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Hector Acosta's avatar

Hector Acosta

Low Energy Enthusiasts

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 176 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    180
    minutes
    spent learning
  • up to
    360
    minutes
    spent outdoors

Hector's Actions

Food, Agriculture, and Land Use

Mulch the Base of Trees and Plants

Farm Irrigation Efficiency

I will prevent water runoff and increase absorbency by mulching the base of trees and plants in my yard.

Completed
One-Time Action

Coastal, Ocean, and Engineered Sinks

Smart Seafood Choices

Ocean Farming

I will visit seafoodwatch.org or download the app and commit to making better seafood choices for a healthier ocean.

Completed
One-Time Action

Electricity

Calculate the carbon footprint of my household

I will calculate the carbon emissions associated with my household and consider how different lifestyle choices could reduce our carbon footprint and our impact on the environment.

Completed
One-Time Action

Food, Agriculture, and Land Use

Learn the Truth About Expiration Dates

Reduced Food Waste

I will spend at least 180 minutes learning how to differentiate between sell by, use by, and best by dates.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Action Track: Healing & Renewal

Explore My Area

Sometimes protecting nature requires feeling connected to nature. I will invest 240 minutes in exploring and appreciating a natural area in my region, whether a forest, wetland, coastal area, or somewhere else.

Completed
One-Time Action

Transportation

Learn about Carbon Offsets

I will visit Tradewater’s website to learn more about carbon offsets, and why they are a necessary solution in combating a climate crisis.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Action Track: Healing & Renewal

Eat Mindfully

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

COMPLETED 0
DAILY ACTIONS

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  • Reflection Question
    Food, Agriculture, and Land Use Mulch the Base of Trees and Plants
    Name some of the human activities impacting the health of water systems, both locally (your watershed) and globally (freshwater and oceans). What can you do to improve the health of water systems?

    Hector Acosta's avatar
    Hector Acosta 6/02/2021 7:54 PM
    This activity was a very nice distraction from my daily schedule of sitting in front of my computer screen for long hours of the day, My family and I spent a good amount of time bonding over gardening, and it was just nice to spend some time with them in a way that helps the environment as well. You can see the work we did in the picture attached! The first human activity that comes to mind that affects my local water shed is runoff water from the farms that surround my town. What occurs is fertilizers that are used in agriculture can get into our watershed that will contaminate and pollute our local water. One way we can prevent runoff from contaminating local water systems is by planting shrubs, trees, or grasses along the edges of the farms in order to act as a buffer between the farm and any potential water sources. Another activity that affects the health of our oceans are the excessive carbon emissions that we are emitting. Having factories near large bodies of water have a large influence because this contributes to ocean acidification. Acidification essentially will lead to fewer marine calcifiers, which can completely destroy whole marine biological systems. A way to combat ocean acidification is to establish laws that help limit carbon emissions, such as a carbon tax. The most evident problem our oceans face to the human eye is the absurd amount of plastic pollution that is within our oceans. In order to combat this pollution there are some things we can change some things about our daily lives. We can stop using disposable cutlery, we need to use reusable shopping bags, we need stop consuming bottled water, we need to buy plastic free packaging, we need to stop using disposable cups and straws, and we need to avoid buying synthetic clothing. I feel like these are viable solutions to stop the plastic pollution we see in our oceans. It is extremely important now more than ever that we take care of our oceans and our local watersheds because without water we will cease to exist as a society. The changes I will make are I will 
    tell my family to stop buying bottled water and to use a reusable bag every time i go to the store. 

    • NATHAN GE's avatar
      NATHAN GE 6/03/2021 8:42 AM
      Hi Hector,

      I like how you stated preventative measures that can be taken to mitigate human impact on ecosystems on a larger scale and at the individual level. Some the changes you stated can definitely be implemented in my household. 
      Gardening is also something our family has been into recently just due to being at home a lot these days. Mulching is one of the first things we did in our backyard. Also, I wonder if there are any environmental benefits to mulching the base of trees and plants, or is that something just to prevent weeds. I assume there is an association between mulching and improving the health of water systems based on the reflection question provided? No too sure.
      Also, I wonder if you implemented any other sustainable practices when taking care of your garden, or are sustainable practices not something you are entirely focused on since you down have a large garden.
  • Reflection Question
    Electricity Calculate the carbon footprint of my household
    After you determined your carbon footprint, did you see what different choices you can make in order to reduce it?

