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April 3 - April 24, 2019
Cris Valentini 's avatar

Cris Valentini

A Cleaner Texas

"Make the changes you can when you can. Even a small improvement can make a big difference. "

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 1,136 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    58
    pounds of CO2
    have been saved
  • up to
    1
    documentaries
    watched
  • up to
    385
    minutes
    spent learning
  • up to
    23
    locally sourced meals
    consumed
  • up to
    25
    trees
    planted
  • up to
    19
    zero-waste meals
    consumed

Cris's Actions

Land Use

Plant Trees

#15 Afforestation

I will plant 25 tree(s) in my community, public parks, or backyard.

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

Transport

Stay on the Ground

#43 Airplanes, #63 Telepresence

Instead of traveling by plane, I will find an alternative way to accomplish the goals of an upcoming trip (i.e. telepresence, vacation locally).

Completed
One-Time Action

Land Use

Forest-Friendly Foods 1

#5 Tropical Forests

I will spend at least 60 minutes researching the impact of my diet to see how it contributes to deforestation.

Completed
One-Time Action

Electricity Generation

Learn More about Wave and Tidal Energy

#29 Wave and Tidal

I will spend at least 30 minutes learning more about the energy generation potential of wave and tidal energy.

Completed
One-Time Action

Electricity Generation

Learn More about Biomass

#34 Biomass

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

Completed
One-Time Action

Land Use

Buy Bamboo

#35 Bamboo

When they are available, I will purchase products made from bamboo instead of wood, plastic, or metal.

Completed
One-Time Action

Food

Learn More about Regenerative Agriculture

#11 Regenerative Agriculture

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

Completed
One-Time Action

Food

Support Nutrient Management

#65 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 Generation

Learn More About Geothermal Energy

#18 Geothermal

I will spend at least 60 minutes learning more about the energy generation potential of geothermal energy and consider investing in this technology.

Completed
One-Time Action

Electricity Generation

Learn More about Micro Wind

#76 Micro Wind

I will spend at least 30 minutes learning more about the energy generation potential of Micro Wind.

Completed
One-Time Action

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

Learn More about Silvopasture

#9 Silvopasture

I will spend at least 60 minutes watching videos and/or reading about the environmental benefits of silvopasture.

Completed
One-Time Action

Land Use

Learn about Temperate Forests

#12 Temperate Forests

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

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 19
DAILY ACTIONS

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 19
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Zero-waste Cooking

#3 Reduced Food Waste

I will cook 1 meal(s) with zero-waste each day

COMPLETED 19
DAILY ACTIONS

Food

Learn the Truth About Expiration Dates

#3 Reduced Food Waste

I will spend at least 20 minutes learning how to differentiate between sell by, use by, and best by dates.

Completed
One-Time Action

Food

Support Local Food Systems

#4 Plant-Rich Diet

I will source 10 percent of my food from local producers each day. This could include signing up for a local CSA, buying from a farmer's market, visiting a food co-op, foraging with a local group, or growing my own ingredients.

COMPLETED 18
DAILY ACTIONS

Feed

  • Reflection Question
    Land Use Plant Trees
    How is planting trees good for your mental, physical, and spiritual health?

    Cris Valentini 's avatar
    Cris Valentini 4/24/2019 3:03 PM
    Being around trees releases stress, planting trees is a good workout, and spiritually trees represent growth, strength and potential. 
  • 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?

    Cris Valentini 's avatar
    Cris Valentini 4/24/2019 2:41 PM
    Human activities like polluting via pouring chemicals down the drain, not cleaning up oil spills, using and then littering with single use plastic, releasing balloons, drinking in public and littering the cans or bottles (especially while floating the river!),and using confetti eggs (all that paper is litter) are just a few of the things that affect the local watershed and global systems. Improving the health of water systems means making lots of public changes and educating people to make the personal changes they need, like picking up trash and disposing of it properly.
  • 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?

