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  • Abriana Martinez's avatar
    Abriana Martinez 6/03/2021 8:01 AM
    Public Transportation
    Growing up I did not take public transportation, but my parent did when they were younger. I always wondered why my parents preferred utilizing their own car now instead of using buses to get from place to place. So I decided to ask them and when I did they said it was simply more convenient to have their own car because it takes less time to travel from point A to point B.  My parents also said it is better to travel in your own car than the public bus because it is safer since they have had bad experiences with people stealing their belonging or being harassed on the bus. I grew up with this mindset that buses are not safe, but once I started college I decided to use buses more often to either buy groceries or travel to and from home. During the first year of college I had a hard time adjusting and would go home every weekend, but since my parents were busy with work and I didn't have a car, I took a bus to travel home on the weekends. I was very lucky to have friends who also went home on the weekends using public transportation and they showed me the ins and outs of what is a tap card and the different bus lines I can take to get home. Taking the bus was a bit scary because I wasn't sure if I was at the right stop sometimes and waiting for the bus in a sketchy area of LA for about 30 minutes was not fun. From this experience I realized that transfer and wait times for buses are pretty long and probably part of the reason why some people prefer using their cars instead of taking the bus. I would rather prefer just taking one bus that picks me up from school and straight to my house in Long Beach. Luckily UCLA transportation offers a Long Beach transit commuter line that goes to and from Long Beach from Westwood. I utilize this resource often to travel to and from school and I surprisingly I really enjoy traveling in the bus. While riding on the bus I would  usually catch up on homework or study and this was really convenient because on days where there was traffic on the freeway I would rather be catching up on schoolwork than be in my own car driving in stop and go traffic. However, I do feel there does need to be some drastic changes in our public transportation in order to make it more convenient for others to use. Possibly making it easier for others to use the public transportation system where there is less transfer and less wait times will lead to a shift were people rely more on public buses over their own cars to travel from place to place; therefore, reducing emissions which is better for our health and the environment. (below I attached a picture while I was on the Long Beach transit commuter line)
  • 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?

    Rolando Bonilla's avatar
    Rolando Bonilla 6/03/2021 7:54 AM
    My choice to walk more has influenced the way that my roommates and friends think about using their cars for transportation because of the climate change aspect that I've informed them about.  Not only has reducing the monies my car and help me physically but it’s also a helped with me to interact with my friends a lot more as I’m able to see them throughout Westwood. Does not become a more of a routine to just walk to grocery stores and target from time to time in order to get small things because it is a waste of gas to use my car for a short trip. 

    In some instance, there are some differences between driving and walking and using public transportation because I’ve grown up enjoying and loving to drive since it’s been such a stress reliever for me for years now but as our climate change issue has grown worst, sacrifices like driving less needs to be made. Although I enjoy driving with friends walking or taking public transportation with friends of attorney brothers also fulfils that void because I left him a social enter interact with as many people as I can. Going forward, I  plan only to use my car when I need long travel distances or go back home as it will take hours if I take public transportation, and as a college student, I do not have that luxury during the school year. How do I do you make an effort from time to time to be able to do this it’s tough sometimes to keep a consistent, but I’m always looking for ways to improve upon us
  • Reflection Question
    Electricity Rooftop Solar Consultation
    Identify some ways in which modern human societies have become unsustainable. What kind of roles do individuals have in creating and changing practices in society?

    Rolando Bonilla's avatar
    Rolando Bonilla 6/03/2021 7:29 AM
    Installing solar panels onto my parents' house has always been my goal since we first bought the house. I think the use of new-able energy is essential to achieve a better financially stable life, but, most importantly, crucial to reducing our carbon footprint. Now I know that my individual choice will not cause an immediate impact on our climate issue. Still, I am aiming to influence my neighbours and neighbourhood in investing in renewable energy.
     
