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Blake Turner

amy minato


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Blake's actions


Install a Low-Flow Showerhead

I will save up to 15 gal (56 L) of water a day or 450 gal (1,680 L) a month by installing a low-flow showerhead.



Volunteer in my Community

I will volunteer 3 hour(s) in my community during the challenge.



Go For A Daily Walk Outside

I will take a walk outside for 30 minutes each day.



Use a Reusable Mug

I will avoid sending 1 disposable cup(s) to the landfill each day by using a reusable mug.



Reduce Animal Products

I will enjoy 3 meatless meal(s) and/or 0 vegan meal(s) each day this week.



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.


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?

  • Blake Turner's avatar
    Blake Turner 3/10/2024 9:16 PM
    For my Eighth Eco Challenge, I chose to install a low-flow showerhead. My home is older, and has a lot of old-water hungry fixtures. The faucets have already been replaced fairly recently, but the bathtub/showers are antiquated.

    I found a showerhead that is rated at 1.8 GPM. The showerhead I replaced I measured at roughly 5 GPM, so this is a significant improvement.

    It was something to get used to showering with less water, as it seemed to take longer to rinse out my hair, but in the end it wasn’t a big hassle. The change only took a few minutes. I’ll be keeping the old head to use in a watering system I plan on making, since it is pretty nice.

  • Blake Turner's avatar
    Blake Turner 3/03/2024 8:14 PM
    For my Seventh Eco Challenge, I chose to volunteer in my Community. Irregularly volunteered for Oregon Mesa, hosted in the PSU School of Engineering. This Saturday (March 2nd) was MESA Demo Day in Portland.

    For MESA Demo Day, Middle and High School students had to design an invention to overcome the challenge, which was environmental conservation of the Willamette River. My role was to help coach these students with their pitch, and help them think about their project with sustainability in mind, a perfect fit! I talked with these brilliant students, listening to their process and giving them guidance on how sustainability can be highlighted, and be presented as a benefit to their process.

    One team’s prototype was a device to count lampreys to measure their population. After discussing their prototype, I asked them how they planned to be sustainable and integrate into the environment. As I coached them and asked them guiding questions (the process is important, these need to be THEIR ideas, not mine), they came up with the idea to use recycled plastic and make the housing of their device resemble a log, in order to blend in with the environment better.

    I love working with Middle School students, as they’re a fun age, and this was a fun experience to be a part of. I always find volunteering with MESA a rewarding experience (I’ve been doing it since 2018), and will likely continue to in the future!

    • Blake Turner's avatar
      Blake Turner 3/03/2024 8:19 PM
      I forgot to post some images from the event:

      I'm in the background of a few of these, but naturally the focus was on the students!

  • Blake Turner's avatar
    Blake Turner 2/25/2024 7:03 PM
    For my sixth Eco Challenge, I chose to support public transportation. I normally take the bus to class and work, but I drive to get groceries, run errands, etc. I live in a suburb, so walking is not practical, and riding the bus with a week’s worth of groceries in the rain is not an enjoyable experience. Because of that, I decided to make this my challenge to go outside my normal comfort zone.

    I mainly drive to go grocery shopping. Typically when I meet with friends or attend work events, I’ll take transit since they are usually downtown. Initially, my strategy was to do my usual 2 weeks worth of shopping and try to drag everything home, but I decided instead to shift my strategy. Instead, I would break it up into smaller trips to make it easier to manage on the bus. Unfortunately because of my work schedule, I got to ride crowded buses during rush hour, as I didn’t want to ride the bus carrying a bunch of stuff in the rain AND dark.

    Taking the bus to go grocery shopping ended up taking a lot of time out of my day, as the transit was longer, and I had to take more trips. This likely won’t be my new normal, however I am more cognisant of how much stuff I need to move. I already limit my driving, as I tend to get my groceries two weeks at a time.

    • Alex Crowe's avatar
      Alex Crowe 2/25/2024 8:22 PM
      Hey Blake, great write up! I had a similar experience for my ecochallenge, where I substituted walking for driving. Sometimes the sustainable solution isn't the most practical one or reasonable one. I think you highlighted an important aspect of both of our ecochallenges; even if your not switching to this new form of transportation, you should at the very least should consider how your normal form of transportation (such as driving) could be reduced throughout the week.

  • Blake Turner's avatar
    Blake Turner 2/18/2024 9:11 PM
    Eco Challenge Report Five

    For my fifth Eco Challenge, I chose to go for a daily walk outside. It’s simple, but in the busy life of a college student that also has a demanding job, sometimes it can be hard to find time to simply take a walk outside (the rain certainly doesn’t help!).

    The difficult part of this process was to find time in the day to walk outside in a way that felt safe. I work and go to classes, and it is winter. The sun sets early, and I often get home close to dark. I already walk from my bus stop, which is only a ½ mile each way. I felt that the spirit of this challenge was in elective walking.

    I ended up deciding that instead of getting on the bus stop at PSU after work/class, I would instead walk through South Waterfront and across Tilikum Crossing. This is a 1.5 mile walk and takes about thirty minutes. By doing my walk before my commute, I can get a meaningful walk in before darkness sets in. Plus it is nice to walk in this area, I really like the view of the city from Tilikum. I’m an engineer in spirit, so I like looking at the bridges and all the commotion of the city.

    Doing this all week was a bit much as it takes time I don’t have. Plus it isn’t pleasant in the rain, which was thankfully light this week. I probably won’t do this every day, but I’ll definitely take advantage of sunny days and longer evenings as we move into spring.

