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April 3 - April 24, 2019
Sonali Pfile's avatar

Sonali Pfile

Reinhabitors-2019

"I want to learn tons and make the world a healthy, beautiful place for my children and grandchildren."

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 687 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    1
    documentaries
    watched
  • up to
    210
    minutes
    spent exercising
  • up to
    110
    minutes
    spent learning
  • up to
    30
    meatless or vegan meals
    consumed
  • up to
    240
    gallons of water
    have been saved

Sonali's Actions

Land Use

Learn about Temperate Forests

#12 Temperate Forests

I will spend at least 45 minutes learning more about the environmental services provided by and the environmental issues affecting temperate forests.

Completed
One-Time Action

Food

Reduce Animal Products

#4 Plant-Rich Diet

I will enjoy 3 meatless or vegan meal(s) each day of the challenge.

COMPLETED 10
DAILY ACTIONS

Land Use

Research Peatlands

#13 Peatlands

I will spend 45 minutes researching the environmental benefits of peatlands and what is being done around the world to conserve and restore them.

COMPLETED 1
DAILY ACTION

Materials

Install a Low-Flow Showerhead

#46 Water Saving - Home

I will save up to 15 gallons (56 L) of water a day by installing a low-flow showerhead.

Completed
One-Time Action

Buildings and Cities

Go for a Daily Walk

#54 Walkable Cities

I will take a walk for 15 minutes each day and take note of the infrastructure that makes walking more or less enjoyable, accessible, and possible.

COMPLETED 14
DAILY ACTIONS

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 Action

Food

Smaller Portions

#3 Reduced Food Waste

I will use smaller plates and/or serve smaller portions when dishing out food.

COMPLETED 14
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Learn More about Regenerative Agriculture

#11 Regenerative Agriculture

I will spend at least 15 minutes learning about the need for more regenerative agriculture.

Completed
One-Time Action

Food

Keep Track of Wasted Food

#3 Reduced Food Waste

I will keep a daily log of food I throw away during the EcoChallenge, either because it went bad before I ate it, I put too much on my plate, or it was scraps from food preparation.

COMPLETED 14
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Learn More about Silvopasture

#9 Silvopasture

I will spend at least 15 minutes watching videos and/or reading about the environmental benefits of silvopasture.

Completed
One-Time Action

Materials

Mulch the Base of Trees and Plants

#46 Water Saving - Home

I will prevent water runoff and increase absorbency by mulching the base of trees and plants in my yard.

Completed
One-Time Action

Feed

  • Reflection Question
    Materials Mulch the Base of Trees and Plants
    Name some of the human activities impacting the health of water systems, both locally (your watershed) and globally (freshwater and oceans). What can you do to improve the health of water systems?

    Sonali Pfile's avatar
    Sonali Pfile 4/22/2019 9:59 PM
    I noticed that the drains at HRS say that they drain into the ocean, so I would bet that letting any harmful chemicals flow into these drains would harm the health of the watershed. I also know the ocean is a huge sink for carbon in the atmosphere, which leads to ocean acidification, which decreases the stability of crustacean populations, and kills coral reefs. In this way, our carbon foot prints have an impact on our water systems.  
  • Reflection Question
    Land Use Learn about Temperate Forests
    As you learn more about the scope and seriousness of the environmental challenges we face, what impact does that have on your thinking and actions? What are the parts that feel overwhelming? What parts help you feel hopeful?

    Sonali Pfile's avatar
    Sonali Pfile 4/22/2019 9:50 PM
    I mean I suppose it drives me to be more aware of the impact of my actions. We usually consider our actions to be our own problem, but as we have learned throughout the course, everything is interconnected. It is overwhelming to think about the consequences of living an oblivious life, but the flip side of the coin is that our positive actions have an impact throughout this interconnected web. Therefore, an effort to use less plastic will help keep the seas clean, keep turtles breathing, and keep food webs healthy and balanced. When we use solar panels and avoid releasing carbon dioxide into the air, we help our grandchildren and we take a step towards sparing the remaining coral reefs from death. This interconnectivity can be a source of hope for us. 
  • Reflection Question
    Food Reduce Animal Products
    In your opinion, what contributes to people in North America eating more meat than any other countries? What does this say about North American values and ways of living?

    Sonali Pfile's avatar
    Sonali Pfile 4/15/2019 8:42 PM
    We talked in class about how meat was not plentiful for our ancestors, and so the human diet was composed of fruits, nuts, and roots for much of our history. Due to our desire to have anything we want when we want it, meat is readily available 24/7. This huge departure from our traditional way of eating has become normal in North America, and the mentality does not only apply to meat, but to our general interest in securing more than what we need. 
  • 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?

