Tyler Strobel

ENST 246 : Environmental Activism

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 699 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    90
    minutes
    spent learning
  • up to
    6
    meatless or vegan meals
    consumed
  • up to
    135
    disposable cups
    not sent to the landfill
  • up to
    200
    minutes
    spent exercising
  • up to
    635
    minutes
    spent outdoors
  • up to
    390
    minutes
    not spent in front of a screen
  • up to
    1
    documentaries
    watched
  • up to
    11
    hours
    volunteered
  • up to
    12
    more servings
    of fruits and vegetables
  • up to
    1
    donations
    made
  • up to
    2
    locally sourced meals
    consumed
  • up to
    72
    gallons of water
    have been saved

Challenges

Waste

Use a Reusable Mug

I will avoid sending 5 disposable cup(s) to the landfill each day by using a reusable mug.

COMPLETED 27 OF 90
DAILY CHALLENGE

Nature

Explore My Area

I will explore at least one new hiking trail or nature walk in my area.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Health

Avoid refined sugar

I will adopt a diet free of refined sugars, which eliminates sweetened beverages, candy, and processed foods.

COMPLETED 24 OF 90
DAILY CHALLENGE

Waste

Carry my Trash

I will carry all of my unrecyclable, non-compostable trash with me to raise my awareness of how much I send to the landfill.

COMPLETED 19 OF 90
DAILY CHALLENGE

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 Challenge

Waste

Use Reusable Bags

I will not accept any disposable bags when making purchases.

COMPLETED 18 OF 90
DAILY CHALLENGE

Energy

Donate to or Volunteer for Low-Income Solar Initiatives

Whether it's by donating or volunteering, I will research the benefits of low-income solar and find out how I can support low-income solar initiatives in my area.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Nature

Go for a Daily Walk

I will take a 10-minute walk outside each day.

COMPLETED 20 OF 90
DAILY CHALLENGE

Community

Volunteer in my Community

I will volunteer 6 hour(s) in my community during the challenge.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Simplicity

Needs Vs. Wants

I will adopt a "Needs Vs. Wants" approach and only buy things I need.

COMPLETED 12 OF 90
DAILY CHALLENGE

Water

Brush My Teeth Without Running Water

I will save up to 8 gallons (30 L) of water each day by turning it off while brushing my teeth.

COMPLETED 9 OF 90
DAILY CHALLENGE

Nature

Spend Time Outside

I will replace 30 minute(s) each day typically spent inside (computer time, watching television, etc.) with quality time outside.

COMPLETED 13 OF 90
DAILY CHALLENGE

Transportation

Improve a Bus Stop

I will improve a bus stop in my neighborhood by posting the stop schedule, adding seating or shelter, adding art or flowers, picking up litter, or some other small improvement.

