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Fennie Huynh's avatar

Fennie Huynh

Low Energy Enthusiasts

"After reading about the threatening consequences of climate change, I am inspired to transition to a more sustainable lifestyle. While I believe it's going to be difficult as I am currently unable to make household choices living at home with my parents, I am determined to reduce my waste and consumption, and contribute in other ways whenever I can."

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 386 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    179
    pounds of CO2
    have been saved
  • up to
    175
    minutes
    spent learning
  • up to
    65
    minutes
    being mindful
  • up to
    3
    pounds of paper
    have been saved
  • up to
    4
    more servings
    of fruits and vegetables

Fennie's Actions

Action Track: Healing & Renewal

More Fruits And Veggies

I will eat a heart healthy diet by adding 3 cups of fruits and vegetables each day to achieve at least 4 cups per day.

COMPLETED 1
DAILY ACTION

Industry

Learn About & Practice Sustainable Fashion

Multiple Industry Solutions

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

Completed
One-Time Action

Transportation

Use Muscle Power

Multiple Transportation Solutions

I will cut my car trip mileage by only taking necessary trips, and I will only use muscle-powered transportation for all other trips.

COMPLETED 2
DAILY ACTIONS

Buildings

Replace Manual Thermostats

Smart Thermostats

I will replace manual thermostats with smart ones.

Completed
One-Time Action

Transportation

Purchase a Carbon Offset

Efficient Aviation

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

Completed
One-Time Action

Coastal, Ocean, and Engineered Sinks

Smart Seafood Choices

Ocean Farming

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

Completed
One-Time Action

Industry

Go Paperless

Recycled Paper

I will reduce the amount of paper mail that I receive by 0.11lbs (0.05kg) a day or 3.3lbs (1.6kg) a month by opting into paperless billing, ending unwanted subscriptions and opting out of junk mail.

Completed
One-Time Action

Food, Agriculture, and Land Use

Support Nutrient Management

Nutrient Management

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

Completed
One-Time Action

Electricity

Learn More about Micro Wind

Micro Wind Turbines

I will spend at least 45 minutes learning more about the energy generation potential of micro wind.

Completed
One-Time Action

Action Track: Building Resilience

Learn More about Regenerative Agriculture

Conservation Agriculture, Regenerative Annual Cropping

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

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 3
DAILY ACTIONS

Feed

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

    Fennie Huynh's avatar
    Fennie Huynh 6/03/2021 3:29 AM
    Inspired by the podcast I listened to for the climate action event from Intersectional Environmentalist, I wanted to inform myself on making more sustainable purchases and also want to find out if it is possible to lower the prices for quality pieces. It was brought up that sometimes more sustainable clothing items are simply not affordable for many. As for me, I made significantly fewer purchases this entire year due to the pandemic and don’t know if going forward, I should invest in quality pieces or simply just go to the thrift store for second-hand clothes. I mostly did not buy because I felt like I was not going anywhere and this makes me realize how much the social aspect such as following trends plays a role in people’s spending patterns. I feel like thrifting is the most environmentally friendly option, before making new purchases. I also feel like many more brands throw out the word “sustainable” without their actions delivering. There are currently many fast-fashion online shops like Shein or Fashion Nova and these brands are selling their clothes at extremely cheap prices and most likely do not have worker-friendly environments or wages. From the learn more tab, I learned that there are 7 categories that are considered “sustainable fashion”: made-to-order items, high quality, fair and ethical, repair, redesign and upcycle, donated, and secondhand and vintage. Through the MoneyCrashers website, I learned that cheap clothing, including polyester, costs much more energy to make and uses toxic chemicals. This makes me question if it uses more energy to produce, why is the cost so cheap? Some greener materials include linen, hemp, bamboo, and organic wool. This list has made me realize I probably don’t own ANY clothing made from these materials. In the near future, I don’t see myself investing in sustainable pieces that are at a high price because I’m still a student. However, future down the line, I do want to purchase more quality items and have timeless pieces that will stay in my closet for many years and even decades. As for the reflection question, and at the top of my mind, expression can come from how you wear your hair or your music taste! Creativity definitely does not have to stem from only clothing and it can also include any form of artwork and other hobbies, one of mine being dancing! The website also mentions online selling platforms are also a more sustainable way for clothes to get a second home. I have been selling clothes that no longer fit me or items that I no longer need online through an app called Mercari for 5 years! The aim for me through this app is just to declutter; I’m not selling items to profit and in fact most of the time I’m “losing money” from the initial price I bought the piece for. I am attaching a picture of my online shop/profile! Over 5 years, I have only sold about 50 items because once again, I just want to minimize instead of profit!
  • Reflection Question
    Transportation Use Muscle Power
    How do your transportation choices affect your engagement in your community? Does your experience or enjoyment differ while walking, riding transit, biking or driving?