  • Blake Turner's avatar
    Blake Turner 2/11/2024 8:26 PM
    For my fourth Eco Challenge, I chose to use a reusable mug. I drink coffee in the morning that is provided by my work. However the coffee machine has paper cups next to it, and everyone (including me) just grabs a cup, fills it up, and goes about their day.

    Like most people, I have a stash of mugs at my house, but I never bothered to bring one to work, until now. I grabbed an old Christmas mug we’ve had around the house for as long as I can remember, and brought it to work (all the mugs we have are Christmas themed, as my mom is very into Christmas and they’re mostly used for hot chocolate).

    Aside from the design choice definitely being commented on by my co-workers, it was not a difficult change to make. I just rinsed out the mug when I was done with my morning coffee and left it at my desk throughout the day.

    The impact is 1 paper cup a day, but I know my Christmas mug made people aware of my using a mug, so hopefully they’ll try to best me by bringing out their obscure, wacky mugs.

  • Blake Turner's avatar
    Blake Turner 2/04/2024 10:07 PM
    Eco Challenge Report Three

    For my third Eco Challenge, I chose to reduce animal products. The reasons I chose this are twofold. The first is that many of the other topics revolved around cooking and consuming fresh food and non-processed food, which does not fit with my current lifestyle (I rely on the low cost and extended shelf life of non-organic food like pasta and processed food), and second I am already vegetarian, so found this to be an interesting challenge.

    I like dairy products. While I went vegetarian ten years ago, I still consume dairy regularly, especially milk. Nothing beats a glass of cold milk in the morning with my breakfast for me. However I have been considering reducing my dairy intake as it would be a healthier decision. This week’s eco-challenge seemed like a good opportunity to do that.

    I decided to ask a friend of mine for some advice on milk alternatives. I didn’t know where to start, and buying a bunch of different kinds hardly seemed sustainable! She recommended I try almond milk as it was her favorite, so I bought some and committed to substituting my cow’s milk with milk that was somehow persuaded from an almond.

    I was NOT a fan of the taste when drinking it raw. I’m picky when it comes to milk (there are some brands I don’t like), so I expected as much. However when I poured it over my cereal, I found it acceptable. So I spent this week drinking water with my breakfast, and almond milk in the cereal bowl. I don’t live alone, and I definitely got some comments about ‘how do you milk an almond?’ I always find it interesting how such a small change elicits such a response.

    The almond milk I got was 32 fluid ounces, which is approximately one liter (0.95L), and I used two during this week. According to ‘Our World in Data’, one liter of dairy milk produces 3150g of CO2, while almond milk only results in 700g of CO2 emissions. So my substitution reduced the equivalent to driving approximately 11 miles in an average car. However a bigger impact is the land usage, where a liter of dairy milk uses 8.95 square meters of land, but a liter of almond milk only requires ½ a square meter.

    Today I had my last bowl of cereal with almond milk. I still have some left over, so I’ll probably have another bowl so as not to waste it, but I’m looking forward to going back to milk tomorrow. While this change won’t be permanent, it was worth a try, and I may experiment with more alternatives in the future. While consuming dairy does not have as dramatic of an impact as consuming meat, I was not aware the impact was still so severe. So I’ll be cutting back on my milk consumption either way, and perhaps I’ll find a better substitute to cut milk out completely.


  • Blake Turner's avatar
    Blake Turner 1/28/2024 3:49 PM
    Blake Turner
    Eco Challenge Session 2

    For my second Eco Challenge, I chose ‘Adjust the Thermostat’, where I turned the thermostat down 2 degrees from normal. We normally keep the thermostat at 72 degrees, so I turned it down to 70. The reason I chose this challenge was because our house is older, and some portions are not insulated the best. By reducing the heat differential, the losses are reduced making a bigger impact.

    During this past week we didn’t really feel the difference too much, so on Wednesday I turned it down to 67 (a 5 degree reduction). That was somewhat noticeable, but with a light flannel it was fine. Eventually we got used to it. We do not have a programmable thermostat, so we may look into getting one to lower the temperature at night when we are even less likely to notice. The only person who wasn't a fan was my mom, but she is always cold. Once she put on a jacket she was fine.

    According to some thermostat calculators I found, the 5 degree change would save us $330 per year, and reduce CO2 emissions to the equivalent of 2500 miles driven (although this assumes constant heating, which is not the case for much of the year). I linked these calculators below.

    Overall, this was not a difficult change, and I was surprised with the impact it had. I figured we already had it kind of low (one of the estimators didn’t go below 72), but we will probably keep it at 70 from now on, and look into getting a programmable thermostat.

    • Soraya Castaneda's avatar
      Soraya Castaneda 1/28/2024 8:40 PM
      Hey Blake,

      Wow! That's a lot of savings and a major reduction in CO2 emissions by just turning down the thermostat a few degrees. I also took on this challenge too but I admit it might have been easier as I live in a newer controlled access building with a heated hallway and such. I've been trying to wear more layers indoors and that has made it so that I don't even need to turn on the heat as often. I'm glad your mom was fine after she put on a jacket! Thanks for including the thermostat calculators too. It's been a helpful resource that I plan to use again in the summer months.

    • Ben Wall's avatar
      Ben Wall 1/28/2024 7:39 PM
      Hi Blake,
      I appreciate the bold effort of lowering the thermostat when living with others. Peoples' internal thermostats vary so much that trying to find a temperature that everyone is happy with is contentious, especially when it comes to lowering the temperature.