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Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza's avatar

Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza

Capstone winter 23


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  • 81 TOTAL

Osvaldo'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.



Research Better Transportation

I will research one of the solutions presented in this week's session on Transportation and see if there are any groups in my community already doing this work.



Sign a Petition

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



Watch The Story of Bottled Water

I will watch The Story of Bottled Water to learn more about bottled water's impacts on the environment.



Watch a Documentary

I will watch a documentary film about food with family and friends and talk about what we learned.


Ecological Principles

Support Pollution Reduction

I will learn about water and air quality issues in my area, how they are impacting human and environmental health, and how I can help.


A Call to Sustainability

Sign a Petition

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



Use Public Transit

I will use public transit 10 mile(s) each day this week and avoid sending up to 0.0 lbs of CO2 into Earth's atmosphere.


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?

  • Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza's avatar
    Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza 3/09/2023 1:47 PM
    Week 8: Energy Assessment
    For this week, I decided to do an energy assessment on my home and family. I filled out some questions relating to our energy bill, also out driving habits, and waste management. I also had to fill out some questions about some possible changes I could make to decrease my energy usage, such as replacing light bulbs, or driving less. My results ended up being that we make around 30k CO2 emissions, per year I assume, while the national average was 67k. I’m not sure if I might have not filled out the form correctly, I was kind of confused on the wording of some of the questions. I also wasn’t sure if I should answer the questions in reference to my entire family, because it asked how many miles we drive, but I don’t drive at all nor do I need to be driven most of the time. I doubt my parents also keep up with how many miles they drive, so I just used national averages. My main benefit from this challenge is that I learned that I should use cold water for washing clothes. I never really thought about temperature when it came to laundry. I mainly was reminded of the reading we looked at last week that explained how sustainable living didn’t mean having an isolated lifestyle or sacrificing modern goods. There are smarter ways to live that don’t mean living like a caveman.

    Link to website I used:

  • Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza's avatar
    Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza 3/01/2023 12:20 PM
    Eco-Challenge # 7: Support Local Businesses
    For this week’s eco-challenge, I decided to buy things from local businesses instead of buying online. Instead of buying art supplies from Amazon, as I’ve been doing for the last couple of years, I went to my nearest art supply store. The store is called Artist and Craftsman Supply located on N Lombard St. There is another location in the SE, but I’ve never been to it. I used to go to the North location a lot but then I started getting busy with classes and I thought it would be easier to order my supplies instead to save time. I used to go there a lot since it was on my bus ride home. However, it is easier to explore online since you don’t have to worry about spending too much time in an aisle or don’t end up buying more things than you wanted.
    This challenge related to the qualities of sustainability that were mentioned in the class. “Resilience” being one of them, I had to resist being lazy and had to get on a bus to go to the store.
    The challenge went well, I got the things I needed. There was the difficulty of taking the piece of paper I bought, it was around 30x20 inches big and I couldn’t fold it so I had to get it rolled up. I also got a feel for the materials I was buying, and that can be very important with art materials. Buying something that isn’t comfortable to use or isn’t a good size is one of the downsides to buying something new online. That is probably the benefit of this challenge, to be able to get a feel for what I want. I’ll try to go to the store instead of online shopping in the future, but there may be times when the supplies I need are not sold in stores or the USA for that matter.

  • Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza's avatar
    Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza 2/22/2023 12:30 PM
    Eco-Challenge #6: Transportation
    For this eco-challenge, I have decided to research one of the transportation solutions the session talks about. One of the solutions that the session talks about are bikes, specifically, bike lanes. The readings give examples of bike lanes being implemented in Illinois and how they had a positive impact on traffic congestion. Also, it is much easier to take in the view of the city by going at a slower speed than a car. It even managed to help local businesses because of these reasons, relating to the “Greening the ghetto” video which mentions that being green can be profitable.
    The group I researched that helps in getting more bike lanes in Portland is the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). Recently, they supposedly installed a protected bike lane downtown at SW Broadway and SW Harvey Milk St, and a couple of other blocks nearby. The bike lane beforehand was a bit more dangerous for cyclists because parked cars to the right of the lane could cover the lane with their doors. PBOT managed to switch the parking and bike lane so the bicyclists were closer to the curb, and made the lane a bright green color, along with other changes. PBOT also made it so that there is less space for cars to drive, hopefully, this can lower the number of cars on the street and increase the use of other modes of transportation such as buses, bikes, or walking.
    I did this research. I wanted to understand more about who implements the bike lanes because I remember that they just started appearing out of nowhere. Doing this challenge was not difficult, but trying to understand the PBOTs plan was a bit difficult because I don’t really remember any of the streets mentioned, but I think I have a grasp on the general area they worked on.

