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Nora Clarkowski

Low Energy Enthusiasts

"Growing up in the age of technology, I have had all the resources around me to become educated on climate change and its impacts, but have often been too distracted by the instant gratification and inability to slow down in society today. Through increasing my time committed to education on climate change with the help of project drawdown, I will work to decrease my carbon foot print with the goal of eventually becoming zero waste. "

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 1,318 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    2
    donations
    made
  • up to
    60
    minutes
    spent learning
  • up to
    1,735
    minutes
    being mindful
  • up to
    202
    more servings
    of fruits and vegetables
  • up to
    330
    gallons of water
    have been saved

Nora's Actions

Industry

Invite a friend to calculate the carbon footprint of their household

Individual actions are important, but people and organizations working together can make a real impact. I will share a carbon calculator with a friend and invite them to calculate the carbon footprint of their household.

Completed
One-Time Action

Action Track: Building Resilience

Support Indigenous Peoples' Land Management

Indigenous Peoples' Forest Tenure

I will donate to Native American Rights Fund, which protects tribal natural resources and environmental rights and promotes Native American Human Rights.

Completed
One-Time Action

Transportation

Improve a Bus Stop

Public Transit

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 implementing some other small improvement.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Land Sinks

Support a Community Garden

Multiple Solutions

I will support a community garden by volunteering, donating, or advocating for a new or existing one.

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.

Completed
One-Time Action

Action Track: Healing & Renewal

More Fruits And Veggies

I will eat a heart healthy diet by adding 2 cups of fruits and vegetables each day to achieve at least 4 cups per day.

COMPLETED 46
DAILY ACTIONS

Health and Education

Fund Family Planning

Health and Education

I will donate to supply a community with reproductive health supplies.

Completed
One-Time Action

Electricity

Watch a Video about Methane Digesters

Methane Digesters

I will watch a video about methane digesters (also commonly known as anaerobic digesters).

Uncompleted
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.

Uncompleted
One-Time Action

Food, Agriculture, and Land Use

Learn the Truth About Expiration Dates

Reduced Food Waste

I will spend at least 30 minutes learning how to differentiate between sell by, use by, and best by dates.

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 48
DAILY ACTIONS

Feed

  • Reflection Question
    Action Track: Building Resilience Support Indigenous Peoples' Land Management
    Indigenous speaker and activist Winona LaDuke says that, "most indigenous ceremonies, if you look to their essence, are about the restoration of balance — they are a reaffirmation of our relationship to creation. That is our intent: to restore, and then to retain balance and honor our part in creation." Why is balance important to sustainability?

    Nora Clarkowski's avatar
    Nora Clarkowski 5/17/2021 2:44 PM
             As a part of my work on Drawdown Eco Challenge, today I donated to the Natvie American Rights Fund. Through Drawdown Eco Challenge, I have learned more about the importance of donating, as well as the importance of taking actions in my daily life that help combat climate change and make a difference. Through my research on Indigenous peoples land rights, I learned about the ways that indigenous communities work to reduce carbon emissions and protect our ecosystem through their practices. As argued in the article" Indigenous Peoples’ Forest Tenure" from Drawdown, “Indigenous communities have long been the frontline of resistance against deforestation; mineral, oil, and gas extraction; and the expansion of monocrop plantations” (Drawdown). Indigenous communities continue to use traditional practices that are much more environmentally friendly than those used by big businesses and corporations who focus more on profiting than anything else. Furthermore, as 18 percent of all land in the United States is indigenous and community-owned, it is crucial to protect ingenious sovereignty and land rights. While indigenous communities contribute some of the lowest carbon emissions, they are some of the most impacted by climate change due to their dependency on land and their lifestyle. Following after and supporting indigenous communities and their practices is something I will now do more often after this class and assignment, and is something that should be more widely known. More education on indigenous rights, practices, and livelihood could create more empathy for these communities, especially if their rights have been taken away, whether it be through politics or big businesses.
             The article from Yale Environment 365 “Native Knowledge: What Ecologists Are Learning from Indigenous People,” by author Jim Robbins discusses the ways scientists are looking to traditional practices of indigenous people to learn more about how to make practices today more sustainable. This article addresses brush fires in 2009 in Australia that killed 173 people and injured over 400. Following these fires, and the exacerbated fire seasons that have occurred in Australia as of late, scientists turned to indigenous practices to work on fire-control. They have partnered with native people to learn their tactics to help avoid worsening fire seasons and save lives. One practice is that of using “cool” fires. Cool fires are used “to control everything from biodiversity to water supply to the abundance of wildlife and edible plants” (Robbins). Taking up these practices and others of indiengous people has helped to reduce fires and the damage they cause. As my topic for this class in terms of climate change was extreme weather events, I researched a lot on wildfires and their impacts. That being said, I found this article extremely interesting and relevant to today and weather events. As scientists turn back to and promote  traditional environmental practices more often, less extreme weather events and less carbon emissions will likely follow. 
             In relation to the question posed by Drawdown Eco Challenge on this topic, balance is extremely important in sustainability. Currently, I see the relationship between humans and nature in modern society to be very rocky. While Indigenous communities appreciate nature and give back to it through their practices, many other parts of society just take from nature but don’t give back, and I am guilty of this myself. Through this class I have learned so much more about how to be sustainable. While the resources nature gives us are critical to our survival, it is also important to give thanks back to nature and the environment. If we continue to just take from nature, there soon will be nothing left to take and we will be left with nothing. Actions I will take to give back to the environment will be to go on walks and appreciate nature rather than just walk through it mindlessly, take part in more beach clean ups (I did another beach clean up this week), and try to walk everywhere I can rather than drive, among other things I have done for this Drawdown assignment. 

