The highlight of my time in ENR has been the people that I have met along the way. I have met some of the most amazing people through this scholars program. Another highlight of my time in ENR was all of the fun and meaningful events that I got to go to because of the program. I have learned many things from being apart of the program. These things ranged from simple skills such as archery and leading a hike to important facts such as information about recycling and sustainability.
This program has increased my awareness of environmental problems and solutions. I have learned how to properly recycle and compost. I also have switched to reusable bags whenever I go shopping and if I forget a bag, I’ll often just carry whatever I buy. I have also become more confident in having conversations with my peers and family about the environmental issues that the current world faces. I also have for the past two years cleaned the river twice a year and plan on continuing this for as long as I can. I plan to continue to recycle when I’m off campus. I also plan on using the heating and cooling system in my house only a little in order to be more environmentally friendly.
My advice to future ENR scholars is to make the most out of the program. Go to as many events as you can. Meet as many people as you can. Listen and participate in class discussions. Learn as much as you can about not only the things you like but those that you do not. The two years in the program go faster than you can even imagine on your first day, so make sure you don’t take any second of it for granted. Choosing ENR scholars was one of the best decisions that I made when coming to college.
This year I have tried my best to say yes to more opportunities. This year I worked on overcoming my tendencies that often kept me from trying new things and facing my fears. One fear that I worked on conquering was my fear of heights. I did this through rock wall climbing with my friends and through ENR. I also tried to go more events around campus even if my friends couldn’t go. Even though I am an introvert, I still find myself getting anxious when going to events by myself. This year I worked on becoming more comfortable with doing what I want even if it is by myself. Next year I want to continue to become more confident and comfortable when I’m going to events where I don’t know anyone there. I also want to explore Columbus more next year. This year I went to some coffee shops, the north market, and a few places on high street. Next year I want to eat at some of the Columbus local spots and visit the parks that Columbus has to offer. I come from a small town that does not offer all of the things that Ohio State has to offer. Ohio State to me is the embodiment of choices and opportunities.
Ohio State and Columbus both offer so much and I’m doing my best to take advantage of the opportunities that both offer. I’m trying to live my life the way that I want to live it. I try to give my time and talents back. I try my best to volunteer a couple times a year in order to help the people in need and the environment around me. I have a ton of privilege and I try my best to use that privilege to help those who have not been blessed with all that I have. The Earth Month Action Plan was just another part of my overall plan to do everything that I am able to do in order to help my fellow human and the environment around me. Decreasing food waste not only saves money but is good for the Earth. I chose actions that focused on helping both people save money but also help to conserve energy and resources and to help reduce the methane emissions. I plan to continue to work towards decreasing my food waste and the food waste of those around me. During April I took a pledge to decrease my food waste and to make sure that I only purchase food items that I will use. I plan to honor this pledge for the rest of my life and to do my best to make others aware of the impact of food waste on not only the planet but on their wallets.
Overall, I had an amazing year that held a lot of change and new opportunities. Without Ohio State and Columbus, I would not have had these opportunities. I will continue to do my best to make positive changes over the next year and for the rest of my life.
In the first two weeks, the work that I have done mainly focused on my own food waste. During the first week, I made sure that I was conscious everytime that I got food or went shopping for food. This week I took a pledge to decrease my food waste and to encourage those around me to decrease their food waste too. In the remaining two weeks I need to begin to focus more on the food waste around me than the food waste that I generate. I still want to continue to be conscious of my own personal food habits. Over the last few weeks, I learned that sometimes food waste is unavoidable and that the goal of my plan should be to drastically decrease the amount of food waste. Food waste is only a problem in the United States because of the amount that gets wasted. Also what is done with the food after it is thrown out is a problem on its own.
There are many challenges that will come up in the next two weeks. One challenge that I foresee is the amount of time that will be required in order to complete the rest of my plan. As the semester comes to an end, the amount of work that I have to do will increase as the amount of work I have to do for the plan increases. I will have to find a way to effectively continue with the plan. Another challenge I foresee happening is how to decide which facts to put on the poster that I will eventually hang up. Lastly, another challenge is that even once I hang up the posters it is not guaranteed that people will read the poster let alone listen to or care about what the poster says
I plan on kicking off Earth month by focusing on my own food waste and the food waste of those close to me. In order to work on the problem whole heartedly, I need to make sure that I am not being a hypocrite.
I plan to design posters on food waste in America. Most of the difficulty will come from finding facts that put the problem in perspective for college students. I will use trusted sites that provide accurate information on the subjects.
I plan to hang up the previously designed posters on all floors of Morrill Tower. The most difficult aspect this week will be finding out who I need to ask in order to be able to hang up the posters. The posters will be hung by the elevators on each floor so that people can look at them when they are waiting for the elevator.
I plan to find a nonprofit to volunteer for. The challenge of this will be transportation to the volunteer location and time. Another challenge with this will be choosing which nonprofit in Columbus to volunteer for.
Both of the in-class speakers made me realize just how important volunteers are to the non-profits world. Without the unpaid manpower of volunteers, the non-profits would not be able to do the work they do. Also, the speakers made me realize that sometimes you just have to go and ask non-profits if there are any ways to help them or to work for them. Moving forward, I need to consider how I am going to get people to care enough about food waste to volunteer their time and effort to decreasing it. My biggest takeaway from the class was that if there are people who care about your issue than it is easier to get people involved. This means that I will have to find a way get people to understand the complex issue of food waste and to get those people to care enough to do something about it. Also, I learned that separate issues can impact your issue even if they are not commonly thought of as connected. That is why non-profits and companies need to stick together and help each other to improve the overall quality of the community and the world.
