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October 5 - October 26, 2022
Arturo C Romua, Jr.'s avatar

Arturo C Romua, Jr.

SAGE EcoLogicals

"To be an environmental steward is to enjoy and protect what is and what will be, while inspiring others to do the same "

Points Total

  • 0 Today
  • 0 This Week
  • 1,956 Total

Participant Impact

  • up to
    39
    meatless or vegan meals
    consumed
  • up to
    1,535
    minutes
    not spent in front of a screen
  • up to
    5.0
    pounds
    waste avoided
  • up to
    440
    gallons of water
    have been saved
  • up to
    1.0
    water footprints
    calculated
  • up to
    20
    donations
    made
  • up to
    2.0
    hours
    volunteered
  • up to
    1.0
    community events
    hosted or attended
  • up to
    2.0
    documentaries
    watched
  • up to
    1,535
    minutes
    spent outdoors
  • up to
    1,970
    minutes
    spent learning

Arturo C's Actions

Enacting Equity

Watch a Documentary about Racial Injustice

I will watch 1 documentaries about racism and racial injustice.

Completed
One-Time Action

Enacting Equity

Learn something new from the NJDEP website

Expand your DEP knowledge horizon! Spend at least 15 minutes learning about a Popular Topic, Program Area (other than your own) or other Initiative from the NJDEP website

Completed
One-Time Action

Enacting Equity

Learn About Trans, Femme, and Nonbinary Experiences

I will spend 30 minutes learning about the experiences of trans, femme, and/or nonbinary people.

Completed
One-Time Action

Enacting Equity

Shop at BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, Disabled, & Women-Led Businesses!

I will shop at a small business owned or staffed by underrepresented members of my community.

Completed
One-Time Action

Balancing Consumption

What is Sustainable Fashion?

I will spend 20 minutes learning about sustainable fashion and adopt at least one sustainable fashion practice.

Completed
One-Time Action

Balancing Consumption

Repair a Broken Item

I will repair at least one item that is broken, but is repairable. This might be items like garden tools, sewing machine, small appliances, electronics, clothing, and more.

Completed
One-Time Action

Nourishing Food

What is My Food Supply Chain?

I will spend 30 minutes learning about my food supply chains, and complete a food waste audit.

Completed
One-Time Action

Nourishing Food

Watch a Documentary about Food Sovereignty

I will watch 1 documentary(ies) about food sovereignty: the right of local peoples to control their own food systems including markets, ecological resources, food cultures and production methods.

Completed
One-Time Action

Nourishing Food

Donate Food

I will find out what food programs are in my area and donate food and/or other items that they request.

Completed
One-Time Action

Regenerating Nature

Calculate My Water Footprint

I will calculate my water footprint and look for a few ways I can reduce consumption or waste.

Completed
One-Time Action

Nourishing Food

Forest-Friendly Foods

I will spend 15 minutes learning about palm oil, coffee, cocoa, and other products known to contribute to deforestation, and replace or remove them.

Completed
One-Time Action

Enacting Equity

Research Indigenous & First Nations Communities

I will spend 30 learning about the past and present indigenous or first nation communities in my regions impacted by colonization, and what I can do to be supportive.

Completed
One-Time Action

Balancing Consumption

Know My Waste & Recycling Services

I will spend 15 minutes finding out how to recycle in my region, where landfills and/or waste sites are situated in my region, and which communities are most impacted by these sites.

Completed
One-Time Action

Nourishing Food

Eat Plant-Based Meals

I will enjoy 1 meatless meal(s) and/or 1 vegan meal(s) each day this week.

COMPLETED 22
DAILY ACTIONS

Nourishing Food

Listen to a Food Podcast

I will spend 30 minutes listening to a podcast about food.

COMPLETED 22
DAILY ACTIONS

Regenerating Nature

Support Local Pollinators

At least 30% of crops and 90% of flowering plants rely on pollinators to produce fruit. I will spend 30 minutes researching which plants support local pollinators and plant a few in my area.

Completed
One-Time Action

Regenerating Nature

Take Shorter Showers

I will save up to 20 gallons (75 L) of water each day by taking 5-minute or less showers. Tip: Use a timer to practice or count to 60 a few times.

COMPLETED 22
DAILY ACTIONS

Regenerating Nature

Listen to a Nature Podcast

I will spend 15 minutes listening to a podcast about nature.

COMPLETED 22
DAILY ACTIONS

Regenerating Nature

Spend Time Outside

I will replace 30 minute(s) per day typically spent inside and often with electronics with quality time outside walking, exercising, enjoying the sunrise/sunset, gardening, journaling, observing nature, or practicing gratitude for nature.

COMPLETED 22
DAILY ACTIONS

Regenerating Nature

Volunteer in My Community

I will volunteer 3 hour(s) for a nature-based event or another opportunity to support my community.