    • CHARLOTTE CHAN's avatar
      CHARLOTTE CHAN 5/17/2021 6:43 PM
      Thanks for researching this topic extensively. I feel way more informed about the disparate impacts of climate change on indigenous people. 

      I think it's just so unfair that the people who contribute least to carbon emissions suffer the most from the carbon emissions of others. That statement really pushed me to reflect on whether my daily decisions are selfish decisions that are harming other individuals. 

      I found the practice of "cool fires" to be super interesting. I've never heard of it before, and it sounds like such an oxymoron in every way. A fire that's... cool? A fire that prevents fire? I did more research and apparently, cool burning involves starting small fires at the right timing and at the right place. These small fires can eliminate dense areas of the brush leading to new plant growths, new habitats for animals, and a lower probability of large uncontrollable wildfires. It is in fact, quite controversial in Australia. It seems that the Australian government distrusts indigenous practices and the efficacy of "cultural burning" which indigenous people have been practicing for centuries. 

      In light of this, I'm reminded that wildfire season is coming up soon in Calfornia, and it makes me wonder if these destructive fires can be prevented in any way. And it's such a sobering reminder that yes, if we continue to take and take from nature, we will all be left with nothing. 
  • Reflection Question
    Buildings Install A Toilet Tank Bank
    How can your region/household prepare for changing water situations in order to become more resilient?

    Nora Clarkowski's avatar
    Nora Clarkowski 4/27/2021 6:05 PM
           Recently I ordered and installed a Tank Bank into my toilet as a way to reduce my water waste. Prior to joining this challenge through Project Drawdown, I was unaware that products like Tank Bank were even on the market or a possibility to use. After receiving and installing the product, I was amazed by how such a small and inexpensive item could do so much good in reducing my water waste, especially after calculating my water footprint and learning that my direct water use added up to 168 gallons per day. As someone who tries not to leave water running for a long period of time, I was disappointed to find out that my daily water usage is still higher than the average. Due to this, I plan to install more low flow products like Tank Bank in the future. 
           Using water means using energy whether it be for heating, transporting, or cleaning it. Due to this, water usage has many impacts that I do not realize through my daily usage. Based on Project Drawdown research from the article Low-Flow Fixtures, “Low-flush toilets and efficient washing machines can reduce water use by 19 and 17 percent respectively.” The product Tank bank cost me $7 to buy which really is nothing when compared to the 17-19 percent by which I can reduce my water waste through this product. Through learning more about Tank Bank and low-flow products, I discovered that these products not only save water, but can reduce my water bill significantly. Based on the article “Don't Waste Your Money" about the Tank Bank, older toilets can cost between $54.75 a year and $91.25 a year while low flow toilets can bring the cost down to about $29.20. As a college student on a budget, paying apartment utilities is an important part of my rent for next year. Being on a budget means that every dollar counts, so spending $7 to purchase a Tank Bank for my apartments next year can go a long way in reducing my costs of living. To be more resistant to changing water situation, it is crucial to raise more awareness for low flow products that can both reduce water footprints and costs of living. 
           In the past, one of my biggest flaws in water waste has been the habit of leaving the water running while I brush my teeth. In the past years my friends began to remind me that this is a complete waste of water, so to prevent me from continuing this action I created a sticker on my bathroom mirror to remind me. Little reminders are a big help for me personally, and I think they could go a long way for a lot of people in reducing waste. Another way I have begun reminding myself since leaning more about water waste is setting a shower timer. Once I am on a time limit in the shower, I am able to be more productive rather than just sitting on my phone or reading emails while in the shower, which I am guilty of. 
           Since learning more about my water footprint and the impact the baths can have on water waste, I had a conversation with my mom about her water usage. My mom loves taking baths and often takes 2 each day of the week. Before learning more about water waste, I did not realize the impact on this, but when I talk to her on the phone everyday she is often in the bath when she calls. This has begun to impact me as I don’t think she realizes the impact that these baths have on her water footprint. Without being confrontational, I sent her an article about water waste in relation to baths and just simply wrote “wow, I didn’t even realize this,” to make sure she didn't think I was blaming or targeting her. This ended up being a very successful approach, as she was shocked as well by the article. In the future, I plan to do more subtle actions like this that can go a long way in influencing my friends and family and their daily choices and actions.



    • Gianna Apoderado's avatar
      Gianna Apoderado 5/15/2021 10:29 PM
      Hi Nora! I also did this challenge myself, and yes, it is amazing how such a simple tool can make so much of a difference in your overall water footprint. It’s something you hardly think about, the amount of water you use in a day, because for many of us water is easily accessible. The water footprint calculator is very enlightening in showing you just how much of an impact your daily actions have overall. Even things such as driving a certain number of miles and your type of diet can influence your water consumption! You also make a good point in being a college student and having to pay your own utilities. When I lived in Westwood, my apartment was quite old, so the toilet was likely not a low-flow toilet. Having a toilet tank bank would definitely have saved me some money on the water bill. Considering that this device could save you some money, a small investment of $7 on a toilet tank bank will be paid off in no time. For those of our peers living in apartments or those who have considerable water bills, I recommend purchasing one or more of these! In my own post, I recommend that even if you don’t want to purchase a tank bank, you can use something like an old plastic bottle to displace some of the water in your toilet tank. 

