April 3 - April 24, 2019

Jeremiah Graff

PCC SOC 228

"love"

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 2,032 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    1
    documentaries
    watched
  • up to
    2
    people
    helped
  • up to
    2
    donations
    made
  • up to
    665
    minutes
    spent learning
  • up to
    6,393
    pounds of CO2
    have been saved

Challenges

Materials

Become A Master Recycler/Composter

#55 Household Recycling

I will sign up for a Master Recycler/Composter program in my area.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Food

Support Nutrient Management

#65 Nutrient Management

I will research and support local farmers who have made the decision to not use synthetic nitrogen fertilizers.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Materials

Research Cement Alternatives

#36 Alternative Cement

I will spend at least 40 minutes researching cement alternatives that reduce the carbon footprint of concrete.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Transport

Purchase a Carbon Offset

#43 Airplanes

If I buy a plane ticket, I will purchase a carbon offset.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Action Track: Social Justice

Support Microgeneration in Low Income Countries

#48 In-Stream Hydro, #76 Micro Wind, #78 Microgrids

I will make a donation to a nonprofit that installs microgeneration in low income countries.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Food

Learn More about Silvopasture

#9 Silvopasture

I will spend at least 60 minutes watching videos and/or reading about the environmental benefits of silvopasture.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Food

Learn More about Regenerative Agriculture

#11 Regenerative Agriculture

I will spend at least 60 minutes learning about the need for more regenerative agriculture.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Transport

Explore Other Transport Solutions

All Transport Solutions

I will spend at least 90 minutes researching other Drawdown Transport Solutions.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Transport

Improve a Bus Stop

#37 Mass 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.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Electricity Generation

Learn More About Geothermal Energy

#18 Geothermal

I will spend at least 60 minutes learning more about the energy generation potential of geothermal energy and consider investing in this technology.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Women and Girls

Give a Microloan

#62 Women Smallholders

I will give 2 microloan(s) to women who need help starting a business.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Food

Donate

#21 Clean Cookstoves

I will donate to nonprofits that install clean cookstoves in low-income countries.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Food

Learn the Truth About Expiration Dates

#3 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 Challenge

Electricity Generation

Watch a Video about Methane Digesters

#30 Methane Digesters (large), #64 Methane Digesters (small)

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

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Land Use

Research Peatlands

#13 Peatlands

I will spend 20 minutes researching the environmental benefits of peatlands and what is being done around the world to conserve and restore them.

COMPLETED 19 OF 22
DAILY CHALLENGE

Buildings and Cities

Online Energy Audit

Multiple Solutions

I will complete an online energy audit of my home, office, or dorm room and identify my next steps for saving energy.

Completed
One-Time Challenge

Feed

  • Reflection Question
    Transport Improve a Bus Stop
    How can you advocate for transportation systems which minimize environmental impact while also meeting human needs?

    Jeremiah Graff 4/24/2019 10:05 PM
    Contacting local, state, and national agencies to advocate for zero emission transportation options is a viable action that I can take. This challenge asked us to improve a bus stop; in doing so, I can see that making simple changes that make these spaces more attractive could actually increase the likelihood that people would utilize public transportation. Encouraging cities to (re)design themselves around public transportation and pedestrians versus cars would also help meet human needs while reducing environmental impact. Little actions can really add up, especially when we are all making them!
  • Reflection Question
    Materials Become A Master Recycler/Composter
    What could you do differently to waste less?

    Jeremiah Graff 4/24/2019 8:33 AM
    My partner and I have been working towards a zero waste lifestyle for the last several months with great success. Before we met, we both happened to be working towards this independently, and now as a team we are able to reinforce these habits. I think one of the biggest steps is asking how much one needs something versus wants it. Then considering all of the resources and processes required to create the item(s) can help one re-evaluate their needs vs wants. Buying things that are either biodegradable, compostable, or recyclable lets companies know that this is important to us. We can also write these companies to let them know about what we'd like to see them do differently. Utilizing reusable containers to buy bulk items, etc. can also reduce the waste generated when we are shopping. There are plenty of options and resources available to help make zero waste possible!
  • Reflection Question
    Transport Explore Other Transport Solutions
    What did you find out? What is the most interesting fact you learned?

