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Cara O’Neill's avatar

Cara O’Neill

ENST 246 : Environmental Activism

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 497 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    24
    pounds of CO2
    have been saved
  • up to
    2
    documentaries
    watched
  • up to
    150
    minutes
    spent exercising
  • up to
    15
    conversations
    with people
  • up to
    225
    minutes
    spent learning
  • up to
    63
    meatless or vegan meals
    consumed
  • up to
    150
    minutes
    spent outdoors
  • up to
    2
    public officials or leaders
    contacted
  • up to
    1,745
    gallons of water
    have been saved

Cara's Actions

Waste

Go Paperless

I will reduce the amount of paper mail that I receive by 0.11lbs (0.05kg) a day or 3.3lbs (1.6kg) a month by opting into paperless billing, ending unwanted subscriptions and opting out of junk mail.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Water

Say No to Plastic Straws

An estimated 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with plastics in their stomachs. When they ingest plastic, marine life has a 50% mortality rate. By asking for no straw when placing a drink order, I will keep 3 plastic straw(s) of out of the ocean each day.

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 0
DAILY ACTIONS

Transportation

Advocate for Greener Vehicles

I will spend at least 45 minutes assessing the vehicles used by my company or college and advocate for a purchasing policy focused on fuel-efficient vehicles.

Completed
One-Time Action

Nature

Go for a Daily Walk

I will take a 30-minute walk outside each day.

COMPLETED 5
DAILY ACTIONS

Community

Talk To My Friends and Classmates

I will decide which social or environmental issue in my community is most important to me and tell 3 friends and/or classmates each day about the issue.

COMPLETED 5
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 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

Energy

Turn it off

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

COMPLETED 13
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Reduce Animal Products

I will enjoy 2 meatless meal(s) and/or 1 vegan meal(s) each day this week.

COMPLETED 21
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

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 22
DAILY ACTIONS

Feed


  • Cara O’Neill's avatar
    Cara O’Neill 3/07/2019 10:31 AM
    Mid Journal Unit 2 

    This week, I added going strawless, paperless, and decluttering my room to my challenges. Paperless was a one-time challenge where I was supposed to sign up for electronic mail instead of paper mail but since I live at school I have yet to figure out an alternative to this, so when I go home I’m going to talk to my parents about applying this at home which I think they will be really eager to do/ help me with. Going strawless has been kind of a challenge if I want an iced drink from seventh street or the library because they really isn’t an alternative to this besides getting a hot drink or buying a reusable cup with a reusable straw. I have to find out if they would even fill one of those up for me or if that isn’t allowed. If they don’t fill up reusable mugs or cups that is definitely something that should be fixed on campus. Since I couldn’t fulfill my one-time challenge just yet, I decided to reduce my daily paper usage instead until I complete the one-time challenge. This challenge actually made my life so much easier because I never had to worry about rushing to find a printer on my way to class and it saved me money since I don’t have to pay to print out documents in color. This is definitely a change I’m going to make permanent in my life. Obviously, I am going to have to print out some assignments and papers but will definitely avoid this whenever I can. Additionally, this week I came to the realization that I have almost completely given up meat in my diet. One of my challenges the first week was to not eat meat for one to two meals a day and now gradually I have almost completely cut it out. When I am home this week I think my meat intake will increase but overall, I am so used to not eating meat now it will definitely decrease in general. 
    Finally, my last daily challenge this week was decluttering my room and up keeping its cleanliness. I genuinely have felt the positive effects of this already. For example, it feels so satisfying walking into my clean room after cleaning it. It feels so chaotic when clothes are everywhere and I can’t step on the floor without stepping on something. According to usnews.com, decluttering your home or room has been proven to improve decision making, decrease stress and anxiety, and helps to be more efficient and productive. My personal experience definitely lines up with these studies. I notice a big difference walking into my room after a long day when it is clean as opposed to when it’s messy and cluttered. When it’s cluttered it gives me anxiety and immediately stresses me out, whereas when it’s clean I feel refreshed and peaceful walking in. Additionally, according to mindbodygreen.com, decluttering your space makes sleep deeper. Although I don’t think I have personally noticed this, I have never had problems or trouble falling asleep so I don’t think I would notice this in any situation. However, I’m sure for some people this makes a huge difference in their sleep habits. 


    • Dayane Da Silva's avatar
      Dayane Da Silva 3/17/2019 5:44 PM
      Hello Cara, I really enjoyed reading your mid Journal for Unit 2 and learning a little bit about your challenges and how you were dealing with the changes in your daily life. It was interesting reading about your challenge of going strawless, I also chose that as one of my challenge and like yourself, I really enjoy getting my drinks from the 7thstreet café or the library. Since I didn’t go out of my way to get a reusable straw, what I did most of the time was get my drink without a straw or a lid and drink it directly from the cup. That was very challenging at times since I would spill it on the walk to class, but it was the best solution for me. I would love to hear how you were able to fix these issues for yourself, I know you mentioned that you were going to talk to them to see if you could use your own reusable mug. Additionally, I hope that during the break at your time at home you were able to complete going paperless challenge and were able to help your parents avoid extra paper-bills and additionally clutter. Also, it was great to hear that you basically adopted a vegetarian diet throughout the challenge, I can imagine that must have been extremely hard to change your daily life.  Overall, I found your post extremely interesting and I hope you were able to find new ways of applying these daily challenges not only here on campus, but also when you are back home! 

