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A Midnight Breakfast Snack

Posted by: Jeanelle Castro | February 2, 2012 | No Comment |

I’m your typical lazy college student. I get hungry almost every minute of the day that I’m awake and tend to choose anything quick and packaged to snack on. I depend on getting around Irvine with my old Ford 2000 Hatchback parked in lot 13 in Campus Village, along with a $264 parking permit hanging on its rearview mirror. So every time I sense a craving, you bet I reach for those car keys and jump in my car to drive to the nearest food place, even somewhere as close as UTC.

I’m actually very blessed in knowing that I am able to bring a vehicle here to UCI, considering the expenses that come along with it such as that parking permit, frequent tune-ups (since it is an old car), and the gas consumption.

I went online and calculated the amount of carbon emissions my car releases into the environment per year: at around 4,000 miles per year (like I said, I barely drive unless I go home or dine out), my car still manages to cough up 3,000 pounds of carbon into the atmosphere per year. I’m ashamed to be using a car with these statistics, knowing that I contribute to our environmental problems.

Fortunately, I have a back-up plan: my bicycle!


This bicycle has been locked up outside of my apartment, gathering dust because I neglect it. Why use a bike when I have a car? The only reason I have this bike is so maybe I can use to arrive to class on time…but that’s because I can’t drive my car in the inner ring road.

If Professor Tomlinson hadn’t given us this assignment for doing something “sustainable,” I probably would have completely forgotten about that bike. Not able to come up with any more ideas, I decided to utilize my old bike.

The clock strikes twelve, and hunger strikes my tummy. I decided this was the perfect time to get my project started, and do something I haven’t done: ride my bicycle to Albertsons and grab a quick, earth friendly snack!


Why should I ride my bike, when I could drive my car there and get there without the cold wind whipping my face, or without having to take a longer time in getting my food?

Riding my bike definitely helps out both me and my environment. Bicycle riding counts as cardio, and it’s a convenient way for me to squeeze exercise into my daily routine. Even the smallest amount of exercise can have a huge impact on my health by toning, reducing body fat, and increasing my fitness. On top of that, the environment doesn’t have to suffer from my car’s carbon monoxide emissions, nor use up its oil reserves for my car. It greatly benefits me too because I save up my money instead of guzzling gas just to travel in 5 minute increments to Albertsons.


Once I got there, I went inside and explored the endless possibilities I could have for a snack tonight. I could go ahead and reach for the typical Hello Panda boxes, or the bag of honey twist fritos. They’re really bad choices, full of artificial flavors and processed ingredients. But this time around, I decided to change things up and go organic!

By consuming organic food, I support the production of these foods without the use of harmful chemicals in fertilizers, genetic modifications, antibiotics, or pesticides (taken straight from the label!) This promotes a greener environment, discouraging the mass-production of these synthetic foods that we consume on a daily basis (I’m guilty of it as well). Plus, let’s not forget the impact this creates on our bodies! By choosing organic, you keep these unwanted hormones and chemicals from messing with your body’s natural processes, therefore helping you live a healthier, longer life.

It took me a while to find something scrumptious but organic at the same time…the first things that popped into my head were fresh fruits!


Organic products like this orange are farmed without pesticides and chemicals, nor are they genetically modified. Everyone should be aware that consuming foods with these chemicals increase the risk of unhealthy side effects and diseases. Unfortunately, most of the food being sold in stores are mass-produced, and mass-produced food items are easier to manage with these chemicals sprayed or injected to prevent them from rotting or to keep pesky critters away from the produce. This doesn’t just damage our bodies; we’re dragging down the environment as well! These chemicals and genetically modified items break down in time, into the soil and air. This consequently releases harmful toxins in our ecosystem, eventually building up and poisoning our planet for generations to come.

Let’s get back to my snack! To be honest, just having oranges isn’t enough to cut it. I was craving something sweet, but what could possibly be organic and sweet enough to satisfy me at the same time? I went ahead and grabbed something slightly sweet, Cascadian Farm Organic Honey Nut O’s.