    Hector Acosta's avatar
    Hector Acosta 5/24/2021 5:43 PM
    I have never calculated my carbon footprint before so I was very excited to see how much I am actually contributing to climate change. Below in one of the photos is the carbon footprint of my family which is 4.51 tons of Co2 per month which is above the country's average. It is hard to quantify how much carbon that actually is, but one thing I really enjoyed about the website was the fact it makes and equivalent of carbon emissions to the amount of gallons of gas consumed it is and 6,096 is an astronomical number. That is roughly 3 coast to coast trips of the United States. I naturally began to think of ways that I could lower this number. The first thing I noticed was I could try to walk more instead of driving.Living in a relatively small town the stores are not that far from my house, so walking there is completely feasible and it would provide me with some exercise. The biggest way I noticed in how I could limit my family's carbon footprint was if we stopped consuming red meat. I did some experimenting with the carbon footprint calculator and if my family and I ate meat less often rather than our large servings we would save .12 tons, which in the grand scheme of things does not sound like that much but it is progress. I did some more research and found out the ideal carbon footprint to stop temperatures rising by two degrees celsius is 2 tons per person per year. The carbon footprint used here was per household per month. So the average carbon footprint per person in my family is 13.5 tons per year. This is a huge wake up call for myself because this way of life is just simply not sustainable if I want the Earth to have a future. Another thing I would need to do is be more conscious with the amount of electricity used by my family and I. Even though we do use solar energy, not all of it is covered by our solar energy. Switching to LED light bulbs could also help with this. It is both good for our monthly energy bill and for the environment. Taking quicker showers is also a viable option to lessen the amount of gallons of water we use. The only thing I can hope to do is try to convince my family that we need to limit our carbon footprint, because if we don't change now it will already be too late for the future generation of my family and the future generations of the world. 
  • Reflection Question
    Coastal, Ocean, and Engineered Sinks Smart Seafood Choices
    Many states and countries have advisories on eating fish. Find out what is advised for your region. Do you think your diet choices fall within these guidelines? What steps do you need to take to make sure that they do?

    Hector Acosta's avatar
    Hector Acosta 5/24/2021 1:41 PM
    I have heard about how some seafood is very unhealthy to eat in the past due to the high levels of mercury within the fish. But I never really paid much attention to, which was a horrible decision on my part. Seafood is one of my favorite foods so it would probably be wise to see if it is something I should actually be eating. This is why this eco challenge was perfect for me. So I downloaded the app that was recommended by the challenge. I was pleased to see some of my favorite types of seafood like shrimp, squid, crab,  light canned tuna, and salmon were all healthy and had no mercury within them. However there were some foods that had mercury that I do enjoy such as yellowfin tuna and carp. The most dangerous of all the fish I have been eating is the ahi tuna which has the highest mercury level on the metric the app uses. I would get ahi tuna regularly in my poke bowls, but now knowing how dangerous it actually is I will no longer be putting seared ahi tuna within my poke bowls. When it comes to carp and yellowfin tuna the app recommends I eat less than six servings of carp per month and less than three servings yellowfin tuna per month which I think I was already doing, but to be safe I will definitely limit the amount of yellowfin tuna I consume because it was marked as having high mercury. It still is shocking to me that many places sell ahi tuna when it has such high mercury levels. I think that this just shows a vital flaw in our society that even though it is a danger to our public's health capitalistic gains for billion dollar industries are more important than our own health. I definitely plan on telling my family and friends about this app so they are also informed and avoid ingesting excess mercury within their bodies. I also plan to do more research on successful fishing methods, so I can stay informed what seafood we should be eating or what companies to stay away from. Another thing I also learned was the importance of buying local, so for that reason I plan to buy local seafood as much as I can so I can reduce my carbon footprint. 

    • EMILY INIGUEZ's avatar
      EMILY INIGUEZ 5/24/2021 4:55 PM
      Hi Hector, 

      Just like you, I LOVE seafood. In fact, I am a pescetarian, however, only recently made my decision to change my diet. I will give you some insight into why I did it! Before my dietary switch, I noticed that my energy levels were always fluctuating and I would rely on caffeine as my saving grace. I learned the omega 3’s present in fatty fish could naturally increase my energy levels and improve my heart’s health. There are also studies that indicate that a pescetarian diet fights cognitive decline as omega-3s, and DHA specifically, is essential for the proper development of the brain and preservation of cognitive function as we get older. Many studies have also found that low omega-3 levels in the elderly are associated with multiple markers of impaired brain function, including dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease. Also, lower levels of omega 3s during pregnancy are even associated with children having lower memory test scores and learning difficulties. In addition, the pescetarian diet is more sustainable than the factory farming of mammals or birds. The farming of pigs and ruminants, such as cattle, sheep, and goats can harm the environment as both groups emit greenhouse gases, with ruminants producing methane gas and pigs producing ammonia. Also, the large-scale deforestation for grazing and agriculture makes the greenhouse issue worse. 

