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Nov 24 13

Kat Furey: The Food Fighter

by ericarunsamerica

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 powerfood… 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.

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Kat: 2013 Earth Day Lecture in Grand Central Terminal.

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Thursday, 11-21-13: Sacramento Capital GMO Labeling Legislation Day Team (left to right) Kat Furey, Pamm Larry, Jessica Denning, Michael Greene, Bob Saunders, and Diana Rude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

ericarunsamerica

Nov 17 13

Nia Padilla: Hometown Hero (An Interview)

by ericarunsamerica

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.

ericarunsamerica 

 

Nov 14 13

You Don’t Have to Go Far to Enjoy the Arts

by creed

Isn’t it great that you don’t have to leave Stony Brook to see new Movies, Operas, Comedies, Film Festivals and more!  So where do you go to see these films and events?  The answer is: the Staller Center!

Don’t graduate from Stony Brook without first taking a peak inside this great center for the arts.  If you are a freshman or transfer and you have not used your “first on us ticket” yet, you should do so as soon as possible.  I remember my first time going to a Staller show (and I even used my “first on us ticket”!).  I went to see Cirque Eloise – an acrobatic show that was great for the entire family and was very similar to Cirque du Soleil – and I was able to get the tickets for half off!

Be on the look out for cool movies and events – every student can get discounts on tickets purchased.  Why wouldn’t you go to the Staller Center? You can see people like:  Midori, Bill Cosby, The Emerson Quartet, Wynton Marsalis and even more famous people (and you don’t have to be a music whiz to recognize their names).

For those of you that need to take a class over the summer or you are just looking for something fun to do – be on the look out for CCS 204 which is offered every year during Summer Session II.  CCS 204 is a Film Festival class and meets to watch all the films during the 10-day film festival held at the Staller Center as well as meeting times for midterms and finals.  The class consists of: watching films, talking about films, writing about films, and you get 3 credits…so what’s not to like?

There are so many great things to go see at the Staller Center and do (if you are into Theatre, Music, or Art) it would be silly not to go. So take advantage of the Staller Center before you graduate…the discounts only last while you’re a student!

Nov 9 13

Fighting Our Environmental Battles: Words and Action!

by ericarunsamerica

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 fallDr. 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 usDr. 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!

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(from left) Sustainability Studies Program students Jayme Liardi, Kim Diamondopol, and Sustainability Studies alum Nia Padilla catching up with Dr. Steingraber and Dr. Hutner after the discussion!

 

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.

ericarunsamerica

Oct 29 13

Cory Tiger: Helping People, Helping the Planet

by ericarunsamerica

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.

 

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Cory forged a special bond with horses as a toddler; her first connection to the natural world.

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Riding horses in Wyoming, Cory realized: we need to preserve nature!

 

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Cory Tiger, #supergreenstatus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

ericarunsamerica

PS. We are now on Twitter! Follow us @SustainableSBU

And, if you haven’t already, LIKE us on Facebook!

Oct 17 13

Study, Work, Live…Abroad?

by creed

I always thought that people exaggerated the importance of studying abroad.  You hear people, even worse – your friends, coming back from their AMAZING study abroad experience and you feel mainly two things: 1. Happiness (for your friend) 2. Jealousy.  You begin to think why you aren’t lucky enough to study abroad or if it’s even worth going through with the process at all! But all the while you are thinking…will financial aid even cover this?

My advice is: GO!  Seize the moment while you are still an undergraduate and have the opportunity to explore.  But please take my advice and pick a program that you think will change your life or academic experience.  I know a lot of people doing the study abroad programs just to boost their resume or to just get DEC’s finished. Don’t do this!  With a little bit of planning and good luck, you can get your DEC’s finished and have an awesome resume without even leaving the country.

Go to another country with your eyes open to learn and immerse yourself in another culture.  If you love marine biology and wildlife – go to Jamaica!  If you love the humanities and foreign language go to Rome or St. Petersburg!  For example, I went to Berlin over the summer (as I’ve said in my previous posts).  I knew next-to nothing about the culture besides an intermediate knowledge of the country and geography, but I was open to learning about the culture, literature and history.  Now all of you don’t have to apply to Berlin just because of my high praise, but all I’m saying is choose wisely and grasp your life in your hands.


Other than studying abroad, another great opportunity to work abroad!  What can be a better way to learn about a culture than to work in a foreign country!  Even if it is for a short-term, there are so many options and possibilities.  One great internship program is a program hosted by Cultural Vistas (http://culturalvistas.org/).  Most of their programs are in Germany, but they hold some in England, Argentina, and Chile. If you are more academically inclined then apply for a Fulbright Scholarship (http://www.iie.org/fulbright/).

 

Oct 15 13

Stony Brook Homecoming 2013

by anna

On Saturday, October 5th, Stony Brook University hosted the 2013 Homecoming Football game and Wolfstock. The football game was against Bryant University and ultimately SBU Seawolves came out victorious! We definitely got our “Red” on at this game.

A historical attendance record was noted in LaValle Stadium- 11,224 fans flooded the seats in the stadium, where capacity in the stadium for seating is approximately 8,000. Additionally, this game was especially important to me since it marked my senior year homecoming experience.

And what an experience it was indeed. I had the opportunity of singing the national anthem at this game. Was I nervous? You better believe it!!! Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. I love singing for Stony Brook- red runs in my blood, as some say. But overall, the experience was very rewarding, memorable and I was truly honored. Stony Brook made one of my dreams come true.

And just a word to the wise- take advantage of all the opportunities SBU has to offer you- in academics and extracurricular activities (i.e. clubs and organizations).  Never wonder “What If?” and always strive to make a difference! Check out my national anthem performance here: SBU 2013 Homecoming- National Anthem

Anna singing the National Anthem at the 2013 SBU Homecoming Game.

Anna singing the National Anthem at the 2013 SBU Homecoming Game.

 

Oct 14 13

Demetri Martin @ SBU!

by ali

SBU has this great tradition of inviting guest stand up comedians every once in awhile. 3 years ago- Aziz Ansari. 2 years ago- Kevin Hart. Last year- John Oliver and Wyatt Cenac. This year- Demetri Martin. For all of you that don’t know him, Martin had his own show on Comedy Central called “Important Things” and currently works on the John Stewart Show.
The Staller Center hosted Martin with around 1000 people showing up. The event was spectacular. Unfortunately, I could not take any photos during the event. Fortunately, I was able to google image something. Well just wanted to let people know about the type of guests SBU brings. Till later, peace!
-Ali

Oct 12 13

Digging for Answers

by ericarunsamerica

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!

Gabby and Anna

Checking on the worms!

Performing an acid treatment to see its effects on the worms!

Performing an acid treatment to see its effects on the worms!

Earthworms

It’s dirty work, but someone’s gotta do it!

 

Can you dig it?

peace. love. run.

ericarunsamerica

Oct 11 13

Trashed…What One Man Learned from Not Throwing Away Anything for an Entire Year

by ericarunsamerica

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.

Thus far, we have already had quite a few incredible talks; Joni Adamson, Nicholas Fisher, and Michel Gelobter were all outstanding!

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.

Dave Chameides keeps his trash for an entire year...in his own basement!

Dave Chameides keeps his trash for an entire year…in his own basement!

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.

ericarunsamerica

PS.

If you’d like to be involved in helping change the future, contact him at dave@sustainabledave.org.