Posts by Erica
- Justin Fehntrich: The South Shore Surfer and Steward of the Seas on November 30th, 2013
Hey Stony Brook!
So, it’s the last day of the month: you know what that means…
Time for another Stony Brook Sustainability Studies Program Student of the Month Feature: November Edition!
This month, it is my pleasure to introduce you to a classmate of mine, one with a passion for preserving the local environment, namely, the myriad of marine ecosystems that make Long Island the diverse and unique place that it is…
I first met Justin last year, in Dr. Heidi Hutner‘s SBC 325: Environmental Writing and the Media course. My first impressions? By the skateboard propped up against his desk and his copious use of “rad” and “dude” and similar words which he peppered throughout his sentences, I immediately labeled him:
But, after befriending Justin The Friendly Surfer and reading/listening to his thoughts on the environment and its problems and viewing his breathtaking photography (always always focused on oceans, beaches, wildlife, or surfing) I knew there was more–Justin is truly a Steward of the Seas!
Justin grew up in Bayshore and South Brentwood right here on the Good Old Island, just about a stone’s throw from the Robert Moses State Park and the mystical Fire Island National Seashore. From a young age his surroundings made a big impact on his values in life, and Justin reports harboring a lifelong love of the shore and sea, “spending [his] summer days building sandcastles and learning how to swim in the bay and ocean.”
Later, Justin got into skateboarding, which eventually led to surfing. Surfing was Justin’s way of escaping–if only momentarily–the frantic and fast-paced “New York State of Mind” kind of life, as Justin puts it. Surfing connected Justin to nature and soon it became his de-facto way of life:
“Surfing sort of has this way of creeping into your life where soon everything you do revolves around whether or not there are waves. You start to wake up at the crack of dawn and drive to your favorite beach to see if you can surf before class or work, you avoid making plans on Saturday mornings in the event the waves will be good, and soon you save up some money to buy winter surfing gear because the thought of actually not surfing for 6 months sounds more ridiculous than paddling out in 40 degree water and 32 degree air, while it’s snowing, completely covered in head to toe in 5mm of neoprene.”
Justin had finished school for a few years and had been yearning to return to the classroom, but wasn’t sure what he wanted to study. Sitting on his board pondering such a notion during a frigid January surf session a few years ago at Lido Beach, something funny happened: a young harbor seal surfaced close by and began barking and diving and swimming gleefully. A few weeks later, Justin saw more of these slick gray spotted creatures while surfing at another Long Island beach. Justin was left feeling inspired by the numerous seal encounters…he had never before, in his lifetime of beach-going and years of surfing, “come face-to-face with a wild seal.”
Why now? Justin wondered. He played out all of the possible reasons why he had never before seen the seals but then had suddenly seen so many in the past month: Improved water quality? New marine protection legislation? Justin was sure “that there had to be something happening here, that in [his] opinion was having a positive effect on local marine life.” Whatever was happening with the seals and the sea, Justin felt a calling to play a part in the restoration and conservation of Long Island’s marine habitats. That’s when he decided to come to Stony Brook to major in Coastal Environmental Studies.
Last spring, Justin worked collaboratively on a film and public education project with a few other students (Isabella Bartoloni, Bryan Flynn, and Troy Petrignani). The group created–among other works–a powerful documentary detailing the causes, ongoing effects, and implications of Hurricane Sandy: a nine-minute-plus feature dubbed “Islands Made of Sand.” Justin and his group mates debuted their findings at Earthstock 2013. This coming spring, Justin will flex his filmmaker talent, extending his advice to others and sharpening his own skills as a TA for Dr. Huter’s Spring 2014 SBC 325 course (of which fellow Sustainability Studies Program students Chelsea Moccio and I will also serve as TAs!). This year, the course will feature environmental filmmaking, and students will work with two-time Emmy Award winning filmmaker Dave Chameides aka “Sustainable Dave” aka the man who kept a year’s worth of garbage in his basement (but that’s a whole ‘nother story).
Besides surfing and filmmaking, Justin also connects to nature through photography, something which he admits wasn’t something he quite intended to become involved in. As he says, “I sort of just like taking pictures.” Fancy equipment? No…he uses his iPhone! Hard to believe once you take a look at some of his incredible work.
Justin’s favorite subjects to photograph are landscapes, subjects which he feels perfectly preserve the place and time that he experienced outside of the camera. To him, landscapes are spiritual, and he believes that the natural beauty of the outdoors is essential for a person’s mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. His mission?
