Roberta Sommer


"Sail Team PlanetCon on a course of carbon curbing"

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 1,523 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    spent learning
  • up to
    meatless or vegan meals

Roberta's Actions


Research and Consider Switching to a Hybrid or Electric Vehicle

Electric Cars, Hybrid Cars

I will spend at least 60 minutes researching and weighing my options to see if a hybrid or electric vehicle makes sense for my lifestyle.

One-Time Action

Action Track: Social Justice

Learn about Local Indigenous Practices

Indigenous Peoples' Forest Tenure

I will spend at least 60 minutes learning how local indigenous tribes are caring for the land by attending a training, workshop, or presentation.

One-Time Action

Land Use

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.



Support pollinators

Take an action to support our planet's pollinators. Learn about bees and butterflies. Make your yard more attractive to pollinators by planting native plants or reducing chemicals. Sign up for the Backyard Habitats Certification program. Share what you've learned.

One-Time Action


Conduct Virtual Meetings


I will encourage my office to hold meetings virtually whenever possible instead of requiring travel.

One-Time Action

Women and Girls

Research Barriers to Participation and Representation

Health and Education

I will spend at least 60 minutes learning more about the barriers to women's equal participation and representation around the world.

One-Time Action

Electricity Generation

Learn More about Biomass

Biomass Power

I will spend at least 60 minutes learning more about the energy generation potential of biomass.

One-Time Action

Land Use

Learn about Temperate Forests

Temperate Forest Restoration

I will spend at least 60 minutes learning more about the environmental services provided by and the environmental issues affecting temperate forests.

One-Time Action


Protect our watershed - learn and do

The Tualatin watershed is crucial to our community's well-being. Learn more about the conservation and restoration activities of the past and present that are ensuring the health of our watershed. Pick an action from the following options: 1) Switch to organic or slow-release fertilizers, 2) Replace a non-permeable surface with a permeable one, 3) Always pick up after pets (if you notice a location, park, or greenspace with a pet waste problem, find a way to improve the disposal infrastructure), 4) Plant tough/hardy plants that require little or no extra water/fertilizer, 5) Use roof water or greywater in the garden instead of having it run directly to the street or down the drain.

One-Time Action



The history of recycling programs is complex. Much of the confusion about what is and isn't recyclable started decades ago. Take some time time to learn about the evolution of plastic recycling efforts. Click 'learn more' for suggested videos and articles.

One-Time Action


Reduce Animal Products

Plant-Rich Diets

I will enjoy 2 meatless or vegan meal(s) each day of the challenge.



Practice the 5 R's


I will Practice the "5 Rs" — refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose, and recycle — to reduce my waste more than I can with just recycling alone.



Become A Master Recycler/Composter


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

One-Time Action


Recycle Everything I Can


Contamination prevents what is recyclable from being recycled. I will research and recycle all materials that are accepted by local haulers or drop stations in my community, making sure to not contaminate recyclables with non-recyclables.



  • Reflection Question
    Food Reduce Animal Products
    Why do people in richer countries eat more meat than people in other places? How does eating more meat affect our bodies, our planet, and other people?

    Roberta Sommer 6/07/2020 12:34 PM
    In the US, one reason for intense meat consumption has been the calculated promotion of a protein heavy diet by our own medical authorities.  This began decades ago and is still a widespread belief in our society.   However, the human body can obtain adequate protein from a balanced plant-based diet.  While this has been known for quite a while, it certainly would not be information the powerful and deep-pocketed animal ag industry wants circulated.  In the West, our circulatory systems and mental wellness bear the brunt of a meat intense diet. 
    Unfortunately, animal agriculture and industrial fishing are practices not in harmony with natural systems.  Methane release from cattle, water pollution from dairy run-off, and depleted fisheries are merely three deleterious affects.
    What's more, members of growing middle classes in other parts of the world view eating meat as a perk of their increased incomes. 
    WesternWay.jpg 21.3 KB

    • Jane Burch-Pesses 6/18/2020 9:35 AM
      Not everyone can be a vegetarian without damaging their health.  Spiritually and emotionally, I sympathize with those who want to be vegetarian very much.  But I am impatient with vegetarians who think that everyone can or should be vegetarian.  It definitely would not work for me, since I am allergic to soy (a very common allergy) and quinoa. Since we, like other primates, are clearly omnivores, not herbivores, I don't recommend a vegetarian diet for anyone who is not willing to put in the time to be sure that they are eating a diet that is healthy for them.  Simply dropping the meat from your diet without looking at the healthiness of that diet will very likely be bad for your health.

      Having said that, it is very clear to me that in the US we eat way too much red meat, and cutting back on it (depending on what you substitute for it) would benefit many people's health and also greatly benefit the environment.  (Personally, I don't eat red meat.)

      In the book, Eat Right for Your Type, the author's theory is that only people whose blood type is type A are able to eat a vegetarian diet without damaging their health. I have no idea if that is correct or not and have not seen any research on it, but many people praise the book for helping them improve their health.  A well known acupuncturist has pointed out in a book of his that in China only people who were Buddhist priests or monk made an effort to be vegetarians and his theory is that when you are meditating for hours a day, vegetarianism might work for your health but modern, hyper busy and hyper stressed people don't benefit from simply dropping meat from their diet.  

      In other words, these issues are complex, and I, personally, would like to see people who care about the planet experiencing great health and having lots of energy to do the things that they want to do.  There are ways reduce the impact of your diet on the planet without going vegan.