    Link to plan:,%2C%20cultural%2C%20and%20university%20district.

  • Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza's avatar
    Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza 2/15/2023 12:21 PM
    Challenge #5: Petition

    For this week's eco-challenge, I decided to sign a petition supporting a social initiative. The petition I signed was about banning the gay and trans panic defenses in Oregon. These defenses claim that assault, manslaughter, or murder were appropriate actions to take against someone who is gay and that made allegedly unwanted sexual advances. Similar to the trans panic defense, the defense states that assault, murder, and manslaughter are appropriate actions upon finding out that the person they were having sex with is trans. While I don’t study law, these defenses are harmful as they support people who take violent actions against someone because of their sexuality or gender. However, this is part of a more significant issue in a society where people view gay and trans people as predators, even though they participate in the same sexual activities as everyone else. I signed this because I would not want this defense to be used against me if I were ever assaulted.
    The textbook mentions how a world run by fear creates inhumane laws and creations. These defenses are just an example of them, the fear that someone who isn’t straight or cisgender having sex scares so many people, because of so many assumptions. The result is defenses that allow violent criminals from getting properly punished.
    This petition was a bit hard to understand, mainly because I was trying to understand how it would be applied in actual law. I believe that I have a decent understanding of it now though.
    I mainly wonder if banning these defenses would help or if it would cause people to try finding some loophole around it. Maybe banning these defenses is a step towards fighting a bigger issue, but we would still need to find some way of preventing these violent incidents from occurring at all.


    • Kailyn Mckeown's avatar
      Kailyn Mckeown 2/16/2023 11:12 AM
      Thank you for sharing this with the rest of us, including where we can also sign up. It's ridiculous the lengths people will go to harm the LGBTQ+ community, when more violent crimes come from cisgender males. While I don't believe something so blatant would ever hold up in court and actually get passed, the fact that it even exists is cause for real concern and should be dealt with in order to keep it from going any further. As far as your concern about people finding loopholes, I understand that anxiety and the possibility of it. There will probably always be a group of hateful people who will try to put others down, but there are more people who are willing to stand up against it, and I think focusing on this aspect and promoting inclusion and caretaking for one another will trump the haters. Again, thank you so much for sharing this, I will definitely be signing up as well!

  • Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza's avatar
    Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza 2/08/2023 1:36 PM
    Challenge #4 The Story of Water

    For this week's challenge, I decided to watch a short video about water bottles and how they have become a massive issue in our lives. The video talks about how bottled water companies try to push onto the public the idea that tap water is not clean and tastes worse when it is the other way around. Bottled water companies have also pushed cities against public water fountains, forcing the public to buy bottled water instead. However, that is not the biggest issue, many water bottles are not recycled, and are dumped into other countries instead, creating huge piles of water bottles and other plastic trash. I’ve always known that bottled water is not good for the environment, but I was hoping that this video would show me something I didn’t know. It did, I had no idea that bottled water was worse than tap water, and that most water bottles are not recycled at all.
    This video reminded me of the video we viewed a while back in this class where some poorer people in another country used bottled water as a light source for their homes, using the sun. It goes to show that recycling bottles or reusing them isn’t too difficult, and only requires effort.
    I face no obstacles doing this challenge. However, Portland water fountains need improvement. I find they sometimes don’t taste great and have very low water pressure, even at PSU which is probably an issue for some of the older buildings. The water at the Miller Library is horrendous. Nevertheless, I have benefited from this challenge because I am now more aware that putting items in recycling isn’t the best option. Instead, reusing items is a better alternative, that will keep less trash out of other countries' backyards.

    Link to video/website:

    • Maya Kato's avatar
      Maya Kato 2/08/2023 3:52 PM
      Hi Osvaldo. That's very interesting that bottled water isn't necessarily better than tap water. Definitely seems like a common misconception we believe through media and advertisements. I like that you brought up the video we watched where they reuse water bottles as light fixtures and that recycling isn't always the best option. I will try to think of creative ways to reuse these types of items versus instantly recycling them after one use. It also reminds me of the window garden video we watched where they cut water bottles and stack them over each other to grow plants efficiently.

  • Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza's avatar
    Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza 2/01/2023 12:00 PM
    Challenge #3: Documentary
    The documentary that I decided to watch was Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Project. The film was about how environmental organizations are usually fighting against typical issues such as fossil fuels and plastic usage. All of the organizations were ignoring the real issue which is livestock, primarily the resources needed to produce all the meat and dairy we consume. I was really surprised that this was a “thing” at all because it seems like it is now common knowledge that livestock is a big environmental issue. One of the biggest takeaways from this film that I learned was that overpopulation isn’t the primary issue, reducing the number of livestock we raise and kill would help the planet a lot more. I also had no idea that the Amazon forest was being destroyed so that the land could be used to grow food for livestock.
    I also watched the film with my brothers. They’re both much younger than I am such a lot that was said in the movie didn’t make much sense to them. However, one thing they found most intriguing was when the documentary shows Beyond meat, a meat alternative, and also vegan eggs. They were also kind of surprised by the scene where the man cuts a duck’s head off to be eaten. As the documentary states, not many children know where their food comes from. The Call to Sustainability book we’re reading, mentions how so many children don’t understand how vegetables grow and during what times. While my brothers might not have understood the specifics in the film, it gave them insight into what might have happened to get to the chicken nuggets they eat daily. The obstacle faced during this challenge was that my brothers didn’t understand everything being said, but I think they benefited from it because they’re more conscious about the fact that the meat they eat was from a butchered animal.

  • Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza's avatar
    Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza 1/25/2023 12:20 PM
    One of the bigger issues that we have had to face in Portland’s water supply is E. Coli, I even remember an outbreak in middle school in 2014. Everyone was either boiling their water or buying bottled water. While I wasn’t personally impacted as much as others, it did become drinking so many bottles of water, instead of tap. While bottled water wasn’t that expensive for us, it can be for so many other people, imagine an outbreak now considering that there are more houseless and low-income people. Luckily, Portland hasn’t had a big outbreak since, however, on December 1st of 2022 there was an increase of E. Coli which was two times the amount of the city's limit. E. Coli can be very dangerous to humans, causing intestinal and other issues. One of the reasons that E.Coli in water can rise is because of an increase of sewage dumped into the river. Although Willamette is not Portland’s main source of water, many people may swim or fish from there, still posing health risks. One way you can help is by making sure to pick up animal poop, only flushing the toilet for human waste and toilet paper, and not dumping anything into storm drains only meant for rainwater.

    As for air quality, it is a bigger issue than water, like most of the world. Due to wildfires over the summer, air quality has gotten worse and is sometimes dangerous for certain individuals. On top of that, most people drive for their day-to-day errands, leading to a lot of pollution in the air. These air pollutants can contribute to lung damage, cancer, and even asthma. The carbon dioxide from car exhaust fumes also contributes to climate change, which all around harms the environment. Something that almost anyone that drives can do, is using their car less, by walking, biking, or using public transport. I can personally try avoiding products that produce harmful fumes such as hair spray or oil paints.
    The information I have learned is related to coursework because we are constantly looking to change our daily habits and behaviors that can help reduce our environmental harm. Doing this research was relatively easy, I have already known of some of these issues beforehand.


    • David Santillanes's avatar
      David Santillanes 1/25/2023 9:36 PM
      I did not know Portland has E. coli outbreaks in the water system, I have just been living here for 4 years so this is something new to me. I know the pipes here are old and can release toxic corrosive chemicals into the drinking water. I guess contrary to popular belief here, maybe it's not such a good idea to drink the tap water even if it tastes good. Thank you for the information.

  • Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza's avatar
    Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza 1/18/2023 12:37 PM
    For this eco-challenge, I decided to sign a petition that focuses on environmental sustainability in Oregon. The petition worked towards banning and removing European beachgrass from the Oregon Coast. The main issue is that beachgrass alters the sand of the beach, it causes dunes which leads to harm to native animals and plants. Even though it is known that the beachgrass is harming the coast, city officials are still making plans to plant more European beachgrass along the coast. I chose to sign this petition because I have learned a lot about how invasive species can be detrimental to the ecosystem, while European beachgrass might not directly be impacting me now, it could create a lot of harm to those nearby in a couple of decades. This action reflects the course content because these grasses could lead to a lack of sustainability for people, profit, and the planet. People may eventually not be able to access the beach because of the sand dunes, leading to a loss of profit, all because of the ruining of the terrain of the coast. I faced no obstacles with this action, it was relatively easy, but I benefited by learning more about how willing officials are to plant invasive species.

    • Stacey Alcott's avatar
      Stacey Alcott 1/30/2023 7:09 PM
      Thanks Osvaldo, for posting the link!!!

    • Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza's avatar
      Osvaldo Rios-Sabalza 1/21/2023 5:56 PM

    • Stacey Alcott's avatar
      Stacey Alcott 1/20/2023 9:27 PM
      Yes, please post a link so we can sign it! Thank you for signing it and sharing about it.