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Dora Kreitzer's avatar

Dora Kreitzer

Bucknell ENST 246 - Spring 20224

POINTS TOTAL

  • 0 TODAY
  • 0 THIS WEEK
  • 656 TOTAL

participant impact

  • UP TO
    30
    meatless or vegan meals
    consumed
  • UP TO
    1.0
    energy audit
    conducted
  • UP TO
    22
    pounds of CO2
    have been saved
  • UP TO
    63
    minutes
    being mindful
  • UP TO
    1,280
    minutes
    not spent in front of a screen
  • UP TO
    400
    gallons of water
    have been saved
  • UP TO
    561
    minutes
    spent exercising
  • UP TO
    411
    minutes
    spent outdoors
  • UP TO
    135
    minutes
    spent learning

Dora's actions

Community

Support A Sharing Economy

I will create or support a sharing economy with family, friends, neighbors, or classmates.

COMPLETED 6
DAILY ACTIONS

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 5
DAILY ACTIONS

Waste

Learn About & Practice Sustainable Fashion

I will learn about sustainable fashion and begin trying to practice it in my own life.

COMPLETED
ONE-TIME ACTION

Food

Reduce Animal Products

I will enjoy 2 meatless meal(s) and/or 0 vegan meal(s) each day this week.

COMPLETED 13
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Try a New Way to Prep

I will try a new method of food preparation, such as canning, pickling, or baking bread.

COMPLETED
ONE-TIME ACTION

Health

Practice Loving-Kindness Meditation

I will spend 5 minutes practicing Loving-Kindness Meditation to nurture love and compassion for myself and others.

COMPLETED 12
DAILY ACTIONS

Health

Joyful Movement

I will spend 5 minutes doing an activity where I'm both moving my body and enjoying myself.

COMPLETED 13
DAILY ACTIONS

Water

5-Minute Showers

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

COMPLETED 20
DAILY ACTIONS

Energy

Power Down the Computer

I will power down my computer and monitor when not using it for more than 2 hours, saving up to (1.1) lbs of CO2 each day that I do this.

COMPLETED 20
DAILY ACTIONS

Energy

Online Energy Audit

I will complete an online energy audit of my home, office, or dorm room and identify my next steps for saving energy.

COMPLETED
ONE-TIME ACTION

Nature

Go for a Daily Walk

I will take a 15-minute walk outside each day.

COMPLETED 27
DAILY ACTIONS

Simplicity

Core Values

We may find more meaning and joy in life when our actions are aligned with our personal values. I will determine what my top 3-5 core values are so that I can better align my actions with them.

COMPLETED
ONE-TIME ACTION

Simplicity

Limit Social Media

I will limit my social media use to once each day reducing my daily use by 45 minute(s)

COMPLETED 27
DAILY ACTIONS

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?