“Maybe if I can take a picture of a really gorgeous sunset, or a picturesque beach with not a person in sight, I can influence somebody else to become more environmentally conscious. These days there is a lot at risk with rising populations and energy demands. We have our work cut out for us as Sustainability Studies Program students here at Stony Brook. I’d rather live in a world with blue skies, beautiful oceans and diverse wildlife, as opposed to a world with smoggy air, toxic brown sludge, and garbage laden oceans complete with dead animals covered in oil. The Earth has so much beauty for us to just sit back and enjoy. As my mother always said: “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Couldn’t have put it better myself.
Justin, you have earned #supergreenstatus and more! Keep up the amazing work.
peace. love. run.
- Kat Furey: The Food Fighter on November 24th, 2013
Hey Stony Brook!
In my quest to track down and find the most awesome of all the awesome Stony Brook Sustainability Studies Program alums, students, and professors to interview, this week I bring to you a more nontraditional student-now-graduate who is working hard to help transform the way in which people choose, obtain, and eat food.
I bring you…
Kathleen (Kat) Furey!
On one recent evening (6:30pm California time, 9:30 E.S.T.), I spoke with Kat on the phone at length…our conversation was about an hour and a half…and we could have kept going for hours more! We discussed GMOs and their implications on human and environmental health, as well as Kat’s past and future goals. Highlights from my initial interview with Ms. Furey follow:
Erica Cirino: Good evening! Alright, so standard question here: Major? Minor?
Kat Furey: I didn’t have a minor in the Sustainability Studies Program, but my major was Environmental Humanities, with a concentration in food sovereignty, studies, and policy.
EC: Though many of our readers may have not met you, you are a non-traditional student, am I correct?
KF: That’s right; I’m a baby-boomer! I had been long enjoying a fun and successful career in the entertainment industry…but the twists and turns of life led me from California to Long Island, specifically, Southampton. I heard incredible things about Stony Brook Southampton, so I decided to follow my heart to help people and the planet…I enrolled, with the encouragement of friends and loved ones…and I got in!
EC: Great! We do have many students like yourself currently attending classes at the University. What inspired you to enroll in the Sustainability Studies Program in particular?
KF: During my first semester at Stony Brook Southampton, I was a little shy, I wasn’t used to taking classes at a University. But, I made friends quickly, and became so excited by the important topics we were learning about: fracking (which I had never heard of before), urban development, coal, nuclear power, food… I heard about the Environmental Humanities major from former Stony Brook Professor Heather Dune Macadam. It was truly a perfect fit for me. When the Southampton Campus closed, I came to West Campus for two more years to finish my degree.
EC: We all have to eat, but what made food so important to you?
KF: As a child, I grew up in Ohio in farm country: you would go to one farmer for cheese and milk, another for your grains, another for fruit, another for vegetables, another for meat…I would literally walk outside and watch the farmers plough, then seed, then tend to and harvest their fields. My mother would cook such healthy, balanced meals with wholesome ingredients… The foods that most Americans eat today are VERY different from those that I was exposed to in my youth. These foods are literally making people sick! And they are horrible for the environment.
EC: I know the implications of that first-hand, as one who suffers from adult-onset food allergies! And the culprit; probably GMOs. You have certainly accomplished a lot in the area of GMOs since you graduated in 2012. Could you give us a description of where you are now? And where do you hope to be?
KF: Certainly. Just a few hours ago, in fact, I was appointed to the position of Education and Media Director of the Label GMOs California Grassroots (the National Labeling Coalition)! In addition, I serve as the Education and Media Director of GMO Free NY. Besides just GMOs, I am working as Senior Media Producer at Augustwolf Productions, a California-based media production group, helping head up their “Energize Schools” statewide [California] campaign. You can even see a promo film clip about the campaign, in which I am featured. It’s all very exciting! My mission in life is to make the world a cleaner, healthier, and happier place for generations to come.
EC: Congrats on the new job! We are so proud of your accomplishments here at Stony Brook! If you have anything to say to students now enrolled in the Sustainability Studies Program, and Stony Brook students more generally, what would you tell them?