    I believe convincing my neighbours is the best options because not only will more people begin to save money in the long run, but they will also be helping the environment. Considering this, there have been many ways our society has become unsustainable, and electricity is one of the ways. As a city we waste a ton of electricity, and that it not okay because of the waste products that come along with them. Power plants create a lot of electricity, but it comes with a price. You see, to make electric power plants burn coal, and as a result, carbon dioxide is produced. This is a huge issue because many Americans tend to leave lights on or waste electricity somehow. Eliminating the use of coal is vital but cannot accomplish if we do not take the time to create a change. That is why I believe investing in solar energy is vital to creating a solution..

  • Leslie Kim's avatar
    Leslie Kim 6/03/2021 6:24 AM
    Eco Friendly Transportation:
    After starting the Drawdown EcoChallenge, I think that I changed my view on transportation completely. I was never someone who enjoyed traveling by car, yet found myself taking the car almost everywhere. Even when public transportation is really conveniently set up in Korea, I think that I had been drawn to taking the car around my neighborhood because of how easily accessible it was for me. When I needed to go somewhere, even as close as 10-15 minutes by car, either my parents would drive me or I would drive myself. I don't think that I gave taking public transportation a second thought, especially since the bus stations are kind of far of a walk from my apartment complex. However, this quarter I challenged myself to go on a walk for at least 30 minutes each day. When I did that, I found myself building the habit of walking to and from my gym (which is usually the only place I go on a day to day basis!). Once walking became a habit, 30 minutes of just walking around the neighborhood didn't seem like a long time or a long distance to walk at all. Then I thought to myself, if I can walk for 30 minutes, I can definitely walk for 10-15 minutes to a bus stop to take public transportation to the place I need to go. This kind of thinking helped me increase the number of times I took the bus instead of the car greatly. I also found out that there are certain electric buses that go around my neighborhood. Though it doesn't always go to the place I need to go, it still has quite a few stops that are nearby and useful for me. I started riding those buses more frequently as well! Now, I find these electric buses to be not only convenient, but also quieter and very pleasing to ride since the sides of the buses feel like big windows (it allows me to see more of the outdoor scenery!). I think that I am building a good habit of finding a more sustainable mode of transportation and also improving my health since taking public transportation usually also equates to more time spent walking. I want to continue to keep it my goal to try and walk to as many places as possible, and when it is too far to walk, take public transportation rather than the car. 

    Below are pictures of the electric bus that I often take! 

    • Abriana Martinez's avatar
      Abriana Martinez 6/03/2021 8:20 AM
      Hi Leslie,
      So happy to hear that you are utilizing public transportation more often and also taking longer walks. I'm also guilty of using a car to get to places that are 15 minutes away. Especially during the pandemic I started to use the bus left often because I wanted to avoid getting in contact with people in fear of bringing the virus home to my sister who is immunocompromised. I'm so glad you enjoy riding the bus and enjoy the view of your surroundings while on the bus. I think taking walks is great way to slow down and not be caught up in the faced paced working environment of today. Oftentimes I feel I will take my car to travel to my local grocery store instead of walking because I tell myself that I could be getting work done at home than wasting 30 minutes to walk to and from the grocery store. I also enjoy walking and taking in the outdoor scenery because it gives me a break from all things school and work related. You have motivated to take more walks because that is something I haven't been doing much of lately. 
      -Abriana
  • Reflection Question
    Electricity Calculate the carbon footprint of my household
    After you determined your carbon footprint, did you see what different choices you can make in order to reduce it?

    Rolando Bonilla's avatar
    Rolando Bonilla 6/03/2021 5:57 AM
    After calculating my roommates' total carbon footprint and what I produced, I was amazed to find out much carbon dioxide we produce monthly. These statistics have made me consider more lifestyle changes and convince my roommates to make different choices.

    For starters, using our cars a lot more will help combat the carbon dioxide we produce monthly. Doing task all in one run will help us save gas and reduce the amount of CO2 produced and only consider using a car when we go grocery shopping for large quantities of food. This leads me to my next choice is consuming let meet throughout the meat. I eat a lot of meat throughout the week and usually, it's at almost every meal that I prepare because of how heavily centered meat is in the Latinx culture. But that will not stop me from making diet changes, like switching to vegan options. Unfortunately, I can't switch to a pescatarian diet for a while because of my food allergy, but there are always alternatives for that problem.

