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Alex Crowe's avatar

Alex Crowe

amy minato

POINTS TOTAL

  • 0 TODAY
  • 0 THIS WEEK
  • 260 TOTAL

participant impact

  • UP TO
    0.8
    pounds
    food waste prevented
  • UP TO
    5.0
    miles
    not traveled by car
  • UP TO
    5.0
    miles
    traveled by foot
  • UP TO
    7.0
    pounds of CO2
    have been saved
  • UP TO
    62
    gallons of water
    have been saved
  • UP TO
    3.0
    hours
    volunteered
  • UP TO
    1.0
    documentary
    watched
  • UP TO
    120
    minutes
    spent learning

Alex's actions

Transportation

Walk Instead

I will walk 5 mile(s) each day instead of driving and avoid sending up to (___) lbs of CO2 into Earth's atmosphere.

COMPLETED 1
DAILY ACTION

Community

Volunteer in my Community

I will volunteer 3 hour(s) in my community during the challenge.

COMPLETED
ONE-TIME ACTION

Water

5-Minute Showers

I will save up to 20 gallons (75 L) of water each day by taking 5-minute showers.

COMPLETED 1
DAILY ACTION

Food

Weekly Meal Planning

I will reduce food waste and save money by planning a weekly menu, only buying the ingredients I need.

COMPLETED 1
DAILY ACTION

Food

Watch a Documentary about Food Sovereignty

I will watch 1 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

Waste

Prevent Recycling Contamination

Contamination prevents what is recyclable from being recycled. I will spend 30 minutes researching which materials are accepted by local haulers or drop stations in my community and recycle only those items.

COMPLETED 1
DAILY ACTION

Participant 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?


  • Alex Crowe's avatar
    Alex Crowe 2/25/2024 7:11 PM
    For my ecochallenge, I decided to use my car less and walk more. My goal was to walk about 5 miles a day and only use my car to get to campus. Portland itself is a pretty walkable city, especially on the eastside where I live. Jeff Speck's TED talk "The Walkable City" highlights how Portland in the 70's designed their city contrary to how most major American cities were being built towards. While most urban cities were expanding their urban sprawl with suburbs and more highways, Portland instituted urban growth boundaries and invested in bicycling and walking, which has resulted in Portlanders driving 20% less than the rest of the country and more money being spent on recreational activities and home investment. After reducing my own driving, I was able to spend more time and explore my own hobbies like playing tennis in the park or shopping at local stores that I would have passed by if I were driving. The walking aspect has been a mix of success and failure. I've been able to walk to get groceries and other supplies easily but reaching the five mile marker each day has been a bit of a struggle. I just don't have the time to walk around for 2 hours every day. However, this experience has shown me how much I overuse my car throughout the week, and will make sure to ask myself if a car trip is necessary to get to a destination, or could I just walk to it in the future.

    • Ben Wall's avatar
      Ben Wall 2/25/2024 8:50 PM
      Hi Alex, it's nice to live in a city where cycling and walking are often a viable option. The greenways where either a whole lane has been reserved for bikes or the street has been designed for slow driving are all over the city, and it's usually easy to find a route that is mostly bike-friendly. As someone who walks to most of my destinations, I agree that it is difficult to walk 5 miles every day. I hit the mark maybe three times a week, and yeah, that amounts to a lot of time in commute.
  • REFLECTION QUESTION
    Community Volunteer in my Community
    What is one thing you can do to help your community become more sustainable?

    Alex Crowe's avatar
    Alex Crowe 2/18/2024 5:34 PM
    For my Ecochallenge (and for my independent field trip) I helped volunteer for the "Potluck in the Park" organization, which gives out free meals to those in need every Sunday. I helped hand out sandwiches and some snacks during the lunch rush, and helped wipe down tables and put them away when everyone had gotten a meal. Overall the experience was very fulfilling, as seeing the joy people can get from a meal made me reconsider how I take my own meals for granted from time to time. Access to food should be considered a basic human right and hunger shouldn't be considered a punishment, but until this is realized, I'm glad their are community efforts happening that provide necessities like food to those in need.