    Cris Valentini 's avatar
    Cris Valentini 4/24/2019 2:12 PM
    It drives me to advance even more into the lifestyle we've adopted and encourage others to follow along. (I don't expect anyone to join us, we're pretty far along and most people think we're crazy.) The overwhelming part is just how much it time it takes to make good choices, and that you must constantly police and review them since they change so quickly. It makes me hopeful that more and more people are becoming aware, and it is forcing some companies to change. Unfortunately that also leads to quite a bit of "greenwashing" which makes people feel they're making a better choice when they may not be. 

    • Cris Valentini 's avatar
      Cris Valentini 4/25/2019 8:36 AM
      Becky as far as eating seasonal some of it is common sense. You wouldn't have fresh tomatoes in the winter or lettuce in the heat of summer for example. Going to farmers markets can really kind of open up your eyes to what is in season, as will signing up for a CSA. And when you're ready to start to learn to forage you really become in tune with the seasons and what is available. 

    • Becky Hardin's avatar
      Becky Hardin 4/24/2019 6:01 PM
      I definitely struggled with green-washing when I first started out. It was hard to find time to research products beforehand at first. It definitely becomes a lot easier once you've gotten most of the research out of the way ^_^. Mainly I focus on avoiding anything that comes in a plastic container if I can help it. It gets more tricky after that. I make the the products come in recyclable containers, and then it's figuring out if the ingredients, creation and shipping of the product are sustainably done. 

      When it comes to purchasing produce, I would like to learn how to eat according to the seasons to decrease carbon emissions on foods I buy by avoiding those that have to be shipped much further.
  • Reflection Question
    Land Use Forest-Friendly Foods 1
    How is your diet currently impacting deforestation? What can you do to decrease your negative impact and increase your positive impact?

    Cris Valentini 's avatar
    Cris Valentini 4/24/2019 2:02 PM
    Currently we don't use palm oil, coffee, or dairy, rarely use Cocoa, and have reduced significantly egg and meat as well as changed our sourcing to local pasture raised. The majority of our meat and all of our eggs are from our own animals, raised on food we grow on site naturally (no pesticides and the only fertilizer is generated on site with the animals and composting) with a grain supplement (but there is no soy in their diet). At this point the only way to decrease our negative impact would be to harvest all of our meat on site and provide 100% of the animals food on site as well. As to increasing the positive impact, I teach people to grow their own food and we gift green. I have also encouraged many people in our life to make small but significant changes towards better options.
  • Reflection Question
    Food Support Nutrient Management
    How does environmental quality influence your sense of community?

    Cris Valentini 's avatar
    Cris Valentini 4/23/2019 7:05 AM
    When people don't feel healthy, they do not have the energy to be part of a community. Also if they are not personally responsible and part of coordinating efforts to maintain the health of their environment they are more likely to damage the environment without regard to how it affects others and themselves.

    • Becky Hardin's avatar
      Becky Hardin 4/23/2019 3:06 PM
      I agree. People who also hermitize themselves don't think past what happens in their own backyard. People need to get involved in their communities politically, participate in local functions, visit local parks, get to know their neighbors, and all around become familiar with their local area geographically and discover what possible sustainability issues their community is currently facing (goes along with political involvement). 
  • Reflection Question
    Food Zero-waste Cooking
    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?

    Cris Valentini 's avatar
    Cris Valentini 4/23/2019 7:01 AM
    The environmental pollution emitted from cooking fires/rudimentary stoves are social issues because they disproportionately affect people of color and/or low income individuals. Coincidentally many neighborhoods of color or low income neighborhoods have had the worst exposure to environmental issues (like criminal negligence of leaks, purposeful withholding of health affecting information, violations of dumping restrictions, etc.) simply because they cannot afford to fight the corporate interests. This pollution leads to a higher risk of damage to health and often early death. It matters to me because EVERYONE has the BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS which include safe and affordable access to clean water and air.
  • 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?

