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Stephen Schousen

Bucknell ENST 246 - Spring 20224

POINTS TOTAL

  • 0 TODAY
  • 35 THIS WEEK
  • 946 TOTAL

participant impact

  • UP TO
    8.7
    pounds
    food waste prevented
  • UP TO
    18
    pounds of CO2
    have been saved
  • UP TO
    150
    minutes
    being mindful
  • UP TO
    55
    plastic bottles
    not sent to the landfill
  • UP TO
    38
    plastic straws
    not sent to the landfill
  • UP TO
    434
    gallons of water
    have been saved
  • UP TO
    57
    more servings
    of fruits and vegetables
  • UP TO
    29
    neighbors
    met
  • UP TO
    102
    minutes
    spent outdoors
  • UP TO
    43
    minutes
    spent learning

Stephen's actions

Food

Weekly Meal Planning

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

COMPLETED 19
DAILY ACTIONS

Community

Meet My Neighbors

I will meet 1 new neighbor(s) each day.

COMPLETED 20
DAILY ACTIONS

Waste

Find Local Recycling Depots

I will find out where to recycle the recyclable items that I can't put in recycling dumpsters or my curbside bin.

COMPLETED
ONE-TIME ACTION

Waste

Use a Reusable Water Bottle

I will keep 1 disposable plastic bottle(s) from entering the waste stream by using a reusable water bottle.

COMPLETED 19
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 19
DAILY ACTIONS

Health

Learn About Local Environmental Justice Concerns

I will spend 10 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

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 1 plastic straw(s) of out of the ocean each day.

COMPLETED 21
DAILY ACTIONS

Energy

Learn About Renewable Energy

I will spend 30 minutes learning more about renewable energy alternatives (i.e. solar, wind, biomass) in my region.

COMPLETED
ONE-TIME ACTION

Energy

Adjust the Thermostat

I will adjust my thermostat down 2 degrees from usual when I use the heat, and up 2 degrees when I use air conditioning.

COMPLETED 22
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

Eat Mindfully

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

COMPLETED 24
DAILY ACTIONS

Nature

Enjoy the Sunrise/Sunset

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

COMPLETED 24
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?


  • Stephen Schousen's avatar
    Stephen Schousen 2/19/2024 5:10 AM
    Journal 4


    1. I’ve learned that I take really long showers. This is definitely an area that I can improve in. While I did not select that as my eco-challenge, I traditionally don’t use straws so I didn’t really need to adjust my life in terms of the challenge I selected. I also end up taking several showers a day. Usually, one in the morning before class, one after my run or bike ride, and one after my evening swim or lift. This seems like a lot, so I’ve tried to get my first workout of the day out of the way before class, or on days that I can lift immediately after my run or ride. This can get me down to 2 showers a day and save a lot of water. I’ve tried to be mindful about my water usage in other areas as well. Little things like remembering to turn off the water when I am washing dishes and not actually rinsing a dish, and turning off the water while brushing my teeth. I’ve also learned that I eat a ton of food. I used to eat predominantly at the bison and the commons, and aside from being really expensive it ends up being pretty unhealthy and unsustainable. I’d get 2-3 takeout containers a day along with plastic bags and the like. I’ve switched to doing most of my own cooking and this has been great for my health and my environmental impact. I typically gain a pound or two when I am at school but I didn’t this semester cooking for myself. I also notice that I produce less waste and can be mindful of the type of produce and meats I am buying. I also definitely do not eat enough fruits and vegetables at school, and I’ve made a conscious effort to get a serving in with every meal. Berries with my granola in the morning, vegetables mixed in with my rice at dinner, and avocado toast typically for lunch. As far as energy is concerned, I prefer to be cold and usually sleep with the window open in the winter, so the thermostat is already at its lowest setting in our place.
    2. I’ve learned that organic isn’t everything. Typically, when I shop, I buy organic options whenever possible. I assumed that they were simply superior and the Co-Op I work for deals almost exclusively with organic produce so I associated it with small farms and sustainable agriculture. I still buy organic berries and vegetables as I am not a fan of pesticides and organic foods do not contain as many as non-organic foods (Pollan, Naturally).I am aware however that my choices may not be as environmentally friendly as I originally believed them to be. I also realized that the Bucknell sustainability plan should really include limits on student energy usage. As I mentioned earlier, water usage in my apartment is not exactly optimized. My roommate took a 30 minute shower an hour before I wrote this, and I have had some similar lengthy showers in the past. I don’t see a section on student buy-in in the sustainability plan. Things like limiting the amount of hot water apartments have access to could go miles into making Bucknell Students more mindful of their water usage.
    3. The rejection of the supermarket middleman in favor of local, direct from source produce championed on page 2 of The Gathering Storm is a crucial piece of my diet at home and incredibly important to achieving a more sustainable culture and lifestyle. While the author in this case traded with her friends, I have the option to shop direct at CSAs, Lancaster Central Market (which happens to be the oldest year-round farmer’s market in the US), and buy from any one of hundreds of local roadside stands.

