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Brian Miller

ENST 246: Fall 2020

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 476 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    2
    miles
    not traveled by car
  • up to
    141
    pounds of CO2
    have been saved
  • up to
    1,420
    minutes
    spent exercising
  • up to
    38
    locally sourced meals
    consumed
  • up to
    95
    minutes
    being mindful
  • up to
    70
    minutes
    spent outdoors
  • up to
    84
    plastic bottles
    not sent to the landfill
  • up to
    49
    more servings
    of fruits and vegetables
  • up to
    4
    hours
    volunteered
  • up to
    270
    gallons of water
    have been saved

Brian's Actions

Water

Insulate Water Pipes and Water Heater

I will avoid wasting water while waiting for the shower or sink to heat up.

Completed
One-Time Action

Nature

Enjoy the Sunrise/Sunset

I will enjoy the sunrise and/or sunset each day.

COMPLETED 1
DAILY ACTION

Nature

Go for a Daily Walk

I will take a 20-minute walk outside each day.

COMPLETED 1
DAILY ACTION

Community

Volunteer in my Community

I will volunteer 4 hour(s) in my community during the challenge.

Completed
One-Time Action

Transportation

Work from Home

I will work from home 2 day(s) to avoid my commute's carbon output.

Completed
One-Time Action

Simplicity

Eat Mindfully

I will eat all of my meals without distractions, e.g., phone, computer, TV, or newspaper.

COMPLETED 5
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

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 6
DAILY ACTIONS

Transportation

Car Share

I will sign up for a car-sharing service or organize car sharing with my neighbors or classmates to cut down on the number of vehicles on the road.

Completed
One-Time Action

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

Energy

Heat and Cool Naturally

I will naturally heat and cool my house, office, or dorm room by opening or closing my windows, curtains, and blinds, and by using fans.

COMPLETED 11
DAILY ACTIONS

Energy

Turn it off

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

COMPLETED 11
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Buy From a Farmers Market

I will purchase produce and meat from a local farmers market or food co-op.

COMPLETED 15
DAILY ACTIONS

Health

More Fruits and Veggies

I will eat a heart healthy diet by adding 3 cup(s) of fruits and vegetables each day to achieve at least 4 cups per day.

COMPLETED 19
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

Health

Exercise Daily

Exercise is a great stress blaster! I will exercise for 75 minute(s) each day.

COMPLETED 19
DAILY ACTIONS

Waste

Use a Reusable Water Bottle

I will keep 3 disposable plastic bottle(s) from entering the waste stream by using a reusable water bottle.

COMPLETED 20
DAILY ACTIONS

Feed


  • Brian Miller's avatar
    Brian Miller 9/28/2020 5:08 PM
    For the last week of adding on to my Eco-challenge I have some new daily and one time actions that i feel are perfect to complete the unit and set up my new still of living for the future. Beginning with my first one time action of volunteering during the challenge. Luckily this has already been a large part of my life as out team prides itself on making sure it gives back to the community. Last week we helped to clean the woodlands running by the Bucknell Driving Range. The entire team removed easily over a thousand golf balls from the restoration site in order to encourage as much wildlife growth as possible. Another action that we are completing this week is to clean up trash in the local area.  These two acts along with countless others we will take undertake in the future is one of the best ways to give back and also spend time with the team!

    Another one time challenge that I chose as my final one is a minor variation to the challenge of insulating water pipes in order to limit the time it takes for water to heat up, The goal is to limit the waiting between turning the water on and actually taking a shower. Instead I will work on immediately hopping in the cold shower especially since it will eliminate this process all together. In addition, using the shower before and allowing that to heat up allows for the water in the sink to already be heated when I need hot water to come out. This combination of only doing actions requiring hot water from the sink after showering makes it so I will never have to wait for the water of the sink to heat up. Overall, this variation of simplifying insulating the pipes that I use everyday allows for the same result of an action that is not accessible in my current living arrangement.

    The two daily challenges that I chose for the week are actions that easily coincide with one another. The two actions are going for walks and watching the sunset or sunrise each and every day. I have always enjoyed watching the sunset especially throughout my life but I am able to enjoy the sunrise more now that I have to get up early to go to practice. Walking home from early morning practice to watch the sunrise has been a new part of my life that i have found very enjoyable. It is always a great feeling to see the sunrise as your day is beginning and completing it with the sunset. Walking home from places such as the library of practice allow me to get the walk in each day while also enjoying two of natures greatest sights. All in all, I have thoroughly enjoyed the Eco-Challenge unit and it has definitely allowed me to gain new insight on how to change my life in many minor ways to have a large impact on the footprint I leave on the globe.


