Skip to main content
Nina Benson's avatar

Nina Benson

ENST 246 : Environmental Activism

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 668 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    24
    miles
    not traveled by car
  • up to
    728
    pounds of CO2
    have been saved
  • up to
    2
    documentaries
    watched
  • up to
    210
    minutes
    spent learning
  • up to
    108
    meatless or vegan meals
    consumed
  • up to
    195
    minutes
    being mindful
  • up to
    60
    minutes
    spent outdoors
  • up to
    40
    people
    helped
  • up to
    21
    plastic straws
    not sent to the landfill
  • up to
    26
    more servings
    of fruits and vegetables
  • up to
    24
    miles
    traveled by foot
  • up to
    1,422
    gallons of water
    have been saved

Nina's Actions

Energy

Turn it off

I will keep lights, electronics, and appliances turned off when not using them.

COMPLETED 0
DAILY ACTIONS

Simplicity

De-Clutter My Home or Dorm Room

I will de-clutter, clean, and donate or recycle unneeded items in my home or dorm room.

COMPLETED 6
DAILY ACTIONS

Health

Learn About Local Environmental Justice Concerns

I will spend 30 minutes researching environmental justice and environmental racism concerns in my region, who is affected by them, and local initiatives to address these concerns.

Completed
One-Time Action

Health

Learn More about Food Apartheid

What can lack of access to nutritious food affect a community? How can having access to nutritious food help a community become more resilient?

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Transportation

Walk Instead

I will walk 4 mile(s) each day instead of driving and avoid sending up to 0.0 lbs of CO2 into Earth's atmosphere.

COMPLETED 6
DAILY ACTIONS

Health

More Fruits and Veggies

I will eat a heart healthy diet by adding 2 cup(s) of fruits and vegetables each day to achieve at least 4 cups per day.

COMPLETED 13
DAILY ACTIONS

Water

Fix Leaky Faucets

I will fix faucets or report leaky faucets to facilities that have been wasting up to 9 gallons (34 L) of water a day or 270 (1,020 L) gallons of water a month per faucet.

Completed
One-Time Action

Simplicity

Meditate

I will meditate or create a moment of silence for 15 minute(s) each day to reflect on things important to me.

COMPLETED 13
DAILY ACTIONS

Simplicity

Needs Vs. Wants

I will adopt a "Needs Vs. Wants" approach and only buy things I need.

COMPLETED 13
DAILY ACTIONS

Nature

Explore My Area

I will explore at least one new hiking trail or nature walk in my area.

Completed
One-Time Action

Community

Help Others

I will offer to help 2 person(s) who are in need each day.

COMPLETED 20
DAILY ACTIONS

Energy

Switch to Cold Water

I will switch to washing my clothes in cold water, saving up to 133 lbs of CO2 a month and 1,600 lbs of CO2 over the course of the next year.

Completed
One-Time Action

Waste

Skip the Straw

Plastic bags and small plastic pieces like straws are most likely to get swept into our waterways. I will keep 1 plastic straw(s) out of the landfill and ocean each day by refusing straws or using my own glass/metal straw.

COMPLETED 21
DAILY ACTIONS

Health

Happiness

I will write down three things every day that I am grateful for, or send one email every day thanking or praising someone.

COMPLETED 27
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Watch a Documentary about Food Sovereignty

I will watch 2 documentary(ies) about food sovereignty: the right of local peoples to control their own food systems including markets, ecological resources, food cultures and production methods.

Completed
One-Time Action

Food

Reduce Animal Products

I will enjoy 2 meatless meal(s) and/or 2 vegan meal(s) each day this week.

COMPLETED 27
DAILY ACTIONS

Feed


  • Nina Benson's avatar
    Nina Benson 2/28/2019 10:24 AM
    Word Count: 568
     
    In the third week of the Eco-Challenge I decided to explore my area, fix a leaky faucet, add 2 more servings to vegetables to my diet a day, adopt a “needs vs wants” approach, and meditate for 15 minutes a day in addition to challenges from the previous weeks. The tasks I added this week are all things that I should and want to be doing but have difficulty in finding motivation to do so on my own. That makes this challenge a great opportunity to get into habits that I want to continue past this challenge. 
                