Uncompleted
One-Time Challenge

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 6 OF 90
DAILY CHALLENGE

Food

Buy From a Farmers Market

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

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Food

Reduce Animal Products

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

COMPLETED 3 OF 90
DAILY CHALLENGE

Feed


  • Tyler Strobel 3/07/2019 7:53 AM
    This week was simultaneously the easiest and the hardest week yet. For daily challenges, I added eating vegetarian/vegan meals and eating two more servings of vegetables. For one-time challenges, I added going to a farmers market and improving a local bus stop. Some of them, like eating more vegetables and going to a farmers market, were easy changes to my lifestyle, actions that I absorbed into habits easily (I don’t have class on Wednesdays until 1, so it’s easy to make it to the farmers market here, for example). The others were much harder. For eating vegan/vegetarian, it was a true challenge, as I’m stuck on a very vegetarian-unfriendly meal plan. I was reminded of high school when I was trying to eat vegan, as I went vegan and gluten free for a semester in 10th grade. It was hard then and it was hard now. The sources I read talk about how eating vegetarian/vegan is far better for the environment than eating meat because livestock requires food to be grown for them to eat plus the food the produce when we kill them. Additionally, cows produce a lot of methane, which adds up to being more than all cars’ and boats’ emissions combined. I think following a mostly vegetarian diet is ideal, but a true vegan diet is idealistic. Nothing against veganism or vegans, but I think that in our current food system, unless you live on or near a farm or live in a place where fresh produce is easily accessible, it is very expensive to obtain food. Yes, vegan options are becoming more available, but they still remain horrendously expensive compared to subsidized food products, ultimately limiting veganism to a certain socioeconomic class. One of the reasons I stopped being a vegan in high school (other than eating a vegan frozen pizza and instantly regretting it) was because of this price barrier. I’ve already cut beef from my diet, and haven’t have it in almost 3 months. If I end up in that class when college is done, I’ll probably be partly vegan or, at least, follow a chicken-seafood-vegetables diet. Personally, I think the ethical side of vegetarianism/veganism is interesting. One the one hand, as a nonanthropocentricism-extensionist (maybe a biocentricist?), I understand the argument of not killing animals. However, on the other hand, a lot of agricultural workers that produce the “basics” of veganism (legumes, grains, protein-dense vegetables) work in bad conditions as well. I think if we are to fully embrace vegetarianism/veganism, our entire food system needs an overhaul. If we are to reduce meat consumption, there are ethical, economic, and regional concerns that must be addressed and handled properly. Thinking about this makes me think of activism on campus and the best way to promote it. Is it better to antagonize people for eating meat (or the lack of activism on campus) or is it better to empower them somehow, emphasizing the good they’re doing, not the bad? Just a thought or two. That being said, I think adding more servings of vegetables to my diet is an easy change, one that I’m willing to make permanent. 
    522 words


  • Tyler Strobel 2/27/2019 8:43 AM
    This week, like last week, was simultaneously simple and challenging. As this is the third week of the EcoChallenge, the challenges I set for myself early on are basically habits at this point. Whenever I use a cup, it’s reusable. In the small instances in which I end up using a plastic cup, I save it and reuse it at least once. I still carry my trash, although I’m producing far less non-recyclable and non-compostable trash so far. I’m partly motivated by a desire to reduce my waste, and partly by the desire to not carry around so much trash. I’m still using the same bag as I started with, and it can be discouraging to look at how many k-cups (for example) I used last week. I also don’t really use single-use bags anymore. Instead, I have a cloth bag for snacks, and a reusable bag for shopping. As for this week, I’ve added spending 30 minutes outside, brushing teeth without running water, and buying only needs, not wants. For my one-time challenges, I’m doing 6 hours of community service this week and I’m donating to low-income solar initiatives. As far as challenges go, I’m most afraid of the food challenges, and thus have been avoiding them so far. I suppose I will have to do at least one food challenge next week, won’t I?

    The challenges this week have been simple because they’re easy to incorporate into my schedule. Instead of watching Netflix, I take a 30-45 minute walk, or just sit outside (when it’s not a high-winds advisory day). Instead of running water when I brush my teeth, I either turn the tap off or I brush my teeth in the shower – it’s clean, it’s efficient, and it imposes a time restriction on my shower length. To address only buying needs, I haven’t purchased anything this week. When I run out of what I need, I’ll buy more. But I don’t see a need to buy things (especially with my rejection of processed sugar). For my first one-time challenge, I’ve donated money to a solar-initiative group working to bring solar energy to tribal nations in accessible and culturally appropriate ways. My last one-time challenge is volunteering for 6 hours. On a normal week, I typically average 1-3 hours of community service a week, either through fraternity-endorsed projects or through my own work. This semester, I have been volunteering  independently for the Merrill W. Linn Conservancy. I chose the Linn Conservancy (and specially tailored my volunteering for them) to access the second and third types of citizenship. This week, I finished up some maps of their membership using GIS and started compiling a list of grants they have historically received or grants they should consider applying for. At this moment, on Wednesday morning, I’ve completed 3 hours, and my main obstacle to completing this challenge this week is time. 