KF: Where do I begin? Well, first off, communicate with your professors: they are such a caring, creative, and intelligent bunch! Think of your professors as your allies; they can help lead you to where you want to be. For instance, when I was enrolled in the program, I did an independent study with Dr. Quigley in my third year for two semesters with Plate to Politics…I also got to do research for Jeff Smith’s film “Genetic Roulette: The Gamble of Our Lives” (my name’s in the credits!). Also, contact the companies and people you want to work with; it will pay off if you are persistent enough.
EC: I am loving your energy! Thank you for the fantastic discussion! Any last words of advice?
KF: Yeah. Go for what you really freaking want…and you can get it!
Kathleen Furey is currently Director of Education and Media for Label GMOs California Grassroots Coalition and GMO Free NY. She also works as Senior Media Producer at Augustwolf Productions.
Kat, I would say you have earned #supergreenstatus. Way to represent your fellow Seawolves!
peace. love. run.
- Nia Padilla: Hometown Hero (An Interview) on November 17th, 2013
Hey Stony Brook!
Ever wonder where you’ll end up after graduation?
Environmental Humanities major Nia Padilla found herself wondering the same thing as she donned her RED cap and gown during graduation this past May.
Nia, always one to extend a hand to others (here at Stony Brook, as well as abroad…she helped to build clean water infrastructure for needy people living in Honduras this past winter!), left Stony Brook with the desire to help others, and the planet.
Just six months following graduation, Ms. Padilla has already accomplished so much! Recently, I conducted an interview with this superstar Stony Brook Sustainability Studies Program alum.
Erica Cirino: I spy…you eating with bamboo utensils…you must be involved in the Sustainability Studies Program here at Stony Brook! All jokes aside, when and why were you inspired to join the program?
Nia Padilla: I have always loved the environment, especially the ocean and marine mammals. I started college at Stony Brook Southampton where I was originally a Marine Vertebrae Biology major, but soon I switched to the Environmental Humanities program. I knew that I wanted a career that had a positive impact on others, something that I would look forward to everyday and loved wholeheartedly. That’s how I felt about the Sustainability Studies Program and I’m looking forward to finding that in a career.
EC: Freezing your toes off and screaming your lungs out at the 2013 Forward on Climate Rally in DC, breaking a sweat and getting some blisters building clean water infrastructure in Honduras, working on a Global Water Brigades project, relaxing on a tranquil boat trip on the Hudson aboard the Clearwater sloop…what would you consider as your “most memorable moment” here as a student in the Sustainability Studies Program?
NP: My most memorable moment was going to the Omega Institute with my fellow classmates and Dr. Heidi Hutner. We went to a Design By Nature conference and had a really wonderful weekend there. I can’t wait to go back!
EC: Sounds awesome! Have you worked on any interesting projects while enrolled in the program here?
NP: I’ve had a lot of eye-opening assignments and projects but my favorite would have to be the Aesthetic Inventory visual mimicry project I had in Dr. Marc Fasanella‘s EHM 201: Eco-Aesthetics in Art class. It was incredibly tedious at times but I was really happy and proud with how it turned out. It’s now hanging in the halls of the Sustainability Studies department!EC: I saw your Aesthetic Inventory project; you really did an amazing job on it. Yes, tedious would be a good word to describe that project…I am taking Dr. Fasanella’s Eco-Aesthetics course this fall, and I have just completed the assignment. But, like you said, it is a great project…we learned so much! So, now we know your favorite project…what was your favorite class?
NP: I can’t pick just one! Two of my favorite classes would have to be Dr. Heidi Hutner’s SBC 325: Environmental Literature and the Media class and WST102: Introduction to Women’s Studies class I took with Professor Ula Klein. In Heidi’s class, I had never read so many books in such a short amount of time; and it was challenging, but I enjoyed every single one. We also went on really amazing trips and met incredible people. The connections I made between that class and my women’s studies courses were astonishing. So many connections between the oppression of women and how we devastate the environment. I only wish that I could have taken more classes. I never knew how easy work could be when you really loved the material. Highly recommend dabbling in both!
EC: Agreed! Both topics are so incredibly interesting. But, now that you’re done with school, here’s the big question: where are you now?
NP: Right now I am finishing up working with the Student Conservation Association (SCA) for the season doing Hurricane Sandy recovery work in Staten Island, my hometown. I also work as a server at a local restaurant on Staten Island.
EC: Working in your hometown! That’s great. I remember when we were both in Dr. Jim Quigley‘s SBC 308 Environmental Politics class last fall learning about the SCA and their job opportunities available to students. And working at a restaurant? Busy lady! So cool to see things working for you. Do you have any other plans for the future.