And I accompanied it with Heritage Organic Reduced Fat Milk (I didn’t want my bike ride to be in vain; I wanted to keep that fat off!)


I did a little research online, and apparently milk companies have a habit of injecting their cows with growth hormones to increase their natural milk productions. That should be a good thing, supplying our society with plenty of milk, right? Here’s the scary part: research shows that these hormones, when we ingest it, increases the risk of breast and colorectal cancer by 2 1/2 to 4 times as much! I’m not going to lie, the price of this milk lightens up my wallet, but I would pay thousands of dollars to know that I can prevent myself from having cancer than buy the $2 gallon milk brimming with growth hormones.

Now for my favorite part: guilt-free munching!!


I’m pretty surprised that the Organic Honey Nut O’s were delicious, even better than Honey Nut Cheerios! The oranges are a perfect complement to this strange “midnight breakfast” snack…but I have to admit, not a bad choice for someone who doesn’t automatically reach for organic goods in the store.

I’m glad to know that this one trip has created somewhat of a positive impact on the environment, and on my health. This one bike ride may very well be a normal part of my daily routine, saving me more money in the long run while investing on a healthier body and a greener environment!

under: Assignment_2

San Diego Trip!

Posted by: jgrajeda | February 1, 2012 | No Comment |

My friend and I are from San Diego. He works at the Mercedes Benz dealership and he lives near UCI. We tend to go back home often, but on our own separate cars. This past weekend we both agreed to go together on one car. The result was a $Money Savers!$, and yes of course environmentally friendly.

San Diego – Last weekend we took a two day trip to SD and took only one of our cars. We spent less on gasoline, saved time using the carpool lane, and we avoided emitting gas emissions out of two cars.
This is my friends car, he would put in about 216 miles for the two days that he’s in San Diego. He would spend $45 in gas going there and back.
This is my car, I drive it to San Diego every weekend and put at least 232 miles for the two days I’m there. I would spend $35 in gas going there and coming back.










I took my car considering the fact that it’s a 4-cylinder and will consume less gas than his car. After the end of the trip we both ended up saving money. I saved $17.5 and he saved $27.5. This way only one car is emitting gas emissions.






























Overall it was a money saver, time saver, and helping the environment all at the same time.

under: Assignment_2

Vegan FOOD!

Posted by: Dianna Elise Yu | January 31, 2012 | No Comment |

The Vegan Diet is a type of vegetarian diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products, and all other animal derived ingredients.  Eating vegan food is a sustainable activity because vegan food is produced from sustainable farming such as organic farming. Meat requires harvesting mass products of livestock. Meat-industrialized agriculture damages fresh air through greenhouse gas emissions and overuse of fossil fuels. The meat industry contributes about 18 percent of global greenhouse-gas emission. A 2010 UN report explained that Western diet preferences for meat would be unsustainable as the world population is expected rise 9.1 billion by 2050. Demand for meat is expected to double by this date; meat consumption is rising in countries such as china that once followed sustainable vegetable-based diets.


I decided to go to Veggie Grill at the University Town Center with my friends and try vegan foods. I chose Veggie Grill because I didn’t have to  need to drive there and I am not much of a cook. I took a UCI shuttle bus to the University Town Center and walk to Veggie Grill. Veggie Grill is located between Trader’s Joe and Peet’s Coffee and Tea.


There are a lot of options to choose from their meal. You can order a vegan burger, sandwich, salad, vegan Mac & Cheese, etc.  I had a really hard time choosing what to eat. It took me a good 10 minutes to choose what to eat.


I ordered a Santa Fe Crispy Chicken’. It was made from crispy fried vegan chicken (which means its not real meat, but ittastes exactly the same), lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado, and southwestern-spiced vegan mayo.


I also ordered a side dish of sweet potatoes fries with a seasoned chipotle ranch. Their sweet potatoes fries are probably my favorite.