      Setting a shower timer is a good way to reduce your water consumption! It made me think of how I almost always wait a few minutes after turning on the shower to even get in, because I am waiting for the water to heat up. Knowing that that water that I’m running ends up being wasted, it motivates me to just GET IN, and stop being such a baby about the water temperature haha. Similar to you, I plan to share these little things that you can change about your daily routine to more your household more water efficient, as well as my experience with the toilet tank bank with friends and family! Hopefully, we can help them be more mindful of their water usage, even if they don’t all go out and purchase low-flow fixtures and toilet tank banks right away.
  • Reflection Question
    Land Sinks Support a Community Garden
    What are the multiple benefits of community gardens, including carbon sequestration? Why do these benefits matter to you?

    Nora Clarkowski's avatar
    Nora Clarkowski 4/23/2021 9:20 AM
           In relation to the topic of land sinks, I chose the project drawdown action labeled, “I will support a community garden by volunteering, donating, or advocating for a new or existing one.” As I could not participate in an actual garden planting, I supported a garden by donating enough to the American Community Garden Association to plant a row of seeds in a garden of their choice. Before learning more about land sinks and gardening through project drawdown, I had practically no interest in gardening or really much in plants in general. I go on walks often but am usually focused on my podcast rather than the variety of plants and trees surrounding me. As noted in the article from Drawdown Eco Challenge on “Land Sinks” it was argued that, “Land can therefore be a powerful carbon sink, returning atmospheric carbon to living vegetation and soils. While the majority of heat-trapping emissions remain in the atmosphere, land sinks currently return 26% of human-caused emissions to Earth—literally.” As Land Sinks are a crucial carbon storage location, it is important to support plants and soil in their development and processes. Through this article I developed a much deeper understanding of the impact of plants and soil on carbon levels. While I was taught about the process of photosynthesis from a young age, I never realized how large of an impact plants and soil have on reversing some of the impacts of humans' carbon footprint and ignorance towards the topic of climate change. I also never realized the impact of local gardens and gardening in general on more sustainable food that allows for more carbon storage in the ground. 
           Furthermore, the article “The Campaign for Climate Victory Gardens,” gave me new insight into gardening sustainably and the impact that local and personal gardens can have on reducing carbon emissions. The author of the article Laurie Casey addresses a variety of ways to create a healthier food supply arguing, “I would encourage asking if they use pesticides and/or herbicides, GMOs, if they are certified organic, and if they practice regeneratively. And remember just because they’re at a farmer’s market doesn’t mean a farmer uses best practices.” This quote stuck out to me in relation to farmers markets. I have always been under the perception that what is sold at farmers markets is automatically better, fresher, and more sustainable just because of how and where it is sold. Interestingly enough, through this article I learned that it is crucial to question where everything is from and how it is grown and produced, rather it be from Target, Whole Foods, or the local Farmers Market. This made me rethink my level of knowledge on this topic, and made me realize that I need to make more informed decisions about what I am putting in my body on a daily basis. In order to be more informed in the future, I plan to do more research into the types of labels put on produce items at grocery stores, and ask more questions when at the local farmers market rather than just assuming that everything is pesticide, GMO, etc., free. 
           Community gardens have been supported for many years, but there is a recent increase in advocacy for them with the climate crisis. Community gardens have a variety of benefits including increased nutrition and exercise. Also, community gardens help to build a real community within an area and give a sense of purpose to its people, making them closer and more sustainable together. Community gardens allow for a place to learn and grow in knowledge and skill in relation to gardening and living a healthy lifestyle. The benefits of community gardens allow for a way to bring people together into a deeper conversation about climate change and sustainability than usually possible between neighbors. One example of a community garden I have recently come across and been inspired by is a community garden in Santa Monica. Something I really appreciate about this garden is how much people take care of their space and cherish it. Each small garden looks extremely well cared after and supported, making me realize how much a community, even in a large and busy area like Santa Monica, can come together for an important cause. 
           Furthermore, although not directly related to land sinks and since I was unable to find a community garden to work in, I decided to help out in an active way in another manner. I was inspired to do more to eliminate pollution of California's beaches and the ocean and I recently participated in a beach clean up at Santa Monica beach. Before participating in the beach clean up, I had been to Santa Monica beach many times, but had never realized all the garbage in the sand. Once I was actually focusing on cleaning up, I was able to see the extent of garbage, microplastics, and cigar butts on the beach. I was amazed by how much trash I thought I had already picked up, but then I would turn around and see even more plastic hidden in the sand. 
           When just going to the beach to tan and hang out with friends, it's easy to turn a blind eye to the pollution of the beaches as much of the waste is so miniscule and I am often focused on other things like finding a good place to sit or how nice the weather is. Through this experience and reflecting on my past experiences going on walks and paying no attention to the trees and plants around me, I have reflected on my life and realize that it is important for me to slow down when I am in nature and really take it in. Society has made it so easy to want to get as much done as fast as possible each day, but in reality it is not what is going to lead me to a happy and more sustainable life. Through Project Drawdown and these recent experiences, I have learned the power and beauty in slowing down and really taking time to care about our environment and reflect on my personal impact and my emotions towards them. 



    • CHARLOTTE CHAN's avatar
      CHARLOTTE CHAN 5/22/2021 4:50 PM
      Hi Nora! Thanks for taking the initiative to clean up the beach. Even though it may seem like a small thing to do, I believe it is a very impactful act. Other beach-goers might have seen you pick up the trash and would probably feel more conscious about how they take care of their own trash. Everyone should do their part to take care of our surroundings so we can enjoy it many years to come!

      I just wanted to add to the discussion about community gardens. In addition to creating a sense of community and encouraging healthier eating, community gardens are also an important way for many marginalized communities to regain control. In many areas, such as downtown LA (or where I'm from, Oakland), there are wide regions of food deserts. Food deserts are neighborhoods where there is no access to fresh food or supermarkets within a 2-mile radius. Many residents in these areas are forced to purchase processed and packaged foods from corner stores leading to poorer health (eg. obesity, diabetes, heart and vascular disease). It is just one manifestation of several layers of environmental injustice. 