    Fennie Huynh's avatar
    Fennie Huynh 6/02/2021 11:58 PM
    The pandemic this entire year conveniently helped me with this EcoChallenge because I didn’t have to commute to campus. I actually didn’t have my own car either for the first two years of college and carpooled with my aunt; she went to work and I went to school. Carpooling is absolutely better than driving alone, but driving is still choosing convenience. I could have made the choice to bus, which would have taken prior planning and more commute time, however, I knew a friend who regularly bussed to campus. However, on the way home from school, I tend to bus to my aunt’s workplace to meet her there, before we head off home together. As for riding public transit, sometimes I feel like I need to be more alert with my surroundings and belongings if I am traveling alone. I would say this does not discourage me from using the bus and I think it’s actually a nice experience because I engage in friendly conversations with strangers at the bus stop and on the bus. It is most likely that I will not see these people again but I have had memorable conversations with elders in my native language. I think Vietnamese elders tend to like to chatter and I do love speaking with them. This is in contrast with driving because my aunt and I don’t always have topics to discuss and we drown out the silence with radio shows like GhostBusters. As for biking, during the few times that I have done so, I enjoyed it and usually do this with friends. I treat this as a workout sometimes and we don’t have anywhere important to head to like work or school. However, my mindset has changed and if I could have done things differently I would have incorporated more biking to campus. Lastly as for walking or running, this is something I did almost daily in high school as a cross country and track runner. While this is for the sport, I usually run the same paths and have engaged with other runners shouting encouragements while passing by. During this quarter, I did not find myself leaving the house often and had no destination to walk to, except for leisurely walks around my apartment complex. I do think this EcoChallenge and just the timing of the pandemic, made me utilize the car less and I want to keep it this way in the future. I do not plan on bringing a car down to Los Angeles next year and anticipate that I will be on my feet the majority of the time! I have heard that UCLA is a hilly campus and this makes biking difficult but I plan to walk, run, or bus to campus from my apartment. I am glad that walking, running, or biking is good for my physical/mental health, for the environment by reducing emissions, and for the economy (from the ABC article). It does make sense that more walking pedestrians will stop by businesses and shop. I am attaching a picture of a short biking trip I did with my friend this quarter around my neighborhood. I tracked my workout using the app Runkeeper!
  • Reflection Question
    Coastal, Ocean, and Engineered Sinks Smart Seafood Choices
    Many states and countries have advisories on eating fish. Find out what is advised for your region. Do you think your diet choices fall within these guidelines? What steps do you need to take to make sure that they do?

    Fennie Huynh's avatar
    Fennie Huynh 6/01/2021 1:52 PM
    I enjoy vegetarian or vegan meals sometimes but do not practice it full time and do not have any other dietary restrictions. I do eat salmon occasionally and was afraid of what I would have discovered through this EcoChallenge. Searching on their website, there is an in-depth search base of the types of seafood that includes how the species was farmed and what body of water it is located in. Clicking on one of the options to avoid, the reasons are due to the scores of 10 categories and the most stand out ones are the presence of pathogens, parasite interactions, chemical use, and the number of eggs to support their population. Moving on to the article, salmons are the indicators for environmental health in the waters and they are also known as a keystone species. However, being a keystone species means they play a crucial role in the ecosystem, yet if they are also an indicator species, it makes this system easily disturbed because the salmon population can decline if there is a large enough change in the environment. Another point the article made is that salmon are high in demand in human diets because of their vitamins and omega. With the amount of demand that salmon have to withstand, I am surprised their species is as resilient as it is and continues to thrive today. Regarding California’s state advisory, it seems like residents are able to fish a variety of species EXCEPT for the black bass species, brown trout, and the common carp in the lakes and reservoirs. There does not seem to be an explanation for the reasons. I feel like I will not go out of my way to capture fish to eat and it is not an essential part of my diet. Fish is still an animal product and green, plant-based alternatives would still be much better for the environment. In the future when preparing my own meals next year that use fish, I do think this is a great website to use to check on the 10 factors that make up the overall score. I am curious to know about the exact climate costs for eating fish, even if it is a great nutrient source. 