  • Alex Crowe's avatar
    Alex Crowe 2/10/2024 9:46 PM
    For my ecochallege I decided to shorten my shower time to just 5 mins. According to the "Green Lifestyle Changes" article, " a 10 minutes shower can use upwards of 80 gallons of water and generate up to 4 pounds of CO2 emissions". Cutting my shower time to just five mins could cut down water usage and carbon emissions by 70-80%. My first attempt at it was a little hectic but by the next few tries I seemed to have gotten it down in time. Personally, I think 5 minutes is a little to short for a shower, but I do think reducing water usage is important and I should still be mindful of how much time I spend in the shower in the future.

    • Amy Minato's avatar
      Amy Minato 2/12/2024 6:49 PM
      it's amazing how much water is saved by taking shorter showers. have you tried soaping up with the water turned off?

    • Ben Wall's avatar
      Ben Wall 2/11/2024 7:46 PM
      Hi Alex,
      I initially selected this challenge, but failed to cut my showers to five minutes. I think that by being mindful, I can cut my showers to an average of 7-8 minutes, which would still save a significant amount of water. Showers are probably my biggest consumer of water, and I could easily make an impactful dent in my overall water usage by cutting a couple minutes out of my showers.
  • REFLECTION QUESTION
    Food Weekly Meal Planning
    An average American throws out about 240 lbs of food per year. The average family of four in the US spends $1,500 a year on food that they throw out. Does this surprise you? Where would you rather use this money?

    Alex Crowe's avatar
    Alex Crowe 2/02/2024 7:18 PM
    My ecochallenge was to meal plan for next week. This ecochallenge worked out perfectly since I needed to meal plan for my vegetarian diet project that I'm starting next week. I will say the resources the ecochallenge provided helped with budgeting and meal prep tips, such as buying ingredients in bulk and some easy recipes to try. The resources also highlighted why meal planning itself is a sustainable action; overconsumption has contributed to environmental degradation, and through resource efficient practices we can change the economic process that drives overconsumption, leading to less degradation over time.
    To answer the reflection question: I'm not surprised at the amount of food that is thrown out each year. America ideology when in comes to preserving food has always been connected to economic stability. During the Great Depression of the 1920's, kids were taught to eat every scrap of food they had as they didn't know when their next meal would be available, a sentiment a lot of older people who lived through that time share to this day. Since then the American economy has grown and been relatively stable, leading to more families being able to waste food without financial consequences. I think if a family were to meal prep, they'll be able to use that $1,500 in food waste on more beneficial aspects of their life.

    • Amy Minato's avatar
      Amy Minato 2/07/2024 5:30 PM
      i agree our current ideology contributes to food waste. maybe if folks knew how much money they could save this would motivate them to conserve

    • Eva Tomlinson's avatar
      Eva Tomlinson 2/03/2024 5:35 PM
      Hi Alex! Let me know if you need any vegetarian recipe recommendations, I have a few that are especially good for creating many portions, and a few that are simply delicious. Meal planning is such a helpful goal to have! I find it makes my time in the grocery store much shorter, and it saves me time in worrying about what to eat each day. Good luck with your eco change!
  • REFLECTION QUESTION
    Food Watch a Documentary about Food Sovereignty
    How does food sovereignty address the complex transition from localized food systems to modern global food systems?