  • Dora Kreitzer's avatar
    Dora Kreitzer 2/18/2024 6:10 PM
    1. The first thing that I learned about myself is that I really don’t need meat. I’ve never really loved meat anyway—I enjoy it in things like casseroles or pastas, but prefer not to just eat it on its own. The substitute meat I used this week was delicious– I actually liked it better than normal ground beef. Doing the challenge, I also realized how rarely I eat meat at lunch already, so the bigger challenge was dinner, but even that has gone mostly well so far, so I think I might try to continue to be vegetarian after this challenge. Cooking for this meatless week, I learned that while the actual process of cooking even simple meals often stresses me out, I get enough joy from the end product that I think it’s worth it for me to do it more often.
    From the health challenge, I learned that building more movement into my day really isn’t that hard. For my joyful movement, I’ve just been playing music that I can dance to while I get ready for the day, and it has made me feel happier and more energized in the morning. I know I talked about how hard it feels for me to add things to my life, but building more joy and movement into something I have to do anyway (get dressed and ready every morning), it has felt pretty easy. My other health challenge has been loving-kindness meditation, which I have been doing for a couple minutes before bed. I used to journal every day, but on nights when I was up late I wouldn’t want to take the time to do it, so I stopped recently, but the meditation makes me want to get back to the journaling practice. The meditation itself is nice–I like having a chance to clear my mind and think of something positive before I go to sleep–and I think getting back to my journaling practice would help me do that, too.
    2. Through my water and energy challenges, I realized that, especially when I’m at Bucknell, I’m not very frequently thinking about the amount of resources I’m using. When I’m at home and know that my parents are paying for electricity, water, etc, I'm very cognizant of how long my showers are, when I leave the lights on, what electronics I leave plugged in, etc. But on campus, more of that falls to the wayside when I don’t have to think about who’s paying for it. Timing my showers and unplugging anything I wasn't using, however, made my resource consumption far more top of mind. When Dr. Udo came into class and in reading the Sustainability Plan, I realized how much my individual actions contribute to a larger campus climate, and also that my actions have more than just economic effects. My daily water and energy choices definitely contributed to the “waste and consumption reduction” area of behavioral change that the Sustainability Plan seeks to foster in individuals on campus, and seeing this framed as helping to “[reduce] waste status, [achieve] carbon neutrality along with [enhance] the ecological conservation and restoration of campus,” I connected my behaviors to larger environmental goals, and learned that I need to keep those in mind regardless of where I am (15). In Maryland and Lewisburg, it’s the same resources we are trying to protect.
    Being more aware of the food I’m eating in the last week has also made me realize how much of what I consume is only distantly related to the environment. Even in getting my meatless meat, because I was dead set on making taco pasta, I recognized how removed that is from natural food and food cultivating processes. I also got a very sizable shipment of Valentines Day candy from my parents that I was happily eating, probably a direct contributor to Dr. Weil’s data about Americans’ total sugar intake skyrocketing in the last 160 years. As I was watching his lecture, and arrived at his point that we are eating more processed foods than ever before that are so far from what nature produces and have displaced real food in our diet, I was eating a cup of microwave Kraft Mac & Cheese–ironic, right? Though all of these things are technically vegetarian, that doesn’t mean that they don’t have any detrimental environmental contributions or health contributions for me. Dr. Weil’s talk demonstrated to me that those two things (my health and the environment) aren’t actually that far apart–what’s most beneficial for the environment would most likely be the most beneficial for me, and vice versa. My current diet is fraying my relationship with the environment, distancing me from what it naturally produces and in the most convenient for me cases, is leading me to contribute poorly back into it, which is something I would like to continue to address.
    3. Beginning as far back as our class history covered, many of the water challenges probably stem back to environmental concerns raised during the Hetch Hetchy debates. Warren Olney explained that the reason they wanted to dam the Tuolumne River was to give the Bay of San Francisco area the access to a sufficient amount of water for their growing population, and other small streams wouldn’t be enough. While those on the other side argued for the importance of preserved, untouched landscapes in the National Parks, one thing that never came up was if the Bay area truly needed that much water. After the Hetch Hetchy Dam tarnished a beautiful environment and as we’ve depleted many more water sources since these debates, the need to reduce our own personal water consumption is extremely clear; almost every single one of the water challenges was aimed at using less water in our daily routines. As Energy5 details, water conservation leads to “preserving ecosystems,” “saving energy” (therefore supporting another challenge category), “protecting water quality,” and “ensuring water availability,” all of which we can trace back to conversations about Hetch Hetchy.
    Regarding food, many of the food challenges (joining a CSA, buying from a farmer’s market, buying local and organic, eating vegan or vegetarian, eating whole foods, etc.) are only possible and feasible because of the counterculture food movement that made those dietary provisions more in demand, and thus more widely accessible. Carol Flinders, Laurel Robertson, Bronwen Godfrey, Alice Waters, and many others recognized the impact that eating naturally can have on the self and on society, and recognized that food could be a solution to the overconsumption, commercialization, convenience-oriented supermarket (and more general) culture they were observing (McGrath). Food for Dissent and the natural food movements created competition with industrial agribusiness, basically inventing the green economy according to McGrath, and as it became more popular, caused more mainstream businesses to follow suit (McGrath). Not only did these movements create audiences for farmer’s markets and CSAs, but they also contributed to more environmentally friendly, wholesome, organic foods being available in the grocery store. This wider availability, fought for by natural food activists, is what allows so many of the food challenges to be realistic for participants




    • Andrew Stuhl's avatar
      Andrew Stuhl 2/20/2024 3:05 PM
      Great journal Dora! I especially appreciate the multiple, specific connections you made between readings/course materials and the daily challenges you've been working on in the EcoChallenge. That's great to see, as I want this unit to have not only the experiential component of trying new behaviors but also the intellectual component of understanding the impact of those behaviors, as well as their historical and cultural origins. Also, while we are pushing ourselves in this unit to try new things and look for 'better' options for food, movement, (love your joyful dancing!) -- I also hope you can be easy on yourself. No one is perfect and Kraft Mac N Cheese is a completely reasonable meal every now and then!