    As with challenges from previous weeks, I feel it is within reason to make several of this week’s challenges permanent. As I said, I volunteer weekly. I think that with better time-management, I could increase the amount of service I provide (especially if I continue working on an administrative level). Similarly, if there were low income solar initiatives within walking or biking distance of Bucknell (or wherever I end up next year), I could easily incorporate that into my life. I also think that spending more time outside and brushing my teeth without running water are doable. I think that making a Needs vs Wants budget is also attainable, provided I clarify what counts as a “need” (e.g. I don’t NEED to go SCUBA diving, I want to. But if I’m working as a dive instructor, or if I’m volunteering for a reef conservation group, does purchasing equipment (like a better dive computer or better fins) that will help me to facilitate change on a greater level count as a “want” or a “need?”). As pretty much everyone else has said in previous weeks, and as Fung and Adam (2017) noted, the main obstacles to making these changes permanent are time and involvement. I would hazard to go a step further and add desire as well. We can have all the time in the world, to be as involved and hold as much power as we need to effect the changes we want, but still lack the desire to be inconvenienced in pursuit of those changes. I can definitely make a Needs vs Wants budget a permanent aspect of my lifestyle. But do I actually want to? I’m not sure.
    (761 words) 


    • Andrew Stuhl 3/01/2019 9:55 AM
      your posts are always so thorough and reflective, I appreciate that! For this course, where the 'assignments' are largely experiential, the learning is in reflection, and in tying our experiences to knowledge gained by others (as in the history of enviro activism, or the resources attached to daily challenges here). so it is good that you and others doing the challenge (including me!) continue to exercise reflection. The needs vs wants budget -- yeah, I think this could be conditioned by how financially secure someone is. For me and my family, we lived off primarily one income for a very long time (when I was a PhD student and when my wife was looking for work here). It was more of a necessity than a desire to budget...but then we liked it, especially in the financial savings we witnessed! 

  • Tyler Strobel 2/20/2019 7:32 PM
    This week, I added a food sovereignty documentary, using reusable bags, carrying my trash, and walking daily to my avoidance of processed sugar and use of reusable cups. In some ways, it went smoothly. When I went shopping, I brought a reusable bag (and a plastic bulk foods bag I’d gotten last week). While I did get another plastic bulk bag, I plan on using it again when I run out of dried fruit, as Giant doesn’t accept glass containers or canvas bags (that I know of) for bulk foods. I’m using dried fruit as a substitute for processed sugars and it’s working so far. I’m also buying more sour and bitter foods (like 88% dark chocolate) as I’m finding that I actually like the complexity of flavors offered (rather than the single sensation of sweetness offered by sugar). Other than reusable bags, I carried my trash, which was surprisingly easy. I found that I both don’t want to carry the trash I generate (so I’m inclined towards seeking out reusable options or cutting out the waste from my lifestyle) and I’m doing more research into what can and cannot be recycled. Blue painters’ tape, for example, is something I always assumed could be recycled, but it actually cannot. Walking daily was lovely as well, and gave me some much needed time to process my thoughts. As for making these challenges permanent, I think that reusable bags, walking daily, and living a lower-waste lifestyle are all attainable goals. Again, the main obstacles are time and money, as well as the convenience (and inconveniences) associated with not generating trash. However, as The Trash Man (Rob Greenfield (he wore all the trash he generated for a month)) asserts, “recycling is a part of the solution… [but] it’s a highly resource and energy intensive process.” To be able to limit the plastic I consume, whether or not I reuse it, seems like a god ideal to strive for. I did have some very interesting conversations with several of my fraternity brothers this week who noticed my actions, but all were a net positive result. I do not think social pressures pose a legitimate or insurmountable obstacle to making these challenges permanent. 

