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Deema  Daher's avatar

Deema Daher

Bruins For a Just Transition

"Hello, my name is Deema Daher and I am a first-generation college student attending UCLA. I am currently a first-year undergraduate majoring in Psychobiology. I am excited to learn about the environment and the ways we can improve it. "

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 666 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    265
    minutes
    being mindful
  • up to
    450
    gallons of water
    have been saved
  • up to
    360
    minutes
    spent exercising
  • up to
    4.0
    more servings
    of fruits and vegetables
  • up to
    20
    minutes
    spent outdoors
  • up to
    50
    minutes
    spent learning

Deema 's Actions

Land Sinks

Explore My Area

Sometimes protecting nature requires feeling connected to nature. I will invest 20 minutes in exploring and appreciating a natural area in my region, whether a forest, wetland, coastal area, or somewhere else.

Completed
One-Time Action

Buildings

Install a Low-Flow Showerhead

Low-Flow Fixtures

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

Completed
One-Time Action

Transportation

Research and Advocate for High-Speed Rail

High-Speed Rail

I will spend at least 30 minutes researching and advocating for a comprehensive high speed rail network in my country/region.

Completed
One-Time Action

Action Track: Healing & Renewal

Go for a Daily Walk

Walkable Cities

I will take a walk for 30 minutes each day and take note of the infrastructure that makes walking more or less enjoyable, accessible, and possible.

COMPLETED 12
DAILY ACTIONS

Action Track: Building Resilience

Forest-Friendly Foods 2

Tropical Forest Restoration

I will replace or remove the palm oil, coffee, and cocoa products in my current diet that are known to contribute to deforestation.

COMPLETED 12
DAILY ACTIONS

Health and Education

Research Barriers to Participation and Representation

Health and Education

I will spend at least 30 minutes learning more about the barriers to women's equal participation and representation around the world.

Completed
One-Time Action

Food, Agriculture, and Land Use

More Fruits And Veggies

I will eat a heart healthy diet by adding 1 cups of fruits and vegetables each day to achieve at least 4 cups per day.

COMPLETED 4
DAILY ACTIONS

Food, Agriculture, and Land Use

Eat Mindfully

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

COMPLETED 12
DAILY ACTIONS

Feed

  • Reflection Question
    Transportation Research and Advocate for High-Speed Rail
    What are the factors that influence your choice of transportation? These can include things like money, time, and convenience, as well as perceptions of danger or safety. What would need to change for you to regularly choose more climate-friendly options?

    Deema  Daher's avatar
    Deema Daher 5/11/2022 9:20 PM
    There are a couple of factors that influence my choice of transportation, including money, time convenience, and the dangers that come with the transportation choice. Even though Uber's are expensive, they are more convenient than taking the bus because I can order an Uber on my phone, and it comes to the exact location I need it to pick me up in a short time rather than wait for the bus. Buses are more complicated to navigate and tend to get dangerous and unsanitary. The only times I have taken the bus, I always tend to see dirty seats, garbage, and a bad smell which makes me less eager to take them. It tends to be a little scary to take the bus alone as a girl in LA because of random homeless people or mentally unstable people who hang around bus stops. This is why I avoid public transportation and especially the bus. 
     
    But what I think is necessary for public transportation to become more of a regular option for me is to see more effort in keeping them clean and sanitary. While also making sure they are safe for young passengers because that would make me want to take the bus. I have seen a Metro Mirco rideshare service in LA, which might be a great option to consider because it is cheap, safer, and allows for fewer gas emissions because fewer cars are being used when taking the Metro Mirco. 


  • Reflection Question
    Land Sinks Explore My Area
    How can spending more time outdoors enhance your sense of place -- your deep knowledge of and appreciation for your surroundings?

    Deema  Daher's avatar
    Deema Daher 5/09/2022 10:38 PM
    Going to the UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden for class was not the usual setting for writing class but it made me appreciate the nature that I was surrounded by because it was very peaceful even though I could hear cars in the distance. While walking around the botanical gardens I was able to note different aspects to my environment including the different plants, flowers, trees etc. I was able to see the bamboo forest which was something that I appreciated and I also got to see turtles and butterflies roam the area. These different aspects of the botanical garden made me think about the area I was in and how natural systems do not get appreciated enough as they provide life and allow animals to grow and prosper. It makes me think about human interference do not allowing these systems to exists and if they continue then there is more carbon emissions being released into our atmosphere. This lead me to think about why it is essential to teach young generations and the ones that come after them about why it it is important to live a sustainable life and guide them to how they can do this to see a future that allows them to live a liong and prosperous life. Knowing that my generation can make a change motivates me to do better as an individual while also teaching those arround me about what they can do to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Reflection Question
    Health and Education Research Barriers to Participation and Representation
    What are some of the barriers that exist to women's equal participation and/or representation in your community?

