Over the course of earth month, I have learned that I am not as eco-friendly as I thought I was at the beginning of this month. The small changes that I made each week showed me that, although I cannot take all of the steps to reduce my carbon footprint that I would like to, I can take many small steps together to reduce my impact. I learned that choosing food and water options that are better for the planet over those that are the most convenient does not take a lot of effort. For example, during my final week I chose to give up red meat, and I thought that I would end up eating the same foods in the dining halls all of the time. However, over the course of the week I did not end up eating the same foods everyday, instead I still ate a variety of things, while cutting out red meat. I will continue to eat less red meat, even though the challenge is over, because it is a simple step that I can take that improves my health, as well as the health of the earth. I also will continue to carry a reusable mug with me all of the time, and use as few disposable cups as possible. This was the easiest challenge that I gave myself, and I am surprised that I did not think of doing this before the challenge began. I will also continue to turn off the water when I brush my teeth and wash my face, because leaving the water on as I complete these tasks serves no purpose. I will work on taking shorter showers over the coming months, however, as the weather gets warmer I will be taking more showers, so I may not end up making much of an impact as I had hoped. If I were to try another challenge it would probably be the waste and toxicity challenge, because when I am at home I often drive, even when my destination is within walking or biking distance of my house. Over the summer, I am going to challenge myself to drive less, and walk more. This will be a challenge for me because I am often running late and in a hurry, but hopefully it will teach me how to do a better job of managing my time, and it will help me be more active.
My favorite park in Columbus has come to be Goodale, I love going there on warm days to walk around the park, play on the swings and people watch by the pond. On the day this photo was taken, April 15th, I was at the park alone enjoying some much needed me time away from campus. There were many ducks in the pond, and many children nearby, who would squeal happily every time a duck would enter or exit the water. I chose to bike to Goodale, and I realized that the trip down there was a lovely ride, and I plan on venturing to Goodale by bike often next year. The best part of the afternoon was seeing a turtle on one of the rocks in the pond. I had never seen a turtle in the pond before, and it looked like it was enjoying the sun just as much as I was.
I frequently use the Olentangy Trail when I go bike riding, and I love how the trail lets me experience Columbus safely, by keeping me off of the roads, and away from cars. I usually take the trail north when I am biking alone, because I enjoy how the trial goes through several of the metroparks, as well as parts of Clintonville. I especially enjoy the wide variety of neighborhoods that the trail passes through, from the condos just north of campus to the forested area farther north, it is great to see how people interact with nature. This photo was taken on my way back from a bike ride, the sun setting behind the Lane Avenue bridge made for a lovely photo.
I also decided to visit the Scioto Mile shortly after winter break, because I love looking at Christmas lights, and had seen the illuminated mile before winter break. I wanted to see the Scioto Mile again without the lights, so I could fully appreciate the space . I enjoyed the mile, because it offered a variety of spaces, and combines natural beauty with the cityscape. One of my favorite things about the Scioto Mile is that the river is the focal point of the area, instead of just a part of it. The Scioto mile was my favorite spot, because it is right downtown, and the city is being blended with nature.
The final location that I visited was the Whetstone Park of Roses, this was another park that I chose to visit on my bike. I took the Olentangy Trail up to the park, and had the pleasure of seeing that spring was coming through the small buds, and new leaves on the trees at the park. I hope to visit the park in the summer, or early fall, so that I can experience all of the lovely roses the park has to offer. I will probably visit the park with my mother, because she loves rose bushes, and has cultivated her own small rose garden in our backyard.
For students who plan to complete this to-do list in the future I would recommend traveling by bike, because it allows you to see which green spaces you could visit regularly. Form this to-do list I learned that Columbus does an excellent job of incorporating green space into a growing city. I will be visiting the five locations from my to-do list often over the coming years.
My third week of the earth month challenge went fairly well, it was eyeopening because I did not realize h0w much water I had been wasting. This week I learned that I leave the faucet on when brushing my teeth and washing my face almost every time I do so. Over the course of this week I have completely stopped letting the water run when I complete these tasks. I also pledged to take shorter showers this week, and I think this went fairly well because by the end of the week I was taking far shorter showers. I decided that I was going to stack my challenges, and I have kept up with all three weeks challenges for the most part. I have pretty much eliminated paper cups from my daily life, however, I have not done a great job with cutting out prepackaged foods. I think that over the summer I will try again to cut out prepackaged foods, because I will have more time, and greater access to fresh foods. My fourth week challenge is to not eat red meat, I think this will be the most difficult challenge by far, because there are a very limited amount of protein options in the dining halls. I hope that over the course of this week I will learn how to eat healthier in the dining halls without eating the same foods all of the time. I think that if I keep an open mind I will find a variety of healthy options.
My second week of the challenge went better than my first. I only used one paper cup over the course of the entire week, and I ate fresh fruits and vegetables instead of grab and go snacks as often as possible. At the end of the week I had more energy than I usually do after a week in which I have a midterm exam. I think this was because of the healthier foods that I was eating, and because I had consumed fewer preservatives. I learned over the course of this week that providing my body with better foods does not take a lot of time. I am going to continue eating fresh foods instead of prepackaged snacks as often as possible, even after the challenge has ended. During this week I learned that I had not be eating as healthily as I had thought. This was a good challenge for me because it opened my eyes to facts that I had been attempting to avoid, I was not eating the foods that help me stay energized. I am changing my challenge for week three, I have not had time to make snacks for this week, because I have been studying for midterms. For week three I will instead be reducing the amount of water that I use, by taking shorter showers and making sure I turn off the water when I brush my teeth or wash my face. I think taking shorter showers will be challenging, due to the fact that I have long hair that loves to tie itself in knots.