      A solution for food deserts and health disparities is community gardens, which as you said, gives communities a sense of shared purpose. It brings people closer to the food they eat. 

      A couple of quarters, ago I learned about South Central Farms, which was a community garden in South LA. It's an amazing but tragic story about how a community transformed a junkyard into a productive urban farm. In 2006, the city evicted the farmers and sold the lot to other businesses despite avid protests. They wanted to build a trash incinerator in place of a farm! After a bunch of protests and changes in ownership, the lot of land remains empty today. 

      There's a really good documentary called "The Garden" (2008) about South Central Farms. 

      I think this story shows how there needs to be more support for community gardens, especially for communities that need them the most. This story also shows the lengths at which marginalized communities have to go to make a healthy living, and it shows me that we all have to give more attention to environmental injustices. 
  • Reflection Question
    Industry Invite a friend to calculate the carbon footprint of their household
    What kinds of discussions did you have, or are you hoping to have with friends about climate change?

    Nora Clarkowski's avatar
    Nora Clarkowski 4/20/2021 1:28 PM
           Recently I caught up with a friend on facetime (since I am unfortunately in quarantine) and we worked together to calculate his carbon footprint. I choose this method for having him calculate his carbon footprint rather than just sending him the link because this allowed for both a deeper conversation and a deeper understanding of the impacts of both of our carbon footprints. As I asked my friend Joe the variety of questions regarding the carbon footprint calculation, I was amazed at his reaction to each question. Through just the conversation of me asking him questions, I saw him gradually realize more and more the impact of his carbon footprint even before receiving the final results. 
           As Joe is a college freshman and has never really had much of an interests in the environment or sustainability, I believe this conversation was very eye opening to him. For example, when I asked him how many flights he takes a year, he said at least 8 short round trip flights. As his dad is a pilot, he has always found flying to be very convenient and inexpensive, so Joe mentioned that he never before realized the impact that these flights were having on emissions. As stated on the Offset Now website, “The average monthly footprint of a US household is 4.00 tons of CO2.”  After completing the calculation, Joe and his 2 roommates households ended up having a carbon footprint of 4.77 tons of CO2 each month, but it was hard for Joe to really grasp this number at first and how high it was. As it was hard for me to understand what this number really meant when I calculated my own carbon footprint as well, Joe and I did some research online into what the equivalent of 4.77 tons is in other items, giving more clarity to the extremity of our own carbon footprints. Following this conversation, we talked about ways that we can both do better at reducing our carbon footprint, whether it be limiting Uber and Lyft rides (I sent Joe the article from class), eating less meat, or not taking quite as many unnecessarily short flights each year. 
           This conversation with Joe taught me crucial skills about how to talk to friends and family members who do not necessarily “care” about the environment to the extent I do. I think in the end it just comes down to a lack of knowledge on the topic, and through simple projects like calculating carbon footprint I was able to get through to Joe and give him a better understanding. In doing this, I made it clear that I was not any better than him for having a smaller carbon footprint, and that I am just learning about sustainability and still have a long way to go, making him feel comfortable and hopeful for a more sustainable future.
         In the future, with  friends I hope to have more conversations about how we can choose fun activities that are enjoyable and sustainable. As my friends and I love to drive to beaches in Malibu, for example, we may have a conversation about reducing our travel time and either choosing a beach closer to campus or even just choosing to stay on campus and have a picnic. I believe that having an open conversation about this in the future will allow my friends and I to collectively reduce our carbon footprints while still having fun and being adventurous together.

    • Caitlin Tanji's avatar
      Caitlin Tanji 5/24/2021 12:10 AM
       Hi Nora! Similarly to you, I asked a friend to calculate their carbon footprint. While I merely sent the link to my friend to take the exam, I really liked how you had a conversation with your friend while you caught up. I feel like this would create a more meaningful and reflective conversation. I wish I had read your ecochallenge before doing my post so I could have done that too! You mentioned how your friend Joe realized the impact of his actions, which either increased or decreased his carbon footprint score. I was curious if he could see his score go up and down as you asked him the questions because it definitely made me feel guilty as I took the test and reflected a lot more. I also applaud you and Joe for doing additional research after receiving your carbon footprint score to truly know what it meant. I was a bit curious to know why the website did not have a lot of information on the results page of the test. Maybe it would encourage people to do their own research, but I think it would have been helpful to get the facts from them too! Reading that you did additional research encouraged me to call my friend Sunhu back to go over what our carbon footprint scores really meant. I particularly liked how you did this activity with your friend who was not the most educated on the topic. I often think about how people who are passionate about topics may not be able to convey their thoughts without seeming overly aggressive or righteous. But, going through the carbon footprint test with your friend gave him an opportunity to create his own conclusions, which probably naturally led your conversation forward. I think this test is great conversation starter without people feeling overwhelmed by the information or feeling like we are trying to persuade them into having the same views as us. Like you, after taking this test with my friend, I felt more hopeful about the future because we both came to the conclusion that we wanted to act more sustainability. Open conversations are definitely helpful to brainstorm with friends and family. However, I wonder how the same conversation would go with someone with polar opposite views. Have you done this test with anyone who doesn't care about their contributions to climate change? If so, I'm curious to know how it went!
  • Reflection Question
    Health and Education Fund Family Planning
    When family planning focuses on healthcare provision and meeting the expressed needs of women, it results in empowerment, equality, and well-being, and the benefits to the planet are side effects. Why is family planning an important civil rights consideration?