    Cris Valentini 's avatar
    Cris Valentini 4/23/2019 6:53 AM
    That's a hard question, but a sustainable community to me would support each member with: food security, safe & potable water, reliable clean energy, ecofriendly and stable shelter, living wage employment, affordable and integrative healthcare at the very least. 

    Food security is one of the easier to achieve by local education and opportunities like school gardens, community gardens, seed sharing libraries, and plant exchanges. Safe & potable water requires community education with suitable government infrastructure, but falls heavily on corporate regulation to be held accountable for its pollution.

    Reliable clean energy is another large reaching goal that requires education of the people and regulation of corporate lobbies that try to block any competition. Ecofriendly shelter requires a very broad view and definition. Investing in artisans who are knowledgeable in earthen construction, earthships, Aircrete, and local materials is essential. Stable shelter is linked to living wage employment. Living wage employment requires a paradigm shift in the country's economy, through education (to battle the misinformation) and regulation of businesses. If a company makes a profit while it's employees are on government aid that business should be forced to restructure its pay until it can provide ALL of it's employees a livable wage.

    Affordable and integrative healthcare requires quite a bit to change as well. Corporate interests cannot block any kind of regulated healing other than conventional hospital medicine. As for affordability... well there needs to be regulation on how much of a profit a company can make off any particular thing. Insulin prices should not be 1000%+ what they were 10 years ago WITH NO CHANGE TO THE FORMULA!!!!! 

    • Cris Valentini 's avatar
      Cris Valentini 4/23/2019 4:22 PM
      Becky, that information is pretty hard to find but try looking for retrofit green ideas when you hunt. Earthships are often built with trash or reclaimed materials  but that can be hard to find. Personally I'm experimenting with building with cans and leftover project concrete mix and mortar with reclaimed tile for the chicken coop to see what I can do with it. 

    • Becky Hardin's avatar
      Becky Hardin 4/23/2019 3:11 PM
      Speaking of earthships, I wish I could find resources to do house repairs on my manufactured home in a way that would slowly warm the house into a earthship. I don't know if that's possible, but it would be nice to know any type of add-ons or repairs were all made using 100% sustainable materials. I've been having to seal up a lot of cracks where air escapes, and the best I've been about to find is low-vox adhesive :/
  • Reflection Question
    Electricity Generation Learn More about Wave and Tidal Energy
    What did you learn about wave and tidal energy? Were you surprised by the information you found?

    Cris Valentini 's avatar
    Cris Valentini 4/23/2019 6:30 AM
    I was surprised that there is not more investment in tidal energy. There is a large portion of exposed coastlines that do not furnish income to their local areas that could be developed. 
  • Reflection Question
    Electricity Generation Learn More About Geothermal Energy
    Geothermal energy is reliable, abundant, and efficient. Project Drawdown states that public investment will play a crucial role in its expansion. In what ways (i.e. with money, time, advocacy) can you invest in geothermal energy?

    Cris Valentini 's avatar
    Cris Valentini 4/23/2019 6:28 AM
    I can spread knowledge and advocate for the use of geothermal energy. We are a fairly hot climate and could greatly benefit from the cooling ability of air heat exchangers as we rarely drop below 20. 
  • Reflection Question
    Transport Stay on the Ground
    What was your process like for restructuring your trip? How can you avoid more air travel in the future?

    Cris Valentini 's avatar
    Cris Valentini 4/17/2019 2:40 PM
    Online consultations and distance learning allows me to do business and instruct others while minimizing travel footprint. However something that I feel is glossed over a lot is how much of a carbon footprint using internet is once you include the required technology of the device being used.

    • Cris Valentini 's avatar
      Cris Valentini 4/18/2019 9:28 AM
      Josh, the only service I've found so far that includes technology is https://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx 

    • Interesting point Cris and I definitely agree it's often glossed over (guilty myself on that one). Do you know of any good resources that compare the carbon footprint of both options?