      If you consume fish regularly, strongly believe that the fish watch app is a great source of information for which fish you should and should not consume! I also use the advisory app to track which species of sea life are the safest to harvest and consume. I noticed that you were concerned about your mercury intake specifically, however, I believe that you do not have to abandon the fish you love if they contain high levels of mercury, but you should definitely consume in moderation as long as they are on the safe list of seafood to consume. I found it rather interesting that the statewide advisory for eating fish from California coastal locations on the OEHHA (California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment) has not been updated since November 9th of 2016 which really upset me as that is supposed to be a government-provided resource to monitor the coastal waters of California. I believe that we should push for the site to be updated in order to more effectively inform others of the risks associated with the consumption of certain sea species. 

  • Reflection Question
    Action Track: Healing & Renewal Explore My Area
    How can spending more time outdoors enhance your sense of place -- your deep knowledge of and appreciation for your surroundings?

    Hector Acosta's avatar
    Hector Acosta 5/24/2021 12:54 PM
    Over the weekend my girlfriend and I took our dogs to Shaver Lake in Fresno, California. Every day for the past couple of months I have been so overwhelmed with my medical school application that it was really nice just to get away from everything. It is natural for us to forget our surroundings and get so focused in our work, but it was nice for even a couple of hours to be able to relax and lose myself in nature. Being able to explore the woods and swim in the lake with our dogs is the getaway that I needed. I have always had a deep appreciation for nature, but as I have matured that childlike wonder has been slowly beaten out of me from the stresses of the world. But this experience was able to light that appreciation for the world. I want to be able to spend more time outside and appreciate my surroundings more because it provides a sense of reassurance and relaxation that is so hard to find in the world. Feeling the warm sun on my skin as I basked in the lake surrounded by acres upon acres trees made me feel like everything was going to be ok in my life no matter what happens in my professional career. I think as continue to progress throughout my career I would need to keep exploring new places in nature for my own mental wellbeing, so I do not get overwhelmed with the stresses of life. We all only get one life and as cliche as it sounds I want to explore everything this world has to offer. Before I start my professional school I want to do something new. At the moment I hope to explore Lake Tahoe or even go on a cruise and have a deeper appreciation for the sea and all its beauty. This is why it is so important we take care of our planet right now. If we continue at this rate of climate change there might not be beautiful landscapes for us to witness in twenty years or for future generations to witness. In order to preserve our beautiful natural landscapes, I plan to be more eco conscious by driving less, consuming less red meat, and limiting the amount of single use plastics I use. 

    • Jenn Han's avatar
      Jenn Han 5/24/2021 2:12 PM
      Hi Hector - I love the photo!
      Really glad you were able to take a few hours for yourselves and spend some time by the lake. I agree that it’s important to maintain our planet health, so that we can continue to enjoy lakes and forests. I also relate in that going to such places slows time down. I’m not sure if you’ve ever felt this way, but when I’m in the city, I feel like things can get really claustrophobic, and even more exhausting. Sitting in traffic is firing as is, not to mention all you see is smog and blinker lights flashing. I’m hoping to have a mini staycation once graduation comes around, and I hope you’re able to take more time for yourself before medical school! Take small trips where you can, because you won’t be able to do that once you’re admitted. Best of luck to you, and hope you find yourself immersed in more lakes this summer! 

      Also, here’s a photo of Tahoe; I highly recommend you go during the summer! 

  • Hector Acosta's avatar
    Hector Acosta 4/12/2021 1:48 PM
    I enrolled in this class for my last writing class to be eligible for medical school. By sheer coincidence I was able to enroll in the class which discusses the most important issue in the history of mankind. A topic which I am heavily concerned about, but it seems the rest of the world is not. 

    I have always been so concerned with climate change due to the immense impact it has already had and the even greater ruin that can still befall us. However, in the past I have always just been so pessimistic about our chances to change. I always thought I am just one person I will have no impact in the large scheme of things. Why must I sacrifice my way of living. This was my justification for not changing the way that I lived or trying to convince my parents to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. But I was able to realize this way of thinking was just so selfish as I would be dooming future generations because of my inability to take action. Furthermore, hearing the way how Tamar lives further inspired to do the best I can do everyday to minimize my carbon footprint.  I am here because I want to at least try to give a world for my future kids and grandkids to live in. As silly as it sounds, one of the main reasons why I had a change of heart was because of my dogs. Although, they will probably not live as long as me or see if we are able to conquer or climate crises, I see them as my kids.As weird as it is I guess it instilled a sense of early parenthood and made me much more protective of my future kids. So, whatever I can do to at least try and provide a world for my future kids an grandkids I will try to do that. Additionally, I can not imagine a life without other animals, but if we continue on the path we are on it seems like that is where we are headed. We could be so self centered as humans, so it could be hard to remember that this is a global crises affecting every single living thing on the planet and we need to be the ones to fix it. No matter how small the change one can make, I hope all the little steps will add up to create a world changing impact. Attached are a picture of my dogs Sadie and Bella who have helped me see that I have to be better for the sake of our planet.