    • Suraj Doshi's avatar
      Suraj Doshi 6/01/2021 9:26 PM
      Hi Fennie,

      It was really interesting reading your response to this. I also took a look into the website by the challenge and perused through it as I was curious but overall it was super informative and relatively easy to use. I am a vegetarian for personal reasons, but still learning about the how marine-life consumption affects the environment was intriguing. I did not know that salmon were such an important species to our ecosystems. I just learned what an indicator species was and the fact that salmon play both roles is incredible and somewhat dangerous. It also tells me that preservation campaigns for the species are very necessary as they could cause huge shifts in the environment and their ecosystems. I think that there should be some sort of limit on fishing regulations to prevent the removal of salmon from the waterways. Even though they do serve as rich nutrient sources, we can fund technology that mimics the same benefits and distribute that or find alternatives to substitute the benefits that salmon could provide. I wonder what could or would happen if California were to ban fishing for he other species as well. I think also, instead of a ban, a tax on the fish for selling and perhaps even buying would discourage more people from interacting with the species and would allow for the salmon population to thrive. I mention a tax on the food as money is a huge motivator and if corporations end up losing money to the tax, they will likely shift their focus elsewhere. If they do not, the tax could be used to fund other conservation efforts in order to keep the salmon population and all the species associated with the population thriving. I think this website is a great source to find out how much of an impact the fish consumers eat have on the environment and will educate individuals about the adverse affects consumption of any particular species will have. 

  • Reflection Question
    Buildings Replace Manual Thermostats
    How do you anticipate replacing your thermostats for smart ones will positively impact your life?

    Fennie Huynh's avatar
    Fennie Huynh 6/01/2021 1:20 PM
    My only impression of thermostats would be that they are like devices to maintain homeostasis for your home and besides that, I haven’t dove into their purpose of special functions. The Drawdown article talked about how smart thermostats are able to save a huge amount of energy consumption due to their temperature sensor. I have realized while the thermostat my family has currently is not exactly “smart” because it is not able to sense the movement of people in the house. However, I feel like a thermostat that is unable to do this is still able to be energy efficient as long as we can program it to the preferred temperatures. I am still unsure about how necessary it is for thermostats to “learn” our habits because for me personally, wanting to turn on the heater or cooler varies day by day and even hour by hour because of the outside weather. Another feature is having remote control over your thermostat and I do agree with this feature as you are able to control it for a pet or your child at home who is unable to adjust the temperatures themselves. I also think seeing your usage will be eye-opening as well. I started this EcoChallenge without understanding what a “smart thermostat” is and I am still unsure if it is worth the price because I feel like my family does not use the system heater or cooler as often as portable heaters or coolers for separate rooms. I feel like my current thermostat suits mine and my family’s needs currency because it is programmable to the desired range of temperatures we want to remain in. I feel like this is something I will suggest to change for my grandparent’s house as they tend to use this system more often than a portable cooler or heater. Hopefully, it will be easier for them to use since it’s with the click of a button on your mobile device and hopefully it will reduce energy consumption with the “learning your habits” function. I will possibly update this challenge with a new image but for now, my thermostat, the Honeywell Pro series
    , has only 1 of the smart functions and that is enough for me and my family.

    • Suraj Doshi's avatar
      Suraj Doshi 6/02/2021 10:01 AM
      Hi Fennie,

      I enjoyed reading your response to this reflection question and thought your insights were very interesting. I also do not tend to think about the thermostat too much simply because I view it as a temperature regulator when the outside temperature is not something I can or want to adapt to. Right now, I typically leave my windows open and push my family to not turn on the AC or fans and just be refreshed by the breeze that comes in through the windows. In the winter or in the peak of summer, it can get uncomfortable to just rely on the natural weather and thus we have installed some ‘smart’ thermostats in our home. The smart features really just include remote starting so that the house can either cool down or heat up depending on your preference before you even step into the house. I think it is nice to have a convenience but I wonder how much energy we would save if we just adjusted a little bit and then changed the thermostat just a tad. My family also uses portable heaters and fans but occasionally will also turn on the central heat or AC just to be super comfortable. Of course, this is a horrible energy practice and we have sort of shifted away from it but occasionally fall back into this bad practice. I wonder what the difference is in energy consumption for portable air conditioners versus the ones for the whole house. Perhaps in the future, architects can install these units so that they can conserve energy and only regulate the climate of one room versus the entire house. I think so long as your thermostat is functional and your family is comfortable with it, there is no reason to change it. Like they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 

  • Reflection Question
    Industry Go Paperless
    What do you want to prioritize over material 'stuff' in your own life?