    Fortunately for my roommates and I, we never fly, but I included one flight because one of my roommates did fly this last month and I wanted to determine our CO2 emission for last month. Not using planes to travel is a lifestyle choice that I will continue to do because of the vast environmental impacts flying on an airplane has on the Earth.

    I am glad I got to determine actual quantitative data on the CO2 production in the apartment, and I will continue trying to cut down my production and those of my roommates.
  • Reflection Question
    Transportation Research and Consider Switching to a Hybrid or Electric Vehicle
    Reducing (or eliminating) exhaust emissions and improving public health are two benefits of green vehicles. What other motivators inspire you to consider switching to a more fuel-efficient vehicle?

    Danielle Berejikian's avatar
    Danielle Berejikian 6/03/2021 3:43 AM
    Initially, I was very surprised the governor of California thought we, as a state, would be able to reduce new car sales to zero-emission vehicles only by 2035. I personally didn't think it was possible and didn't understand the urgency, but after reading the Uninhabitable Earth from early in this course, I felt 2035 isn't soon enough. Even my other courses have touched on the fact that ONE GALLON of gasoline burned equates to TWENTY POUNDS OF CARBON DIOXIDE EMISSION. I began to look into all electric cars and the new models that have been coming out. I know I want to get a zero-emission vehicle as my next car (unfortunately I cannot function on just a bike and the public transport system just yet, although I have tried to make it possible). 
    I had always stared at my "mpg" reading and watched it go up and down, but that was always for the selfish reason of not wanting to spend more money on gas. I realized how important this concept is and the importance of what just one person can do. If everyone is willing to contribute, we will make a huge change, and I definitely will not be that one person holding everyone back. I began talking to some coworkers who have Teslas and friends who own Prii (plural of Prius via dictionary.com and Toyota). They have all vouched for their cars, the convenience of charging at home, the money you save on gas, how quiet the car is, the reduced guilt, etc. These are all amazing things, and I cannot think of a single argument against getting an electric car over a gas car. Even the price is competitive with gas cars! 
    I am not sure which car I will be looking for next, but I am sure with all the progress that has been made within the last few years, the cars will be amazing in a couple more. Until then, I have been trying to reduce the amount I use my car: I walk to places when possible, I bought and ride a bike a lot, I carpool, and I have greatly reduced long trips. I am very excited to see the progress made within a couple years, and I am very happy to have legislation moving forward with combatting the climate crisis goals.

    • Abriana Martinez's avatar
      Abriana Martinez 6/03/2021 8:39 AM
      Hi Danielle,
      Wow, I did not know that the state of California is aiming to decrease new car sales to zero-emission vehicles by 2035. This is some good news. I've also considered owning an electric vehicle in the future. However, recently during class I discovered that the resources and materials that goes into building electric cars is in fact harmful for the environment as well. My classmate informed me the materials that go into making the batteries for electrical cars is damaging for the environment; in addition, when the battery is no longer functional they have to dispose of it which is another form of waste production and disposing of it properly is still damaging to the Earth. Although the overall outcomes of purchasing an electrical car seem beneficial there are other aspects of owning an electrical car that make me hesitant to purchase one. On a different note, I'm very happy to hear that you utilize your bike and public transportation as much as you can. I'm still working on trying to find ways to use the bus more often over using my car, even though it might take me longer to travel from place to place on a bus compared to just using my car.
      -Abriana
  • 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
    Food, Agriculture, and Land Use Smaller Portions
    While dishing food out, we tend to load our plates with more than we need. Using smaller plates helps to mitigate this. Aside from the environmental benefits, what other benefits might come from eating/serving smaller portions?