    As we progress through this semester, I’m noticing trends throughout each reading or media piece we’re assigned. The world’s resources are limited, but we don’t treat it that way. As Brian Skerry said a few nights ago, “the ocean is not a grocery store… we can’t keep taking from it in an unsustainable way without it collapsing.” Similarly, Rob Greenfield notes that “reducing our waste saves us money and allows us to live a happier, healthier, and more sustainable life.” This gets at what the Minimalists were saying, and what “The Story of Stuff” argued. In the food documentary I watched, The Magic Pill, the directors discuss how simple, yet vastly more sustainable, shifts in diet from a high carb low fat diet to a high fat low carb diet can result in increased healing of people with cancer, diabetes, and epilepsy, and can boost cognitive functions. As we advance, we should also become more sustainable, more cognizant of our impacts. If I am to live a happier and healthier life, I should reduce my use of plastics. One of the saddest moments of my life (like true despairing anguish) was when I was SCUBA diving with nurse sharks and a larger female swam by with two feet of metal hook and plastic fishing line embedded in her mouth. To be in a place that has legitimately never been settled by humans (unlike any National Park), a Marine Protected Area, actually, in the waters of a country which has banned shark killing, and to see that kind of anthropogenic stress on an animal is upsetting. Nurse sharks are like the puppies of the ocean, bumping against divers and following us for whole dives. If I can save even one of them from a life of pain and discomfort by inconveniencing myself ever so slightly (carrying a reusable bag, for example), I think that’s worth the cost of my comfort. 
    (686 words)

    • Andrew Stuhl 2/21/2019 6:03 AM
      I'm so curious about what your fraternity brothers said about you carrying trash! And I totally agree about how carrying trash really brings attention to small choices that add up -- if I grab a napkin or not, if I carry utensils with me or not (no need to grab plastic ones), if I carry a paper towel a bit longer in my pocket until I find a recycling receptacle. Good practices that, otherwise, it would be easy just to 'toss' and forget that my tossing has any consequence whatsoever -- out of sight, out of mind.

  • Tyler Strobel 2/13/2019 1:05 PM
    a)    This week started easy, then got substantially harder. Surprisingly enough, cutting disposable cups from my lifestyle was very straight forward. Instead of going to the library café, I started carrying a metal tea thermos and tea in my backpack (hot water is free at the café and if you bring your own container and have the “green-bison” sticker, drinks are 25 cents cheaper. I also keep a teacup in my backpack, which I’ve continued to do. With those around, I’ve had no need to use disposable cups this week. My second challenge, cutting processed sugar, has been significantly more challenging. I’ve replaced candy with dried fruit (cherries, raisins, and dates this week) but I really love chocolate. On the first day, I had a 75% chocolate bar (which had almost no sugar, so I feel better about that) and some organic fruit snacks (is organic sugar better than processed sugar?). Overall, I’m hoping to cut corn syrup completely, while I’m still hopeful about cutting all processed sugar, organic or not. 
    b)    The challenges that face me are a low-level addiction to sugar (I feel like most people in the US are in the same boat). It’s like caffeine. Sugar just helps me function and maintain the stressed-student lifestyle. Ideally, I’d be able to cut all processed sugar from my diet. While environmentally friendly, I’m more motivated by the money I’d save on candy and desserts. Other than being in Greek life, I see no obstacles to cutting my use of disposable cups. I suppose if a coffee shop refuses my personal thermos, that would hinder my ability to avoid disposable cups. However, both on-campus cafes accept personal containers, assuming they’re clean. 
    c)    In some ways, I think being a university student is the perfect time to make drastic lifestyle changes. If I cut sugar and disposable cups now, I’ll have concrete habits to rely on in the future. Ideally, there are no major external obstacles to my cutting of sugar permanently. In accordance with the UN Sustainable Goal 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), cutting plastic use is ideal: “12.5 By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse” (http://tinyurl.com/yamgayyv). The second resource for cutting disposable cups is a site that sells plastic alternatives – glass straws, metal Tupperware, beeswax wraps, canvas bulk-food bags, metal sporks (http://tinyurl.com/y4hhx4h6). In other ways, however, I think that being a university student gets in the way of me cutting plastic. Currently, I have no “home” other than my room on campus. My family has moved, selling my old home, and 99% of my possessions are here in Lewisburg. I have no kitchen, no place to store bulk-food, no reliable income to afford spending $80 on metal food containers. While I want to have all of these in the future, I don’t think now is the right time logistically to shift to plastic-free lifestyle. I can absolutely cut plastic and Styrofoam cups from my life, or at least limit my use of disposable plastics. If I buy a milkshake, then proceed to reuse the plastic cup until it’s unusable, I feel that that’s a decent compromise for the time being.