    Fennie Huynh's avatar
    Fennie Huynh 6/01/2021 12:57 PM
    I’ve been participating in paperless mail such as statements since I’ve opened my financial accounts and I’ve also not opted into mailing subscriptions for a while. I’ve also attempted to do this for my parent’s account as well. This was done out of convenience which is different from other sustainable actions. Usually, convenience makes people not choose the green choice such as choosing the convenience of driving over making the effort to walk a couple of blocks. However, I find that managing my payments 100% online streamlines the process, there is no need to keep track of checks, or cash in envelopes, and it is most of the time faster processing of the payments. Applying this to other aspects of my life, I have started to really minimize the paper I used this year, from using an iPad to take all of my handwritten notes and reading my books there too. I would prefer email receipts and find myself using the Notes app on my phone instead of writing reminders on a notepad. The Drawdown article showed me that the amount of paper worldwide actually contributes to a significant amount of emissions and the process of recycling is mostly difficult. The Washington Post article mentions the most popular types of junk mail however, I do not get catalogs, charity donation mail requests, contests, or coupons. Regarding the reflection question, I find myself wanting to downsize the rest of my belongings further such as sorting clothes I don’t need and donating to getting rid of old schoolwork from high school that I still kept. The last biggest category of items that I consider myself hoarding are skincare products. I would say that my purchases have tapered off during the pandemic and this year also made me realize it is absolutely unnecessary to be having more than one product for one step of my routine. This pandemic has also made me wear sunscreen less, no longer daily like before, and as a result, most of my sunscreens have expired before finishing them up. I am still trying to find ways to repurpose them somehow. Instead of all of these material items mentioned and it is cliche but I want to prioritize my lived experience more and my own mental health. To me this is going to look like traveling and keeping digital pictures. Attached is a picture of my emails notifying my bank statement availability and it's contributing to less paper waste in landfills.
     

    • Hector Acosta's avatar
      Hector Acosta 6/02/2021 11:19 PM
      Hello Fennie,
      I too believe that limitation of paper waste and toxic emissions is essential for the environment, especially in today’s society. It is known that paper waste makes up the majority of a company’s total waste. During my time volunteering at a local veterinary hospital, I noticed that paper waste contributed to most of their waste. This was compiled from check in sheets, invoices, health records, and vaccine cards. The employees that worked at this hospital often printed without second thinking if it was essential for that piece of paper to be printed, and a lot of the papers ended up getting shredded. I couldn’t help but note that this issue could be solved by using a different record keeping system. Using a different system could not only limit paper waste, but also save a company money by reducing the amount of paper purchased. As I noticed this, I did my best to limit paper use in my own life. Like you, I also switched from receiving paper estatements to emailed ones. I noticed that it also makes keeping track of my account and spendings easier by having all of my statements readily available. It is also easier having all of my receipts in my email. Oftentimes, when I need to return an item, I can’t because I lost the receipt. Having the receipt in my email relieves this issue. Besides personal benefits from limiting my paper waste, I deeply care for how it helps the environment. Paper is made from trees, and this requires a tree to be cut down. This in itself harms the environment with a decrease in oxygen flow, and then that chopped tree is burned. When it is burned, carbon dioxide is released into the air- harming the environment. Paper is typically the largest composite in landfills. When it is in the process of decomposing, it releases methane. Methane is particularly harmful to the environment because of its potency. Researching paper waste and toxic emotions has led to me changing my lifestyle in order to create a healthy environment for future generations to come, so they can experience our beautiful planet like we did.

