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Ivana Chou's avatar

Ivana Chou

Low Energy Enthusiasts

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 206 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    15
    minutes
    spent learning
  • up to
    20
    minutes
    spent outdoors
  • up to
    1
    trees
    planted

Ivana's Actions

Industry

Learn About & Practice Sustainable Fashion

Multiple Industry Solutions

I will learn about sustainable fashion and begin trying to practice it in my own life.

Completed
One-Time Action

Buildings

Install A Toilet Tank Bank

Low-Flow Fixtures

I will reduce the amount of water flushed and save up to 11 gallons (41 L) of water a day or 330 gallons (1,230 L) a month by installing a toilet tank bank.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

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.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Industry

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

Action Track: Healing & Renewal

Tend A Garden

I will tend to a garden, or prepare for one, each day using sustainable gardening practices.

COMPLETED 2
DAILY ACTIONS

Action Track: Building Resilience

Plant Trees

Temperate Forest Restoration

I will plant 1 tree(s) in my community, public parks, or backyard.

Completed
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

Feed

  • Reflection Question
    Industry Learn About & Practice Sustainable Fashion
    How can you express your personality, creativity, and values in ways that don't require fast fashion or buying more clothes and accessories?

    Ivana Chou's avatar
    Ivana Chou 5/24/2021 4:59 PM
    When I first started buying my own clothes and shopping on my own when I was younger, I was initially attracted to affordable clothing brands that marked towards my demographic like Forever 21 and H&M. I didn't think much about the fact that my clothes were pilling after a couple of washes. But as I got older and started buying more quality pieces, did I realize that I should be investing in clothes that are made to last instead of these fast fashion brands that only make clothes to last a single season. I read that the fashion industry is the 2nd most polluting industry and wanted to find ways to make my wardrobe more sustainable. The methods listed are: thrifting, clothing swapping, buying from fair and ethical brands or green brands, buying quality and timeless designs, or having clothes custom made.

    I've always really wanted to pick up sewing. I've really liked the sewing projects I've done in classes and thought that it would make it easier to have clothes that fit my proportions as it's quite difficult to find clothes for my height. I realized that sewing/altering my own clothes can also be sustainable. This way I can create pieces that I genuinely love and will wear for years to come and repair clothes instead of throwing them out when they get damaged. I'm researching methods to make sewing more sustainable such as projects for scrap fabric, using deadstock fabric and looking into what kinds of fabrics are more sustainable. 

    • EMILY INIGUEZ's avatar
      EMILY INIGUEZ 5/24/2021 11:17 PM
      Hi Ivana, 

      I was very interested in your response to this challenge as it was once that I had been eyeing for some time! Like you, when I was a teen I would purchase clothing from H&M, Forever 21, Zara, Urban Outfitters, and other online shops that were definitely categorized under fast fashion. However, at the time, I did not think that the shops from which I was purchasing clothing were unethical. In fact, that thought concerning the ethics of where I shopped never came to my mind as I was more concerned about staying on top of the fashion trends at the time. I look back and am quite disappointed at the lack of public knowledge about the fast fashion industry and how harmful such an industry is for the employees and environment! I actually stumbled upon a very interesting web source called Ocean Clean Wash, which described that the microfibers from synthetic clothes are a major source of pollution. It also explained that the plastic particles washed off from products such as synthetic clothes contribute up to 35% of the primary plastic that is polluting our oceans. In fact, every time we do our laundry, an average of 9 million microfibers are released into wastewater treatment plants that cannot filter them. In addition, the increased production of burning fossil fuels like oil, and gas for electricity, heat, transportation, and air pollution are caused by many industries, one of which is fashion. 

      Fast fashion is defined as a business concept that entails a brand new season of clothing that is rotated through stores every single week. While it may seem affordable and on-trend, it severely lacks sustainability!! In fact, the fast fashion industry has been dubbed the second most damaging industry in the world. Because of stats such as these, I began to look into more sustainable clothing brands and shops which would help mitigate the effects of the fast fashion industry on the environment! One of my favorite sustainable stores at the moment is ABLE which is a sustainable clothing and accessory shop for women that creates jobs to additionally protect and empower women! All that being said, by reducing our support for fast fashion brands, we will help reduce the 12 billion metric tons of plastic that are expected to accumulate in landfills by 2050. 



  • Reflection Question
    Industry 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?

    Ivana Chou's avatar
    Ivana Chou 5/18/2021 4:27 PM
    My household's carbon footprint came out to roughly 3.81 which is around the US average. There are definitely ways we can reduce our carbon footprint. One thing that we are unable to change is our car usage. Due to the pandemic, we haven't had to commute to work so that has reduced our car usage drastically but we also do not have public transportation in our area and still rely on driving to get to places. An area we can improve on is our energy usage. We've switched out all our lightbulbs to energy efficient ones and have installed switches that turn off the lights after 5 minutes to reduce accidents where lights are left on. We are still finding ways to be better about our energy consumption such as turning off and unplugging unused devices and turning off our garden lights.

    • HARRISON CHU's avatar
      HARRISON CHU 5/20/2021 11:26 PM
      Hi Ivana, it is great to see how you have taken initiative to be more energy efficient in your lifestyle. I just read some articles about being more energy efficient by having tight insulation in your house. A ton of energy is wasted in homes with poor insulation because air infiltration changes the temperature very quickly and prevents comfortable living. Heating and cooling waste a lot of energy so constantly using the A/C definitely decrease the energy efficiency. One way to save money up front is to make sure the house has good insulation. It will not only save on energy usage, but also keep external noise to a minimum and prevent dust and pests from entering your home. It is also just so much more comfortable to have good insulation. I could definitely tell the difference between have single pane and double pane windows. I wish you the best of luck in your journey to be more energy efficient!
  • Reflection Question
    Action Track: Healing & Renewal Tend A Garden
    Have you ever had a significant experience in nature that altered your perspective or focus? If so, please describe it.

