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Maya Kato's avatar

Maya Kato

Capstone winter 23


  • 0 TODAY
  • 270 TOTAL

participant impact

  • UP TO
    traveled by foot
  • UP TO
    pounds of CO2
    have been saved
  • UP TO
    plastic bottles
    not sent to the landfill
  • UP TO

Maya's actions

Visions of Sustainability

Eco-friendly Gardening

I will plant native species, landscape with water-efficient plants, and use eco-friendly fertilizers.


Consumption and Economy

Track my Purchases

I will maintain a record of all my purchases.



Walk Instead

I will walk 1 mile(s) each day this week instead of driving and avoid sending up to 6.25 lbs of CO2 into Earth's atmosphere.



Volunteer in my Community

I will volunteer 2 hour(s) in my community this week.



Use Reusable Bottles

I will use a reusable bottle and stop purchasing bottled water, saving 2 disposable plastic bottle(s) each day this week.



Weekly Meal Planning

I will reduce food waste and save money by planning a weekly menu, only buying the ingredients I need.


Ecological Principles

Recycle Everything I Can

I will recycle all materials that are accepted by local haulers or drop stations in my community this week.


A Call to Sustainability

Explore My Area

I will explore at least one new hiking trail or nature walk in my area.


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?

  • Maya Kato's avatar
    Maya Kato 3/02/2023 1:10 PM
    This week I decided to track my purchases. I chose this Eco Challenge because my spendings are essentially the hard data that indicate a lot about my lifestyle and sustainable (or not sustainable) habits. My bank has a "Spending & Budgeting" option which breaks my spending into categories. In the month of February, I spent nearly half of my total monthly spending on rent/utilities. The next largest category was travel and food, which were about equal. I went to New York which had economic and environmental impacts. Obviously, the flight to New York was probably the most environmentally unfriendly thing I did in February; with 1.11 metric tons of CO2 emissions for my round trip flight. Yikes! It's pretty eye opening looking at my expenses and then checking my flight's carbon footprint emissions. I went to New York to support a friend's hard work as she launched her business and I wouldn't change my decision in doing that, but it's still crazy to realize the impacts of my life choices. The other shocking expense was how much I spent on food. I will admit I haven't been cooking as much this quarter due to stress and laziness quite honestly, so this high expense makes sense, but it's still a hard reality to digest. The rest of my spendings were miscellaneous like pet care and personal care. Honestly, this exercise is kind of disheartening because it made me realize I'm not as sustainable as I think I am, but I will say that it was important for me to realize that. Hopefully I will be more conscious of my spendings in March, now that I realize how much it says about my sustainable practices.

  • Maya Kato's avatar
    Maya Kato 2/22/2023 5:13 PM
    This week, I decided to not use my car unless absolutely necessary. I live in a very walkable neighborhood with a grocery store, restaurants and parks nearby. Since I work from home and only go into school once a week for this class, I really don't need to leave my neighborhood that much. I've always valued that aspect of where I live, but I've never consciously put it into action for a full week. I like exploring new neighborhoods, restaurants and things to do throughout Portland, but there are still so many spots I haven't checked out nearby. So I'm glad that I'm taking this opportunity to change that. It's cool embracing walks around in my neighborhood and living a more local and simple life. It's made me realize that maybe I overcomplicate things a bit looking elsewhere, when the answer might be right in front of me, or walking distance :)

    • Sean Reyes's avatar
      Sean Reyes 2/26/2023 6:54 PM
      Well done! I'm jealous that you live in a walkable neighborhood! My wife and I lived in a similar neighborhood, but now we live in an area where we are completely dependent on our cars. I miss being able to walk to New Seasons or our favorite burrito joint. I'm glad you've enjoyed your experience!

    • Ashley Landis's avatar
      Ashley Landis 2/22/2023 6:27 PM
      That is such a good point Maya! It is sometimes easy to overlook what is nearest to you, even though it's just as new as somewhere else. I'm jealous you live in such a great sounding neighborhood. :)

  • Maya Kato's avatar
    Maya Kato 2/19/2023 12:34 PM
    Yesterday Kailyn and I volunteered at Sunflower Farm. I didn't get to attend the field trip there, so I'm glad I still got to visit and help out. It felt really good getting out of the house and moving my body, even though I've been wanting to stay inside and rest after a trip away and feeling a bit under the weather/unmotivated. I'm so glad I pushed myself to get out there and fulfill my community engagement requirement for this course. Donna was really lovely to work with and I'm excited to go back later in the season to see the garden in bloom. We mainly focused on prepping the front garden for spring; cutting back plants, weeding, adding wood chips to level out the garden, cleaning up debris and wheel barreling it to a large compost pile in the back of the property and covering the garden with a generous layer of compost. I was mostly wheel barreling garden debris and compost the whole time, finding a good rhythm and enjoying the cycle of it. After we got a tour and I got to see the ducks and chickens (and Donna's dog Millie) which were so cute and happy! Donna also showed us her seedlings in a room she had recently insulated so it was very warm and the seedlings were happy getting 16 hours of grow lights. I'm really glad I got to help out the community and a local farm and best of all, have fun doing it. It was a really rewarding experience and I'm inspired to keep doing it and helping others.

