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Sydney Brown's avatar

Sydney Brown

capstone fall 22


  • 0 TODAY
  • 391 TOTAL

participant impact

  • UP TO
    meatless or vegan meals
  • UP TO
    traveled by bus
  • UP TO
    pounds of CO2
    have been saved
  • UP TO
    with people
  • UP TO
  • UP TO
    spent outdoors

Sydney's actions

Visions of Sustainability

Online Energy Audit

I will complete an online energy audit of my home, office, or dorm room and identify my next steps for saving energy.


Consumption and Economy

Support Local Businesses

I will buy from local businesses instead of shopping online.



Use Public Transit

I will use public transit 3 mile(s) each day this week and avoid sending up to 70.97 lbs of CO2 into Earth's atmosphere.



Sign a Petition

I will sign a petition in support of an environmental or social initiative in my state.



Say No to Plastic

Plastic bags and small plastic pieces like straws are most likely to get swept into our waterways. This week, I'll say "no" to plastic bags at the store and plastic straws in all of my drinks.



Reduce Animal Products

I will enjoy 2 meatless meal(s) and/or 2 vegan meal(s) each day this week.


Ecological Principles

Practice Gratitude for Earth

This week, I will spend 5 minute(s) each day outside, practicing gratitude (prayer, meditation, journaling, etc.) for Earth and the nature surrounding me.


A Call to Sustainability

Start a Sustainability Journal

I will start a sustainability journal, capturing my thoughts, concerns and learning about sustainability issues.


A Call to Sustainability

Talk To Others

I will tell 5 people why sustainability is important to me and what my vision for a sustainable world is.


Participant Feed

Reflection, encouragement, and relationship building are all important aspects of getting a new habit to stick.
Share thoughts, encourage others, and reinforce positive new habits on the Feed.

To get started, share “your why.” Why did you join the challenge and choose the actions you did?

  • Sydney Brown's avatar
    Sydney Brown 11/29/2022 8:00 AM
    For the final eco challenge, I decided to do an energy audit of my house. It was interesting to see how much energy is used in a two person household. I'm not sure if I entered in the information 100% accurately but from what I could it seemed to make sense for the apartment I live in. I have never done an energy audit before, so I might do them more often. It's nice to see the impact you're actually making.

    • Katherine Cushing's avatar
      Katherine Cushing 11/29/2022 7:33 PM
      I was thinking about doing this challenge but I found the system confusing. I think that it's cool that you were able to find that information for your household. Do you have any ideas for how to lower your usage or do you think that number is good for your household?

  • Sydney Brown's avatar
    Sydney Brown 11/20/2022 7:06 PM
    This week my eco challenge was to shop at local businesses instead of online. The holiday season is afoot and now is the perfect time to find gifts for those you care about. Shopping at small businesses not only helps the environment, but also the small business owners and it ensures you have a quality product that someone put a lot of time and effort into making, creating a sense of community. The Saturday Market on the Waterfront is a great place to shop small businesses; I bought from a lotion, soap, essential oils, and facial mist shop called Wandering Goods. The seller creates all his products form natural resources and his company was started in honor of his older brother. I always try to shop locally and Portland is a great city to do that.

  • Sydney Brown's avatar
    Sydney Brown 11/14/2022 11:49 AM
    For eco challenge 6, I decided to walk more than driving. I don't have a car, however my partner does, so often times when we are together, we drive. I mostly use public transportation but this week I walked a lot more. Living in a walkable city is something I don't take for granted and this challenge really emphasized the importance of  transportation or lack there of in a community and the impacts it has on the environment as well. I enjoyed this challenge!

  • Sydney Brown's avatar
    Sydney Brown 11/03/2022 10:07 AM
    This week I signed a petition regarding Black Carbon reduction in Portland. With a limited amount of time left to reverse the affects of climate change, people are focusing on reducing short lived climate pollutants and carbon dioxide. Black Carbon is the 2nd leading cause of climate change. The biggest contribution to Black carbon in the US is diesel emissions and Oregon is said to have the 4th highest diesel emissions in the US. Reducing Black carbon in Oregon would be the fastest and most effective way to make a difference. 

    This petition as just one of many I found focusing on changing policies in relation to climate change in Portland. As progressive as this city is, we still have a lot more work to do regarding climate change and I'm happy that there are like minded individuals reaching out for political change via petitions. I really enjoy signing them regarding all kinds of social justice issues, however this is my first time in awhile signing on regarding climate change.

    • Katherine Cushing's avatar
      Katherine Cushing 11/06/2022 4:39 PM
      Hi Sydney!
      I think that information about Black Carbon is very interesting. I had not been previously aware of that. I'll sign the petition too!