    The one time challenges I picked to fix a leaky faucet is something that recently came up, so I put in a work order and it was fixed surprisingly quickly. In terms of exploring the area, I went to a trail about 10 minutes away that looks over the Susquehanna. I don’t remember the name of it, but it had a great view of the water and the trail itself was very well kept which made me happy. I have gone up one other before since being at Bucknell and I enjoy exploring the area, sadly I just don’t have a lot of time to do so. 
                
    Last year I started going to yoga on Monday nights and it was something I really enjoyed starting my week off with. At the end of every class we would do 15 minutes of mindfulness, so I thought this would be a good thing to incorporate into my daily challenges. The challenge I can think of as to why I would not continue to do this is time and stress. While I know taking 15 minutes and practicing meditation would relieve stress and it realistically doesn’t take that much time, it still is a lot when the only thing on my mind is the 100 other things I have to do afterwards. However, this isn’t always a bad thing as meditation isn’t clearing one’s mind, it is instead paying attention to what is happening now and how I am reacting or feeling about it. (Gelles, How to Meditate) This can often make stressful situations less stressful as you’re forcing yourself to think calmly about it as opposed to panic and often times it ends with me no longer thinking about whatever has been stressful.

    Adopting a “needs vs wants” approach when buying items hasn’t been that challenging, I just have to stay away from online shopping. However, while this isn’t a big deal to me, and is actually saving me money, I am also doing my part to combat consumerism which is big in a world where the idea of sufficiency has almost completely gone away. (ZeroWasteSG, The idea of sufficiency) Adding two extra servings of fruits and vegetables a day, to me means, ordering a fruit or vegetable with for every meal. This has been good for me as I have been needing to eat more vegetables, but I often find myself at the end of the day thinking about what I ate and then having an apple or banana if I haven’t had enough. This is something I may keep up after the challenge as it has made snacking healthier. The only barrier that will come up is when I run out of them in my room and they aren’t on the top of the list or a good enough reason for me to go to the store and buy more. 
     
     
    The New York Times, How to Meditate. David Gelles, https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/how-to-meditate
     
    ZeroWasteSG, Buy and Use Only What You Need. 2008, http://www.zerowastesg.com/2008/12/08/buy-and-use-only-what-you-need/
     

    • Andrew Stuhl's avatar
      Andrew Stuhl 3/04/2019 10:48 AM
      The same thing happens to me at the end of a day as regards hunger! My wife calls it my 'fourth meal' as I typically get hungry again only about an hour after dinner. I do the same thing -- fruits usually, since they give that slight 'sweetness' that also curbs my desire for dessert. I find having some peanut butter with apple slices or a banana also helps me feel full longer (protein and fats, essentially). I also sometimes have reduced fat plain organic yogurt (big fan of Icelandic skyr) instead with some jelly mixed in. Jelly and yogurt are also easy to keep around in bulk, as opposed to fruits which spoil faster.

  • Nina Benson's avatar
    Nina Benson 2/21/2019 9:16 AM
    Word count: 595
     
    Leaving the second week of our Eco-challenge the one difficultly that stood out to me is as simple as not remembering all of the tasks I was to complete in a given day. A lot of the tasks I have chosen, such as offering to help 2 people a day, aren’t something difficult to do, but the issue lies in remembering to do it. The one-time challenge I chose this week was to switch to cold water when washing clothes. This is an easy thing to do and even good for your clothes, but it once again, before doing my laundry this week I almost started my machines without making the switch. This says a lot as to why more people aren’t as environmentally friendly as they could be, it inconveniences them. While there are many small things that will make a big impact in the environment people don’t want to spend the extra energy to inconvenience themselves for the good of the environment if they don’t see the immediate benefits. 

    As a computer science major the task that I thought would help me make the largest impact on the environment is powering down my computer when not using it. I have always been in the bad habit of, once I’m done with my work, close the lid of my computer, not shut it down completely. However, the misconception that because applications aren’t running neither is your computer, is false, your hardware still is and using energy that could very easily be conserved by just powering down (Smarter House 2015, Give your laptop a rest). While this is annoying when I go to use my computer and then remember that I must turn it back on again and wait for it to rebook, I see this as a task I will continue to do after the challenge. I have been finding that my applications run much more smoothly, my battery lasts much longer, and I am taking “a student’s biggest energy hog” out of the equation for more hours of the day (Smarter House, 2015, Give your laptop a rest). 
    Removing a straw from my lifestyle a day is the 3rd daily challenge I decided to adopt this week as I already don’t use straws very often and have many reusable ones in my room. This has been an easy fix and now that I am aware that over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used each day, I do not want to be a part of that number (plasticpollutioncoalition, 2018, The Last Plastic Straw). I had already known that plastic destroys the ecosystem of our oceans, but I did not realize the large portion of that destruction related to plastic straws. It is so easy when buying a drink to say, “no straw please” and instead bring one from home or take the lid off and drink it straight from the container. This is another challenge that I think I will continue to do after our Eco challenge is complete. 