    Alex Crowe's avatar
    Alex Crowe 1/28/2024 5:59 PM
    Food sovereignty is one's right to healthy, sufficient, and culturally relevant food made through sustainable and ecological sound practices. The movement behind it has been successful in addressing the shortcomings of the global food industry system, which are guided by multinational corporations and international trade agreements.
    For my weekly ecochallenge of watching one documentry on Food Sovereignty, I decided to watch the "Nyéléni Europe Forum" documentary, which highlights a global symposium that brings together local farmers, fishers, and consumers from across the globe in an effort to share and connect personal experiences and plan for future food sovereignty progress. After watching it, I am amazed that all of these different professions and cultures are dealing with the ubiquitous problems that modern food systems have caused. For example, a Dutch sheep Shepard highlighted how big scale sheep farmers are now using nets and electric fences as a substitute for Shepards. This practice is not only less sustainable, but removes the cultural aspect that traditional Shepards provide to sheep herding. Another person affected by global food systems is Martin Drago, who highlights how his home country of Uruguay have prioritized soy production in an effort to expand their country's agribusiness. In doing so, they have prioritized exporting soy, which has lead to not enough soy being redistributed locally and agro-toxics being left behind through production waste. He argues for changes to be made to the agri-food system which would improve production and harvesting methods and rejects the privatization of natural resources. Overall, this documentary has shown me how individuals from different cultures can come together and unite in an effort to overcome the restraints industrial food systems and trade agreements have pushed onto them.

    • Amy Minato's avatar
      Amy Minato 1/29/2024 7:32 PM
      thanks for the heads-up on this doc!

    • Maranda Simpson's avatar
      Maranda Simpson 1/28/2024 7:07 PM
      Hello, Alex! I absolutely agree with you. One thing that is often neglected when discussing the sustainability of food is access to it. Often times, the argument is that food that is sustainable and healthy is too expensive (and currently it is, because of under paying of people and subsidization of crops like corn) for people to access, but circular economies with local produce would overall be cheaper and allow more people to gain access to affordable food. Sustainability and human rights are inherently linked; You can't do one without the other.

  • REFLECTION QUESTION
    Waste Prevent Recycling Contamination
    What have you learned about what is accepted by local haulers for recycling, what you can drop off or ship to certain places, and what is not recyclable in your area? What is the most difficult part of recycling for you?

    Alex Crowe's avatar
    Alex Crowe 1/21/2024 3:55 PM
    I’ve always been a little confused on how clean my recyclables need to be when I recycle them. I’ve held the belief that recyclables need to be free of any food residuals before being recycled. I think this originated from working for a non-profit organization that specialized in different conservation activities, such as sifting through recyclable containers at a local landfill to remove any items containing residue. It was until recently that I was watching a show that made a joke about how you don’t really need to wash your recyclables that piqued my interest. So, when I saw “Prevent Recycling Contamination” as one of the eco challenge actions, I decided to spend some time researching what the proper method is for disposing recyclables. The article, “The Battle Against Recycling Contamination” explained how recycling has become more complex in recent years due to the public’s confusion over what can and can’t be recycled. For example, plastic bags are often thought of as recyclable and thus are thrown into household recycle bins. However, they cannot be thrown in to mixed recycling as they can get caught in waste facility machinery and can cause costly shutdowns. Because recycling has become more common place in households, contamination has become more frequent. Food residue can also contaminate recyclables, but further research has shown that a quick rinse is all that is needed for most items to be recycled, but still all food or liquid being removed beforehand. I believe recycling is an integral part of combating pollution, but needs more resources to teach consumers the proper and improper ways to recycle.

    • Soraya Castaneda's avatar
      Soraya Castaneda 1/21/2024 7:51 PM
      Hey Alex,
      I'm glad you took the initiative to look into this topic! It's been one of those things that I've been meaning to look up and just never got around to. I'm glad to know rinsing my containers out has not been in vain. One thing I found super helpful when I moved into my new apartment was this magnet the management left on my fridge. I've attached a photo for reference! It's a handy, easy-to-understand guide that may help others learn about what they can and can't recycle.

    • Eva Tomlinson's avatar
      Eva Tomlinson 1/21/2024 5:54 PM
      This is a goal I want to take on as well. I feel fairly confident about paper and metal I can recycle, and about things I definitely can't recycle like plastic bags, but I feel like certain plastic containers like bottles or tubs have certain specific rules about lid removal or things like that. I want to feel more confident that the recycling I send out is not contaminated.

    • Amy Minato's avatar
      Amy Minato 1/21/2024 5:52 PM
      thanks for this reminder. How do we get people to really understand what and how to recycle?