  • Sydney Brown's avatar
    Sydney Brown 10/27/2022 12:29 AM
    This week I reduced my plastic waste by not using plastic grocery bags and plastic straws. It's pretty easy to do this. At home, I use metal straws and if I go out to places, I mostly use paper straws. Oregon has implemented paper straw usage, especially at places downtown, so my job doesn't have any other straw options. This is a sustainability effort to limit single-use plastics and it's a great idea, although it can be hard to enjoy a drink sometimes when my paper straw gets soggy. I also take my reusable bags everywhere I go. My favorite one's are the ones I have from Trader Joes. Much like the paper straws, Oregon implemented a 5 cent charge for getting bags at grocery stores, paper or plastic. That has definitely deterred me away from them, and encourages me to use my reusable bags more often. This challenge wasn't that much of a change for my normal routine, however doing it reminded me to stay consistent and reflect on why limiting plastic use is so important.

    • Katherine Cushing's avatar
      Katherine Cushing 10/31/2022 12:04 PM
      I have been meaning to buy metal straws to use at home, I agree that the paper straws start to dissolve so quick but I should probably opt for those anyway. I think that the 5 cent charge for bags was a great idea, because it is such a small amount if you do need the bag but it does offer some incentive. 

  • Sydney Brown's avatar
    Sydney Brown 10/19/2022 10:46 PM
    This week I decided to eat more vegan and vegetarian meals. This challenge also relates to my eco change project, so I have been trying to be intentional with everything I eat. I made tacos with impossible meat, vegetarian breakfast scrambles, tofu bowls and many more. I wasn't able to get through the whole week of making meals before posting this, however I will continue to eat at least 2 vegetarian and vegan meals a day. I hope this will help my wellbeing as well as reduce my carbon footprint when consuming more sustainable foods. It's been easy to incorporate this change into my life, so I hope it continues.

  • Sydney Brown's avatar
    Sydney Brown 10/12/2022 10:25 PM
    For my challenge this week, I decided to spend at least 5 minutes a day outside, reconnecting with the earth. Some days I would sit and meditate in silence, and others, I took my sustainability journal with me and wrote about the nature around and what it has been like doing this challenge. I would walk to my local park and just sit. It's been really warm for October, which had me thinking a lot about climate change. 
    With adulthood, there comes a lot of time occupied by the busyness of everyday life. It's hard to remember to take time to slow down, breathe and enjoy the world around me. Being able to take time for myself and dedicating time to being outside really helped me feel grounded and appreciate my being here. My schedule is pretty busy, but I would definitely want to incorporate this practice in my life more often, dedicating time spent without any distractions outside at least once a week.

    • Katherine Cushing's avatar
      Katherine Cushing 10/15/2022 1:39 PM
      Hi Sydney,
      I also did this ecochallenge. Did you go to the same spot everyday? I usually went to the park blocks on days that I was on campus, or anywhere that felt peaceful during the day. I really like the idea of a sustainability journal, I think that is an innovative way to get more out of this challenge. 

  • Sydney Brown's avatar
    Sydney Brown 10/05/2022 12:52 PM
    I decided to combine my challenges, by starting a sustainability journal and talking to at least 5 people about sustainability. In my journal, I took notes on what sustainability is and means to the people I asked. Most people referenced clean practices they partake in such as eating vegan and commuting in the city and they also talked about the reason why climate change is so important to focus on, especially in the state of the world today. I also wrote ways in which I can try to achieve sustainability daily, as well as expanding on my original idea of what sustainability is. I am hoping to incorporate at least one sustainable activity a week in order to create healthy habits that could help reduce my carbon footprint overall. After doing these challenges, I feel more inspired to have open conversations about the importance of sustainability with those around me as well as to keep journaling about what I am learning and doing in order to impact climate change. It has really helped me reflect on my daily practices and wellbeing.

    • Julia Benevich's avatar
      Julia Benevich 10/05/2022 9:32 PM
      I think the idea of a sustainability journal sounds super fun and interesting. Especially since you were able to incorporate the conversations you had with other people into your writing. I feel like this might be something I want to try because it would be interesting to track my progress from the start of this course to the end of this course, and it would be cool to see how my own idea of sustainability evolves over time. It can be super hard to be vulnerable, especially when it comes to such big and important topics like sustainability, so I think it's great that you had such open conversations with the people around you and that you will continue to do so as well!

    • Grace Lawrence's avatar
      Grace Lawrence 10/05/2022 6:43 PM
      Hi Sydney! I think this is an awesome challenge to take on, as most people are aware that they need to make changes to their habits, but rarely do people create discourse around the topic - which ultimately urges accountability. I admire that you chose to speak to people about the topic in general, as lots of people can misconstrue the intentions of those who bring sustainability into conversation - it takes a bold individual to make way for the topic in conversations!