I would like to educate people on the facts behind food waste in America and how food can be used to feed America instead of being wasted. I also would like to educate people on what each label on food really means. For example, best by date does not mean that once it passes that date it is spoiled. I also want to make people aware that there are nonprofits that you can volunteer with in order to help decrease food waste.
Nonprofits are currently working to collect food that would go to waste and then give that food to people who would go hungry without it. These nonprofits work both on the college level and the local level. The organizations work to tackle both the problem of food waste and of hunger. One of the popular nonprofits is a college based program that has a chapter that opened here in November 2016. The Ohio State chapter of Food Recovery Network is small right now. Students could contact the contact person for their local chapter. The chapter for Ohio State works with another nonprofit, the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, to tackle the hunger side of the problem. This is the only nonprofit locally that tackles the issue of food waste in Columbus.
The most important thing to consider when looking at food waste through the nonprofit lens is to remember that fixing the problem of food waste cannot be accomplished without help from other nonprofits that work on fixing the problem of hunger.
The nonprofits that are tackling food waste are doing work on three levels of the model. On the personally responsible citizen level, the nonprofits are donating the food that is about to expire to other nonprofits that redistribute the food to the hungry. On the participatory citizen level, the nonprofits offer a place that people and companies can donate their about to expire food. On the social-justice citizen level, the nonprofits offer a fix to the food waste problem by allowing people to have a place to give their food to instead of just throwing it out. The food that people throw out accounts for a good amount of the food waste that America produces. Nonprofits have not been able to tackle the food waste that is produced from people not finishing their meals at restaurants.
I watched the TEDx Talk video, “A recipe for cutting food waste” by Peter Lehner. Peter used to climb mountains and was always conscious of using the last drop of every food item that he came in contact with. This changed when he stopped climbing mountains. Peter shared that 40 percent of food grown in America is not eaten. More energy efficient technology came about because of ordinary people pushing the government to design better programs to encourage businesses to create better products. This can be translated in how to solve the food waste crisis. Peter suggests that food produced that is not up to the visual standards of the customer be sold at discount prices to organizations that use it to create products. Another solution is to standardize the labeling on the food packaging. Companies can also donate their unused food to nonprofits instead of wasting it. Another way to handle food waste is to composite it instead of sending it to landfills. Peter also shared some tips on how consumers can cut down on their individual food waste. Peter also urged that food waste should be measured so that it can be tracked and decreased over time. Overall, Peter shared a lot of good tips on tackling the complex issue that is food waste.
The speakers made me think about the difficulty of community organizing. Both of the speakers seemed passionate about their topics and because of that, they personally did not find it hard to get others to care about their issues. Making flyers like Greg Pace did might be a good option for spreading the information about food waste in America that might lead to getting people’s attention. Showing people how much food is wasted and how not wasting food can be beneficial is similar to Jessica Mathews’ approach. My biggest takeaway from their talks was that anyone who is passionate about an issue can become a community organizer. They both were just average citizens that saw a problem and found a solution to fix that problem.
After the discussion and my initial thoughts, I plan on hanging flyers in order to get people to recognize that food waste in America is a problem. Opportunistic places to post these flyers include anywhere that a large amount of people will read them, for example outside of the elevators in Morrill. When people wait for the elevators they can read the flyer. Once people are actually aware of the issue of food waste in America it will help to decrease food waste. Then people can come together to work towards spreading the awareness of food waste to other areas of Columbus. Once people are aware how big the issue is, I believe that there will be more studies done on the topic and we will see a decrease in the amount of food waste produced per year.
In order to decrease the amount of food waste, the community must be organized in order for the task to be successful. There are many different community organizers directly handling the topic of food waste. None of these community organizers, however, are located in Ohio. The majority of the community organizers are located on the East and West coasts or in Europe. The lack of community organizers tackling food waste in Ohio leaves an opening for new community organizers to tackle the issue in our community. The challenge of participating in community organizing is getting people to participate and care about food waste. A lot of people in America do not understand how big the problem of food waste is. It is important to remember that people care about things that directly impact them. In order to do this, food waste has to be connected to issues such as its environmental impact and its overall impact on the world’s food crisis.
There is work being done on all three levels of the Justice-Oriented Citizen Model. The personally responsible citizen does their best to not waste food or let food spoil and go to waste. A participatory citizen puts up signs and talks to others around them to decrease their food waste. A social-justice oriented citizen explores the reasons behind food waste. The current cultural structure of America is one of waste and excess. The social-justice oriented citizen would work to educate the people on the impact of culture on food waste. They would also explain food waste in a way that is important to the people in order to rally them.
The Tedx Talk I watched was titled “Community organizing, say whaattt??” by Ray Friedlander. Ray is a community organizer for an environmental company in a small community in Alaska. In her Tedx Talk, Ray talked about how community organizing is a practice that brings together people in the community for a common goal. The people that are working towards that goal, the more power that group has. Ray used the example of restoring an old college building, that housed the Tedx Talk, to a working, successful building. Before the community came together, the building was old and falling apart. The community in Sitka worked together to make the building usable again. Ray also talked about how her own background and people in her life changed her from a shy girl to a community organizer and environmentalist. Ray encourages everyone to become community organizers or involved within their community. Ray says that if you want to change something you can work on it and get others to join you on the things you want to change. Rays talk overall was inspirational. Her personal experience with community organizing shows that anyone can change the way things are if they have enough commitment and put enough hard work towards the goal. Though the Tedx Talk did not directly cover food waste it did talk about environmental issues, impacting Alaska and food waste in its core is an environmental problem.