    • Maggie Hopkins's avatar
      Maggie Hopkins 9/30/2020 5:34 PM
      Hi Brian! I really enjoyed reading your journal and I’m glad that the challenges went well. I loved reading about your volunteer work with your team. That’s so fun that you all can spend that time together while making such a positive impact on the community. With everything going on right now it’s especially important for the community to come together so it’s really great that you all are making that a priority. I was also really interested in how you are working to use as little hot water as possible. When I was looking at the challenges I remember seeing the ones about replacing pipes to be more efficient or waste less water, but I figured I would not be able to do those while at school. I know I tend to wait for the water to heat up without really thinking about what a waste it is. I’ve been trying to take shorter showers as one of my challenges, so this is something I’ll have to try as well. I also really appreciated what you said about watching the sunrise and sunset. I liked how you mentioned that it was nice to be able to start and end your day with those. This is a small thing that can be easy to overlook during a busy day, so it’s great that you got to appreciate both while being outside. Since I’ve been back at school I don’t usually wake up early enough for the sunrise so maybe I’ll have to do that one day! 

  • Brian Miller's avatar
    Brian Miller 9/21/2020 5:09 PM
    This upcoming week of challenges has potential to be very difficult because it will require a complete overhaul in a part of my life. Switching to only washing my clothes on cold will potentially make them not as clean or smell as fresh as washing on hot. The lack of heat may also pose a problem because it will limit the amount of germs and bacteria that are killed during the wash. Thus, this could lead to the potential of getting sick as the winter months move in. However, the benefits of switching to cold water is substantial. Over 132 pounds of CO2 are estimated to be saved by switching to cold water. As of now I have always washed all my dark laundry on cold water but now I will switch to washing the two separate loads on cold. While at school this has been a trend for me because the washing machines have had a tendency to discolor bright clothes, but at home this will be a major change. Ultimately, while it will have some possible negative effects, the positives of switching to cold water completely outweigh the negatives.

    The next challenge that I chose was to turn off my computer after if I am not using it for more then a two hour span. A terrible habit that I have had prior to this challenge was simply closing my computer screen and having in sleep mode. Up until now I had not really noticed the negative effects that come along with such a simple action as choosing to shut down my computer as opposed to putting it in sleep mode. With this challenge this will help not only with other challenges such as saving energy but is also a more effective way to not have to charge my laptop nearly as much.

    The challenge that I am most excited for is to eat with no distractions. I feel that it will be such a small and simple difference in my day but will have a distinct effect. Even with the first meal that I had today I noticed a major difference in the fact that I always am watching or listening to something while I eat. The freedom from distractions was very rewarding and something that I will strive to implement much more often in my day to day life.

    The last challenge that I chose for this weeks additions to the Eco challenge was doing work from home.  While being a student is obviously different then a real world commute to work, I felt that I could use this to challenge myself in similar ways. For example attending zoom only classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays cuts down on the gas used to drive from place to place. For the most part I felt this could be used to find other places to study as opposed to driving to the library to do work. This got me thinking of alternative spots to complete my work. I was able to find a brand new study spot away from the noise of home that was only a walking distance away. This allows me to get the peace and quiet of the library to focus on my work, while also cutting down on the carbon emission needed to get there. All in all, these new challenges only add on to my mission of helping the environment through simple and effective methods.

    • Carrie Loomis's avatar
      Carrie Loomis 10/05/2020 3:15 PM
      Hey Brian!
      It was really interesting to listen to what you had to say comparing the negatives and positives of washing your clothes on cold. I never thought about the negative effects that could be associated with washing your clothes on cold, like the idea that less heat meant less clean clothes. The amount of CO2 that is used to heat water for laundry is crazy! I feel as though everyone always talks about taking shorter showers and turning off water when brushing your teeth, but this is a really powerful switch that you are making!
      I can definitely understand how easy it is to close your computer instead of turning it off. I do this as well most of the time. I always complain about how my battery life is so low, but I never think of how much energy I am wasting. It is so cool that you were able to look at this from an environmentally friendly point of view! The challenge of eating with no distractions is really intriguing. It can be so easy to eat in front of a screen and be so distracted that the food we are eating doesn’t even seem to have value. 
      It is so cool that you were able to implement a “work from home” mindset into student life. Driving less can have such a dramatic impact on our health and our carbon footprint. Finding a new study spot is always a good feeling, and I am sure that it is even better when you know that new study spot is better for the planet!

  • Brian Miller's avatar
    Brian Miller 9/14/2020 5:13 PM
    My new challenges for this week focus a lot more on energy efficiency and limiting of transportation rather then more individual health and nature challenges. Changes the category of challenge I feel will be overall more beneficial because it allows me to be environmentally friendly in all aspects of my life rather then just a few.  Some are even simple one time challenges that happened to have been a necessary fix to our mod such as a leaky faucet in the kitchen. Understanding that the water that will be continued to be wasted should the sink constantly drip throughout the day forced us to call and have it checked it out. In the day before help was able to arrive to fix the sink, we were able to tape the faucet down in order to finally get the water to stop pouring out. Hopefully this is a one time issue that in order to limit the amount of water that is wasted with no use. 