When my friends and I went to Veggie Grill for lunch, however it was really packed because it was lunchtime. I didn’t know so many people were into vegan food. It was so noisy and there wasn’t any spare table to sit, so my friends and I had to take our meals to go.

You don’t have to go to special vegan restaurant like Veggie Grill to try vegan food. Vegan meals are sometimes offered at ethic food restaurants such as Chinese, Italian, Indian, and other.  There are even offer main chain restaurants such as taco bell and Johnny –Rockets. You can even cook vegan food at home.  You can have a veggie pizza, bean burrito, peanut butter and jelly for lunch. For dinner you can try faux meat sauce, faux meatballs, veggie chill, vegetable tofu lasagna. I am not telling people to sudden become vegan and stop eating meat, but I am encouraging people to eat more vegan food to help make the environment more sustainable.


under: Uncategorized

Environmental Sustainability: A Journey to Jack

Posted by: jtkang | January 31, 2012 | No Comment |

Here you see the trash that my roommates and I have carefully gathered during the week. This is no ordinary trash for it holds an item (circled in red) that will be joining me for a short but sweet portion of my journey to Jack in the Box. I will name the 2 liter Sprite bottle “Xavier.”

This is where we part ways with Xavier. We will drop him in the chute that is specifically labeled “Recycle” where he will join his plastic brethren and eventually be recreated into a new item through an environmentally sustainable process.

I’m not taking the elevator today! Today I will be taking the stairs down to the first floor in order to save electricity that the elevator could have used to take me there.

The point of this assignment is environmental sustainability so today, I’ll be walking to Jack in the Box instead of getting there in an automobile.

These two pictures show two locations that I used to rest for a brief moment during my walk to Jack in the Box. Please note that I’m walking and not taking a car that would waste a certain amount of gas to get to my destination.

I’ve finally made it to Jack in the Box after what seemed like a 30 minute eternity. Jack in the Box uses solar energy to run the work place. The sign says “This Jack in the Box is using clean, non-polluting solar energy. By harnessing the power of the sun, we are better able to serve both you and the environment. Environmental benefits: This Solar Power system prevents production of more than 16,000 lbs/year greenhouse gas Carbon Dioxide by traditional utilities, equivalent to 2.3 acres of trees.” Hence, I was able to purchase Jack in the Box tacos with a clear conscience.

under: Uncategorized

Peter’s Carpooling Experience

Posted by: gallaghp | January 31, 2012 | No Comment |

Carpooling! I researched the art of the carpool for my sustainable activity. What I found in doing this research and application was that there are many perks for carpooling. 

I teamed up with my friend Niko, and we carpooled to work together for three times a week (when we worked together).






Niko and I both work at Disneyland, in the entertainment department. What we found, other than a substantial chunk of time saved from using the designated carpool lane, was that the Disney Company gives an incentive to carpool!







“Carpool parking is available at most Disney-owned parking lots at various work sites. A carpool is defined as:

  • Riding with a fellow Cast Member/employee to work
  • Being dropped off by a friend or family member
  • Riding with a non-Disney Cast Member/employee to work
  • Dropping off friend or family member
  • Sharing 50% of the commute with a child going to day care, school, or college


  • Earn $1 per day
  • Reserved Carpool Parking (subject to availability)




This is a photo of my still-full gas tank. I ended up driving the 18-mile drive two of the three days. We saved money, halved our fossil fuel usage, and saved time and stress from not sitting in hours of traffic.

under: Uncategorized

Nothing like an old fashion Bus Ride.

Posted by: jyng | January 31, 2012 | No Comment |

The idea of being “green” spans in so many different ways, there are countless possibilities to help improve daily lifestyles. Every day millions of people get into their cars and drive to their destinations. It’s become a part of life and if you need to get somewhere you end up driving there.  I have been driving with this attitude almost everyday of my life once I received my license back in high school. I do remember when I used to take the bus everywhere, and that is exactly what I chose as my sustainable activity.