  • Dora Kreitzer's avatar
    Dora Kreitzer 2/04/2024 7:05 AM
    Trying these challenges over the past week has been really rewarding. I would probably say that the social media challenge has had the biggest impact, because my consumption started far higher than I liked. Only letting myself open and scroll the app once a day has really helped my self-control, and I am slowly getting better at not using my phone as a crutch. I’m getting far more moments of mindfulness from not distracting myself with my phone when I walk between classes or when I sit at meals waiting for friends to arrive. In the first couple of days, I noticed myself instinctively opening Instagram, like my thumb is just trained and my brain isn’t involved at all, and had to work harder to kick the habit. Over the course of the week, staying off of Instagram got a lot easier, and I had fewer mindless attempts to open it. As the semester is picking up and I’ve been busier and more stressed, having one large distraction cut out for me has improved my productivity, allowed me to stay on task, and helped me go to sleep earlier. As the York Dispatch article mentions, something I fell victim to is that “nighttime use of social media is driven by FOMO (fear of missing out) and keeps people scrolling longer at night instead of going to sleep” (Savage, 2023). Listening to podcasts or music before bed has been better for my mental health and makes it easier for me to press pause and go to sleep instead of getting stuck in an endless scroll cycle. Another piece of advice Anish Agarwal, deputy director for the Center for Digital Health, gives in the York Dispatch article is to reevaluate what you want out of social media–I realized this week that it’s mostly entertainment, and there are a lot healthier alternatives that I could be using instead, or feeling connected, which I could do far more easily and effectively with friends on campus. Given how much this limited screen time has benefited me, I could definitely see myself making these lifestyle changes permanent.

    With walking on the other hand, I’m not sure that I’ll be able to make daily walks permanent. I have a far harder time adding things to my life than cutting them; on days where I already feel stressed, I often feel that they are keeping me from doing the work I need to, and I would feel less stressed if I was getting it done. My experience disagrees with both Karin Klein and Kristophe Green & Dacher Keltner’s articles about walking being meditative, freeing, and well-being improving. Perhaps I have what Richard Louv calls “‘nature deficit disorder’—a form of suffering that comes from a sense of disconnection from nature and its powers” (Green & Keltner 2017). I wouldn’t necessarily say that I feel disconnected from nature, I still enjoy being outdoors, but it’s not quite the cure-all for me that the article makes it out to be, so maybe it’s just the powers I feel removed from. Like Klein, I already “can’t meditate for shit”–I have a really hard time getting my brain to shut off. I agree with her that hiking can be a mind calming experience, but given my time constraints, I have been doing campus walks instead, which have far less effect for me. Hiking is more of a once-a-week, it’s nice out activity for me. I know we talked in class about how humans should be able to very easily manage 15 minutes outdoors on a cold or wet day, given how long humans exclusively lived outdoors and the gear we have now to make that experience better, yet still when the weather is unideal, I’m less motivated to spend more time outdoors. Hopefully that will at least get easier as we move towards spring. I’m not writing off nor giving up on daily walks; at least for the remainder of the EcoChallenge, I’m going to try to keep a positive attitude and open-mind, and we’ll see what happens. As of right now though, I don’t know that I could see myself making this routine permanent, even given the purported benefits.



    • Andrew Stuhl's avatar
      Andrew Stuhl 2/13/2024 9:46 AM
      Great Dora! I'm so glad to hear that you're feeling more in control of social media use and, importantly, that you've identified what you're hoping to get out of it (entertainment and connection). That's really powerful because you can better evaluate if how you're spending your time is working / is getting you what you want. I also appreciate your outlook on 15 min walks - it may not be something you keep up with after the Eco Challenge as an every-day thing. That's a great, healthy place to be: you'll try out these challenges for a few weeks and then decide what you like, what you don't, or how to adopt things to suit your needs. That's great!

  • Dora Kreitzer's avatar
    Dora Kreitzer 1/28/2024 8:46 AM
    a) Going into week 1 of the EcoChallenge, I am already excited about the prospect of cutting down the amount of time I spend daily on social media. It becomes such a time suck for me, it isn’t great for my mental health, and yet whenever I have a couple minutes of down time or when I want to take a break from work, I reach for Instagram immediately. I’m someone who is often busy and stressed, and I am just excited to get those minutes of my day back to be more productive, or at least to do things that are healthier for me. I’m also really excited about the challenge to have a certain number of meatless meals every day. I encouraged my family to do one meatless meal a week when I was living at home, and I thought that when I came to Bucknell I would commit more seriously to vegetarianism, but then decided I didn’t want to limit my already limited food options. Now that I’m cooking for myself more often, I think cutting out meat, and eventually animal products more widely, is more realistic for me, and I’m excited to have incentive to do it and to get to try new recipes. I am far more intimidated by the EcoChallenges that feel like much bigger endeavors, like planting gardens, collecting and using rainwater, replacing thermostats, launching programs, or organizing classes, which showed up across a lot of the categories. While the more physical tasks I’m not sure we have permission to do at Bucknell, the classes and programs are intimidating because they require far more leadership. While they’re probably more effective actions, or have the potential to lead to collective action, I’m not sure that I feel ready to put myself in charge of those.