    • Andrew Stuhl's avatar
      Andrew Stuhl 2/20/2024 3:31 PM
      Nicely done Stephen! Very curious to hear more of your adventures in cooking for yourself, especially given the nutritional demands of your fitness regimen. I'm really into thinking about this (how what I eat helps fuel my workouts; how my workouts demands a certain level of nutrition if I am interested in muscle gain, etc). Would love to talk more about it. I'm also interested in the notion of the Sustainability Plan placing limits on student use (rather than just encouraging conservation). How do you see that playing out? How would students receive this? I really don't know; I'm curious to hear what you think.

  • Stephen Schousen's avatar
    Stephen Schousen 2/05/2024 4:50 AM
    I thought experimenting with certain changes to my lifestyle was an incredibly useful experience as it helped me not only understand how decisions I make can have a greater impact on the surrounding world but also how certain pieces of my life could be adjusted to become more efficient and intentional. I found the challenges of eating without distractions and watching the sunrise to be really valuable in grounding me and making me more mindful going into my day. I usually wake up pretty early but I also either have a workout or homework in the morning before class, so I definitely feel like I’m in a bit of a rush. By the time I show up to my 8:30 class I feel a little stressed already. I found that taking the time to eat my breakfast in peace and watch the sunrise really helped me to relax myself before my day started. Unfortunately, It is definitely a bit of a time commitment and I'll only be getting busier as the semester goes on. My one time challenge was to write down a list of core values, which I’ve definitely done before, but It’s important to see how these evolve and reiterate them a couple of times. Understanding what you find legitimately valuable is incredibly important to de-stressing. We all worry too much. When I found myself frustrated about something, I would simply take a breath, ask myself how seriously this impacted the things I found valuable, and usually realize it was unimportant.

    As far as barriers I face to making these challenges permanent, I think that in a way, there are none. I may adjust these challenges to better fit my lifestyle but remembering to take a minute to be mindful in the morning is certainly something that I can continue to do after the challenge is over, and considering how much better it has made me feel on the days I have done it, I certainly will try and continue with the practice in some way shape or form going forward. As a philosophy major, I spend a lot of time trying to flesh out the things that are legitimately important to me, but I find that I rarely actually take these into consideration when making decisions. My strategy of taking a step back and asking myself whether a certain situation is actually something that matters or simply a minor inconvenience has made my life markedly better and I certainly will continue with that. I was shocked at how much simply was not an issue when I considered it more thoroughly.

    As I didn’t have any challenges that were a massive departure from my norm, I think that I won’t have much of an issue making these challenges (in some way, shape, or form) permanent. While it feels good to be able to incorporate these challenges into my life so easily, I think that I should step out of my comfort zone a little more as we go forward.