    Nora Clarkowski's avatar
    Nora Clarkowski 4/11/2021 4:51 PM
    Family planning can have serious impacts on climate change, which goes to show how interrelated climate change is with so many aspects of human life. Before taking this course, I could have never imagined how many of my daily actions are influencing our environment and how much I take for granted family planning methods. As part of my Drawdown Eco Challenge action relating to family planning, I donated to The United Nations Population Fund which helps to improve worldwide reproductive and maternal health. The United Nations Population Fund supplies those in need with family planning materials. Through my donation, I was able to assist in providing reproductive health supplies to mothers in need, along with supplies for newborn children. Becoming more educated on climate change has made me realize how selfish I had been in the past. In the past I did not donate to many organizations as I thought as a college student my money should go to other things. While it is important to make sure I have enough money to be financially stable, I realized through this donation that it meant so much more to me than going out to a few more dinners rather than eating in, which is better for the environment anyway. 

    Family planning not only helps to prevent unwanted and unplanned pregnancies, but is crucial for female empowerment and for our climate. In her TED talk on empowering women and global warming, Katharine Wilkinson argued that “gender and climate are inextricably linked. Drawing down emissions depends on rising up.”  This rising up mentioned involves the encouragement and advocacy for increased education for women, especially in under-educated areas. Not only are gender and climate change connected, education levels and number of children a woman has are related as well. As addressed in the Project Drawdown article “Health and Education,” “225 million women in low-income countries say they want the ability to choose whether and when to become pregnant but lack the necessary access to contraception.” This lack of contraceptives not only increases human populations and thus our carbon footprint, but can impact mothers financial independence and ability to make a living for themselves and their children. With fewer unintended pregnancies, slowing population growth, especially in already over populated areas, will reduce pressure on the climate and the limited resources our environment has. Family planning is an important civil rights consideration for all these reasons. Without family planning resources, women are disproportionately affected by a lack of education and social progress. 

    As with anything, there are always side effects to positive actions. Through my research on this topic, I became curious of the side effects on the climate of providing family planning supplies. I was interested in how different forms of contraceptives impact our climate based on their ingredients. The pill, for example, contains synthetic estrogen as a main ingredient which can contaminate natural bodies of water and the fish that inhabit them. Furthermore, condoms are not likely to ever biodegrade, not even latex ones made of natural plant materials.  While these points go to show how everything has impacts on climate change, in this case they are minuscule and little information was found though my research that made me concerned about these side effects of providing family planning supplies to all women in need, especially because providing these supplies helps to empower and uplift women. 

    After reflecting on my donation and the impact I made, I have realized a major part of my climate change actions will involve me thinking less about myself and more about others. Although I do not know who I personally impacted though my donation, that is what makes donating to a cause special and important. Working to combat climate change takes selflessness in many aspects, and although I can personally take actions in my everyday life to reduce my carbon footprint, I can also give back to ensure that those who are not as fortunate as I am to have all the resources I need to be more sustainable. Just as becoming personally more sustainable in my daily life is a process, becoming more involved in charities and donation is also a process that I have now begun and am inspired to continue. I am personally extremely grateful for the education I have gotten throughout my life. I often go day to day dreading writing an next essay or doing a quiz, but through thinking more about others and less about myself I have realized how many women in the world would do anything to get the education I have. 

  • Nora Clarkowski's avatar
    Nora Clarkowski 4/11/2021 1:20 PM
    How does eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat positively affect yourself, other people, and our planet? (Action: increase my daily servings of fruits and vegetables) 

    From a young age I learned the importance of eating plenty of fruits and vegetables in my diet but I was never informed of the negative impacts of meat consumption, especially red meat. Consuming an increased number of fruits and vegetables not only helps the environment, but will have an impact on my health and wellbeing. By consuming less meat with the hopes to eventually have a meat-free diet, I am lowering my risk for many diet related diseases including heart disease, obesity, and cancer due to the high levels of saturated fat in meat, especially red meat. Furthermore, consuming high amounts of fruits and vegetables not only makes me feel satisfied and refreshed, but nourishes the body with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs to thrive. As cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the United States and worldwide, reducing my consumption of meat could potentially lower my chances of becoming another number in these increasing death rates while helping the environment and my personal actions against climate change at the same time. 
     
    Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and decreased meat consumption has positive impacts on the environment, which in turn has positive impacts on the people who live in the environment. As people work to decrease their meat consumption, they are helping to prevent climate change, which in turn helps the health and wellness of people around them. The raising of livestock has had a major impact on deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. Through my research, I learned that the rising of livestock generates just as much greenhouse gas emissions as all automobiles combined. Not only does livestock generate greenhouse gasses, but they also demand a lot of resources in their lifespan, especially cows. The article "Plant-Rich Diets" from Project Drawdown explains cattle has especially detrimental impacts on our climate stating that "If cattle were their own nation, they would be the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases." As I have taken steps to reduce my carbon footprint, I have been working hard to use cars minimally, choosing to walk to the majority of the places around UCLA that I go. Something that I did not realize before expanding my education on this topic though was how having a meatless meal can do just as much as choosing to walk to Westwood instead of driving due to the amount of emissions from both cattle and cars. In addition, these emissions not only impact the changing climate by increasing greenhouse gasses, but also wildlife and marine life as livestock raising has been connected to pollution of streams, rivers, and the ocean. As someone with a passion for scuba diving and spending time at Minnesota lakes in the summers, this new knowledge about livestocks carbon footprint will be a major motivator when choosing my meals from now on.
     