  • Maya Kato's avatar
    Maya Kato 2/08/2023 3:45 PM
    This week I decided to focus on reducing my disposable water bottle intake. I mostly do this already and love bringing my insulated water bottle with me everywhere - but I do still purchase water bottles if I am at a concert or event that doesn't allow you to bring liquid inside. I find it annoying having to buy water bottles in these situations because of the plastic waste and paying for water can seem silly if there's a water fountain in the venue. When I was at a Blazers game a few weeks ago, I was reminded of my sister who uses foldable water bottles for backpacking. Hers are essentially more of a water bag with a drink lid on it, but I found one online that is silicone and folds down pretty small. I think investing in one of these would be smart because I drink a lot of water so it would save plastic, money and time waiting in line at those types of events. I also love drinking sparkling water so I go through a lot of aluminum cans which isn't very sustainable. I've considered buying a Soda Stream and making my own, but I will say I love the classic lime, lemon and grapefruit flavors that I'm not sure I would be able to recreate at home. It's definitely worth looking into more and seeing if I can make or buy a tincture that's similar to store bought soda waters.

    • Sean Reyes's avatar
      Sean Reyes 2/12/2023 8:59 PM
      I love the idea of using a foldable water bottle to take to events instead of buying bottled water! I may have to use that as well! Something that helped me not use plastic bottles day-to-day was the fact that I love chilled water, so getting an insulated stainless steel bottle was mostly to keep me in the ice water. But the unintened effect was I don't buy plastic bottles anymore.

  • Maya Kato's avatar
    Maya Kato 1/31/2023 7:52 PM
    This week I decided to plan my grocery list with ingredients that I could use in several different meals. Writing out my grocery list is not something new to me, but I have noticed a tendency for produce to go to waste if I'm only using it for one recipe and it comes in large quantities at the grocery store (i.e. parsley, cilantro, green onions). Ideally, it would be great to grow my own herbs so that I could only pick what I need, but I haven't figured out a good indoor herb growing method for the winter. If you have any ideas let me know! So thinking about the ingredients that I've witnessed go to waste time and time again, I created a meal plan that used the usual wasted culprits in at least two or more recipes. This way, I can guarantee that produce will be used up before going bad. I also learned about this app called SuperCook which allows you to input your ingredients to find recipes that will use them up so they don't have to go to waste. I think this is a great idea because sometimes I have random food items sitting in my fridge that I'm not sure what to do with. I'm looking forward to trying out the app when I approach the end of my meals/grocery list and see what it suggests!

    • Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza's avatar
      Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza 2/01/2023 12:39 PM
      Never heard of that app but I am not looking into downloading it. I often don't know what I can do with the ingredients I have at home. I also have never written a grocery list, I usually remember what I need to get. What grocery store(s) are you going to? I know what some store sell things in bulk so maybe trying a different store might help.

    • Jamie Phillips's avatar
      Jamie Phillips 2/01/2023 11:00 AM
      I really love this idea. It not only reduces your waste, but saves you money and trips to the grocery store!

  • Maya Kato's avatar
    Maya Kato 1/26/2023 12:53 PM
    This week I decided to focus on intentional recycling. I'm usually pretty good about this, but I do notice my boyfriend will sometimes put things in the wrong bin. I'm trying to emphasize sustainability and proper recycling more now, but he can still make mistakes so I find myself sorting things out a bit better before trash day. While sustainability is something I enjoy prioritizing, it's not something he thinks about as often so I'm trying to figure out ways to make it easier or more streamlined. We have an aluminum compost bin on our kitchen counter which we put food scraps in. Since it's easily accessible, there's rarely any sorting I have to do there, but sometimes we do put meat bones in it, which I will have to stop doing if I plan to make my own compost. I think why most of the improper recycling occurs is because our trash and our recycling are in different places. The trash is in our laundry room because it's bigger and that's where it fits best and our recycling bin is smaller so it fits under the sink. If we had them in the same space, I think it would make it easier to properly sort trash versus recycling. I might try it out and see if it helps, but for now - it's not a huge issue for me to sort if I notice something is in the wrong place.

  • Maya Kato's avatar
    Maya Kato 1/21/2023 12:20 PM
    I went to Cathedral Park this week to walk my dog. It's one of my favorite parks in Portland and I enjoy spending time there in different parts of year. The winter is much more quiet than the summer and there is a sense of stillness. I walked down to the boat ramp and watched the fog peek out behind the trees of Forest Park. I had never noticed the Love sign before so I was happy to discover something new. My dog and I were the only ones on the dock, so we hung out there for a while, enjoying the lights on the ship reflect in the water. After, we walked over to the City of Portland Water Pollution Control Laboratory. It's a nice area to explore because there's a rain garden and interesting sculptures. I'm curious to learn more about what the lab does to prevent water pollution. As I left the park I felt very relaxed - thankful that I spent some time outside in a place I love. I also saw some bikers doing loops around the grass and it made me wonder if they were training for some kind of race or event. They reminded me that it would fun to ride to Cathedral Park from my house because there's a good bike route. Maybe I'll try that next time!

    • Natalie Shough's avatar
      Natalie Shough 1/23/2023 3:11 PM
      This was a really nice post to read. I love all of your observations and how you took a moment to enjoy your time outside. I think we college students move too fast at times and we would benefit if we just took time to go somewhere nice and enjoy our surroundings more!