    Jeremiah Graff 4/24/2019 8:18 AM
    While researching other transportation options, I came upon the related topic of pedestrianizing urban areas. In some places, such plans were initially highly criticized by shops, restaurants, and taxi drivers. The latter were concerned with traffic congestion; the former were concerned about less customers. However, in Brazil for example, a one day test run in Sao Paulo, Brazil went so well that 97% of locals supported making the changes to wider pedestrian zones permanent. In Barcelona, the changes actually resulted in less car use in general and a reduce in noise and air pollution. Redesigning cities to reflect their inhabitants (people) over cars would be a major positive action for communities and for the environment.
  • Reflection Question
    Food Support Nutrient Management
    How does environmental quality influence your sense of community?

    Jeremiah Graff 4/24/2019 8:10 AM
    Environmental quality has a number of benefits for any community. For one, the natural environment has an aesthetic beauty that helps people relax. Even those who may be unfamiliar with it may come to find peace within it when accompanied by someone who has experience outside. The quality of the environment also has effects on our health, by regulating and contributing to air, soil, and water quality. This allows communities to be healthy in the most basic sense and also offers them opportunities for recreation - which also supports health and fitness. The environment, especially forests, have been shown to have a positive effect on us psychologically. Overall, the health of the environment is directly linked to our own health, because we are part of the environment!
  • Reflection Question
    Land Use Research Peatlands
    Much of Indonesia's peatlands have been drained so they could be replaced with palm oil or pulp and paper plantations. How can you make choices that help to protect peatlands, even if you live far away from one?

    Jeremiah Graff 4/24/2019 8:04 AM
    At the beginning of this challenge, I was really skeptical that I was going to find enough to read about to fill the week. As it turns out, I was wrong. There is an abundant amount of information about peatlands in general, but also about restoration projects around the world. Their existence is a great service to the planet, as they help regulate air quality and provide a home to a plethora of wildlife. It is suggested that addressing peatland degradation may be one of the most effective actions we can take immediately to reverse carbon emissions. Since they pull and store carbon from the atmosphere, when they are damaged they contribute mass amounts of it back into the atmosphere. Among the solutions, simply rewetting peatlands and allowing their natural hydrology to function can almost immediately stop emissions from them. Restoring vegetation takes more time, but it has been shown in places like the UK and Russia that this is possible. To some extent, humans must engage the restoration of peatlands, but at some point, the most important thing we can do is to step back and simply allow them to do what they do; this method has been called process conservation, or rewilding.

    Personally, I feel one of the things I can do is simply talk to people about the importance of peatlands in climate change and ecosystem health. I sense that many people may not even know what peat it is or how important it is. By increasing social awareness, more pressure can be applied to governments and institutions to restore and protect peatlands. Another action I can take is to contact nurseries and request that they stop selling peat, so that further degradation of peatlands may stop. Contacting politicians and governmental bodies to encourage the preservation of peatlands is also something I can do. Supporting rewetting projects and wetland conservation through volunteer work or funding is also an option. This challenge has definitely given me a plethora of information and a new perspective about the importance of wetlands. I 
  • Reflection Question
    Food Learn More about Regenerative Agriculture
    Clean air, clean water and healthy food are three reasons to care about regenerative agriculture. What are some other reasons?

    Jeremiah Graff 4/23/2019 8:48 PM
    Along with the aforementioned reasons, utilizing regenerating agriculture promotes human rights. For one, monoculture leaves the soil largely depleted of it's nutrients and integrity. In areas, where the land has been cleared for agriculture, the ability of the environment to sequester carbon is also reduced. Conventional monoculture methods also rely upon fertilizers and pesticides that inevitably end up in the soil and water. Since water is shared by all of us, this means that some people are not having safe access to drinking water. In some cases, the land becomes so unproductive, it is abandoned altogether, which means the farmer is out of work and under pressure to either find a new farm or other means to support themselves. Monoculture and land clearing has been linked to drought and flooding, which only exacerbates the livelihoods of the people living on the land.
    Regenerative culture allows the soil to be rebuilt and for production of foods to become more productive and resistant to pests. The people tending the land are also creating a more secure income and food resource for themselves.
  • Reflection Question
    Materials Research Cement Alternatives
    Concrete is a good example of a material that most of us encounter every day, but may its carbon footprint is not obvious. What other everyday materials might have a large carbon footprint? How can you find out more?

