How I’m Reducing my Carbon Footprint (AND YOU CAN TOO!)

Recently I’ve decided that since the ultimate goal for me is to become a conservationist, I should really figure out exactly how much I am contributing to the problem. So, I filled out a quick survey to calculate my carbon footprint and learned that on average my carbon footprint is 39,402 lbs. per year. That is solely from my energy usage at home as well as the emissions from my car. The average american emits 55,000 lbs. of CO2 every single year, and yet this calculation only accurately accounts for 40% of our carbon footprint. Another 60% is from what we buy, and luckily, we can control what and where we buy from. (carbonfund) So, without any more rambling, here is how I am reducing my carbon footprint and how you can too.

  • Maintain your car!
    • As simple as this may seem, upkeep on an object that is literally over a ton can be frustrating. I’ve created a biweekly schedule to make sure my tire pressure is where it needs to be, and I am learning how to change my own oil so that I can afford to change out filters whenever need-be, as well as learn what it looks like when a filter becomes an environmental problem.
    • Don’t drive like crazy. My old car was a speed demon and that was my mistake. Accelerate slowly, go the speed limit, and don’t constantly ride your breaks.
  • If you can, walk or bike to your destination. No carbon footprints, just actual ones!
    • This one’s pretty simple. Learn to bundle up and leave 10 minutes early if your work is in-town. Bring a backpack with your work clothes if you’re afraid of getting too sweaty. It’ll help you as well as the world.
  • Reduce your electricity output.
    • Unfortunately I live in an apartment where I am not allowed to do any maintenance on it. If you own your own home, caulk up any places where cold air can seep through and rack up your heating bill. If you’re too poor to afford a house yet (like me), you can cover these areas with a towel. Make sure to check frequently however, because towels tend to absorb moisture and changing them out often can prevent mold.
    • Unplug any appliances not in use.
    • Take shorter warm showers, or sometimes take a cold shower. It’s not
  • If you can E-mail it, don’t print it!
    • I recently decided to go back to college (took the year off) and I am doing it entirely online not only because it will fit to my schedule better, but because environmentally speaking taking a traditional class wastes thousands of lbs of paper each semester. It is so much better for the environment as well as your personal space to save important documents to a USB.
  • Buy/Use Secondhand!
    • This one is actually my favorite challenge. I have two thrift stores in my town and I am determined to buy 90% of my clothing from them with exception to underwear. I’m also the kind of person who likes to look good, so it can’t just be the 3-for-$1 T-Shirt buy, I have to find actually cute shirts to reuse, which is surprisingly not that difficult, and the cost is near painless.
    • Utilize craigslist and other websites like it to find cheaper options for what you need as well as anything you might want. With all this extra money being green is making you, you might be able to afford a new hobby!
    • Make sure to also utilize your local library. There is no need to buy books when you can get them for free for an extended period of time for free, and the late fee is practically a dime.
    • If you need something for a project, before buying it ask around and see if you can borrow something. If a friend or coworker already has a plethora of what you need, being thankful is better than being wasteful.
  • Avoid Plastic and Styrofoam at all costs!
    • When shopping, bring your own bags. We’ve all got the giant plastic bag filled with more plastic bags. You don’t need more. I promise.
    • Outright refuse to buy anything in Styrofoam packaging. Styrofoam does not decompose and seriously reeks havoc on our landfills, not to mention if it does’t make it there and some poor animal thinks it’s food. They can be dumb, but they don’t deserve to die.
    • Dunkin Donuts has a policy where if you bring in one of their travel mugs (clean of course), they must fill it up instead of giving you your coffee in a  plastic cup.Find ways around being handed plastic when ordering things to-go. Which brings me to my next point.
  • Avoid Fast Food!
    • It’s hell on your body. It’s hell on the environment. They overstock which means they oversupply dead animals to their chains. They waste food. Do I really need to explain this one?
  • Buy locally and reduce your meat intake!
    • I know the steak looks godly. But to raise animals for food purposes creates a heavy CO2 trail that I really don’t want to look into right now. That’ll be a whole research project in itself, and I’m sure an entire preachy post will come from that research. Not to mention if that slab of steak comes from Illinois and I’m in New Hampshire, how much gas do you think was wasted from that trip when there’s a cow farmer right down the road struggling to make ends meet?
  • Only buy what you will actually use!
    • I’m trying my best to create a minimalist lifestyle for myself because I know that I have plenty of clutter that others might find useful. I, however, find it to be in the way. Find the time to go through your things, emotionally detach yourself from them, and let what you don’t need go.
    • If you’re buying excess food, freeze it before it goes bad. Wasting food creates a carbon trail all so that you could waste it. Now, I’m guilty of it too, but no more.
  • Stop getting junk mail.
    • It sounds crazy but here’s some logic to it; the average american adult gets 41 pounds of junk mail each year. That’s the size of my first dog and he was not that light. Paper leaves a carbon trail.
    • How to get rid of it: 41pounds.org will get you off of unwanted mailing lists.

Sooo, yeah. There’s my list. Make sure to get as many of your friends to follow it as well!

Adventure on!

It’s been a while…Again.

Alright this time I swear I’m going to stay on track!

This blog has officially become my writing haven. I will obviously create links for easy access to actually helpful articles that I may write, but right now I am solely interested in getting myself back into the swing of things and therefore want to make the ambitious goal of posting 3 times a week; Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. While these posts will try to be aimed towards the purpose of this blog, I will not be strictly limiting myself to anything here.

So without further ado, why don’t I give the giant life update again?