    As a freshman on campus at UCLA, the dining halls have helped me in my progression away from meat through their meal options. The dining halls at UCLA rarely have red meat, and when they do they have warnings about high carbon footprints next to the food items on their website. Below I have attached an image of the variety of warnings and labels given to each meal in the dining halls. These labels and the variety of fruit and vegetable options at UCLA have encouraged me to move away from consuming red meat along with other meat choices. Instead, I choose from the wide variety of fruits and vegetables offered and vegan “meat” options when making meal choices. Furthermore, in my recent time visiting home for spring break, I was inspired to make more sustainable meals for myself and my family. Growing up, my family has always consumed high amounts of meat, and there has always been a stigma and negative connotation around vegan options at my house. As I have learned through this class, communicating with people with differing views takes having context to their lifestyle. In order to educate my family on this topic, I made dinner and breakfast for everyone. For breakfast I made açaí bowls with plenty of fruit and homemade peanut butter. For dinner I made pizzas with cauliflower crust and a wide variety of vegetables on top. When making these meals for my family, the aesthetic was extremely important. I knew that if I made a meal that looked and tasted good, I would be able to have a productive conversation with my family while we ate about the positive impacts of this meal on our environment over our normal dinners. Personally, increasing my consumption of fruits and vegetables is not a hard task as they are my favorite food items and the ones I am drawn to anyways. The more difficult aspect of this goal for me is decreasing my meat consumption. One concern I have as I move away from meat consumption is making sure I get enough protein in my diet. Although there are many other ways to get protein in, I often default to meat because it is easy and offered everyday whereas other options are not as accessible a lot of the time. Due to this concern about getting enough protein, especially as a student athlete, my goal for the next step in my diet changes is to learn more about the variety of high protein non-meat options. 


     In sum, through my research on this topic it has become clear to me that there are a variety of more environmentally friendly options for getting protein in my diet than simply through meat. Although it may be a process, I feel that through furthering my education on meat and animals impacts on both the environment and my health, I can progress towards a meat free diet in my future.




    • CHARLOTTE CHAN's avatar
      CHARLOTTE CHAN 4/11/2021 8:30 PM
      Love that you're making such an effort to show your family how delicious and satisfying healthy meat-less meals are!
      My family is the same way, there's definitely a bit of a stigma against eating meat-less options, especially when it comes to my grandparents. I think it's partially cultural, and partly because they grew up not having so much access to meat. They've been conditioned to believe that eating meat with every meal is a blessing that I should take advantage of. That's true, of course, it is a huge blessing to have access to plentiful food. But that also means that because we have such great access to choices, we can consider making good choices more of a priority now. 
      And yes, I miss the dining halls so much! UCLA dining halls have introduced me to a lot of healthy, more sustainable foods that I didn't even know existed (like tempeh and their amazing veggie soups). Bplate makes healthy sustainable foods taste sooooo good. I also got to try the impossible meat at Rende I was totally surprised at how yummy that was. 

  • Nora Clarkowski's avatar
    Nora Clarkowski 4/11/2021 11:31 AM
    When I signed up for this class over months ago, I did not realize how much of an impact a single class could have on my life and mindset in just a few short weeks. When I signed up for EnglishComp 100W, I was unaware of the topic and took it because I needed to fulfill my writing II course. Through this course, I not only feel like I will be challenged to become a better, more thoughtful writer, but also a more active member of my community through increased compassion and understanding of climate change. As a freshman at UCLA, I have not had any education on climate change before this course and really only knew the basics that everyone talks about in relation to climate change. Through these first few weeks of class, I have realized how significant my lack of education on climate change is and how many small things I can do each day to reduce my carbon footprint. 

    Drawdown Ecochallenge will go a long way for me as a supplemental source of education and action towards my goals of sustainability.  Not only does Drawdown Ecochallenge provide a wide display of educational information, its goals and actions make me think critically about my personal impact and how I can implement new daily routines and actions. 

    As I have learned more about climate change through this class, especially through the reading "The Uninhabitable Earth," I have realized how few of the impacts of climate change are actually talked about. Below I have attached a picture of my family. After learning about how the affects of climate change will have significant impacts on human health and wellness, my biggest motivator for changing the way I live comes from the fact that I don't want future generations of my family, whether it be my children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and others to feel the hurt of my generation's lack of action.
  • Reflection Question
    Action Track: Healing & Renewal More Fruits And Veggies
    How does eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat positively affect yourself, other people, and our planet?

    Nora Clarkowski's avatar
    Nora Clarkowski 4/07/2021 9:54 AM
    Although I already try to consume high amounts of fruits and vegetables in comparison to meat, after some research on the topic I realize even more how crucial it is in taking action against climate change. Positive impacts on myself and my health can be seen through decreasing my meat consumption. By consuming more fruits and vegetables and less meat, I am lowering my risk for many diet related diseases including heart disease, obesity, and cancer due to the high levels of saturated fat in meat, especially red meat. Furthermore, consuming high amounts of fruits and vegetables nourishes the body with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs to thrive. As a freshman on campus at UCLA, the dining halls have helped me in my progression away from meat through their meal options. The dining halls at UCLA rarely have red meat, and when they do they have warnings about high carbon footprints next to the food items on their website. This has encouraged me to move away from consuming red meat along with other meat choices. Instead I choose from the wide variety of fruits and vegetables offered and vegan “meat” options when making meal choices. As cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the United States and worldwide, reducing my consumption of meat could potentially lower my chances of becoming another number in these increasing death rates. The effects of eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat in terms of their positive impact on other people and our planet go hand and hand. As people work to decrease their meat consumption, they are helping to prevent climate change, which in turn helps the health and wellness of people around them. The rising of livestock has had a major impact on deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. Through my research, I learned that the rising of livestock generates just as much greenhouse gas emissions as all automobiles combined. Not only does livestock generate greenhouse gasses but they also demand a lot of resources in their lifespan, especially cows. These emissions not only impact the changing climate by increasing greenhouse gasses, but also wildlife and marine life as livestock raising has been connected to pollution of streams, rivers, and the ocean. In sum, through my research on this topic it has become clear to me that there are a variety of more environmentally friendly options for getting protein in my diet than simply through meat. Although it may be a process, I feel that through furthering my education on meat and animals impacts on both the environment and my health, I can progress towards a meat free diet in my future. 