    Beginning this week, I added the challenges, saying no to 1 plastic straw a day, powering off my computer when not in use, offering to help 2 people a day, and switching to cold water when washing my clothes. Once I got past the initial forgetfulness, I started becoming more aware once these situations arose and it was easy to act in response. Turning off my computer has become the easiest task as this is something, I do every day, and once I got in the habit makes complete sense. However, remembering to use cold water when washing clothes has been the most difficult as this is something I have to do only once a week. 
     
    Smarter House, Shrink your Dorm Print, 2015. https://smarterhouse.org/resources/shrink-your-dorm-print
    Plasticpollutioncoalition, The Last Plastic Straw, 2018. https://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/no-straw-please/
     
     

    • brooke shepherd's avatar
      brooke shepherd 2/25/2019 7:46 AM
      I thought that the beginning part of your journal was accurate in depicting how it’s hard to make the transition to a more eco-friendly lifestlye. After watching the documentary “The Minimalists” it seems as though the lifestyle that they live is a very drastic change to make. Making the switch to washing your clothes in cold water seems like it can be an easy change, but you need to get used to adapting to it. People are very set in their ways about how they operate in their daily lives, but once people start adapting eco-friendly choices, it can potentially become second-nature. I think that your decision to power down your computer often is going to have a beneficial impact on the environment, especially if you use it all of the time. It’s easy to leave our computers up and running even if we don’t need them at the moment. People don’t want to have to deal with the inconvenience of turning it back on, even if it can make a significant difference. Our society today is very dependent on electronics, and powering down can save a lot of energy use. I thought that your switch to plastic straws was feasible to incorporate into my daily life. I use plastic straws often, but your comments on how adopting a no plastic straw lifestyle is easy makes me more open to potentially adding this to my daily life. Overall, I thought that your journal was beneficial to read in how I can make changes to my life.


    • Andrew Stuhl's avatar
      Andrew Stuhl 2/21/2019 9:42 AM
      Yes! Remembering these challenges is itself a larger challenge -- about accountability. That is exactly the reason why I asked at the beginning of Unit 2 about how we were going to hold ourselves accountable. Did you ever secure an accountabili-buddy? :) It may help. But, then again, it is not necessarily sustainable for life. I wonder what your methods are for staying organized? This is something I often think about and try to stay consistent with (I usually am, I have periods of time when I'm not). My wife is super organized, so I learn a lot from her. Namely, I use a planner and have lots of tasks / reminders written for myself in my planner..going out several months from now. If you know you are going to do laundry on Sunday, it is simple enough today to write down "use cold water" as a reminder in your planner. Also, I wanted to push you a bit on thinking about using cold water as an "inconvenience." Playing Devil's advocate, it seems a bit of a stretch of the meaning of the word, given that you are going to choose cold or hot anyway. Also, I think it is useful to think why manufacturers or Bucknell have made it convenient *not* to choose cold water. What if it was a rule? What if there were fines associated with using too much hot water, or you had to pay more? These kinds of questions get at how our institution values or does not value energy, emissions, and the costs of those things.

  • Nina Benson's avatar
    Nina Benson 2/14/2019 10:35 AM
    Word count: 667
     
    Leaving the first week of the Eco-Challenge I chose to eat 2 meals a day either vegan or vegetarian and write down 3 things a day that I am grateful for or send one email and the one-time challenge of watching 2 documentaries on food sovereignty. I watched an episode from the episode series Rotten: Cod is Dead, on Cod Fishing and an episode from the series Cooked, Fire on how people have evolved and now cook food.