NP: I don’t really know where I hope to be. I just hope that I’ll be doing something in the areas of human rights, sustainability, and the empowerment of women. If I can find something that encompasses all of these things, I’d be very happy.
Way to go, Nia. #supergreenstatus achieved.
See where the Stony Brook University Sustainability Studies Program can take YOU.
peace. love. run.
- Fighting Our Environmental Battles: Words and Action! on November 9th, 2013
Hey Stony Brook!
This past Thursday, the Stony Brook Sustainability Studies Program in conjunction with the Humanities Institute held their latest lecture in the series of incredible talks scheduled for this fall…Dr. Sandra Steingraber‘s discussion of the environmental and health implications of fracking, which she dubbed: “Chemical Exposure and Human Health.” Steingraber‘s talk proved to be one of the most highly anticipated and highly regarded events of the entire lecture series, which features a variety of esteemed environmental speakers.
By the time I had arrived at a quarter after 4pm, Humanities 1006 was PACKED! Eager to hear from Dr. Steingraber, I hurriedly located a desk, flipped open my MacBook, and exchanged a few waves and “hellos” to friends who happened to be seated in my vicinity. Then, Dr. Steingraber walked in; the crowd (and I) hushed.
Introduced by Dr. Heidi Hutner; the Director of Environmental Humanities and Sustainability Studies here at SBU, as “The Rachel Carson of Today,” Steingraber launched into her talk with the disclaimer that she does not use PowerPoint slides; citing the reason that they do not facilitate open “discussion” between her and her audience. Instead of speaking at us, Dr. Steingraber included us in a powerful, dynamic conversation about environmental awareness, meaningful action, and the power of words.
Steingraber, an acclaimed environmental author and ecologist, (as well as, I learned, mother, runner, activist, and one-time jailbird) used her incredible mental acuity, environmental experience, and prowess with words to provide the audience with detailed, yet easily digested descriptions of the dangers of hydraulic fracturing and other methods used to extract the “unholy trinity” of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas) from beneath the earth.
Did you know, for instance, that approximately 4,000 New Yorkers die each year from the extraction, transpiration, and/or combustion of fossil fuels? That methane–a greenhouse gas which is a principle component of natural gas (the stuff companies want to frack) as well as coal, solid waste, farm manure, rice farms, wastewater, and biofuel consumption, amongst other sources–has 34 times the climate-warming effects than carbon dioxide (another by-product of fossil fuel use; the stuff that comes out of many smokestacks and tailpipes) over a decade? That 30% of the natural gas extracted from the earth is NOT used as fuel, but to make plastic “stuff”: your water bottle, the siding in your car, fleece jackets, synthetic wood, your iPhone case… I could barely type fast enough; Dr. Steingraber was coming at us fast and furious with many such alarming environmental facts.
But, Dr. Steingraber said, there is a problem: Well-informed Futility Syndrome, a phenomenon first observed by a German psychologist during the Vietnam War. The principle is simple: The more you know about a problem (or problems) in which you feel as though you have no agency over, the more likely you are to ignore the problem(s). Instead of taking action, you feel rage, guilt, and grief. Alas, there is hope! Dr. Steingraber revealed a solution to overcoming these ill feelings which cause inaction: Instead of a trickle of information about environmental issues, people need to be INUNDATED. They need to feel obliged to help. The problems our earth is facing are truly that enormous.
Dr. Steingraber strives to accomplish this task with words. Being an ecologist, but also a humanist, Dr. Steingraber writes (and speaks) in a way that commands attention, dispenses big chunks of pertinent information, yet is easily understandable–and is enjoyable to read (or listen to/engage with). She urged us–students, in particular–to use words and action to spread the messages of our earth’s most prescient environmental problems to others. Last year, she created a website called www.30daysoffrackingregs.com , which was used by thousands to write 204,000 letters protesting the inadequate regulations on fracking proposed by the New York State Department of Environmental Regulation (DEC). The 204,000 individual letters were hand-delivered (on paper!) to the NYS DEC office last January by Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, Steingraber, and others. Thousands came to the office in protest of fracking! The mass of letters successfully delayed the DEC in passing any ruling on the dangerous and dirty practice!