    Deema  Daher's avatar
    Deema Daher 5/09/2022 9:19 PM
    Some barriers that exist to women's equal participation and or representation in our community are in the professional atmosphere. There are countless women that get overlooked because of gender stereotypes and not because they are not smart enough or capable of doing the job. It is important to recognize that gender equality is a human right. This leads to a more sustainable world because more young girls get to attend school, fewer girls get forced to marry at a young age, and more women get to hold leadership positions. There are laws that are in place that limit women's ability to succeed and prosper. Many women experience some form of assault which also hinder their ability to achieve their goals. In recent times, lawmakers have wanted to make abortion illegal, which would not allow women to decide what happens with their pregnancy. Women would have no right over their bodies and what happens to them, and if women are not allowed to choose what happens to their bodies, they cannot look ahead at a future that will enable them to create a sustainable life and make them prosper. Many women are underpaid for the same work and position that men get paid more for, which shows how unfair the system allows this to continue. This happens at a local level, and it also occurs globally, which is why it is imperative to educate ourselves and the next generation to consider more sustainable habits which allow more young girls to choose what happens in their lives and what types of living they want to reach in order to succeed in any profession they see themselves in. 
     
     


  • Reflection Question
    Buildings Install a Low-Flow Showerhead
    What would a sustainable water future in your region look like? What needs to change?

    Deema  Daher's avatar
    Deema Daher 5/09/2022 8:05 PM
    Water Saving- Home from Drawdown implies that using water at home to do basic everyday tasks like showering, laundry, and watering plants consumes energy. Hawken utilizes examples that explain the amount of water Americans use each day which comes to be 98 gallons of water each day, with about 60% being used indoors. In contrast, 30% is used outdoors, and the remaining 10% is lost through leaks. Hawken argues that the way to tackle indoor water waste is to install low flush toilets and water-efficient washing machines. Individuals can cut down on water waste by reducing shower times, flushing fewer times per day, and taking the initiative to waste less water. 
     
    My dad always tells my four sisters and me to use as little water as possible when washing our hands, brushing our teeth, or taking a shower because the water bill could get expensive if we did not do this. I have continued these practices even at UCLA and do my part by using less water whenever I can. These are some of the solutions the author explains that focus on reducing water waste inside the home. Learning about the different solutions I can implement in my life to help reduce energy waste makes me less fearful about a future that cannot regenerate itself. 
     
    Still, other technologies and individual choices have an indirect impact. The energy used is an excellent example of these impacts, which can be found in nuclear and fossil fuel plants. I think that in order to reduce energy consumption, we must reduce the number of water individuals waste while also holding those at a higher level accountable for their contribution to wasting water and spending energy. The Eco Challenge I attempted to tackle this issue was to turn off the water faucet to reduce the amount of water wasted when showering and brushing my teeth.

  • Reflection Question
    Food, Agriculture, and Land Use More Fruits And Veggies
    How does eating more fruits and vegetables and less meat positively affect yourself, other people, and our planet?

    Deema  Daher's avatar
    Deema Daher 5/09/2022 7:46 PM
    Whenever I go to Epicura the UCLA dining hall for dinner I tend to eat more vegetables and fruits than meat. I never thought about how this positively impacts myself and the environment. It has always been a reoccurring conversation that I had with my parents growing up that it was important to eat my vegetables because they are good for my health and will make me live longer. But not only are they good for my health but eating vegetables will reduce greenhouse gas emissions which will ultimately help my environment and those who live in it.