  • Cara O’Neill's avatar
    Cara O’Neill 2/28/2019 10:59 AM
    Mid Journal Unit 2

    This week, I added talking to friends about shorter showers each day, advocating for a purchasing policy on fuel efficient vehicles, and to walk 30 mins each day. These challenges were difficult in that we are doing many more challenges than the first week so remembering and keeping track of them all can be a challenge. However, some of my challenges from previous weeks have started to become habitual and incorporated into my daily life. For example, turning off the lights when I leave my dorm in the morning or when I leave the bathroom I do without thinking now. Additionally, powering off my computer when I’m not using has also become a habit for me. I am also much more conscious of my meat intake and although I don’t think I will be totally vegetarian at the end of this challenge, I definitely have cut most meat of my diet. Limiting my showers to five minutes has also become a part of my daily routine. I have also found how much time this can save me. In relation to shorter showers, I began talking to my friends about the influence of taking shorter showers. I told my friends that it not only can save immense amounts of water, but can also save time in the day. I feel like people don’t realize how much water it can actually save and don’t think their individual shower can really make a difference. A lot of my friends say their showers are already fairly short because the showers in our dorm aren’t great showers so nobody really wants to be in there for very long, which I can definitely relate to. 
    For my challenge of walking 30 minutes everyday, I definitely haven’t been consistent for this challenge every day because some days I forget or really just don’t have the time. Although, between my walks from class to class to dance to the cafeteria to the library every day, I definitely reach thirty minutes of walking. I realized after doing some research that the important part of this challenge wasn’t really about walking but it was about experiencing and enjoying nature. According to the Berkeley article I read (https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_happens_when_we_reconnect_with_nature), being in nature can have positive impacts on our bodies, minds, feelings, and social interactions. This article also mentions how being in nature increases “prosocial” behavior, like kindness and generosity. Additionally, according to “yesmagazine.org”, taking walks outside and going on hikes can help people get rid of suicidal thoughts. This just goes to show how much good the environment can do for us, which I think people can neglect in this time of technology, smartphones, and booming cities. I really want to make time to just go on a walk around campus without having a destination and just enjoying the area around me. I feel like a lot of times I did this for the challenge I had too many other things on my mind and was too stressed or distracted to truly enjoy the walk. I think once I can clear my mind I will start feeling the benefits of being outside. 

    • Clarissa Hand's avatar
      Clarissa Hand 3/04/2019 7:10 AM
      I am so impressed that you talked to others about the purchasing policy of fuel efficient vehicles. I am curious about the context and how effective you found your advocacy being. I totally understand being more stressed with more eco challenges that we need to do, but it sounds like you are doing a great job! I just started turning off my computer for this week's challenges and I am happy that that is now a habit for you. Hopefully, I will one day reach that point!I am curious what strategies you have used to take shorter showers. I started that challenge last week and I am still trying to cut it down. I am no under five minutes yet but I definitely getting closer.  I totally agree with what you are saying about how much shower is used during showers. I never thought about it either until I actually started looking into it. I have always been told that showers use less water than baths, but now I realize that that is incorrect. This is because it is correct but only if you take showers that are less than five minutes. It is also hard to take a bath campus since there is no infrastructure for it. That is so interesting how being in nature increases “prosocial” behavior, like kindness and generosity. I really want to start incorporating more walks into my daily routine. I think I am going to really miss that ring on Bucknell’s campus. Great job Cara! 