    Sonali Pfile's avatar
    Sonali Pfile 4/11/2019 8:55 PM
    We can cut or reduce the amount of palm oil we consume by buying local, fresh food (as opposed to processed food from supermarkets). Also, making an effort to cook more at home (which is time consuming, but rewarding when I have the chance) can ensure that we know exactly what is going into the food that we eat. 
  • Reflection Question
    Materials Install a Low-Flow Showerhead
    What would a sustainable water future in your region look like? What needs to change?

    Sonali Pfile's avatar
    Sonali Pfile 4/08/2019 8:47 PM
    One thing that everyone in my neighborhood could do is ditch the lawns and non-native plants and instead create gardens that are low water. The sheer amount of water it takes to keep a garden alive is staggering, so using native, drought resistant, and low water plants could really make an impact. Another thing we could do is store rain water with rain barrels, and water our gardens with grey water. 
  • Reflection Question
    Electricity Generation Watch a Video about Methane Digesters
    What does your vision of a sustainable community look like? What would need to be changed in order for such vision to become reality?

    Sonali Pfile's avatar
    Sonali Pfile 4/08/2019 8:40 PM
    I think a sustainable community has to function like an ecosystem. Each aspect of what the community consumes and what it produces has to be taken into account, to see how everything can fit together. I think the first step is being aware of what energy we use and what food we consume (side note: one would want to track what kind of energy it required to produce the food as well). After that, we would have to try to reduce how much energy we use, source our energy better (solar, methane digesters, etc), and harness the power of the waste that we create (that was the goal of methane digesters), so that everything that we do and create can be beneficial to our ecosystem. This vision for the future would require a change in mentality, from self-centeredness to a holistic and conscientious mentality. 
  • Reflection Question
    Buildings and Cities Go for a Daily Walk
    What have you noticed on your daily walks? What have you enjoyed? What infrastructure changes could make your walks more enjoyable or possible?

    Sonali Pfile's avatar
    Sonali Pfile 4/08/2019 8:18 PM
    I've noticed a lack of sidewalks in some areas, which makes walking less safe. More sidewalks and marked crosswalks could make walking more accessible for the day to day person. I enjoy using stairs and pathways to cut across blocks, because it feels like a cool passage that a car couldn't take advantage of. 
  • 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?

    Sonali Pfile's avatar
    Sonali Pfile 4/07/2019 11:00 PM
    I had never heard of silvopasture before, but it fits nicely with the concept of permaculture. I love the concept of integrating cattle with tree growth. Farmers have shown that it is beneficial to all parties involved, when planned and executed thoughtfully. For instance, I watched a video where the farmer explained that he grows apple and chestnut trees, and has pigs and cows graze around them. The animals rub up against the bark, which keeps it free of insects, and they eat the lower branches, which leaves the trees less susceptible to fungal diseases. The pigs will eat any fruit that falls prematurely, and fertilize the soil. The trees sequester carbon while helping the farmer improve their land and their livelihoods. An article explained that farmers can weather the uncertainty of climate change with silvopasture. A farmer can hedge their bets with short term investments, like animals, and long term investments, like trees. The animals get shade, which reduces their stress and helps them gain weight and stay healthy. By putting their metaphorical eggs in more than one basket, they can survive droughts and weather changes. For instance, a farmer in New York explained that he grows cattle and chickens, while making maple syrup and harvesting mushrooms from inoculated logs. Another video about sustainable agriculture (not silvopasture specifically) showed a man who grows over 40 different types of trees and other plants in a small garden. He specifically chose these plants so that at least some of the plants would yield at any one time, and that he would have a variety to help him through any extreme weather caused by climate change. Therefore, thoughtful planting and taking advantage of natural relationships between plants and animals can help the environment and improve the stability of a farmer's livelihood during a time of climate uncertainty.
  • Reflection Question
    Food Smaller Portions
    Fun fact: Your brain and stomach register feelings of fullness after about 20 minutes of eating. 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 out of eating smaller portions?

    Sonali Pfile's avatar
    Sonali Pfile 4/07/2019 10:25 PM
    Eating smaller portions could help us economically. If everyone bought and consumed food with an environmental mindset, it would not only help the planet, but our wallets as well. That's another thing about food waste- I always feel ambitious when I buy food, and I'm never as ambitious or energetic when it comes to making the food. It will be much better to avoid wasting food by stopping myself from getting stuff I don't need.
  • Reflection Question
    Food Keep Track of Wasted Food
    An average American throws out about 240 lbs of food per year. The average family of four spends $1,500 a year on food that they throw out. Where would you rather use this money?

    Sonali Pfile's avatar
    Sonali Pfile 4/07/2019 10:22 PM
    I'd probably rather spend it on arts and crafts- I like knitting. Maybe gardening as well. I have my eye on a bunch of seeds... Also making a chicken coop and getting chickens. 
    240 pounds is so much to waste-I'm thankful that those food scraps can be composted to contribute to someone's healthy soil. It would be tragic for all of those nutrients to lay inert in a landfill.