    In the article Grasslands from Regeneration, Hawken asserts that grasslands are responsible for about 15% of global carbon storage and most likely surpassing the carbon stored in temperate forests. Hawken uses examples that display the amount of carbon stored in grasslands, including around 30 tons per hectare as biomass and 77 tons per hectare as soil organic carbon. Hawken explains that grassland carbon is below ground because we should think of grasslands as lands of fire and herbivores, and with consumption, the grasslands protect their biomass below ground. Grasslands have been turned into farmlands which means more wild animals get fenced in, giving them less space to roam these lands. Ultimately making animals more fat to consume which increases the carbon footprint and destroys grasslands. This is why it is important to eat less meat and more fruits and vegetables because there would be fewer grasslands that get destroyed and less carbon footprint from consuming meat that gets fattened by eating on the grasslands.


  • Reflection Question
    Action Track: Building Resilience Forest-Friendly Foods 2
    How difficult or easy was it to change your diet?

    Deema  Daher's avatar
    Deema Daher 4/10/2022 3:59 PM
    I never relied on coffee to get me through finals week or long nights of studying throughout high school. I have never liked drinking coffee because it always made me feel jittery. I drink water mainly because it is good for my health and keeps me hydrated. So it was very easy for me to cut out coffee and cocoa from my life because I did not enjoy consuming these products. On the other hand, my family members have become addicted to drinking coffee, and I tell them all the time that caffeine is not all that good for you. They drink coffee multiple times during the day and have become reliant on coffee to keep them awake and energized. 

    But what I found most interesting is the impact that coffee and cocoa have on tropical forest deforestation. That the more we consume these products, the more deforestation occurs. According to Tropical Forests from Drawdown, 30 percent of the world’s forest land has been cleared completely, making it harder for forest ecosystems to restore and absorb the carbon released when this occurs. This means that tropical forest deforestation is responsible for 16 to 19 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. To restore tropical forests, we have to let the ecosystems come back to life and consume and cut out specific products that contribute to clearing forests. If we can change how we live our life today, we may see a future for those that come after us. But we have to be willing to change how we live in order to keep this planet strong and healthy. 


    • Varun Hariharan's avatar
      Varun Hariharan 4/10/2022 7:22 PM
      Hi Deema,
       
      I was once in your situation: coffee would make me jitter and actually negatively affect my work ethic, so I’d stay away from it. However, at some point during my time studying for the MCAT exam, I joined the dark side (the coffee drinkers). At that time, I was a 3 to 4 cups a day kind-of-guy. That was about eight months ago. Now, I’ve bought an espresso maker and only take one cup a day to jumpstart my morning, really savoring it instead of using it like fuel. The reason I’m explaining this is that now, I get why coffee drinkers are so adamant about their daily cup or two. That is why I was somewhat distraught to read just how much damage the coffee industry does to the environment, as well as the extent of labor exploitation in the coffee trade. Over 1 billion people in the world consume coffee, making it the most consumed psychoactive substance. It’s going to take a lot of effort to convince people to stop drinking it.
       
      Looking through Project Drawdown for more information about the coffee industry, I stumbled upon the article Multistrata Agroforestry in which Paul Hawken outlines a far more eco-friendly method of cultivating crops such as pineapple, coconut, cacao, coffee, and many other highly-consumed foods. He mentioned that “an acre of multistrata agroforestry can achieve rates of carbon sequestration that are comparable to those of afforestation and forest restoration – 2.8 per acre per year.” (46) The way this works is that instead of having a singular plane of growth, a “pseudo-forest” of sorts is constructed where different crops are grown at various heights. This produces somewhat of a natural ecosystem, and is actually more efficient in many ways. The various species provide one another with nutrients, and this technique supports “natural pest control, fertilization, and water reabsorption.” This was the first I had heard about multistrata agroforestry, but it seems that there are already almost 250 million acres of multistrata agroforestry in the world. One of the drawbacks is that it cannot be implemented in all conditions because it relies on the right blend of climate, water, light, and nutrients. Even so, it should definitely be implemented where it can in mass.
       
      I think this is a great innovation because we get to enjoy the coffee, chocolate, and fruits we so deeply love, while also contributing to carbon sequestration. 


    • Deema  Daher's avatar
      Deema Daher 4/10/2022 4:39 PM
  • Reflection Question
    Food, Agriculture, and Land Use Eat Mindfully
    Mindful eating is healthier for us than eating with distractions. How does your eating experience differ when practicing mindfulness?