Currently, Dr. Steingraber is almost exclusively working on fighting fracking from her home upstate in the Finger Lakes. She attends rallies, writes for major environmental publications such as Orion Magazine, and makes public appearances to spread the word about the power of words. She is also a caring mother to her son, Elijah, and daughter, Faith; working to ensure that their future is toxin-free. Diagnosed with cancer at a young age, Dr. Steingraber successfully battled her illness, which only makes her more determined to make the world a cleaner, healthier place to live. As Steingraber put it, “Cancer is not a gift; it is a massive waste of time,” that we MUST stop the deadly flow of chemicals into the environment so that our health is preserved and so that we as humans may thrive. She is the author of myriad books written about the implications of toxins and their effects on human health, focusing especially on cancer-causing chemicals, known as carcinogens. Dr. Steingraber is also an avid runner, citing her afternoon jaunts as a peaceful time of day in which she “gets some of her best ideas.”
What can you do? Write! Currently, there is a proposed Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) import/export station and pipeline, which is to be built about 15 miles from the South Shore of Long Island: Port Ambrose. Given the dangers surrounding LNG (including one accident in which a giant explosion at a Staten Island facility killed 40 workers), and the fact that there is also a safer, cleaner wind farm proposed for the same location, we must take action! Like the regulations she detailed on fracking on www.30daysoffrackingregs.com , Dr. Steingraber makes the information surrounding the LNG regulations easy to understand, alongside an accessible and clear online form in which you may compose and send your comments!
What else can you do? Unite! Join the anti-fracking rally planned for January 8, 2014! Governor Cuomo will be delivering his annual State of the State Address in Albany at one PM. Stay tuned to the Stony Brook University Sustainability Studies Blog, Facebook, and Twitter pages, as upcoming posts will provide more information on buses leaving Long Island/NYC and going to Albany! As Dr. Steingraber explained, there is strength in numbers. we must take action if we are to stop the “toxic trespass” of harmful chemicals from fossil fuels and industry into our environment and our bodies!
What Dr. Steingraber does is incredible; I’ve always loved writing, but never had I heard about the power of words as being so remarkable. It is clear that, although our planet is up against a lot, together WE can make a difference.
All for now. Remember to visit Dr. Steingraber’s website and make your public comment heard!
peace. love. run.
- Cory Tiger: Helping People, Helping the Planet on October 29th, 2013
Hey Stony Brook!
Last month, I chose to highlight one influential Sustainability Studies Program student; you may remember him: Jayme Liardi: The Vegan Man with a Plan. Well, as October comes to a close, I’d like to bring attention to yet another outstanding student enrolled in Stony Brook University’s Sustainability Studies Program…and her name is Cory Tiger!
Cory grew up in a small artisan town upstate called Warwick (which is a beautiful place to visit this time of year, may I add!). On her grandparents’ farm, Cory found her true love of nature, “introduced to horses before [she] could stand,” forging “a trust beyond human relations” with the majestic creatures. This was the moment which Cory credits for sparking her passion for studying human-nature interaction.
Growing up, Cory’s special way with horses flourished, riding during high school, participating in her college equestrian team, and also while exploring the red rock country in Wyoming on horseback. In Wyoming, Cory was amazed by the scenery so different from that which she saw throughout much of New York, especially New York City; instead of cement and paved roads, she saw endless swaths of preserved parkland and sweeping trails. In Cory’s mind, the contrast between the two places: Wyoming and New York, solidified her perceived humanitarian imperative of preserving the natural world.
As an undergraduate here at Stony Brook, Cory participated in the study abroad program at the Turkana Basin Institute in Kenya. There, she was shocked to find a lack of environmental regulation due to problems with the education system and corrupt government leaders. Cory saw that harmful pesticides like DDT were being used by citizens to prevent insects from eating their crops. However, due to the lack of education and poor government practices, many Kenyan farmers were unaware of the dangers that these chemicals posed to their health.
Double-majoring in Anthropology and Environmental Humanities, today Cory works to spread her growing knowledge about the human-nature connection and interactions through “organization and action.” This October, Cory attended the National Power Shift Convention in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with two other Stony Brook students. At the convention, Cory joined thousands of other envrionmentally-concerned young people to attend workshops, talks, and team-building activities, teaching our generation how to organize and take action against environmental and humanitarian injustice. As Cory says, “It’s important for the younger generation to know that we serve a purpose, and we can all be the change we not only want to see in the world but also need to see in the world.”
Go, Cory! Your determination and positive attitude have been deemed exemplary in the quest for environmental justice, peace, and sustainability here at Stony Brook University. #supergreenstatus, in our book.