    b) Looking through the EcoChallenge website, some challenges that stuck out to me as being the most impactful were composting food waste, using less single-use plastic, taking shorter showers, and reducing my electricity use after doing an energy audit. In thinking about how I was taught the ecological footprint, I assumed that tasks directly related to resource use and pollution matter most for reduction. But in doing the readings, and seeing how many of the challenges are for personal well-being, I began to rethink that. As Thoreau put it in “Economy,” “the finest qualities of our nature, like the bloom on fruits, can be preserved only by the most delicate handling. Yet we do not treat ourselves nor one another thus tenderly” (6). In addition to our actions, how we approach ourselves and the world around us really matters. A lot of the tasks about having a greater appreciation for nature, finding community, and becoming healthier encourage people to treat themselves and the resources that we do have with more kindness, respect, and care; having this approach makes the environmental work easier because we know what we want to preserve and why it’s so valuable. Thoreau also states that “our life is frittered away by detail,” which I can definitely see in my own life (“Where I Lived, and What I Lived For,” 17). By simplifying my life, like through participating in a shared economy or striving for a better work life balance, I will be more able to commit myself to tasks that feel more directly environmental and reduce my ecological footprint that way. The attitudes behind our actions, not just the actions themselves, influence how and how well we go about preserving our environment, resources, and communities.

    c) It was more clear for me from looking through the challenges that they mostly oriented around addressing the economic drivers of the crises we face–by voting with our dollars for products that aren’t harmful for the environment and for investments in purchases that will directly help us reduce our carbon footprint. By investing money in items that matter, like new thermostats or the tools for a garden, or not spending our dollars because of a shared economy, we raise demand for things with a positive impact and lower demand for those that don’t (highly processed foods, imported produce, fast fashion, etc.) In “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For,” Thoreau states that “The nation itself…is just such an unwieldy and overgrown establishment, cluttered with furniture and tripped up by its own traps, ruined by luxury and heedless expense, by want of calculation and a worthy aim...and the only cure for it as for them is in a rigid economy, a stern and more than Spartan simplicity of life and elevation of purpose” (17). The EcoChallenges similarly encourages us, not only in the simplicity category but across many of them, to only spend money on what is necessary and what is beneficial. Thoreau agrees that using this personal economy is a solution to the nation’s widespread economic complications, most of which contribute to the environmental crisis we are currently facing.
    In terms of the political drivers, most of the categories have a challenge to write letters or call representatives' offices about an issue. Speaking to policymakers puts pressure on them to address our environmental crises, hopefully eventually leading to larger, written policy change. Though most of the challenges seemed to me to be empowering us as consumers, going back to language from the Solnit article, there were still some that pushed participants to embrace their roles as citizens. In “Economy,” Thoreau discusses the burden placed on those who inherit farms and spend their whole lives trying to manage the expanse of that property. After all, “the portionless, who struggle with no such unnecessary inherited encumbrances, find it labor enough to subdue and cultivate a few cubic feet of flesh (“Economy” 4). As a generation that has inherited such a swath of environmental crises, we are tasked with tackling the whole range of problems, when even managing just a small portion of that is a challenge, but one worth doing. The political advocacy challenges help multiply, so that in doing a little bit more of what we can to fight for our environment, participants are extending that effort with a mind towards policy that makes bigger changes than we can as individuals.


    • Andrew Stuhl's avatar
      Andrew Stuhl 1/29/2024 8:35 AM
      Great Journal, Dora! I'm totally with you on being eager to reduce my time on social media. I honestly feel like it is not even a habit of mine, it's like a reflex - so ingrained in my mind when I have a free moment just to scroll instead of reflect, think, or do something else. Like you, I'm excited to reclaim that time and mental space and build new habits. ultimately, that's what the 4 week challenge is about : replacing old habits with new ones. The idea is that we can't fully extract ourselves from nature or the economy - we need food, sleep, shelter, and an education. But we can go about things in many ways, and the current way we are doing things may not be good for us individually or as a society, or for the planet. I'm glad you feel a little at the edge of your comfort zone considering leading a class or taking on the one-time challenges - my goal is to help you get comfortable with that discomfort, especially later in the course during the "collective action" unit.