Spring Semester Kick-Off

Hello SproutUp Friends and Family,

With both NYU and CU having already begun their Spring Semester, you know what that means… lessons will be starting soon!

On top of that, some very exciting news, we are starting in three new schools and therefore will be employing more volunteers than ever before! Today was the last day for interviews at both chapters but if you are still interested there are plenty of opportunities to be involved in the chapter beyond teaching, please contact programcu@sproutup.org, or programnyc@sproutup.org (depending on your school) or fiona@sproutup.org for more information.

Also, since it is fingerprinting and materials buying season, we would greatly appreciate your support. If you love the work we do, please visit our donation page and consider helping us fund the coming semester. Thank you 🌱

Hey kids, do try these at home; let’s start of the semester right, here are some tips for you to try, to help preserve the environment, that you can do easily from the comfort of home, work or on the go!

  1. Get amazon to stop sending you all that pesky plastic: Amazon can be a great tool for students to get books last minute or to get your favorite products, or more eco-friendly versions of them, that may be hard to find in stores near you. It also allows small businesses to be part of the global market by giving them a platform. However, the film plastic that is used to protect packages is often hard to recycle depending on where you live and regardless of if you can, recycling cannot be done forever. Film plastic is near the end of its recyclability and can only be recycled a few times before they are no longer recycleable. You can email amazon at cs-reply@amazon.com and request a note be left on your profile that indicates you do not want added plastic bubble wrap or foam peanuts/pillows to your order. You can also shop the “frustration free” packaging section of Amazon where you will find things like toys, headphones, batteries etc all without that annoying and hard to open plastic. And of course, reuse, recycle or compost their cardboard boxes and paper tape.
  2. Switch meat and dairy for plant-based foods whenever possible: More than 70 percent of the earth’s fresh water is used in agriculture of plants and animals: it takes 100 to 200 times more water to produce a pound of beef than it does to grow a pound of plant foods. The United Nations has reported that the livestock sector is most likely the largest source of water pollution and CO2 emissions. So, skipping the meat may have more of a positive planetary impact than turning off the water while brushing your teeth or taking a shorter shower! Consuming seafood is also an issue, as we face problems with overfishing, habitat damage, and species endangerment. Not only that but hundreds of millions of people around the world are currently suffering from hunger and malnutrition, and yet 70 percent of the grain grown in the United States is fed to livestock (see U.S. Could Feed 800 Million People With Grain That Livestock Eat, Cornell Ecologist Advises Animal Scientists). Even animals in poorer countries are fed cereal, as well as legumes and vegetables, in order to produce meat and dairy. All in all, more than 700 million tons of human-grade food goes into animal agriculture each year, and we don’t get the caloric or nutritional return from eating the animals after years of feeding them. To summarize, check out: “The Impacts of Dietary Change on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Land Use, Water Use, and Health: A Systematic Review“. To top it all off, even if you buy plant foods that aren’t super local, though doing that whenever possible is also very good, you are still producing a much lower environmental impact than buying local meat. When gauging the carbon footprint of food, transportation (or how ‘”local” the food is) is only 11 percent of the equation, while production is a stunning 83 percent (See Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States). Remember it’s important you don’t let yourself get overwhelmed, if you do decide to change your diet, going slow product-by-product or doing a one animal-free meal a day to start is a-okay 🙂
  3. Know the alternatives to plastics: We know you probably know the old “use reusable water bottles!” and if you’re new that’s a great way to start. But maybe you’re thinking it’s time to up your game and start using glass, paper or cloth instead of plastic whenever possible. Neither glass nor conventional plastic are biodegradable, however only 6% of plastic is actually recycled in the US and at that it can only be recycled a few times before it is no longer recyclable. Glass on the other hand can be recycled just about infinitely without any degradation of quality or safety for humans. Not only that, but haven’t you noticed things taste better in glass? It’s not your imagination. Plastic leaches chemicals into your food and can’t be washed at the high temperatures glass can, thus killing bacteria, without losing quality or shape. Here is a link to a cool article about the different options to use instead of plastics!

Have you tried any of the above? Interested in environmentally conscious living, low/zero-waste, vegan/vegetarian/reducitartian eating, and/or community engagement or something else we haven’t mentioned? Having a hard time or don’t know where to start? Just really love nature, science, education or social justice? Let us know in the comments or send us a draft article and we’ll work to get it published! The Sprout Up NYC community is one that loves active engagement and we want to hear from you. 🙂

For questions, comments, concerns, ideas, article drafts, and/or miscellaneous tidbits:

Please feel free to contact: fiona@sproutup.org

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