    Another challenge that I was able to implement is to share rides to limit the amount of cars on the road. For every in person class or sports activity we attempt to limit cars by planning out who lives nearby. From the list of people we are able to consolidate into one car for a specific time. This prevents people all taking their own cars only to arrive at the same place for the same reason. It is also very helpful for people such as myself that have no car of their own to drive. While walking would be the obvious best solution to help the fight against pollution this carpooling system is a very efficient way to balance getting to class quickly and limit the amount of pollution involved.

    The next daily challenge that I undertook for this week is to try to heat and cool where I live naturally. This is the perfect time to begin to do that because the nights are starting to cool down so the need for air conditioning is gone. Opening the windows and even the door when the sun goes down is a quick and efficient way to bring the room temperature down without using the massive amounts of energy that three different air conditioning units use. Fans are also the additionally way that we have been using to limit the air conditioning. Placing the fans in the windows has been the perfect way to cool the mod down once we go to bed and want to stop worrying about having the door open. 

    The last daily challenge that I chose for this week is to limit the amount of lights and plugs being used when I am not around. A bad habit that we had when we first moved in was leaving a light on in the kitchen when going to bed. This has warranted me to accept this challenge and check to see if the lights are off any time I leave or go to bed for the night. In addition opening the windows throughout the day allows the need for electric lighting to be minimal. Lastly, unplugging my laptop or phone when it is done charging is a new habit that I will make sure to utilize to limit the amount of power I use each day. All in all, these new challenges for this week allow me to branch out and create a global difference in ways that I am not as comfortable with as the first couple weeks! 

  • Brian Miller's avatar
    Brian Miller 9/07/2020 5:59 PM
    The Eco-challenge for this unit has proved to be much simpler and exciting then I had anticipated. Granted the tasks that I chose for the first week were simple in order to get a sense of how my life will have to adapt to meet the goals that I had set out for myself. For example, implementing exercise into my daily routine was not an adjustment at all as it is something that I really enjoy. While some days were much easier then others the task was both rewarding and a good addition to my day! In addition, this daily challenge of attempting to exercise for over an hour each day, coincided with my one day challenge of exploring nature. Planning the daily and one-time challenges to go to together is a strategy that I will definitely continue to implement as best I can in the upcoming weeks. 

    The one-time challenge that I completed for this week was to take a trip into nature. Luckily before even being assigned the task, my roommates and I went to the Dale's Ridge running trail a few miles outside of Lewisburg. The trail ran through the woods and along a branch of the Susquehanna River and through the woods to the edge of town. This allowed us to really experience all that there is around the school and throughout central Pennsylvania. This area of Pennsylvania is drastically different then outside of Philadelphia where I am from so it was enjoyable to see the differences between the two. The overlooking cliff at the top allowed for a perfect view of the area and the landscape around.

    Other daily challenges that I implemented into my life throughout the past week were to eat more fruits and vegetables as well as replace at least three disposable water bottles with reusable ones. The fruits and vegetables addition to my diet was also a simple task that proved to be a welcome part of my day. Going and getting the necessary fruits and veggies to incorporate into dinner was a healthy and delicious alternative to easy to make frozen or prepacked side dishes. Arguably the most important daily task that I chose for this week was to replace at least three plastic bottles. A problem that I have encountered throughout my whole life is balancing the convince of being able to grab a bottle of water as I am walking out the door as opposed to filling one up before leaving. A compromise to this that I began doing was to continuously fill up the same plastic water bottle 4-5 times a day as an alternative. Once I am able to get a reusable filtered water bottle that makes it much easier to fill up without having to use the Brita before pouring into the water bottle.  This was the most meaningful challenge for me because of the amount of plastic that is disposed of everyday. The trash collected in places such as the Great Pacific Garage Patch or even everyday landfills is a serious issue that needs to be fixed. Luckily this seems to be becoming a more and more recognized issue across the United States with more and more people beginning to implement reusable water bottles into their daily life. All in all, the daily and one time challenges of the Eco-challenge are not only beneficial to the environment but have also been a welcome addition to my own personal life.


    • Andrew Stuhl's avatar
      Andrew Stuhl 9/14/2020 12:05 PM
      Awesome Brian!! Great to hear you took the time to get out to Dale's Ridge and experience that little slice of Central PA historic and natural beauty. And definitely if you are feeling like the daily commitment to exercise is getting to be too much of a time burden, you can dial down the daily "minutes" on exercise to something more manageable. It's really about the daily commitment and repetition rather than the total amount of time. Also, be sure in your future journal entries to make more explicit connection to the readings / resources that you read as part of your selected eco challenges. That's an expectation of the journal entries in this Unit. Happy to talk more!