    Deema  Daher's avatar
    Deema Daher 4/10/2022 3:05 PM
    Today's society has been consumed by technology and using technology every chance we have, including when we are eating. I think many younger people, especially children growing up in this society, tend to use technology while eating because it is a way to distract them from eating their meals. I have recently used my eating time to watch my tv show because I feel as though this is the only time I have to watch it. Or because I live on campus and tend to bring food back to my floor lounge and watch a tv show with my friends who also eat while watching a tv show or movie. But even as I do this, I feel very distracted and do not have the proper focus on my food or my tv show. 

    However, my eating experience with no distractions has made me focus more on my food and surroundings. I feel as though I can focus on one thing rather than multiple. I am not worried about my phone or tv show but concentrate on what I am eating. I have found it to be very peaceful and weirdly calming. I would enjoy eating with others more because then I do not have to worry about using my phone as a distraction, but rather having someone there to talk to will make it feel less lonely. I believe it is important to get younger people and children to practice mindful eating before it becomes an issue we cannot solve. Maybe we can implement less technology into the early years of children and teach them ways they can be mindful when eating or doing any other activities.


  • Reflection Question
    Action Track: Healing & Renewal Go for a Daily Walk
    What have you noticed on your daily walks? What have you enjoyed? What infrastructure changes could make your walks more enjoyable or possible?

    Deema  Daher's avatar
    Deema Daher 4/10/2022 2:16 PM
    Walking has become part of my daily routine as I walk from my dorm to campus and from campus to my dorm. On my walks, I have noticed that it is more difficult to walk up hills and that it takes a great effort to do. However, walking is something I enjoy because it forces me to be one with nature and the outside world. Especially during springtime when the sun is out and the weather is just perfect.

    But, what I do notice also is the buildings, cars, trucks, dump trucks, etc, being used to go up the hill and down the hill. I just think about the effects this has on our atmosphere and how walking could help to reduce this. According to Walkable Cities from Drawdown, walking can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and in more compact developments ripe for walking, people drive 20 to 40 percent less. If we are able to get rid of the cars, trucks, and buses then maybe we can utilize walking which has been present before these inventions to move and get around to people and places we want to reach.  
     
    I think if we implement the mentality of walking instead of using cars to get from point A to B then we have taken the right step toward reducing greenhouse emissions. Whenever my friends and I want to go to Westwood we tend to walk down instead of taking an uber or using a friend's car. Small changes to one's life can significantly help the planet and create a future for those that come after.  

  • Deema  Daher's avatar
    Deema Daher 4/01/2022 3:12 PM

    My now 2-year-old niece Julie, whom I love dearly, is growing up in a world filled with cars, electronics, and many harmful factors. I wonder if, in her lifetime, she will ever get to see a day of a healed environment and plant. It scares me, but if we do not take action now and as soon as possible, we may never see a future for the next generation, including my niece and her future. I know that the present generation is the one to make an impact if we want to see our future generations thrive. 

    I did not grow up thinking about the environment or the effects we have on it as individuals and the ways we use it to our advantage. But in more recent years and throughout high school, I have understood why it is essential to take care of our environment. I learned to appreciate the environment and the importance of reaching a more eco-friendly future. 

    I want a better future for my niece because I worry about whether or not the environment will survive if we continue on this path of self-destruction. I think to myself this is not her fault but the fault of past generations. However, it is up to me and my generation to take action before it is too late. Even if I do not know where to start, I look forward to taking action in the right direction to better my environment. I know there are many solutions I can take to make sure I leave this planet better than I found it. I know that my actions and way of living affects the environment and future generations. 

    My niece is my “why” she is the reason I look forward to engaging and collaborating with my team members to reach a better future. I joined this challenge because I know I will learn more about my community and environment because I can collaborate and learn from others as I come to a better understanding of my own journey. 



    • Arteen Abrishami's avatar
      Arteen Abrishami 4/01/2022 6:05 PM
      Hi Deema,

      I love how your niece Julie gives you a bigger perspective on future generations and serves as a gateway for your empathy in that way. Your post caught my eye because you were talking about just how toxic the current modern environment is, with its cars, cell phones, etc.. I absolutely agree with that and have recently been trying to cut back my cell phone usage to a minimum, along with all other devices like it. You get so lost in it, and your own world that times, that you forget to look around you and see the bigger picture. It’s hard to live like that and even harder to see how many people, myself included for a time, live and lived like that. I also agree with you that I don’t know where to start - but I think it’s all about doing small things and making progress because progress adds up. That is the whole point after all.