    • Suraj Doshi's avatar
      Suraj Doshi 6/02/2021 10:36 AM
      Hi Fennie,

      I think it is a really smart idea that you have taken your mail electronically and make your payments online as well. I genuinely think that the first small steps are what are going to help shift our society out of the climate crisis initially. If there are things that need to be done on paper, I think more and more facilities should be built that recycle these materials and are easily accessible to everyone so that they can properly dispose of the materials so that they are not contributing to the landfills and climate change. With the pandemic, I found that I used less and less paper and would type most of my notes. When I went into my math classes, I found that I was occasionally still writing on paper. In order to stop myself from doing so, I invested in an external tablet that allows me to handwrite things on my computer. It is super convenient and super thin and environmentally friendly at the same time. My main junk mail comes in the form of emails which lets me remain paperless and just delete it from my inbox. Occasionally I will still get some promotional mail through the ‘real-life’ mailbox but this had been cut down significantly as opposed to my past. I have also seen that through my younger brother’s schooling, paper goods have been cut down significantly compared to when I was his age. Through elementary and middle school especially, nearly everything for me was on paper, except for the occasional computer lab. Now, I see that my brother is constantly typing on his computer and sometimes I wonder if he will forget how to write. It’s very nice to see this change being implemented at an early age but there are also some downsides. Going paperless means that there is more screen time, and more screen time means more energy usage. I think something interesting to look into is the difference in energy consumption between using paper and using a laptop or desktop. I understand that cutting down trees for paper is intrinsically bad, however if the alternative is to consume more electricity using fossil fuels, then what is the difference?

  • Reflection Question
    Food, Agriculture, and Land Use Support Nutrient Management
    How does environmental quality influence your sense of community?

    Fennie Huynh's avatar
    Fennie Huynh 6/01/2021 12:36 PM
    I’ve mentioned this climate action event in a past challenge however the documentary “Kiss the Ground” also mentioned synthetic nitrogen fertilizers and I learned its origin, its role in industrial agriculture, and negative effects on human health. To recap, essentially pesticides came into production during the war due to wanting to produce a larger number of crops. It even evolved to become the poison used in the gas chamber of the Holocaust. More specifically, glyphosate or the brand RoundUp is currently being sprayed on field crops, and after the chemical has done its harm in the soil and destroying the microorganisms, it is migrating into our waterways and entering our bodies, making its way into human breast milk and crossing the blood-brain barrier. The documentary hints there is not a large number of farmers who are making an effort to ditch these synthetic nitrogen fertilizers due to the large dependency of their crops to grow in the presence of the drug. Furthermore, after doing some research I’ve learned that this position is not only contributing to the 3% of the emissions, it’s also requiring a lot of money to manufacture it in the first place. I’m still able to do my part in this issue and it is to find out if my local farms and markets are growing their crops using carbon-friendly techniques such as having a variety of crops and no machine disturbance so that microorganisms can thrive. Adding on to what I can do, this question from the film has made me realize I am making a difference, “Instead of waiting for it to be shipped around the world to me, what can I put in my own backyard that I can do myself?” In my EcoChallenge post for Building Resilience, I mention a few low-maintenance crops that I am able to grow and eat, without going through the hurdles of transportation to a farmer’s market or produce packaging for example. I am unsure if the United States have changed their direction regarding the 4% annual goal of putting carbon into the soil, but farming and agriculture definitely involves politics and a global approach rather than just simply shifting my single support towards regenerative agriculture. Going back to the reflection question, environmental quality does play a significant role because it encompasses not only the immediate soil and land around me, but air, and every aspect is interconnected. As mentioned earlier, if one part of the system fails, it will impact human health and at this point, as a community, we would suffer from the consequences. 

    • Amanda Adolfo's avatar
      Amanda Adolfo 6/01/2021 9:24 PM
      Hi Fennie, I also watched the Kiss the Ground movie and was surprised to learn that fertilizers originated from World War II. I also learned that when mothers consume nitrogen fertilizers, it can be passed onto their babies through the breast milk. On the bright side of this documentary, I liked that the movie talked about regenerative farming. 

      Regenerative farming is a good example of how environmental quality influences community. Some of the leaders in the regenerative farming community acted as teachers trying to convert regular farmers into regenerative farmers. This educational program fosters a community that gives farmers a chance to learn better, green ways to farm. It is also helpful because the regular farmers can witness the success of the regenerative farmers. 

      One of the goals for regenerative farmers is to influence policy and get support from the federal government. As of right now, there are government subsidies for tilled fields. Together, the regenerative farmers can form a community and support each other to make their voices heard!
  • Reflection Question
    Transportation Purchase a Carbon Offset
    A round-trip flight from New York City to Los Angeles emits just over 1.5 tons of CO2—per person. That’s a lot of carbon! What can you do to reduce the number of flights you take per year?