          Although riding a bus is not necessarily a new activity that I have never done before, I have never ridden the public transportation since coming to UC Irvine. After moving out of the dorms, I chose to drive to my destinations because I moved off campus. My current residence is about two miles away and takes about 10 minutes to arrive and park my car on campus. The estimated distance is about two miles.

       OCTA, Orange County’s Transportation Authority, is the primary provider of public transit in Irvine and other surrounding cities. Thetoll for the ride one- way is $1.50, but there are also alternative such as buying a bus pass, etc. My bus, the 79 route, was scheduled to arrive at 9:42 and prompted did arrive exactly on the minute.


The experience itself felt all too familiar as all the passengers were thinking the same as I “When is my stop coming?” Being the morning commute, the bus itself was packed full of working people as well as students. After a few minutes I arrived at the stop located next to UTC. The process was simple and easy and the best part was that I did not have to find parking. The ride all in all took about 9 minutes, which was exactly as the fare calculator predicted. The bus also did not waste any time at the stops leaving as soon as the last person hopped on or off.

Ideally, the truth behind individual people choosing to drive everyday is a matter of convenience. The pros of individual driving include the removal of fare and wasted time waiting for the bus. Cons derive at the idea of being green by simply driving a car instead of sharing a bus as well as parking your vehicle.

Although I can’t admit I will be riding my bus everyday from here on, I had the opportunity to realize that driving myself everyday does take a toll on our air quality once I fire up my car. There may be days where I don’t need to drive, and it doesn’t hurt to ride the bus every now and then even if I have to throw in those extra 50 cents.


under: Uncategorized

Recycling Different Plastics

Posted by: Han Jang | January 31, 2012 | No Comment |

The confusion over what we can and cannot recycle continues to confound consumers. Plastics are especially troublesome, as different types of plastic require different processing to be reformulated and re-used as raw material. Some municipalities accept all types of plastic for recycling, while others only accept jugs, containers and bottles with certain numbers stamped on their bottoms.


The symbol code we’re familiar with—a single digit ranging from 1 to 7 and surrounded by a triangle of arrows—was designed by The Society of Plastic Industry (SPI) in 1988 to allow consumers and recyclers to differentiate types of plastics while providing a uniform coding system for manufacturers.

The numbers, which 39 U.S. states now require to be molded or imprinted on all eight-ounce to five-gallon containers that can accept the half-inch minimum-size symbol, identify the type of plastic. The symbols also help recyclers do their jobs more effectively.


The easiest and most common plastics to recycle are considered Type 1. These include, water and soda bottles, medicine containers, and other common consumer products. Once the Type 1 has been processed by a recycling center, it can become a variety of different things such as sleeping bags, life jackets, fiberfill, furniture, tennis ball felt, and of course, other plastic bottles.


Similar to Type 1, Type 2 is also made out of terephthalate (PETE), except Type 2’s tend to be of a higher density of plastic. This includes containers that hold laundry detergent, milk, motor oil, and shampoo. These tend to become recycled into toys, pipe lining, and rope.


Types 3, 4, and 5 tend to be recycled less due to the fact that not many recycling municipals accept them. Type 3 includes plastic pipes, shower curtains, and medical tubing. Type 4 consists on wrapping film, and grocery and sandwich bags. Type 5 is most commonly used for tupperware.


Type 6, which include all types of styrofoam are accepted widely due to the fact that it can be reprocessed into many things such as cassette tapes.


Type 7 is the least commonly accepted plastic, since it consists of objects made from multiple types of plastic.


In this activity, not only did I recycle my plastic products for the first time, but also I did it the suggested way.

I gathered all the items that were eligible for recycling in my apartment..

Type 1


Type 2


I also found old tupperware containers I no longer used, so I figured they might as well serve someone else as something else.

Type 5


So now that I have grouped up my plastics in an appropriate fashion, I just have to look for a center that accepts these plastics.

However, that was easier said than done. Most of the recycling centers around here are specified toward e-waste, like the one we visited last Thursday. But finally, I found a recycling center called “rePLANET” that says they accept plastic bottles.