Who will be next month’s Sustainability Studies Program “Student of the Month”? Guess you will have to wait and see!
peace. love. run.
PS. We are now on Twitter! Follow us @SustainableSBU
And, if you haven’t already, LIKE us on Facebook!
- Digging for Answers on October 12th, 2013
Hey Stony Brook!
Have you ever heard of “earthworm ecotoxicology?”
Earthworms are one species of animal greatly affected by the “stuff” put onto/into the Earth…since they live in “earth” itself!
Stony Brook University Sustainability Studies Program (and other interested students) have the awesome opportunity to take part in an ongoing hands-on research project headed by Dr. Sharon Pochron.
The project entails taking a look at the effects of potential toxins on the health and survival of earthworms, and conducting experiments to find the answers to a variety of questions, including:
- -Does acid rain kill earthworms?
- -Does Roundup cause earthworms to lose weight?
- -Does fertilizer cause infertility in earthworms?
Dr. Pochron takes students on who would like to earn one to three research credits, or just serve as project volunteers. Students have the opportunity to select, research, and present their experiment to the public during Earthstock and to URECA.
In addition, students could potentially get their work published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal!
Can you dig it?
peace. love. run.
- Trashed…What One Man Learned from Not Throwing Away Anything for an Entire Year on October 11th, 2013
Hey Stony Brook!
First off, in case you haven’t already heard, the Sustainability Studies Program here at Stony Brook (in conjunction with the Humanities Institute) is presenting a plethora of premier programs on sustainability and the environment! These fantastic talks are open and free to all SBU students and staff, lasting about an hour or two in duration. They are WELL worth your time; you will learn so much and meet some of the most highly regarded environmental activists and academics in the nation! Click here to see the full schedule.
But there is one speaker I’d like to feature because what he has done is simply…well, crazy!
So here’s the story: Dave Chameides came to Stony Brook University on Wednesday, October 2 to give a talk titled: “Chasing Sustainability: Visualizing Change“. In his talk he informed his audience that 11 years ago, he had been consuming and throwing out material goods in much of the same way that most people do; you know, “He drove to the market, recycled when he could, didn’t litter too much, and generally tried to be a good guy.” Dave, a two-time Emmy Award winning cameraman and DGA director for shows like the ER, Third Watch, and Studio 60 was living a pretty good life. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it?
Well, things changed for Dave when his wife became pregnant with the couple’s first child. Dave was suddenly struck with the realization that, in Dave’s words: “I suddenly had to step it up.” He incrementally took steps to reduce his impact on the planet: buying a Prius (later upgrading to a veggie-oil powered vehicle), installing solar panels on his home, and reducing his use of plastic bags. But to him, this was not enough. He wanted to know, “How much trash am I really throwing away?”
So, on January 1, 2008, Chameides aka “Sustainable Dave” stopped taking out the trash and recycling for an entire year! He started by keeping all the waste in his basement, and keeping a blog detailing the contents of the trash, called 365 Days of Trash.
So what did Dave learn?
- That we–even the most seemingly eco-conscious of us–throw out A LOT of stuff! In all, he and his family totaled 28.5 pounds of trash in a year.
- That recycling is great, but never using something in the first place is even better!
You can actually visit Dave’s Trash at The Museum of Trash in Hartford, Connecticut, where it (hopefully) inspires others to be more conscious about the way they consume and trash their garbage.
Today, Dave speaks and updates his 365 Days of Trash blog with news, tips, and his thoughts on trash.
Three EASY ways to reduce the amount of trash YOU throw away RIGHT NOW:
1. Use reusables! From water bottles, to shopping bags, to batteries, and more, reusable is the way to go! Think about all the plastic bottles and bags you’ll be saving from landfills or recycling bins! When it comes to clothing, try to buy high quality pieces made from natural fibers that are durable and will last you a long time.
2. Only buy/make as much as you will eat! Food waste is a HUGE problem… If your eyes are bigger than your stomach, start retraining your brain to think, how much am I really going to eat? If you have leftovers after eating or cooking a meal, save ‘em for the next day, don’t throw them out (also, leftovers can be an awesome and sustainable next-day lunch, so long as they are packed in reusable containers!). Aside from only buying and cooking as much food as you know you can eat, start a compost pile or bin (if possible) in your yard!