    • Amanda Adolfo's avatar
      Amanda Adolfo 6/01/2021 10:34 PM
      Hi Nora, I read your reply to this post and really liked it. When I was dorming at UCLA, I appreciated that they had a lot of healthy options. There really is a lot of power in being able to make a choice. There were definitely times when I would rather have a pepperoni pizza at Covel, but I loved that BPlate was an option for us (I really miss their food). It is honestly a luxury for our school to have healthy options because I have heard that other schools don't have as many options in their dining halls. 

      Like you, I am concerned about eating healthier, especially eating fruits and vegetables. Diabetes and hypertension are common in my family, so that is a big concern that I have. I know that starting a healthy diet now will be better for me later on in my life. Also, it will help me develop healthier habits that I can stick to. Cooking for myself and others is fun because it allows me to go through that step-by-step process and develop a daily routine if I do it often.

      It is so sweet of you to make meals for your family members. I think that can have a great impact on their health and give them ideas for healthy recipes. On a side note, I think the acai bowl with peanut butter looks soooo good. Also, it really shows that you care about your family and that you want them to have good health! My family, like yours, also consumes a high amount of meat every day. My dad is more open to trying vegan options of meat (Beyond, Impossible) because he thinks the technology of it is really interesting, but my mom refuses to even try it because she thinks it is fake and tastes bad. Maybe I can try to cook something for them and not tell them that it's a plant-based meal! 

    • Nora Clarkowski's avatar
      Nora Clarkowski 4/11/2021 1:16 PM
      REVISED (after learning more about what an "excellent" post is in class): 

      From a young age I learned the importance of eating plenty of fruits and vegetables in my diet but I was never informed of the negative impacts of meat consumption, especially red meat. Consuming an increased number of fruits and vegetables not only helps the environment, but will have an impact on my health and wellbeing. By consuming less meat with the hopes to eventually have a meat-free diet, I am lowering my risk for many diet related diseases including heart disease, obesity, and cancer due to the high levels of saturated fat in meat, especially red meat. Furthermore, consuming high amounts of fruits and vegetables not only makes me feel satisfied and refreshed, but nourishes the body with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs to thrive. As cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the United States and worldwide, reducing my consumption of meat could potentially lower my chances of becoming another number in these increasing death rates while helping the environment and my personal actions against climate change at the same time. 
       
      Increased consumption of fruits and vegetables and decreased meat consumption has positive impacts on the environment, which in turn has positive impacts on the people who live in the environment. As people work to decrease their meat consumption, they are helping to prevent climate change, which in turn helps the health and wellness of people around them. The raising of livestock has had a major impact on deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions. Through my research, I learned that the rising of livestock generates just as much greenhouse gas emissions as all automobiles combined. Not only does livestock generate greenhouse gasses, but they also demand a lot of resources in their lifespan, especially cows. The article "Plant-Rich Diets" from Project Drawdown explains cattle has especially detrimental impacts on our climate stating that "If cattle were their own nation, they would be the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases." As I have taken steps to reduce my carbon footprint, I have been working hard to use cars minimally, choosing to walk to the majority of the places around UCLA that I go. Something that I did not realize before expanding my education on this topic though was how having a meatless meal can do just as much as choosing to walk to Westwood instead of driving due to the amount of emissions from both cattle and cars. In addition, these emissions not only impact the changing climate by increasing greenhouse gasses, but also wildlife and marine life as livestock raising has been connected to pollution of streams, rivers, and the ocean. As someone with a passion for scuba diving and spending time at Minnesota lakes in the summers, this new knowledge about livestocks carbon footprint will be a major motivator when choosing my meals from now on.
       
      As a freshman on campus at UCLA, the dining halls have helped me in my progression away from meat through their meal options. The dining halls at UCLA rarely have red meat, and when they do they have warnings about high carbon footprints next to the food items on their website. Below I have attached an image of the variety of warnings and labels given to each meal in the dining halls. These labels and the variety of fruit and vegetable options at UCLA have encouraged me to move away from consuming red meat along with other meat choices. Instead, I choose from the wide variety of fruits and vegetables offered and vegan “meat” options when making meal choices. Furthermore, in my recent time visiting home for spring break, I was inspired to make more sustainable meals for myself and my family. Growing up, my family has always consumed high amounts of meat, and there has always been a stigma and negative connotation around vegan options at my house. As I have learned through this class, communicating with people with differing views takes having context to their lifestyle. In order to educate my family on this topic, I made dinner and breakfast for everyone. For breakfast I made açaí bowls with plenty of fruit and homemade peanut butter. For dinner I made pizzas with cauliflower crust and a wide variety of vegetables on top. When making these meals for my family, the aesthetic was extremely important. I knew that if I made a meal that looked and tasted good, I would be able to have a productive conversation with my family while we ate about the positive impacts of this meal on our environment over our normal dinners. Personally, increasing my consumption of fruits and vegetables is not a hard task as they are my favorite food items and the ones I am drawn to anyways. The more difficult aspect of this goal for me is decreasing my meat consumption. One concern I have as I move away from meat consumption is making sure I get enough protein in my diet. Although there are many other ways to get protein in, I often default to meat because it is easy and offered everyday whereas other options are not as accessible a lot of the time. Due to this concern about getting enough protein, especially as a student athlete, my goal for the next step in my diet changes is to learn more about the variety of high protein non-meat options. 


