I have a bachelors degree in Environmental Science that I use everyday.

Yesterday, April 22, was Earth Day. Unfortunately I spent the day driving back and forth across the state of Nevada for work, not the most ecofriendly thing to do. In honor of Earth Day and Earth month, I wanted to dedicate a post about climate change and the effort I try to make on a daily basis.

For four years in college I learned about the planet, our environment, and climate change. It constantly surprises me that there are still so many people who deny climate changes and its anthropogenic causes. Of course there is science and facts out there that show the Earth’s climate naturally cycles over time (lots and lots of time), but it is hard to deny that we don’t play a role in the health of our earth. The science and evidence of climate change is piling up.

Greenhouse gas is a natural occurrence in the atmosphere that traps heat close to the Earth’s surface. Without this, we would not be able to live on Earth, but we are contributing more to the atmosphere, mainly due to over-admittance of gasses and fossil fuels through the use of coal, natural gas, and other carbon emissions.  The more gases and carbons we trap in the atmosphere, the harder it is for the heat to escape, changing temperatures which have an effect on weather and our environments. Since the time of the industrial revolution we have been contributing more and more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere though factories, transportation, and deforestation. There is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere today than at any point in the last 800,000 years.

This is causing more than just trapped heat. Since 1870, global sea levels have risen by about eight inches due to melting of the polar caps, and we have seen increased amounts of drought, severe hurricanes, and massive fires around the world. This just touches the surface, but these are the things I think about. This is also reason for trying to be as sustainable as I can.

Here are some of the things that I try to do to reduce my footprint.

In the home

  • Short showers. I don’t shave my legs very often, and I keep it as short as possible.
  • I let the dishes and laundry pile up. Now this one is an easy one. I try to only run the wash when it’s full. Also, for laundry, I use cold water most of the time to cut down on the energy it takes to heat the water.
  • Turn the taps off quickly. I am big on saving water and am always conscious when brushing my teeth or using the sink. Lean more about water at one of my favorite websites: http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/water/
  • Recycle and Compost. I’m so happy that I didn’t have to put my trash out on Earth day, because we didn’t have enough! Woo. Between composting and recycling, we don’t have much to throw away if we can help it.

My diet

  • I’m a vegetarian.  Most people ask why. It’s one of the easiest things for me to do that makes a big difference. I love animals, but for me it’s more than just animal rights. It takes almost ten times the amount of fossil fuel to produce animal protein compared to plant protein, not to mention the other factors big meat factories have on water pollution. Here is a fun article that addresses this topic: http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/blogs/ikea-to-curb-climate-change-with-veggie-swedish-meatballs
  • I’m a local girl. I’m not the best at this, but when I do have options to choose the vegetable or product that was grown or made locally, that is the one I go with.

On the go

  • Reusable bags. Most people know about the waste caused by paper and plastic shopping bags, if you don’t, check out this website to educate yourself: http://www.reusethisbag.com/25-reasons-to-go-reusable.php  If that is not enough, many places give you a discount when you bring your own bag, plus they are way cuter and can usually hold more stuff.
  • Reusable bottles. One of the first papers I wrote about in college was about conservation of Manatees, but there was also one about how horrible plastic water bottles are for us and the planet. I try to use reusable bottles and cups whenever I can to cut down on waste and save money. This is not always the most convenient and it takes work, but I try because it’s the right thing to do.
  • Smart Driving. Driving habits contribute to 30% of the difference in miles per gallon. By accelerating slowly and smoothly and being cruise control’s biggest fan, I save more than a ton of CO2 from escaping. This is also because I hate paying at the pump.

These are just a few of the things I try to implement in my lifestyle to make my footprint a little smaller. Find out about your footprint at http://www.nature.org/greenliving/carboncalculator/

 

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Our Family Grew By One.

About two weeks ago during a short get-away to SoCal, Justin and I became parents. Meet our little girl Riley Ravenclaw Jo.