But it turns out they only accept plastic bottles, or Type 1 plastics. I could not find a deposit slot for my Type 2/3 plastics, so I decided that I would just try a different recycling  center in hopes that they accept it.

This activity is pretty sustainable due to the fact that if this plastic gets recycled, it not only stays out of our local waste stream but also provides new plastic items for others, without having to consume more plastic. Another thing I wasn’t aware of was that the recycling center compensates you for your bottles in the form of money. The recycling machine dispenses a receipt, which you can redeem at a local store.



under: Uncategorized

Experiencing Trader Joe’s

Posted by: Rodolfo Zepeda | January 31, 2012 | No Comment |

Like many college students attempting to save a few extra dollars on groceries, I usually do all my shopping in big grocery stores that have over 50,000 items for sell with relatively low pricing like Albertson’s; but trying to live more sustainably for the generations to come and maintain our home, as humans undisturbed as much as possible, I decided to go to Trader Joe’s – a company that prides its self in stocking their shelves with mostly environmentally friendly foods.  Many of their products are organically grown foods. I saw my need for food as the perfect opportunity to partake in my first shopping experience at Trader Joe’s.  With the University’s Commons as my sole locus of food, I only needed to buy snacks and drinks to help me through meals.

In an attempt to make my whole shopping experience as beneficial  as possible, I took the most sustainable method of transportation to get there, the University Town Center being so nearby my dorm I walked all the way there. A Bike is also a highly agreeable to the environment, but, it does have a very small down side in that it uses material extracted from the earth and there is a negative impact in the transportation to stores near you.


At Trader Joe’s I was able to buy Organic Juice, organic cereal bars, and organic bananas. The benefits to organic products are evasion of chemicals in fertilizer and the use of artificial pesticides.  The lack of these items makes the food safer, with greater nutritional value, and superior flavor. It also helps prevent erosion and salination.


Trader Joe’s also offers paper bags which are more eco-friendly than plastic bags.  While they are not reusable they do offer reusable bags. Paper bags are more eco-friendly because they are more degradable and decompose in months unlike plastic bags which can take more than a decade to decompose.


Other things that I always get while at the super market are bottled waters because they are relatively cheap and are bought in bulk, but this time I went  out and got a water purification container so I could easily access clean drinking water without harming the earth with 24 plastic bottles that I would have wasted in a two week period. Water is now just a bottle away and I can reuse my old bottles from the last time I went shopping. I will be saving money and the environment.

My overall experience at Trader Joe’s was a very successful one I was able to reload my refrigerator and help the environment, I am also saving a little money in future water purchases. Trader Joe’s has a friendly feel because the store is relatively small but it contains all my daily needs. You also experience a great feeling knowing that your groceries had a very minimal  negative effect towards the environment.

under: Uncategorized

Eating Vegan

Posted by: kchartie | January 31, 2012 | No Comment |

I went to the Whole Foods Market at the District in Tustin to buy some of their freshly made vegan food.  I decided that the Kale Salad and a Lemon Pesto Pasta looked the best so thats what i bought.  The food was kind of expensive.  It was like 5 bucks for both of these so I think that sometimes healthier food choices can be more expensive as I could have just gotten fast food.

I made sure that the food had the logo of approval that the food was indeed vegan from the Whole Foods Market.  Vegan food is basically vegetarian food with no animal bi-products so the food is completely natural.

I just piled everything on the plate.  The kale salad has some walnuts and olives in it while the pasta was made of shredded squash and it had some herbs and tomatoes too.

The first bite was probably the worst, but it tasted better after I had eaten more.