    Ivana Chou's avatar
    Ivana Chou 5/18/2021 4:16 PM
    I started being interested in growing my own garden after realizing how easy it is to grow green onions from cuttings. As someone who really enjoys eating, growing some of my own herbs became something made the cooking process much more fulfilling. There's something about being able to add plants that you've cultivated yourself to the food you are making. I want to find ways to make my gardening more sustainable including figuring out more sustainable ways to water them especially as the weather gets warmer and I will need to water my plants more frequently. I also almost always keep different containers and pots to use to propagate my plants when they start to grow too big for their container.
    I attached an image of my strawberry plant which has been extremely rewarding to grow as I really love strawberries and home grown fruit just has so much more flavor than store bought ones, even if they're a sour.

    • Ivana Chou's avatar
      Ivana Chou 5/24/2021 4:31 PM
      Replying to Alexa:

      I have grown green onions! They honestly are getting a little out of hand because of how easily they grow and they're actually flowering at the moment! There are quite a few plants you can grow from scraps and cuttings that can also help reduce food waste. Some of them are a bit more difficult than others but we've grown green onions and chinese spinach successfully.  It is a bit of trial and error. The rest of the food waste that can't get regrown can be used to for compost to help fertilize the plants for better yield!

      There are a couple solutions I have found to more sustainable watering methods. The easiest one is to water in the early morning or afternoon to prevent the water from being evaporated, especially on really hot days! I also have a moisture meter I use to make sure I only water them when they really need it, as plants also prefer being too dry compare to too wet. Some other ways to reduce water usage is to set up a rain barrel to catch runoff water but this hasn't really been possible as it hasn't rained in forever in California. A more investment heavy method would be to use your home's greywater or waste water from things like laundry machines, sinks, etc.

    • DIANA ORTIZ GOMEZ's avatar
      DIANA ORTIZ GOMEZ 5/24/2021 2:34 PM
      Hey Ivana!

      I came across your post and I was excited to see that someone else was growing strawberries. I’ve always found them difficult to grow and thought that it would be impossible to grow them myself. Personally, I’m not the best at gardening or taking care of plants. One time I tried growing tomatoes, but they stopped growing after a while and I completely gave up. However, my aunt has helped and guided me with proper care for these plants. We started a little garden in our yard where we grew flowers and other plants, including strawberries and a lime tree.

      I agree that there’s something special about growing your own food, but I’d like to add how beneficial this is for the community. For example, we have a cactus in our backyard where my mom would collect the cactus paddles to add to our meals. A lot of the time we would have extra cactus paddles, so she would share them with our neighbors. The same thing applies to the other crops we’ve been growing, such as the lime tree. I can’t remember when was the last time we bought limes from the grocery store. I’ve noticed, however, that it’s been a little difficult to be able to share our strawberries as much. Nevertheless, I enjoy making chocolate-covered strawberries with them and this is something I enjoy sharing with my family and friends. Thus, growing your own food has been very rewarding for me and my neighborhood.

      Although a lot of the gardening effort comes from my mom and aunt, I wonder how sustainable their practices are. This is something I’ll be looking more into and I wonder if you have any ideas already. Maybe I can try growing those tomatoes again as I practice more sustainable forms of gardening. I also hope to one day grow other fruits, but I’ll need to make more space in my garden. 

      Here’s an image of our strawberries! They’re kind of hard to spot because of the leaves, but they're there!


    • ALEXA KASSELS's avatar
      ALEXA KASSELS 5/18/2021 10:03 PM
      Hi Ivana,

      I think it is amazing that you are growing strawberries! I love strawberries and there is a field right down the street from my house. Ironically, the EcoChallenge I just posted about also involved strawberries. While taking a run around the orchards by my house, I came across a little farm stand with eggs, various types of produce, and jams. In an effort to cut my car trip mileage by only taking necessary trips, I walked to the farm stand yesterday instead of the grocery store. I bought some delicious strawberry jam! Maybe one day you will make strawberry jam from your plant!

      I have found that walking rather than driving has increased my engagement with my community. I have met a lot of nice neighbors, and I am happy that I found a local business to support. I wonder how many other farms are around my neighborhood that I am not familiar with. 

      Your post mentions green onions, and I am curious if you have also grown those? I would like to grow my own garden and have produce easily available, so I do not have to make as many trips to the grocery store. In addition, I agree that cooking is much more fun when using ingredients that you grow yourself! My boyfriend’s mother has an entire garden filled with different herbs. When I am over at her house, I enjoy helping her in the garden and learning about everything she has planted. She grows amazing tomatoes that she makes caprese salad with when I am over at her house. Also, she always gives me rosemary to take home.

      I recently planted a walnut tree, so I am looking forward to having fresh walnuts. It has grown a lot and I feel very proud of it. My area is very rural with a lot of agriculture, so I want to plant more trees that are locally grown in my town. For instance, I would love to plant peach and nectarine trees!

      I am interested in learning more about the sustainable methods of watering plants that you mentioned. Have you researched any methods yet?