    • Andrew Stuhl's avatar
      Andrew Stuhl 2/13/2024 10:44 AM
      Good work Stephen! Glad to hear you are feeling some of the benefits of eating mindfully and watching the sunrise. Also, I encourage / applaud you for wanting to seek out some more "challenging" challenges, just to see what you can learn thru them. I'm so appreciative of how you worded/framed the "core values" task - as a great tool for checking-in/centering when we are stressing or ruminating on something. Is it important? The same tool can be used for when we are evaluating a purchase or an invite from a friend for some event or opportunity? Will this thing (to buy, to go spend time at) bring me closer to my values? If the answer is no, why do it?
  • REFLECTION QUESTION
    Nature Enjoy the Sunrise/Sunset
    Father Thomas Berry says, "... our primary purpose is celebration. Celebration of the dawn and the sunset and the different seasons of the year is a religious ritual, a way in which humans can establish their integral relationship with the universe, with the planet Earth." What is your response to Berry's assertion?

    Stephen Schousen's avatar
    Stephen Schousen 1/29/2024 5:21 AM
    1. I’m really excited for the upcoming community challenges. We have some new neighbors this semester so I will definitely make sure that I meet them, but I’m mostly looking forward to connecting with a non-profit. I’m looking for non-profit internships for this summer at the moment, and I’m really excited to get to know as many of them as possible. I think the community challenges will be incredibly beneficial to me personally as I can definitely fall into my own little bubble at times. It’s good to have a reminder that the world is larger than classes, my friends, and my training. I think these challenges will serve as a great reminder to interact with the world around me.
    2. I’m looking forward to my one-time challenge of cleaning my room, but I really like the challenge of watching the sunrise every day. I end up being incredibly busy, on Mondays and Wednesdays especially, and usually do not make it home after my evening swim session until well after 10 PM. Days like those are incredibly important to forming good habits (not just sustainability wise, but health-wise, intellectually, and spiritually too). When we have little free time, we fall into our routines, whether they be for better or worse. I find that watching the sunrise while doing my readings for my morning classes is a phenomenal way to ground myself. It may take three to five minutes of my time, and I can even pair it with eating breakfast. I love starting my day with a simple exercise in mindfulness and temperance, and even if it takes a few minutes, I find that being in the right headspace to begin my day ends up saving me time later as I am more intentional about my day. The Thorneau reading mentions a kind of northern industrial capitalist slavery, and I don’t think that culture has changed much since then. Being mindful is an incredibly important way to disconnect from the system and keep your personal priorities at the forefront of your actions in a world that makes it very difficult to avoid consumerism. I also appreciate distraction less-eating. When I’m at home, I’m thankful to have a fridge stocked with local produce and meat, as well as my parent’s phenomenal cooking. At school, however, eating becomes either a recreational activity or a quick afterthought. Certainly not a healthy way to appreciate the food I am consuming. Avoiding instagram for the minute it takes me to eat my breakfast bar, much like watching the sunrise, is a great grounding activity that helps me get into the right headspace for my morning classes.
    3. The Industrial Tourism reading mentions cars as an incredibly damaging aspect of modern tourism, and interestingly enough, the author cites the drivers as being a prime victim. I definitely had a similar experience when I visited the western national parks a couple of summers ago and I think the transportation challenges are going to be super interesting. I already bike almost everywhere, but improving a bus stop and making public transportation better for those who rely on it is super important.





    • Andrew Stuhl's avatar
      Andrew Stuhl 1/30/2024 6:30 AM
      Appreciate this journal, Stephen! I see you mentioning readings and connecting the author's thoughts to your own reflection on the EcoChallenge. That's good. I want to push you to always include page references when you mention readings, and, ideally, you'd also include a quote here or there. These moves -- citing our sources and quoting directly -- are hallmarks of excellent writing because they improve your credibility and professionalism as a critical writer. I liked hearing about your excitement to meet new neighbors and your practice of taking time to yourself for mindfulness at the start of each day. That's amazing and I'm excited to see you work on doing that consistently this EcoChallenge. I find consistency (and, by extension, discipline) is such an important counter/antidote to what you also wrote about: the "unthinking" routines we fall into.