3. Only press “PRINT” if you know you need it: Ok, so how many times have you been at a SINC site and the printer somehow went whacky and spit out like 20 sheets of nothing that you did not need? Before you can hurriedly scramble and hit the “CANCEL” button, there they are. Waste. And where do all those messed-up printed pages go? The gi-normous recycling bins that line the perimeter of every SINC site! Be sure to double-check print settings and the document you are printing before clicking “OK“!
Check Dave’s 365 Days of Trash blog for more and constantly updated information pertaining to waste.
Thanks, Dave, for teaching us so much about trash!
And with that, as he likes to say, “no one can do everything but everyone can do something.”
peace. love. run.
If you’d like to be involved in helping change the future, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Go Take a Hike! on September 28th, 2013
Hey Stony Brook!
Fall is the perfect time of year to get outside! Cooler temperatures make running, hiking, and biking in the great outdoors all the more enjoyable. And who doesn’t love watching the leaves change from green to yellow to orange to red to brown? The seasonal changes in nature are one of the joys of living on Long Island.
SO, what are you waiting for?! Strap on your sneakers, hiking boots, or biking shoes, and get out there!
3 Sweet Hiking Spots Near Stony Brook University:
- Ashley Schiff Preserve, Stony Brook: Conveniently located right here on campus, the Ashley Schiff Preserve is a rich wooded area wedged between Roth Quad and the Marine Science Research Center near South Campus. Named in memory of Dr. Ashley Schiff, a self-taught naturalist and an Associate Professor of Political Science here at SBU, you will find a rich variety of plants and animals to study and admire. Gaze up at magnificent White Oaks, Red Maples, and Sassafras Trees, and you may also see some Red-tailed Hawks soaring overhead. Consider visiting the Preserve during your next break to clear your head and refresh your spirit. Entrance is free! Learn more here: http://pbisotopes.ess.sunysb.edu/a-schiff/
- Avalon Park and Preserve, Stony Brook: Visiting Avalon Park and Preserve is a bit like stepping into a fairy-tale…and it’s only minutes from SBU! An eight-acre area which was once an abandoned residential site has been transformed into a series of woodland gardens and trails. Once choked with invasive shrubs and vines, the park is now rich in plants native to Long Island, with thousands of native trees, shrubs, and grasses planted. Amongst the native flora, you will find intriguing art pieces, like sculptures, bridges, and sitting areas made from downed logs. There is no entrance fee to get into this wonderful park! Check out how to get there and more about the park here: http://www.avalonparkandpreserve.org/
- Alfred E. Smith/Sunken Meadow State Park, Smithtown: A bit further from campus, but definitely worth checking out is the vast and diverse Sunken Meadow State Park. Complete with beaches, a boardwalk, mountain biking/hiking/running trails, this park has it all! There is a $10.00 parking fee, though, but buying an Empire Passport will save you some dough if you plan on coming here (or to any other NYS park) often. BUT if you come before 8AM, entrance is free! Check out more here: http://www.nysparks.com/parks/37/
Have fun and stay safe on your adventures
peace. love. run.
- Sustainability Studies Spotlight: Dr. H.J. Quigley! on September 18th, 2013
Hey Stony Brook!
Whether you have spent just one (Freshman status) or more than 10 (Super-Senior) semesters here at Stony Brook, I am sure there is at least one professor that stands out in your mind as “THE BEST.” Maybe they were fair graders (phew!), offered lots of extra credit (yes!), or were just plain hilarious (because we all know that boring lectures…well, suck).
Luckily there is a plethora of amazing professors here at ‘the Brook’! Even more luckily, I have had the opportunity to take classes with quite a few of them, across a wide swath of different departments, from Africana Studies to Art History. Among my list of “THE BEST” is an even smaller cohort of academic intelligentsia: a select few professors who I would consider to be “the cream of the crop,” if you will…
Dr. H.J. Quigley is one of those once-in-a-lifetime professors!
Whether or not you are involved in the Sustainability Studies Program, I’d like to introduce you Dr. Quigley. As director of the Environmental Design, Policy, and Planning (EDP) program here at Stony Brook, Dr. Quigley works to prime his students in environmental problem solving and policy so that they can try to improve the sustainability of the built environment.
In which ways are resources being wasted here on campus? Have you ever seen a leaky faucet in a bathroom, a window cracked open during the winter (as the central heat pumps out at full blast), or a commuter bus carrying only two or three students? Dr. Quigley’s EDP students (enrolled in EDP 404) are currently conducting a campus-wide investigation into the sustainability of the built environment here at Stony Brook University.