    The daily challenges I chose this week I found surprisingly more difficult than I had anticipated. I am not a big meat eater to begin with, so I didn’t think it would be difficult to get rid of meat from 2/3 of my meals a day. I have been successful with this since the beginning of the challenge, but I find myself being more mindful of what I put in my body. This just shows how unconscious we are of what is in the foods we are putting in our bodies. Writing down three things a day I am grateful for was definitely good for me at the end of the day, even though it may not be easy to come up with. It is so easy to say that today has been long and awful after school, practice, and knowing you still have so much to do, so it was good for me to sit down and come up with 3 things I am grateful for. As the week has progressed, I found myself noticing little good things that I may have not noticed before. The documentary I watched on Cod Fishing really opened my eyes to the abusive nature of fishing. Everybody knows that animals cultivated to be eaten usually live in bad conditions and are neglected, but nobody thinks about fish. The sheer amount of fish that are caught per year is more than people would ever be able to eat. This abundance then caused fish to be used in animal foods and other products that we wouldn’t necessarily expect. Eventually we saw that this would drain the oceans of all fish. The argument between money and the environment once again came up and was brought to Congress, however it is impossible to know exactly how many fish are in the seas, making it hard for Congress to place regulations that work both for the environment and fishermen that rely on this trade. The next documentary I watched on how humans have evolved to cook with fire explained how, after centuries of humans cooking their food before eating it, humans have become dependent on specifically soft foods. This dependency has made it so that if humans lost the ability to make fire the would not survive.

    In terms of continuing on with these challenges I don’t think I will continue to write down three things a day that I am grateful for, but I do want to continue to be able to after a long day sit down and think of with three things that have happened that I can be grateful for. As I said before I already don’t eat much meat and after looking at an article from The Meat Eater’s Guide, I’ve learned that if every person went one day a week without meat and cheese it would be the equivalent of not driving 91 billion miles. A day a week without meat and cheese doesn’t seem like much, but if everyone were to do it, it would make a monumental difference. (Environmental Working Group, 2011, 1) As well as the impact to the environment it is healthier to not eat meat as you aren’t consuming secondhand the toxins that are fed to the animals we consume. By switching to a vegan or vegetarian diet $1 trillion could be saved in healthcare. (Project Drawdown, 2014) After learning about how much eating meat impacts the environment and my health, I can see this being something that I will continue after this challenge has ended. 
     
    Meat Eater’s Guide. Environmental Working Group, 2011 
     
    Plant-Rich Diet. Project Drawdown, 2014 https://www.drawdown.org/solutions/food/plant-rich-diet 

    • Michael Park's avatar
      Michael Park 3/18/2019 8:23 AM
                  I’m interested in the fact that you find the ‘meatless meals’ challenge relatively easy to complete. I may have mentioned this before in class or anywhere, but I heavily depend on meat on almost every meal on a daily basis. Ever since I was old enough to eat meat I have continued to consume meat as if it was a normal thing and as if everyone ate meat. As I got older, I learned what vegetarianism was and I was never able to imagine myself eating meals without meat on the plate, and I’m not sure if I can still imagine that today. I'm also surprised at the statistic that staying away from meat and cheese for a day out of a week is equivalent to not driving 91 billion miles. This is certainly not a result I expected if you resist meat for a day. 91 billion miles of driving is equivalent to a large amount of CO2 that is exposed to air and countless gallons of gasoline that can be saved. I would’ve never guessed that meat and driving would be related to one another. I wish that someday, I could also not depend on meat as much as I do today and save some miles of driving. I do respect the fact that you can stay away from meat and not depend heavily on it as much as I do. If you can continue this challenge of staying away from meat- and still consume enough energy to get through the day- I hope you stick to this, so that you can prove to me, and other ‘meat-lovers,’ that you don’t have to depend on meat to consume energy needed daily. 
                  

    • Emily Fisher's avatar
      Emily Fisher 2/18/2019 2:16 PM
      Nina, the challenges that you chose for week one were keen not only because you learned certain things from your documentary, but because you faced difficulties. It can be hard to admit that things were harder than expected, but I truly enjoyed hearing how surprised you were to find meat more meals than you thought. This is the underlying reason as to why so many people don’t feel like they need to make a change to improve themselves. I agree with you when you mention that people are unconscious of what foods we put into our bodies, and it is not something we usually do. 
          It’s good to hear that you have walked away from the documentaries with learning something, and I even learned something by reading this. It’s awful that we knowingly catch more fish than people would ever be able to eat. Such a fact needs to be spread to create awareness, and it has even sparked an interest in me to research if organizations are fighting to end this. This statement made me think of ourselves. We often consume more than we need, buy more food than we eat, and use more of a product than necessary. There are so many things that we all could be doing differently to help improve ourselves and the earth. Thank you for writing honestly, and I hope you the best with the rest of your challenges.