    Fennie Huynh's avatar
    Fennie Huynh 6/01/2021 11:45 AM
    A couple of weeks ago, I booked a flight from San Jose to Los Angeles in order to apartment hunt and go on unit tours for the next school year. This is about 308 miles and my round trip would be 616 miles. I didn’t have a reliable vehicle that could handle hundreds of miles of driving and thought that flying would simplify the trip and eliminate the hassle. However, the news article had made me realize I was greatly mistaken and that flying is most definitely the worse option out of the two. This challenge also encouraged me to purchase a carbon offset for my round trip in an attempt to reduce my carbon dioxide emissions and my receipt claims I have contributed to offsetting 1,000 air miles. One of the projects The Good Traveler has on their website is to capture methane and combust landfill gases. However, I am curious to know what exactly my offset contributes to as it was much cheaper than I expected. I’ve only flown on an airplane 3 times prior to this next planned one, and I will try my best to reconsider my alternative methods of travel before resorting to air travel again. The large-scale emission of greenhouse gases is an aspect I mentioned in my essays because it is related to the depletion of the ozone layer and overall pollution. In the Yale article, this quote does make me hesitant about how our projects will compare to numerical values in the billions, “... Petsonk still expects annual emissions of CO2 from international aviation to be 7.8 billion tons higher in 2040 than today.” This prediction would mean our current efforts such as carbon offsets are not nearly enough in reducing the number of emissions we generate. Also considering that planes are utilized in shipping products worldwide, traveling is not the only contributor to emissions but it is with simply the click of an order button. If not stricter air guidelines in the future, I hope there is a shift towards local sellers and fewer large corporates that are utilizing manufacturers overseas. Regarding my future, I hope to settle down in an area for the most part and do not want to fly frequently. 

    • CHAISE PUCEK's avatar
      CHAISE PUCEK 6/02/2021 2:35 PM
      I think purchasing a Carbon Offset was a very thoughtful idea, and I will also look into doing that the next time I fly! I think it is difficult to travel around the United States when it is so large without utilizing planes. If the United States prioritized public transportation, it would be a much easier problem to address. I am always signing those petitions for a high-speed railway service around the states. I think that would be so beneficial. It is especially hard being a college student away from home, who can't rent a car (why is it 25??) and is on the other side of the country. Sometimes flying appears to be the only option. This encourages me to look into other ways to offset a carbon footprint from flying.
  • Reflection Question
    Electricity Learn More about Micro Wind
    Micro turbines can be placed on large structures to take advantage of stronger, steadier breezes. The Eiffel Tower now sports vertical axis turbines that produce electricity for use on site. Where could micro turbines potentially be installed in your city?

    Fennie Huynh's avatar
    Fennie Huynh 6/01/2021 10:44 AM
    I actually am not too familiar with the term “micro wind” and decided to take this challenge as an opportunity to learn more. Starting off with the article, “Reno Site Offers Comparison Shopping for Home Wind Turbines,” I am amazed at the product of home turbines itself because I haven’t heard of the idea or seen them before, and because one turbine can charge a car battery even though the name includes the word “micro.” What jumps out at me from the article is the integration and involvement of government, law, and funding, reminding me that climate change is interconnected with politics. It makes sense as it does cost a great deal of money to produce one microturbine already, and yet Reno or Nevada in general is planning to be the first ones to show other states how it’s done. From the Drawdown article, I learned about the significant reduction in greenhouse emissions that micro turbines are capable of and the ways electricity could be generated. In the “Small Wind Guidebook,” wind is a great resource if my location is optimal, which unfortunately it is not because I currently live in an apartment. However in my future home, this is a resource I will look into if needed, after already reducing my electricity usage. I currently live in San Jose and feel like wind turbines would be more suitable if I end up moving to an area closer to the shorelines like San Francisco where there would be more wind and less city obstruction. I feel like my current city does not provide for many opportunities to have micro turbines installed, however a place could be high up in the power lines or on top of taller buildings due to no urban obstruction. The article mentions the option to install a turbine on your own if you are familiar with the equipment and functions. I am currently taking Physics 5C this quarter and it’s interesting to see how the small turbines generate direct current and would need a converter into alternating current. After testing values into an energy payback Excel, I discovered that the average wind speed is one of the most important values for the price of a turbine to pay off. In an area like mine where there average wind speed is on the lower side, for example 4 m/s, it will take longer than 30 years to pay off the turbine. At this point, it’s about considering whether or not the electricity generated by the turbine is worth the cost in a ideal timeframe. 