At the end of the semester, Dr. Quigley’s students will produce a comprehensive report and submit it to the University’s Office of Sustainability. The findings of the EDP students will hopefully influence our school to make smarter, more sustainable choices. After college, Dr. Quigley hopes that EDP graduates will go on to build “livable, walk-able communities that attract citizens, bringing people together rather than keeping them isolated and apart.”
Dr. Quigley also teaches Introduction to Sustainability Studies (SBC 111), a required course for many students majoring and/or minoring in one of the various Sustainability Studies Programs. Personally, I have taken Dr. Quigley’s American Environmental Politics (SBC 308) course, which I totally loved! Dr. Quigley proved to be one of the most intelligent, passionate, and dedicated professors I have ever known.
You will learn A LOT from Dr. Quigley: about the environment, about life, and about the place where life and the environment intersect. As Dr. Quigley tells his students, it is critical that the built environment (buildings, parks, walkways, etc) is created in a way that is as natural and sustainable as possible: for public health, environmental preservation, resource conservation, and providing people with a sense of community. Dr. Quigley will not only show you the facts; he will show you WHY you should care, WHAT you can do to change the world, and COMPEL you to act! It’s professors like Dr. Quigley who make college worth the time and effort; he challenges students to think BIG and apply newfound knowledge to make a DIFFERENCE in the “real world!”
I highly recommend Dr. Quigley! His American Environmental Politics course counts as an upper-division DEC K, so even if you are not involved in a Sustainability Studies or SoMAS program, this course may still bring you one step closer to graduation.
And hey, maybe you’ll decide that EDP or a Sustainability Studies Program major and/or minor is for YOU!
peace. love. run.
- Jayme Liardi: The Vegan Man with a Plan on September 1st, 2013
Hey Stony Brook!
As a student involved in the Sustainability Studies Program here at Stony Brook, I’d like to introduce you to a classmate and friend of mine who shows his kindness to the earth in many ways, but most notably, through the way he eats…
You have probably seen him around; a tall, athletic fellow with a ruff of sandy-colored hair who seems to be perpetually wearing a black tee-shirt emblazoned with the words: “VEGAN. Compassion. Nonviolence. For the People. For the Planet. For the Animals.” (Does he EVER wash that thing?! Just kidding!). Between sips of gigantic homemade raw fruit smoothies or bites of banana (he eats more bananas in a day than most people eat in 3 weeks!) this energetic and healthy guy can be found slack-lining, biking, exploring nature, or, telling people to “Eat more BANANAS!” (He is notorious for eating more than a dozen a day!). Committed to living a sustainable and healthy life as a vegan, Jayme Liardi is one Stony Brook Sustainability Studies Program student that I’d like to highlight and commend for his thoughtful lifestyle choices.
An honors graduate of Smithtown High School East in 2010, Jayme is currently a senior here at Stony Brook, majoring in Environmental Humanities. About three years ago, Jayme adopted a high-carbohydrate, low fat vegan diet, eliminating all animal products (meat, dairy, fish, eggs, and honey) after discovering veganism and then reading “all there is to know about nutrition.” He decided that a high-carb, low-fat, low-protein approach was key to living a long, energetic, and healthy life. Since, Jayme reports to have seen “an insane amount of improvement in [his] energy levels, thinking ability, weight loss, muscle gain, acne disappearance, digestive system stability, essentially all aspects of [his] life improved when [he] adopted a high carb vegan lifestyle.”
Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Jayme is committed to helping others reap the environmental, health, and social benefits of a 80-90% raw ORGANIC fruit and 10-20% high-carb, low fat vegan foods (like steamed potatoes and rice) diet. Forever fascinated with the idea of voluntarily living a simple life, as did naturalist and author Henry David Thoreau, Jayme strives to follow his passions to get to the essence of life without meandering from his goals. As Thoreau preaches and Jayme practices, “Simplicity, Simplicity, Simplicity!” is the way to go (Walden: Where I lived and What I Lived For).
Living simply, but fully and vigorously, Jayme encourages others to make good decisions that will positively impact people, animals, and the planet. You can find out more about Jayme’s philosophy and lifestyle on his YouTube channel!
Or, just holler at Jayme on campus. He’ll be happy to answer your questions about living a sustainable and kind vegan lifestyle!
Thank you, Jayme, for all you do! #supergreenstatus, in our book!
peace. love. run.