  • Cara O’Neill's avatar
    Cara O’Neill 2/21/2019 10:26 AM
     Mid Journal Unit 2
    Word Count: 589
    This week, I added on 5 minute showers, turning off lights when leaving a room, and fixing a leaky faucet. These challenges are much easier for me to stay on top of than last week’s challenges. For example, taking a five minute shower is actually quite doable as long as I am efficient in the shower and don’t lose track of time. Being conscious of turning off the lights when leaving the room is super easy to physically do. The challenge I have faced with this is always remembering to turn them off. It’s hard to stay conscious of that all the time. Another aspect of this challenge that I have become more aware of is turning off the lights in the bathroom when I leave. There’s really no reason to leave them on when I leave and nobody else is in there, especially if it’s late at night. My one time challenge was to fix a leaky faucet. I was a little nervous about this challenge only because I feel like I haven’t seen a leaky faucet in a while so I wasn’t convinced I was going to have the opportunity to complete this challenge. However, shortly after signing up for this challenge I was filling up my water bottle in the water fountain on my hall and I saw the bottom of the water fountain was leaking water onto the ground every time the fountain turned on. I found instructions on who to email to put in a work order and I sent in the work order within two minutes. Facilities came soon after and fixed the leaky water fountain. 
     Before doing more research on my challenges this week , I wasn’t entirely sure how much of a difference these challenges were actually making. However, according to green lifestyles.com, cutting my showers down to five minutes can save thousands of gallons of water and hundreds of pounds of CO2 emissions a year. Another thing I was surprised about was the impact the type of shower head has on the eco footprint a shower leaves. Apparently, installing a low flow shower head can save tons of water. 
     When doing research about my turning off all the lights challenge, I came across a super interesting fact. If every US college student replaced a regular light bulb with an LED light bulb, we could avoid the emissions of a small commercial power plant (smarterhouse.org). That is crazy to think about and such an easy change to make. 
     As far as making these changes permanent, I think adding these into my lifestyle is very realistic. Being conscious of turning off lights when you leave the room is saving money, saving energy, and so easy to do. On top of this,  taking a five minute shower would be fairly easy for me to make permanent, considering I have never been one to take incredibly long showers. Seeing how much water and CO2 can be saved by limiting my shower time by a few minutes is also a major reason for me to continue these short showers. However, as far as the low flow shower heads go, I don’t really have a say in the type of shower heads my dorm has so I think this is unrealistic for me at this time in my life. I will definitely suggest making this switch to my parents at home however. Reporting a leaky faucet was so easy and quick I will definitely continue to report leaky faucets around campus when I spot them. 

  • Cara O’Neill's avatar
    Cara O’Neill 2/14/2019 10:02 AM
    Mid Journal Unit Two 
    For my challenges this week, I chose to make changes in my diet (one meatless meal, one vegan meal), turn off my computer whenever I’m not using it, and my one time challenge was to watch a food sovereignty documentary. Surprisingly enough, turning off my computer has definitely been the most difficult for me because it always seems to slip my mind. I just have to make it more of a habit in order to be more consistent. I thought that eating vegan would be much easier than it is for me. I eat almost every meal in the cafeteria so I figured once a day I would eat their vegan option. This proved to be kind of difficult for me because I have a few food allergies, including all nuts, and many of the vegan options they have contain nuts. I also am trying to cut down on carbs in my diet  and I feel like I often turned to pasta for a vegan option, which is all carbs. Cutting down on meats in my diet was actually pretty easy because I really like eggs which are alternative form of protein. I definitely could see myself cutting down significantly on my meat intake throughout the day, as doing this part of the challenge hasn’t been terribly difficult. However, I think going vegan is unrealistic for me, especially at this time in my life, because I just end up turning to innutritious options, like a bagel or pasta. However, even next year when I will have more dining options, I could see how eating more vegan meals could be realistic. 
    Another important reason I would really consider cutting meat out of my diet is because of the resources I read. Before reading these articles or starting this challenge, I really never realized how much of an impact one person can really make by cutting things like meat and cheese out of their diet. Usually, the reason I would make a diet change would be to feel better or more energized. Now I definitely am considering the environmental effects of my food choices. For example, according to “Meat Eaters Guide to Climate Change and Health”, if a four person family cuts out steak once a week, it’s equivalent to taking a car off the road for three months. This is a comparison I never would have made. This was so surprising to me and definitely is something I could relate to, as I am in a family of 5 and we definitely had steak and least twice a week at home. Another piece of information from this article that really surprised me is that 20% of all edible meat end up in landfills, this is far higher than I would’ve guessed. I feel like a small change I could make is getting smaller portions to begin with and just getting more if I want. On the other hand, starting with a large portion and not finishing it is wasteful. I also feel like many restaurants have huge portions that are unnecessary a lot of the time. 



    • Tyler Strobel's avatar
      Tyler Strobel 2/17/2019 9:17 AM
      I really relate to your thoughts on the food options on this campus. I think that the caf is a decent system overall, but there are lots of problems in it. The lack of composting, the increasing prices (while first-years and transfers are required to buy a plan), the “one fruit” rule, the lack of allergy-free options, the lack of vegan food… I think all these add up to making pursuing environmentally friendly meal decisions much more difficult. I cannot imagine doing this challenge as a first year. As a senior, I have more flexibility, although I am equally trapped in a fraternity meal plan. Thus, I agree with you when you say “going vegan is unrealistic for me, especially at this time in my life, because I just end up turning to innutritious options, like a bagel or pasta.” I think if the administration were to commit to a better food provider that Parkhurst (as they discussed at the Sustainability Draft Forum), real positive change on this campus could be a viable consequence. 

      I also liked your comments on habits. I think one of the strengths of this eco-challenge system is the habit-building it provides. To do something new for four weeks straight (more or less) is enough to establish the thing as a habit, especially if you follow the theory that habits take 30 days to become cemented. I think it’ll be very interesting to see where we are at the end of this unit, to see what we’ve changed in our lives and what we’re willing to make permanent.