    • Alice Ma's avatar
      Alice Ma 6/02/2021 11:21 PM
      Hi Fennie! Loved reading your research about micro wind! Prior to doing research about microgeneration, I also had no idea there were wind turbines for purchase to be installed in homes. And I love that you brought up how interconnected climate change is with politics and economics. From my research, I saw that micro wind is a great way to boost the economy and development of a low- or middle-income country because it provides reliable electricity that is relatively cheaper than installing a fully traditional power grid. I also found a lot of nonprofits who are working to bring microgrids and micro wind to other countries to boost their development. It’s an interesting dichotomy between some countries relying on micro wind to generate electricity because there is no other option of getting that power and countries like the United States that have relatively stable access to electricity across the whole country that are using micro wind options as a greener way to produce electricity. Either way, I think investing in micro wind is a great option! Also, just like how there are tax breaks in California for solar, I wonder if politicians would consider offering those same breaks for micro wind and microgrids to incentivize people to make that transition. 

      Also, it’s so cool that you connected this concept to Physics 5C! I’m also taking that class but I definitely did not make that connection. You mentioned how the average wind speed is a huge contributor to how fast the microturbine would be paid off and become economically profitable which makes me think that it would be even more helpful for the government to offer incentives to encourage people to make the shift. I’m from the Bay Area as well, and in my area, there most probably is not enough wind to produce a substantial amount of energy using micro wind, but I’ve definitely driven past areas further out of the Bay that have traditional wind turbines which makes me think that people living in those areas can also invest in their own microturbines to supplement their energy usage! 
  • Reflection Question
    Action Track: Healing & Renewal Eat Mindfully
    Mindful eating is healthier for us than eating with distractions. How does your eating experience differ when practicing mindfulness?

    Fennie Huynh's avatar
    Fennie Huynh 6/01/2021 7:45 AM
    I am surprised but also happy to learn that an action as simple as mindful eating is one of the Ecochallenges and I do agree it is important to nurture our bodies. On the individual level, this action enables us to not only eat slower and eat just enough until we are full, but being intentional and deliberate with our food choices contributes to a healthier gut and body. Exploring the resources, I have realized there are greater impacts to mindful eating if we do this as a collective, such as significantly reducing the amount of food wasted, and this includes reducing the resources used in its production such as water and physical labor. Mindful eating and eating in silence is something I practice as a part of my religion and it is something I am more reminded of when I attended my local temple weekly, prior to the pandemic. From the Harvard Health Blog, “mindfulness includes noticing the colors, smells, flavors, and textures of your food” and to me, mindfulness is also about being appreciative of the food we eat and how it serves to nurture our bodies. However, at home, I don’t always eat in silence and fill this time to converse with my parents or friends while still fueling my body. 

    This healing and resting aspect is also mentioned in one of the podcasts I listened to for the climate action event and the speaker, an activist, talks about how rest is a powerful act of resistance and we deserve to rest. While this branches slightly away from eating, it is still about getting back your energy in order to be refreshed and continue to fight for environmental justice. I also wanted to bring up how she mentioned, “as much as it is about the people and the planet, it’s also about personal sustainability and that can take the form of financial sustainability, health...” This is an empowering viewpoint to me because I did not consider how my own well-being should be prioritized and even seen on the same level as sustainability. On one hand, there is a green component in reducing food waste but eating in itself is a way to refuel to keep fighting for sustainability.

    Food waste is a climate change issue I also talk about in my essays and I was inspired by again, the film “Kiss the Ground” because I learned how beneficial composting food is for the soil and less waste ends up in the landfills. 

    For me, meal times are when I get to step away from my screen with this online learning this year so it has not been a problem for me to engage in this challenge. I’m including some images of the meals I’ve eaten in the comments.


    • Fennie Huynh's avatar
      Fennie Huynh 6/01/2021 9:20 AM
      This is an image of noodles and I believe the broth is from a Vietnamese dish called Hu Tieu, and just a simple salad on the side. I do want to compare the times I eat mindfully versus the times I eat with distractions and feel like I don’t remember the meals and the food I scarfed down and picked out to eat in a rush does not fuel my body completely. I’m most likely not getting foods from all 5 portions. One of the articles linked to this challenge suggests that we keep a food journal and I feel like I would like to try to do sometime in the future to not only track the food I ingest but also observe any patterns. I think this is also a good way to avoid foods that I’m possibly allergic to and it can help me deliberately plan my next meals. In the next year, it will be my first time living in LA and with 3 other housemates. So far we have planned to each individually decide our own food and groceries and I am worried I won’t be able to eat meals as mindfully or have enough variety in my diet.

