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!