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  • Reflection Question
    Materials Research Cement Alternatives
    Concrete is a good example of a material that most of us encounter every day, but its carbon footprint may not be obvious. What other everyday materials might have a large carbon footprint? How can you find out more?

    Peter Collinge's avatar
    Peter Collinge 5/30/2020 11:06 AM
    In researching the carbon impact of concrete, I was surprised to learn that the cement industry releases 3 times as much CO2 as the aviation industry. Do other materials have this kind of impact? Of course, steel production involves high heat, of produced by fossil fuels. Beef has a high greenhouse effect due to methane released by cattle (mostly via belches).  We can't avoid these items totally but can reduce their use while science finds ways to produce them with less impact. I'm not ready to give up beef completely, but we've been trying to have it as an very occasional treat rather than a regular part of our diet.
  • Reflection Question
    Women and Girls Give a Microloan
    Globally, women typically invest a higher proportion of their earnings in their families and communities than men. Why do you think that is?

    Carol Thiel's avatar
    Carol Thiel 5/18/2020 10:02 AM
    My husband has had good experiences with lending through Kiva (
  • Reflection Question
    Women and Girls Make School More Affordable
    Why is it important that girls have equal access to education in order to reduce our global greenhouse gas emissions?

    Carol Thiel's avatar
    Carol Thiel 5/18/2020 10:00 AM
    More than half of our Honduran scholarship students (some shown here) are girls, and over the years, I've seen with my own eyes how girls with more education delay childbearing, while dropouts often become pregnant. Excuse me talking about Honduras again, but it's my direct line to supporting girls' education.

  • Peter Collinge's avatar
    Peter Collinge 5/18/2020 8:23 AM
    We recently drove on the NYS Thruway (for a volunteer activity). So many vehicles are going 75 MPH or faster! I Googled and found a claim that an average vehicle uses almost 20% more gas at 75 mph than at 65 mph. Do drivers realize that? Sure, gas is cheap right now, but climate change will be expensive! Of course, we could have used even less gas by staying home, but our trip was for a good cause. But maybe that's what everyone says to themselves.

  • Peter Collinge's avatar
    Peter Collinge 5/11/2020 6:18 AM
    I just spent some time researching air-source heat pumps, which are an excellent way to switch from heating with fossil fuels like natural gas to heating with electricity, which can be (though isn't currently mostly) made using renewable sources. But one article I read reminded me that the simplest, most cost-effective way to reduce use of fossil fuels in heating is to insulate and seal your house better. We've added a lot of insulation, but I can do more.
  • Reflection Question
    Land Use Buy Bamboo
    Are bamboo alternatives readily available in your community? If not, what are other sustainable alternatives?

    Cyndi Moolekamp's avatar
    Cyndi Moolekamp 5/09/2020 3:42 AM
    Something I learned: Bamboo is not a tree, but a type of grass. It grows super fast (some as fast as a couple of feet a day!) and doesn't require much water or care. I bought for the first time, a reuseable personal care item made from bamboo! It helped that it was on sale, but I'm hoping I'll like it and can continue to research and buy more products made from bamboo.
  • Reflection Question
    Food Donate
    How are environmental issues like black carbon and other emissions from cooking fires or rudimentary cookstoves also human health and social justice issues? Why do these issues matter to you?

    Carol Thiel's avatar
    Carol Thiel 5/05/2020 4:30 AM
    Our communities in Honduras cook exclusively on wood stoves. The U of R Global Health group with substantial
    help from our church has supported the reconstruction of many of these stoves to be more efficient, reducing the need for wood, reducing smoke, and venting the smoke outside rather than blackening the lungs of the traditional indoors stoves. (Photo actually shows a larger version of the improved stove that's located in the community building.)
  • Reflection Question
    Materials Go Paperless
    What do you want to prioritize over material 'stuff' in your own life?

    Cyndi Moolekamp's avatar
    Cyndi Moolekamp 5/04/2020 3:41 PM
    Now I just wish I could stop those annoying weekly automatic mailers that come with all the coupons and advertisements. Does anyone know how to stop them from coming? 

  • Carol Thiel's avatar
    Carol Thiel 5/04/2020 10:09 AM
    Plugging my car into electricity, not gas.

    • Cyndi Moolekamp's avatar
      Cyndi Moolekamp 5/04/2020 3:34 PM
      Excellent! Do you find there are enough charging stations around Rochester? My husband and I want our next car to be at least a hybrid. 

    • Carol Thiel's avatar
      Carol Thiel 5/05/2020 4:22 AM
      There's a bunch of charging stations in downtown Rochester, but otherwise, unfortunately, the infrastructure lags. If you don't have your own garage, it would be difficult to keep a car charged. I got a plug-in hybrid for the flexibility and love it. Before, I had a regular hybrid and that was a good car, too. If you get a plug-in, check for the NYS rebate and Federal income tax credit.

  • Carol Thiel's avatar
    Carol Thiel 4/30/2020 7:48 AM
    In upstate NY, 70% of our electricity comes from non-carbon sources, so whenever we (individually, industrial, etc.) can change from gas/oil to electricity, it's beneficial in our combating climate change.