      BTW, because of the popularity of high protein quinoa with vegetarians, the indigenous people in the Peru area are unable to eat their traditional diet because the quinoa grown there is all for export.  Yes, our diet, whatever it is, has an impact.  No, it's not simple.

    • A Mangai 6/08/2020 5:12 AM
      I agree, Roberta!
  • Reflection Question
    Materials Practice the 5 R's
    What are some more "R's" you could add to your daily practice to reduce your waste?

    Roberta Sommer 6/06/2020 4:41 PM
    I could do A LOT more refusing. Just say NO as the saying goes.  Snack products that come in packaging that has no market in my area so it's just landfilled.  Repairing has been a fun activity what with the repair fairs available in my area.  I feel lucky to have that resource.
    RF.png 12.85 KB

  • Roberta Sommer 6/04/2020 1:27 PM
    WED2020.jpg 50.85 KB
    It's World Environment Day tomorrow, June 5th.  I hope you all will take a moment or the entire day to enjoy your environment and show your gratitude through care and protection.  Shout out about it on your personal and business media outlets.  

  • Roberta Sommer 5/24/2020 6:36 PM
    The progression of expressions as I saw our points and standing among teams that have been at this EcoChallenge a lot longer.  Team PlanetCon showing what the new normal could be. 💚💚💚

  • Roberta Sommer 5/22/2020 12:16 PM
    Some news from our Organization, Washington County Solid Waste & Recycling:  
    "The Washington County Ecochallenge Event will officially wrap up with a prize drawing at the end of the month. Stay tuned for an email about this next week. To be eligible for the prize drawing, you must live, work or volunteer in Washington County AND you must have completed a check-in for an Ecochallenge action. Those that have posted to their feed will get an extra entry. Prizes includes a bike tune-up and helmet, a pair of durable, silicone drinking cups and a ceramic coffee mug with a silicone lid.
    If, after May 24th, you would like to continue with the Drawdown Ecochallenge topics, you still can! Your profile will not disappear so you can use it to participate in whichever Ecochallenges are available. More details will be provided on that in the email next week. 
    Good luck on the last couple days of this Ecochallenge event. Log in your actions, post to your feed and I’ll be in touch with everyone next week."

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  • Reflection Question
    Materials Become A Master Recycler/Composter
    What could you do differently to waste less?

    Roberta Sommer 5/20/2020 11:59 AM
    I can try really hard to secure a job that lets me telecommute, at least part of the week. Once COVID-19 restrictions have loosened, I can work even harder to grocery shop by filling my reusable containers.  I can increase choosing to "do without" and find alternatives when products I desire have wasteful packaging.  I can increase efforts to find reuse options for items that I normally put in my landfill bound garbage.  

  • Roberta Sommer 5/18/2020 2:20 PM
    Hi PlanetConeers.  I had the wrong date in my calendar as it had today as Endangered Species Day.  It was on the 15th this year.  Here is a webpage link to some steps you can take to help slow human impact on other Earth dwellers.  You may notice some of the steps are the same to help with our Carbon related challenges.  Hmmmm, connection perhaps?  I like this graphic because it shows beings other than the often used "glamorous species" such as tigers, rhinos, and wolves.  Not to diminish the plight of any species, I will point out that invertebrate and plant groups have the highest number of endangered species yet form the foundations of food webs. 
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  • Roberta Sommer 5/17/2020 3:01 PM
    Sails Pulled Tight.jpg 661.29 KB
    Here we are Team PlanetCon.  We are in 15th place with fair skies ahead.  We are making excellent headway on our course of solutions!  
  • Reflection Question
    Did you learn anything with this challenge action that changes your perspective on recycling? What about plastics specifically?

    Roberta Sommer 5/17/2020 2:33 PM
    My perspective on recycling has not changed so much as been reinforced.  I don't appreciate that the full story is usually not represented in articles regarding ocean plastic pollution stemming from Asian rivers.  Many articles leave out that most of that plastic waste flowing out of Asian rivers originated in countries such as the U.S. that had sold/continue to sell poorly sorted plastics to Asian markets.  Where plastics enter the ocean is only part of the problem.  The people manufacturing and using the products in single use packaging is a major problem.  Plastics do have beneficial applications.  If we had reserved plastics use only for those essential applications, we might better have remained within the bounds of what Earth can handle.     

    • Jane Burch-Pesses 5/18/2020 10:26 AM
      Thanks for the rest of the story on that! I was a bit miffed that they did not mention the history of the "recycling" numbers, which were put together by the plastics industry in the seventies when various municipalities had a lot of energy around bottle bills.  The plastic industry's position was, "No, we don't need mandated plastic recycling.  We can regulate ourselves!"  Of course, that was total BS because most of those categories of plastics have never been recycled in any significant numbers.

  • Roberta Sommer 5/16/2020 2:05 PM
    I see Team PlanetCon has been given solutions to implement that can help protect the watershed we live in - the Tualatin River Basin.  I have wanted to disconnect the downspouts on my home for years but have yet to.  Any advice from those of you who have already done so?   I've also been wanting to go hike around Hagg Lake which is a reservoir created behind Scoggins Dam.  This is in the upper portion of the watershed and closer to where I live.  If you've never been there's a lot of hiking and birding opportunities.  There are places to have a picnic, go swimming, fish, paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing.  There's a place that rents out water craft and people are allowed to have motorized boats out on the lake.  It's a bustling place in summer!  
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