic bags at the grocery store or putting a tax on soda. The other corollary to this is that we 'externalize' costs to the environment and laborers when retailers and producers assign low costs for products  -- basically undervaluing the cost of a clean environment or fair / safe work. If we did properly account for these things, I think consumers would be paying a bit more, saving / reducing consumption a bit more, and wasting a bit less.

  • Nick Wiebke's avatar
    Nick Wiebke 2/20/2022 12:07 PM
                For my third official week of the campus eco-challenge, we were asked to add two more tasks along with two one-time challenges from the waste and transportation categories, in order to help us become more cognizant of our contribution to harmful landfills and CO2 emissions from fuel. Out of the tasks for waste, I chose to use more reusable water bottles, rather than going through them in a single use, therefore sending less plastic to the landfill. By making use of reusable metal water bottles and filling up my plastic bottles from the water fountains in my hall, I was able to drink water daily without throwing away any containers. This choice definitely made me more aware of all of the waste of materials that goes through single-use packaging, and can remain as a very feasible eco-friendly choice I can continue with in my life. As for the daily transportation challenge, at first it was very difficult selecting one due to my current situation without a car on campus, and little time spent going far from it, but I was able to create a task involving walking downtown rather than relying on the campus shuttle bus. Walking downtown to the bookstore rather than taking public transportation was not too much of a difference for me, as I am used to walking around campus frequently, however it did make me really think about how many of the freshmen on campus have a lower-carbon impact than most others due to our restrictions, and how possible this lifestyle is when everything we need is local. The main barriers to making such a lifestyle change permanent would primarily take effect when living at home due to how much I drive when not on campus for various activities during the day, depending on the car to be in the right place at the right time. The usage of water holds few barriers to making a permanent life choice as long as I hold onto my bottles, making this likely to become a regular task of mine. From the resources I read about water conservation by avoiding plastic bottles, as well as roughly calculating my own water footprint, I learned that water bottles take much more water to be produced than are even contained and have various other negative effects on the environment as the plastics continue to be recycled. I also learned about how many different factors can contribute to one’s water footprint, such as the products you buy and dietary choices, being a “virtual” water footprint. For my one-time challenges, researching local waste sites was difficult to get information from, but I learned that the town of Lewisburg has a program for picking up refuse, as well as one of the nearest landfills being located in Wayne Township, actually benefiting the surrounding area through donations and scholarships. Collecting all of my room’s waste in one spot for the week and assessing it, I concluded that my lifestyle also appears produces little waste overall, only one small trashcan full, however when put into perspective of how many people live in my dorm I can see that we at Bucknell can easily generate great quantities of waste that typically isn’t thought about, encouraging us to be more mindful in our output.

    • Andrew Stuhl's avatar
      Andrew Stuhl 2/22/2022 8:56 AM
      Thanks for this journal, Nick! Making the switch to reusable mugs/bottles is really straightforward, but, like any other change we make in our daily lives, requires our attention and dedication. Modern society just makes it so easy and cheap to waste and dispose, which is a key part of a consumption-based economy (if it were more expensive to waste, how many fewer people would do it?) I'm glad you are walking more and lead an overall low-waste life. That's great! I hope you can keep finding meaningful challenges here that push you to the edge of your comfort zone, so you can learn and grow!

  • Molly Mishler's avatar
    Molly Mishler 2/20/2022 10:12 AM
    I enjoyed challenging myself slightly more this week by adding new challenges from the waste and transportation categories. I chose to drive less and reduce my use of plastic bags and use a reusable bag. Many of the challenges to pick from this week were not very feasible for us to do now or may not apply to us as we are living on a college campus. However, these were two I felt I could work on and were relevant as I have a car on campus and I buy groceries about once a week or so. The one time challenge was interesting as well as I learned more about sustainable fashion. I was able to read about the effects of the fashion industry on the environment and learn ways to practice to be more sustainable when thinking about purchasing clothes. It was surprising to learn about just how many clothes are produced every year and how many of these clothes go to waste. It was a shocking number. 
    At school it is easy for me to drive less especially since this campus is small and everything is within a short walking distance. However, at home, it is almost impossible to get anywhere without driving. Therefore, I think it would be very difficult to drive less when I am home as I live in an area that borders on being suburban and rural. Everyone in my area has to rely on cars to get places as many of thee stores, restaurants, etc. are not within walking distance. 
    I do not think I can reasonably make the change to drive less a permanent action in my life. I think I can drive less and carpool with people more often which will help but I do not think it would be feasible to rely on other modes of getting to places where I live. However, while at school I can definitely make the effort to drive less as it is much easier to do here. I think I can commit to using less plastic bags and this is something that is relatively easy to do. In the article "Study: Where are Plastic Bags Banned Around the World," the author says that placing a tax on thee usage of plastic bags has significantly decreased the use of them in certain countries such as Portugal and Ireland. The article also said that in the US, the only states that either ban plastic bags or put a tax on them are Hawaii, California, and DC. This was surprising to me and I thought it would be a higher number of states. The information from the article makes the harmful effects of plastic bags on pollution and on the health and safety of various kinds of animals clear. It also gives me insight into wanting to make this change permanent and to continue to practice using reusable bags. A simple way to do this is to make sure you always have one in your car so you have it easily accessible when you go to the store. My mom has done this for a few years now and it has decreased the amount of plastic bags that my family would discard of. I want to do this at school as well and not just at home and make it more of a consistent habit. 

    • Andrew Stuhl's avatar
      Andrew Stuhl 2/22/2022 7:36 AM
      Great work Molly! Yes I agree it can be tough to go completely car-less given you are a student / temporary resident of Central PA and we just do not have reliable public transit around here. I wish that were different and am definitely involved in helping to change that! My wife's mother does the same with reusable bags in the trunk -- and so we started doing it too in my family a number of years ago. Makes total sense and makes it easier to remember when you get to a store (grocery or otherwise)