    Danielle Berejikian's avatar
    Danielle Berejikian 6/03/2021 3:23 AM
    I had always heard of smaller plates being "healthier" but had never really looked into how this was true until I accepted the challenge. There is, of course, the obvious answer: the limited space doesn't allow you to overfill your plate as much as a large plate would. I always figured people would just fill their plates more. But I bought some smaller bowls and plates and wanted to try the challenge.
    I was raised in a household that did not waste the food we cooked. No matter what was on your plate you tried to finish it, and if you couldn't, someone else in the family would. I always thought that was great, but you would come back from dinner feeling really full and bloated. I continued this when I began living on my own because I was so convinced I could not leave any food waste behind. In theory this was a good idea, trying to do my little part to prevent waste, but I didn't see the obvious answer. I began making smaller portions. I can see how many people may think the same way as me, trying to finish everything on their plates. OR I could see people enjoying their meal so much they eat everything in front of them and not listening to their stomachs when it tells them to slow way down. This is probably a very large cause for obesity in America. We have astonishing numbers that continue to grow, and while I do not believe in the outdated BMI calculation that only concerns your height and weight, I do believe our overweight rates are much higher than the rest of the world. I like to eat out on date nights or nights out with friends and family, and have definitely noticed the huge portion sizes everywhere you go.
    I remember the debate going on when restaurants were first being required to post the calorie amounts next to each dish. It was absolutely shocking. One pasta dish at BJ's or Cheesecake factory can be 2700+ calories. If someone were to eat that for a casual dinner, they would be consuming over double the calories they are supposed to eat in a day. There isn't a reason the portion sizes have to be so large. Is it so the restaurants can charge more? Maybe. Or they want to expand our stomachs so we continue to eat more of their food? Either way, the large portion sizes are leading to increased obesity as well as heart conditions from the cholesterol and a lazier society overall. 
    I will continue to try to reduce my meal sizes so I eat until I am full and prevent overeating. I want to be able to save more food, which will ultimately save the planet and my wallet.
  • Reflection Question
    Food, Agriculture, and Land Use Learn the Truth About Expiration Dates
    How does knowing the difference between use by, sell by, and best by dates empower you to make better decisions?

    Danielle Berejikian's avatar
    Danielle Berejikian 6/03/2021 3:01 AM
    When I first read this title, I was a little confused as to what "the truth" could be. I thought it was basic, use before the best by/use by dates and a little after the sell by date. But this article is something that should be publicized so much. DID YOU KNOW YOU DON'T ACTUALLY HAVE TO USE FOOD BY THAT DATE. IT WON'T HURT YOU OR KILL YOU, YOU ACTUALLY HAVE A COUPLE DAYS AND SOMETIMES WEEKS AFTER THAT DATE TO EAT YOUR FOOD! It's crazy. I have thrown out a decent amount of fresh food in my life because I thought some crazy infection or something would happen to me if I ate it! I had also seen food items just past the expiration date in the back of grocery stores on the "sale" racks and thought someone just forgot to clear it off the rack, or I never grabbed it because I thought it was crazy that the grocery store would try to sell bad food. But now I know! I will stop replacing food right after the listed dates, giving me more time to enjoy the food I buy, and wasting way less food. If everyone knew this trick, food waste would be significantly reduced, and people would feel much more comfortable buying the food on the sale racks in stores. This could help lower income families afford more food, as well as reduce the absurd amount of food and plastic (wrapping) waste that Americans generate each day. After reading these articles, I was curious as to what else I could be saving or what other secrets were hidden in food waste. 
  • 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?

    Danielle Berejikian's avatar
    Danielle Berejikian 6/03/2021 2:51 AM
    I often found myself eating with some sort of noise or distraction on in the background. As a student who works 35+ hours per week, I don't get many breaks, and because it seemed like everyone was so into watching Netflix or Hulu or the newest movies, I would turn them on in the background to watch them while I ate. It honestly felt more like an obligation than something I enjoyed. My roommate recently took a psychology/therapy course and told me how she no longer eats with a screen in front of her, more so thinking about her day or her plans or anything that came to mind. I started to try it, too, and found it kind of relaxing? Sometimes I would sit with her and we would eat together but not talk, sometimes we would carry extravagant conversations about the most absurd topics, but never anything stressful. It is such a nice break to be away from a screen, especially with everything online. I had always thought TV or Instagram was a "break" from class and school, but it doesn't compare to the space and feeling of collectiveness that distance from a screen does. Anyway, I thought it was crazy that this was something you guys chose for us to do for ourselves, and was so excited that more people would be appreciating the change. I have really enjoyed this activity and will definitely be continuing this in the future.