       In sum, through my research on this topic it has become clear to me that there are a variety of more environmentally friendly options for getting protein in my diet than simply through meat. Although it may be a process, I feel that through furthering my education on meat and animals impacts on both the environment and my health, I can progress towards a meat free diet in my future.
  • Reflection Question
    Electricity Watch a Video about Methane Digesters
    What does your vision of a sustainable community look like? What would need to be changed in order for such vision to become reality?

    Nora Clarkowski's avatar
    Nora Clarkowski 4/05/2021 9:04 PM
    When I envision a sustainable community, my vision involves a community where the collective all work together to create a high quality of life, that being a lifestyle that benefits the people so that they can thrive and be healthy, and one that benefits the environment as well. A sustainable community first and foremost minimizes the consumption of fossil fuels, pollution, and waste. After becoming more educated on methane digesters, my vision of a sustainable community would be one that uses methods like these digesters, where waste can be re-used for purposes that better the economy and environment. Methane digesters allow for the breakdown of manure, food scraps, sewage sludge, among other waste, that can then be reused for energy and as fertilizers. In terms of energy, these waste products can be used to power heat and air conditioning and run electric vehicles, among other purposes. Through methane digesters and other reuse actions, I see a sustainable community thriving by re-using waste products at a much higher scale than is done today. I also see a sustainable community using alternative methods of transportation than a car. A sustainable community would have more people biking, carpooling, and taking public transportation than driving in individual gas run cars. In a sustainable community, I see all parts of society whether it be the economy, the environment, or social interactions, all education and working together on sustainability. Without all areas of society working towards sustainability goals, nothing can be accomplished and the theme of “I cannot change the world all by myself” will come about. In order for this vision to become a reality, every person in the community would have to come together to realize that their individuals actions do have an impact, as otherwise people will just continue to think that they aren’t going to solve the problem of climate change or impact sustainability all alone. When the community works together, they will be able to see how each person plays a role in the wider sustainability goals. Creating a community holds its people accountable for the wellness of its people and the environment in which they live. 

    • Kennedi Randolph's avatar
      Kennedi Randolph 5/10/2021 2:29 AM
      Hey Nora! First, I think it was really cool that you watched a video about methane digesters and were able to explain the concept of it clearly. I think that’s a really key part to translating knowledge to others and getting important information across so good job on that! I liked your vision of what a sustainable community looks like, where consumption of fossil fuels is minimized because I feel like it aligns with some of my views as well. The fact that you are educating yourself on the ways that your community can become more sustainable by learning about methane digesters is a great step in the right direction. Part of the solution to many of our problems in regards to burning fossil fuels and exacerbating the climate crisis is education. I feel like there are many people, including myself, who fail to realize the vast majority of activities and daily actions that burn fossil fuels. Moreover, there are likely even more people who lack knowledge about the solutions to stop burning fossil fuels by being more sustainable so educating yourself is definitely a step toward improvement.

      You also mentioned that all areas of society need to work together towards sustainability in order for actual goals to be accomplished which I totally agree with. I also did an action from the electricity section that involved advocating for more sustainable methods by communicating with elected officials. I feel like what you were getting at with people thinking “I cannot change the world all by myself” by doing this one action demonstrates the collectiveness that is required when it comes to achieving large goals like creating a sustainable community. I even had that thought myself when going about this entire project drawdown eco challenge, wondering if these small actions would really make a difference. These small actions definitely make a difference, but it is only when everyone is coming together on a larger scale that we can truly see the impact. Overall, I think this goes to show that moving forward toward being more sustainable, which is what we’re all getting at here, requires holding each other accountable and each of us doing our part.


  • Reflection Question
    Food, Agriculture, and Land Use Learn the Truth About Expiration Dates
    How does knowing the difference between use by, sell by, and best by dates empower you to make better decisions?

    Nora Clarkowski's avatar
    Nora Clarkowski 4/05/2021 2:18 PM
    Following my education on the difference between use by, sell by, and best by dates, I feel empowered to make better decisions about my food consumption and make decisions that will decrease my food waste. Growing up, my parents were very worried about the dates on foods but had no education behind the difference between best by, sell by, and use by dates. This resulted in a lot of food waste in my household, as foods that were even close to being “expired” were thrown out.  Through my research on this topic, one major takeaway was that best by and use by dates are recommendations for when to consume and these recommended dates don’t mean that the food will make the consumer physically sick past the date. Through learning this, I have become more empowered to not be as concerned about consuming foods a few days past their date, as they will rarely make me physically sick, especially if I check the taste and smell and ensure that they seem normal. As my major concern about food dates before my research was that I was going to get physically sick from consuming anything past the date, I believe that I can work towards decreasing my food waste going forward. Another interesting fact I learned from my research was about sell by dates. I discovered that oftentimes 1/3 of a food's shelf life still remains past the sell by date, meaning food can be consumed much past the sell by date, and that the sell by date is really just for retailers. Before learning more about the differences between these labels, I thought they were all generally the same thing and that sell by and best by were related, but in reality, they are very different. In the past I would look at the dates on food without knowing the context behind the label and the type of date and subconsciously considered foods to be "bad" for me past the date. After being more educated on this topic, I will take actions to decrease my food waste by being aware of food labels and dates. An important part of my actions moving forward will be to decrease my use of the term “expired” and instead use words like “best by.” When using the term expired, it is much easier to want to throw food away, contributing to food waste. Furthermore, in my daily life I will focus on consuming the foods in my house that have sooner best by and use by dates first, saving those with later dates for another time and helping me to reduce food waste.