    Jeremiah Graff 4/22/2019 11:51 AM
    Researching this topic had never occurred to me, but I was struck by the process involved in creating cement and the emissions that generates. However, one solution presents itself by investigating the construction materials of buildings that have existed almost unchanged for thousands of years, such as the Pantheon. During my research, I fell into a rabbit hole learning about some truly innovative materials that are addressing emissions, such as the Palazzo Italia and a rural in Manila. The building in Milan, Italy captures pollutants and reduces them into harmless salts. Similarly, the government of Manila has teamed up with local artists and a paint company to create a mural that has the potential to remove nitrogen oxide comparable to the effect of 8,000 trees. These are inspiring stories that have me thinking more about the materials that we encounter day-to-day that have the potential to be cleaner, and cleansing themselves!
  • Reflection Question
    Transport Purchase a Carbon Offset
    A round-trip flight from New York City to Los Angeles emits just over 1.5 tons of CO2. What can you do to reduce the number of flights you take per year?

    Jeremiah Graff 4/22/2019 11:14 AM
    I have been taking an annual trip to the Peruvian Amazon for the last three years. While I have justified this trip, as there are educational and conservation components to this trip, I have increasingly struggled taking the trip knowing that the flights involved are the most significant contributions to my carbon footprint. It has me wondering whether the efforts of the conservation work done there even remotely offset the emissions generated by my travel.

    One option to reduce this footprint is to cease taking this trip.
    Another option is to research technology and cleaner air travel innovations that I can support and invest in. Writing airlines about a desire for greener travel also lets the companies know this is important to their customers, but also for the greater good of everyone.
    Lastly, when I was researching carbon offsets, I was not entirely convinced that they do what they say or cover my contribution of emissions. I did end up buying offsets that were related to green technology projects, such as solar and wind power, as well as methane capture from landfills. During the calculation process, I was informed that my emissions could be offset by 82 trees. This seemed like a direct way that I can offset my air travel. Thus, I've set off on a journey to plant (at minimum) 82 trees this year. Connecting with organizations like Friends of Trees and the city government, as well as teachers and other interested individuals, I feel confident that this can be done, though it will require various hoops and hurdles, and time. My initial research has shown me how bureaucratic and complex the simple act of planting a tree has become. Conversely, how easy it is for people to cut them down!

    Perhaps one way that I can offset my trip to Peru each year is to set a goal of planting 80-100 trees per year. This seems ambitious, but I feel this could become easier to organize with time and experience. I hope that my actions inspire others to reconsider their carbon footprints, and I will be contacting the other individuals joining our work group in Peru to consider (at minimum) to offset their flights.
  • Reflection Question
    Action Track: Social Justice Support Microgeneration in Low Income Countries
    How can micro energy solutions reduce inequities? Why is this important to you?

    Jeremiah Graff 4/20/2019 11:35 PM
    These solutions help educate people about clean technologies. Green Empowerment is one organization that is helping connect people with renewable energies that may provide them with better health and opportunities. For example, in Peru, there are projects to help provide rural Peruvians with clean drinking water. Considering that 60% of the population lives in rural areas and that ~50% of the population identifies as indigenous, this shows that those people who have been living off of/with the land for the longest are suffering the most from the complications that industrialization has brought. In some places, people are still cooking with wood or biomass in unventilated spaces. A small change like installing cleaner cookstoves, for example, helps families live healthier lives.
    I believe that all people deserve access to healthy air, water, soil, and energy. By sharing greener technologies with rural inhabitants, we are offering them a chance to maintain their livelihood.
  • Reflection Question
    Food Learn More about Silvopasture
    Had you heard of the term "silvopasture" before now? After learning more about it, what do you think is the biggest advantage of silvopasture?

    Jeremiah Graff 4/19/2019 10:22 AM
    I had not heard of silvopasture before this challenge, and I can see that there are advantages to this practice. For one, the amount of land required for livestock may be lessened, as it has been shown that yields are higher in silvopasture than open grasslands. Farmers can utilize the space for multiple crops as well, such as timber, nut and fruit trees, mushrooms, etc., thereby increasing the ultimate productivity of a limited space.

    In some cases, trees need to be planted, which also increases the amount of shade for the animals, thereby reducing heat stress and water consumption. The trees also pull carbon from the atmosphere. It seems that along with the trees, understory plants help sequester carbon; this system purportedly sequesters more emissions than those produced by the livestock. Some naturally growing foods in the understory, when consumed by cattle, have even been shown to reduce the amount of emissions produced by the cattle.

    While I am convinced this system is better than open grazing, I'm curious whether food forests without livestock are even more effective at sequestering carbon, as they would not have to pull emissions from livestock from the environment. Always more to learn!