    • Fennie Huynh's avatar
      Fennie Huynh 6/01/2021 8:59 AM
      There are many meals that I did not take a photo of this quarter but starting off, this first meal is vermicelli noodles with egg roll. To provide further background, I remember practicing mindful eating when I attended my first youth retreat at my temple in 8th grade. Both adults and children at meal times encouraged us to only take portions we could finish and I feel like my relationship with food has only been positive since. After lunch times, we would wash our own dishes in a sequence of 6 tubs of water with the first ones for soap and the last ones for rinsing. There was hardly any food waste and even growing up, I’m glad that this habit was instilled in me. This reminds me of a snippet of the podcast I listened to for the climate action event and the speaker says, “Sustainability has been a way of life rather than a mindset for black, brown, and immigrant folks.” Coming from a refugee family, I do feel the truth in this statement because it has always been second nature to reuse items, and a specific example I can think of is my grandma using a metal cookie tin to store sewing needles and thread. I think my view of food is very much influenced by my family, in the sense that they did not grow up in a first world country with a surplus supply of food and food waste was essentially thought of as a crime. Moving forward, I do hope to see more wide scale impacts of mindful eating, aside from my individual practice in the challenge. 
  • Reflection Question
    Action Track: Building Resilience Learn More about Regenerative Agriculture
    Clean air, clean water and healthy food are just three reasons to care about regenerative agriculture. What are some other reasons? How could/does regenerative agriculture positively impact you and your community?

    Fennie Huynh's avatar
    Fennie Huynh 5/31/2021 5:45 PM
    After watching the movie “Kiss the Ground”, I was inspired to learn more about the impacts of regenerative agriculture. I was not familiar with this topic and had always associated farming with the tilling machines and pesticide spraying trailers only to learn that it is actually terrible and what is called industrial farming. Through Charles’ TED Talk, I’ve gained a more holistic picture of how farming is interconnected with the health of the planet. He explains that there are 5 main cycles: solar function, water cycle, soil nutrient cycle, dynamic ecosystem communities, and a human-social connection. Farming may be only a part of the soil and nutrient cycle, but damage to it will bring about damage to all the other cycles. In the industrial agricultural world, this means reducing biodiversity, manufacturing processed foods/sugars that destroy our health, and the use of pesticides that are making their way into groundwater, in human breast milk, and crossing the blood-brain barrier. Charles mentioned this is connected with the rise in mental and physical diseases, and the movie Kiss the Ground mentioned its correlation to cancer, ADD, and other birth defects. Going into the movie and YouTube, I was not prepared for how a technique of farming can be now endangering human health and animals. 

    To combat industrial agriculture, we need regenerative agriculture and it is essentially about having no mechanical disturbance (no tiling), having more diversity in the soil (many variety of crops), incorporating compost and animal grazing (for rich and healthy soil), and lastly, having trees that will anchor the soil. All 4 of these methods contribute to the goal of pulling carbon down into the soil, and out of the atmosphere. And eventually, it will fuel a positive virtuous cycle, for example contributing to more plant growth, more rainfall, and furthermore, reduce emissions, reverse deforestation, and so on. Regarding the reflection question, I now feel so much more inclined to support and do what I can towards regenerative agriculture. I don’t want a money hungry, cooperation and government that pushes industrial agriculture to be the reason why we no longer have farmlands that can support crops in the future. As a collective, we should care about this problem on the farming side, the land will become dirt and dust, contributing to dust storms, deserts, On the other side, it will impact the food we produce, buy, eat, and therefore impact our well being. 

    While regenerative agriculture is a large-scale practice, one way where I felt like I contributed are eating some healthy greens grown at home and my grandma’s house. This is an image of my apartment’s community garden that started during this pandemic. A small section of soil was given to any unit that wanted to plant and when needed, I just go outside with a pair of scissors and cut off some green onions or mint for soup or other Vietnamese dishes. The soil is not being disturbed and our variety of crops is the opposite of the monoculture that industrial agriculture promotes. I feel like on an individual level, we can all make more informed choices with the produce we buy and overall just consuming healthy foods.