I managed to eat almost all of it as I was pretty hungry but is probably something that I would not eat again.  I planned to try to eat vegan all day but after this meal I really couldn’t see myself eating anymore vegan food.  Vegan food is obviously better for the environment as the food requires virtually no processing whatsoever and is completely natural.

under: Uncategorized

Sustainable eating habits as a college freshman

Posted by: Shannon Chang | January 31, 2012 | No Comment |

I really wanted to try something where I would have to change an aspect necessary to my life, where it would affect me on a daily basis. I’ve always wanted to be a vegetarian, or at least attempt it, and after reading it as one of the sustainable activities I thought — why not do something that saves the lives of animals, sustains our planet, and helps with weight loss?? Little did I know how hard it was becoming not just a vegetarian, but a vegan as a college freshman living in the dorms. After doing research on vegetarian/vegan/sustainability and seeing some really disgusting pictures of animal cruelty, I decided I was going to try to be a vegan as well.

My first meal was lunch at Mesa Commons. In my own opinion, this dining hall already has limited choices but little did I know how little the options were for vegetarians.

For lunch that day they happened to miraculously have pretty decent entrees — ribs. So while my friend happily filled her plate with a couple pieces I trudged to the section where they usually had vegetarian items like salad and pizza. So luckily this time instead of salad which I didn’t believe would actually fill me by itself, they had a pasta salad with some kind of vinaigrette dressing tossed with a bunch of vegetables. This was the first thing I got.

Looks promising right? It wasn’t that great. But unfortunately when I looked over at the entrees I was happy to see that they had made my favorite — fettucine alfredo. I started walking over thankful that there was no meat until I realized that alfredo was a cream based sauce, and that wouldn’t do either. Attempting other options, I usually opt for a sandwich when nothing else is good. But a sandwich with just vegetables, no cheese, no meat, also didn’t sound so great either. So I just doubled up on the not-so-great-average-pasta and called it a day.

For some reason, I like to drink milk after my meals, but obviously it being a dairy product, I chose apple juice instead.



They had a day in commons where they measured how much food we wasted and had people standing around the area where we put our dirty dishes and thank the people who finished all their plate and made the people who didn’t dump, the food waste into a trashcan and stare at them. I decided that if I was going to try and help the planet by contributing to the preservation of animals and intensive agriculture, I would also not fill our world with waste. I think it really shocked me how much I actually waste every time I go to eat at the dining hall, simply well, because the food just doesn’t taste that great.


For lunch the following day I had class close to B.C. Cavern and it’s a weekly thing for me and my friends to go to subway. I usually always without a doubt get a Spicy Italian with pepperjack on Italian herbs and cheese. Yeah well I wasn’t going to be able to get that this time. Instead I chose wheat bread, because there was cheese on the spicy italian, didn’t want the vegetable patty so got just purely vegetables (which are really not my favorite), and got no cheese. Granted, it was a pretty okay sandwich, but definitely not something I would choose on a normal basis.

Instead of what using a plastic cup that they have next to the soda machine, I chose to just fill my reusable water bottle and drink from there instead.

For dinner that day I once again, had to eat the same thing. There was a four cheese panini which was basically cheese and ham and thousand island dressing. So I went for just the pita bread, with some thousand island sauce. I was about to eat it until my friend reminded me that thousand island dressing had mayo, which consisted of dairy products. So… never mind the dressing, I just ate a lot of pita bread for dinner.


(I know there is a some sauce at the bottom, I tried my best to get it off with a fork)


For a while I was still pretty confused as to why exactly being a vegetarian/vegan was helpful to the environment. What I learned was that industrialized agriculture, added a lot of greenhouse gas emissions into the air. The livestock industry has contributed to 18% of global green-house emissions. Also, because half of the world’s crops are used to feed animals, there is an extremely large land degradation that occurs in order to keep America happy and fed with meat. In addition, raising animals as opposed to growing vegetables is must less efficient and needs much more resources. All in all what I learned was that being a vegetarian didn’t really have THAT much affect on making the world a more sustainable environment, simply because our diet as Americans so heavily based on heavy meat consumption.

What I also learned was how hard it was to become a vegetarian living in the dorms. I had a hard time trying it for a couple of days, I don’t know how anyone who is a strict vegetarian could have survived on dorm food. I think this is a big issue for those who are actually vegetarian or even vegan. But I guess the biggest realization was that I was not going to cut meat and diary products out of my diet anytime soon.



under: Uncategorized

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