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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Ogden, Utah, USA

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Ogden, Utah, USA
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Registered: December 2019
City/Town/Province: Syracuse
Posts: 1
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Ecologist Initiative
For my ecologist initiative, I decided to minimize my driving and carpool to decrease my carbon footprint and use of fossil fuels. I began this initiative at the beginning of my semester at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. My brother and I both go to Weber State's main campus every day between Monday and Friday for class. Before I changed my habits for the ecologist initiative, we would drive separately because our class schedules require that we arrive and depart at different times. Because of my initiative, my brother and I began to only drive one car together and spend a lot more time on campus. The most difficult part of this initiative was coordinating our schedule ahead of time to ensure that we could do each attend our classes and take care of extracurricular obligations while only driving one car to campus. I chose this initiative because noticed that my driving habits were far too wasteful, and I wanted to make a change. The air quality in the state of Utah is particularly poor, so I wanted to pilot one of the recommended environmental strategies most recommended by the office of sustainability at my university. I felt that if I could do my part to decrease the carbon emissions I personally produce and still maintain a functional schedule, I would feel more comfortable recommending the strategy to family, friends, and coworkers.
The measurement of my initiative was fairly simple because I just researched the gas mileage of my car and how many tons of CO2 emissions that it produces annually. According to the EPA's greenhouse gas rating, my car produces about 19.59 pounds of CO2 tailpipe emissions for every gallon of gasoline it burns. Now, from the beginning of the semester to today I have had 14 weeks of class. I commute to class 5 days a week and 14 times 5 is equal to 70. Therefore, I have driven to Weber State's main campus for 70 total days, which will be true of every semester following this semester as well. Since I have to drive there and back, I have effectively made a total of 140 trips. I live in Syracuse, Utah and my house is 15 miles from Weber State's main campus so 15*140 is equal to 2100 miles total that I must travel each semester. Driving separately, my brother and I would have driven a combined 4200 miles for the semester. As such, commuting together has allowed us to save approximately 2100 miles of driving in this single semester alone. My car gets about 30 miles per gallon so 2100 total miles/30 mpg I saved about 70 gallons of gas. This doesn't seem like much, but that's 70 gallons of gas I would've used and taking the EPA's 19.59 pounds of CO2 times the 70 gallons (70*19.59) which is 1,373 pounds of CO2 tailpipe emissions that I saved.
As I stated earlier, the most difficult part of this entire initiative was matching my schedule with my brother's schedule to ensure that we could truly carpool every single day that we went to the university. The great thing about carpooling is that it benefitted me as well everyone that lives in the area. Producing fewer carbon emissions means that the overall air quality of our area improves, which is a desperate need in my community. The initiative also provided me in the short-term benefit of saving a tremendous amount of money in gas. As I said, I saved about 70 gallons of gas throughout the semester and with an average gas price of around $3 per gallon during that time frame, I saved over $200 in gas. As a college student, money is always tight and preserving my checking account while offering a service to my community felt like a major victory. Saving money short-term is great but more importantly, I believe doing this initiative has made me much more aware of my habits. In the future, I intend to search for similar, environmentally friendly commuting strategies as soon as I begin my time at a new institution.
Environmental pollution through the use of cars is the archetype for what social scientists have termed the Tragedy of the Commons. Most people drive regularly without realizing the impact that they are having on the environment or specifically without consideration for the larger impact that their behavior might have in the aggregate. One car on the road for hours a day seems insignificant, but the congregation of millions of cars on the road poses a serious threat to our environment. Similarly, my efforts to reduce my time on the road may seem small individually. However, I believe I can use my positive experience to inspire others to understand how conservation of resources can be relatively easy and joyful. I've spoken to officers in my university's sustainability program to help give them some feedback to help them do just that. I'm even considering seeking a position as part of the program myself, hoping to encourage students at my university to compete amongst themselves to be more environmentally conscious. Poor air quality is a significant environmental issue, and one which is especially serious in Utah. As people drive on the road, their cars produce CO2, which is a harmful greenhouse gas that can decrease air quality when produced in large quantities. While long-term technological solutions to Utah's air pollution may be somewhat distant, this state's citizens can begin to strive towards our own solutions today by simply using less resources in our personal or professional capacities. I am currently making efforts to be a part of spreading awareness for this movement within my community by discussing my initiative in school and church. Each of us has a role to play in protecting our environment for future generations. In conclusion, I am glad that I was tasked with doing an ecologist initiative and I'm proud of the topic I chose, although it might seem humble. I learned something valuable throughout this process and I believe that my future decisions will be more environmentally friendly because of it.
Date: December 30, 2019 Views: 1697 File size: 9.1kb, 69.2kb : 1200 x 800
Hours Volunteered: 70
Volunteers: 2
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 19 to 21
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