Riley Photo by Jeanne Jo

Riley Photo by Jeanne Jo

 

While visiting Justin’s sister Jeanne in Hollywood, and swinging by Shia LaBeouf’s #IAMSORRY exhibit, Jeanne found a Craiglist ad for boxer puppies somewhat nearby. Justin and I had recently called off our dog search when having a bad experience at our local humane society, at no fault to them, but regardless we thought it would be fun to meet some puppies, so we decided to check it out.

On Monday we drove out to Lancaster, CA to meet the puppies. The mom had eight puppies and when we arrived four were left. The two boys were awake running around and we were able to meet these guys first, and since I wanted a little boy, this was great. It was very difficult to choose, but we were having a great time with the puppies. We were also able to meet the parents, who were beautiful healthy boxers. When we returned to the puppies we were greeted by a new little girl that had just woke up from a nap. She jumped straight into my lap to say hello and then made a run for Justin. Right then I knew which puppy Justin would want. I could see them bond instantly and I knew that this was going to be our little girl.

It has been a blast having Riley in the house, even if she has destroyed the carpet. She is smart and loving and I cannot wait to continue to watch her grow.

Travel Season Completed

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I drink a lot of coffee on the road.

This year for work I beat last years travel schedule with nine straight weeks of college fairs and events. Though I started this year off with intentions of being more social with other reps and exploring more, I ended up spending a lot more money by myself. Shopping became a quick and easy past time for me on the road, with quite a few Ikea trips.

I did not have a lot of down time this year with emails and other work so exploring didn’t happen as often as I would have liked, I wish I would have been able to individually document each trip a little more. This year I hit a lot of the same spots…mostly east bay, a couple trips into San Fran, and for the first time Seattle!

My table in Seattle

I was lucky enough to get the big fair up north and got to explore Seattle for the first time. I arrived late Thursday night after a stressful day of travel from Northeast Nevada where I had to rush from a fair and make it to the airport in time to make my late afternoon flight. I knew this would not be an easy task, but I did not want to miss this o

My Seattle Veggie-Dog

pportunity. I took a taxi by myself for the first time and I was in my hotel before Midnight.

The city was incredible. After the morning fair at the Washington convention center, I was able to grab a veggie hot dog and explore. I took part in the “Ride the Ducks” tour, which I would highly recommend, and hit up the incredible market place. I was surprised by the amount of things I was able to see just on foot. I got a great dose of the city in my quick few days there. There are a few more things I want to see and need to do but it was a great visit.

1) Seeing new places. The last two years I have been able to go to the most remote places in Nevada that I did not even know existed when I was in high school. I also am now very familiar with Northern California.

Overall the fall travel season went by fast and was pretty good. I made a list of my favorite things about fall travel for my job.

2) Hotel Perks. During the fall I spent more time in a Hilton brand hotel then I did at home with my new husband but that sure racked up some amazing points and a gold membership with Hilton Honors. We were able to get a free night in orlando with last years points and two nights at Embassy Suites for our Disneyland trip with points to spare. Plus free cable.

3) Per Diem means good food. Since my meals are paid for while I am on the road, I try to try new places. Most of the time to save the University a little money and just because I still cannot pass up free food, I just eat whatever the fairs are offering, if their are veggie options, but a girl can only eat so many sandwiches. I do have some staples though. I always have to get a bread bowl in SF and Pho in Berkley. Im a sucker for my new traditions.

4) Meeting families. I talk to A LOT of people. I love getting to meet families and students from all over and share my love for the University. It is very fun and fulfilling when a family is not to familiar when my school but at the end of our conversation it becomes a huge contender in their list of colleges.

5) Helping change lives. Maybe this is a bit of a stretch but by these interactions with students and their families I am having an impact on someones life and are a small part of their journey which i think is pretty neat.

These are just scratching the surface of why I love fall travel, despite the hectic schedule and being away from home. It is hard to say how many more years I will be doing what I am doing so for now I am just going to love every minute of it and get out of it as much as I can.