  • I have 3 new pets. You’ll see them soon enough and know the backstory to them.
  • I’ve made a pact to myself to reduce my carbon footprint other than driving expenses as much as humanly possible. There will be a whole post on how I’m doing that as well.
  • I may or may not have totaled my car… and had to buy a new one… pictures to come. (The old one was not reliable to begin with)
  • Changed jobs! Retail is much better for me than food service.

While this may not seem like a huge list, I am in a much better, much more stable place than the last time I posted. Also, Sir Huffington is thriving and receiving much love!

Adventure on!

 

Enormous Life Update!

img_5258Hi again! The last time I posted here was around the time that summer break started. I was preparing for the new school year, planning on living in a dorm and going through my sophomore year of college.

I was living with a giant amount of stress and honestly hated my life more than I even realized. So before I update, let me just say this; I am so, so much happier where I am rather than where I planned on being.

Due to financial reasons, I couldn’t go back to school. It just wasn’t in the budget, and so I had to drop out. I wasn’t exactly enjoying my home life, so halfway through the summer I decided that it was time to move out on my own.img_5257 Anyways…

So I worked all summer at the farmstand that I usually work for, and by the end of August, I had landed an apartment in New Hampshire. I now work full time in the college town I love, I am still around my friends, and I am taking a cheaper route with online classes until being a full time student is financially possible. At first, this all seemed to be a giant mistake, but honestly I’ve grown to believe this was the best decision of my life.

I’ve also discovered some new hobbies, mainly indoor gardening and building my aquarium! I currently have two bettas, four mollies, six tetras, a pleco, two assassin snails and a male swordtail. I’ll have to update you guys on that in another post. It’s becoming an obsession.

Now, there’s a random picture of a hedgehog up there… he’s my baby. His name is Woodrow Huffington Esquire. I call him Sir Huffington. He is my life. As of today he is exactly eight weeks old, and my god is he adorable. That’s really all I have to say, just, expect a LOT of pictures to come!

Thanks for reading! Adventure on!

-Amber

4 AM Rambling

The world can make anyone go hard. Any given situation can make any one person jaded beyond belief. These people will stand tall like statues and come crashing down whenever they feel like it. Or, it can turn people to putty, and we can play with the remains and mold them into whatever we want. There will always be a sharp contrast on how the world molds us each individually into stagnant, never-changing stones or flimsy, breakable play-dough. And it doesn’t matter our circumstances. Some of the worst people I know have lived full, seemingly happy lives. They’ve lived with their parents under the same roof, been financially secure, blah blah blah. Statistics are never going to prove the humanity in people, and we shouldn’t rely on backgrounds to tell us who others are.

I am soft. I like to come off as a statue. I like to build myself up high and enjoy my pretend wrath over my pretend kingdom, but the world is too big for me. I’m a small clay sculpture, made by the even tinier child within me, as a fort against the rest of the world. It’s me and her together, trying to act bigger than we are to make a difference possibly bigger than we could ever achieve. One day I might harden. One day the child might be stuck in here. Maybe she already is, I don’t know. All I know is that I want to do her bidding, and she wants to save the world. Like that’s possible.

Wrapping up my first year of college!

What a journey this year has been! Living independently for just over ten months now has really opened my eyes to a lot, including what’s most important to me. If it weren’t for my location, I would have continued to be just the shell of the person I had potential to be and I have all of that to blame on my experience here at Plymouth. So this week, with finals week, I wanted to just reminisce in a ton of moments taken throughout this year.

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It’s crazy to think that everything that has shaped what kind of life I want to live has all been in the span of just ten short months. I’m so excited to see what the future holds!

Surviving First Semester with Social Anxiety

When coming into my first semester here at PSU, I can tell you with slight embarrassment, that I spent most of my four-hour car ride with my father in silence, looking out the window, crying. A very small part of me wanted to get away from home and re-create myself like everyone else, but a large chunk of my personality has always been fear. Before coming here, I was the most timid person in the entire universe. Maybe that’s a lie, but you get it, I was really shy. I didn’t speak to new people, when I did it was very short and one-sided. If I had to speak up at all in a class, my voice shook so hard people thought I would start crying. I would rant about how awkward I was and how nervous I was to all of my three friends, and it ruined even some of those relationships with how afraid I was of getting outside of my comfort level. I went into college with severe untreated social anxiety.

A large part of me worried that I wouldn’t fit in, and I would have to start over. Again. Freaking again. That maybe college would end up just like high school; feeling as if the world was against me. When I stepped on campus, ready to move in, I felt like I was going to puke. My legs felt like jello, and way more than your average ‘just drove 4 hours without a break’ jello. A bunch of the hockey and football team helped my dad and I herd all of my belongings up to my room. I remember the only thought I had being, oh my god these hunky guys are carrying my first stuffed animal no one is ever going to talk to me I’m so lame why did I bring that?!?!

Despite beating myself up over such a silly thing, I sat alone in the dining hall, had some tea, trying to figure out how the hell I was ever going to re-create myself when I was already feeling the nerves kick in. It was then that I met my first friend outside of orientation. He sat down across from me, and immediately my brain was freaking out. He introduced himself, we made small talk, and bonded over our passions about hiking (though he’s way more into it than I am). I have everything to thank for that friend. He knows who he is, but not how much he helped. After that, something clicked. My nerves were still there, but on the back burner. I said hello to everyone, almost idiotically, and anyone who struck up a conversation I was determined to befriend. I was still awkward, I’ll admit, but honestly, no one cared. Everyone was in their own way. We were all trying to fit in. And, well, I fit in.