Completed
One-Time Action

Feed


  • Arturo C Romua, Jr.'s avatar
    Arturo C Romua, Jr. 10/26/2022 6:52 PM
    Thankful for this EcoChallenge. It's given me new way of thinking about many different subjects ranging from my carbon/water footprints, food supply chain, minority in business and leadership, racism, eco anxiety, vegetarianism/veganism, nutrition, community building, and many more. Looking for to the next. Cheers.
  • Reflection Question
    Nourishing Food What is My Food Supply Chain?
    What was the most surprising part of your food supply chain? Are there any problem areas that you are able to fix?

    Arturo C Romua, Jr.'s avatar
    Arturo C Romua, Jr. 10/26/2022 10:00 AM
    As we all felt (and continue to feel) during the onset of the pandemic, the disruption of our food supply chain has led to decreased product availability and increased prices. Other disruptions that we can relate to [ranging from political instability to weather events] certainly have also impacted the integrity of our local and global food supply chains.

    I shop at my local Lidl in Woodbridge, NJ and what I appreciate most about them is their pledge to a more sustainable future through their quality standards, third-party certifications, and more.  I look online and I could not locate where food is sourced from immediately, so in terms of areas to improve on, increasing transparency on where produce, seafood, poultry, etc. come from from would be great. I think communicating with Lidl and asking for such transparency will allow us consumers to have peace of mind knowing where and how are food are sourced from. This transparency should be a standard across all corporations.

    As practical, what we can do as consumers is be informed. We can support local farmers markets. We can grow food in our yards or patios. We can support food coops which supports environmental and social initiatives. 

    • Mary Hanks's avatar
      Mary Hanks 10/26/2022 12:06 PM
      Arturo, thank you for shopping at a responsible retailer! I love that they explained the third-party certifications. 

    • Arturo C Romua, Jr.'s avatar
      Arturo C Romua, Jr. 10/26/2022 10:03 AM
      Below is the link to Lidl's commitment to "A Better Tomorrow" 

      https://www.lidl.com/sustainability

  • Arturo C Romua, Jr.'s avatar
    Arturo C Romua, Jr. 10/26/2022 5:09 AM
    There's an initiative that my workplace is supporting called Trick or Trash, where candy wrappers are collected, diverted from landfills, and instead recreated into doggy bags for local animal shelters. It's a simple act of recycling that has compounding impacts. I think the lesson learned here is that we as humans can be creative with the way we discard our items. It's the mindset that says I will turn this into that, instead of just completely throwing something away into the trash. Clearly, there is room for improvement.

    What I would like to see in the future are compostable candy wrappers. Even better, edible candy wrappers! I believe we as a society are capable of creating such a change that would reduce/mitigate our anthropogenic impacts. Makes me wonder what the future holds for these candy companies, from an environmental standpoint.

    P.S. here's my Trick or Trash process so far :)


    • Mary Hanks's avatar
      Mary Hanks 10/26/2022 12:27 PM
      Arturo, one of the many things that I learned during this Ecochallenge is that there is a company that has a mail-in recycling program for candy wrappers. It's kind of expensive for an individual, but free for schools, churches, and similar groups. Details at rubicon.com.
  • Reflection Question
    Balancing Consumption Know My Waste & Recycling Services
    What did you find surprising or hopeful in your research?

    Arturo C Romua, Jr.'s avatar
    Arturo C Romua, Jr. 10/25/2022 5:02 PM
    Through birding, I've been able to learn more about different places within Middlesex County, and I had no idea there's an active nonhazardous solid waste landfill in the county! Middlesex County Landfill (MCL) was opened in 1992. Just like other landfills, MCL has a methane recovery system, which reuses and converts the greenhouse gas into electricity.  Leachate is also recovered and treated in the Wastewater Treatment Plant in Sayreville. It won't be long until we reach 2024-- the expected end date of the landfill. But then what? Nothing truly goes "away" which begs the question of how we can better manage our resources.

    It was interesting to note that the average person in Middlesex County generates ~11 pounds of waste per day.  The challenge is upon us to create a long-term solution to our waste. We have yet to address single-use plastics, which I think will continue to be a pressing problem for this generation and the next. We need to make investments away from single-use plastics, and we need top-down leadership in addition to bottom-up leadership. Are we up for the challenge?
  • Reflection Question
    Enacting Equity Watch a Documentary about Racial Injustice
    What did you learn about racial injustice in the documentary(ies) you watched? How does what you learned connect to your understanding of sustainability?

    Arturo C Romua, Jr.'s avatar
    Arturo C Romua, Jr. 10/25/2022 9:36 AM
    I watched the non-fiction film called 13th by Ava DuVernay. The subject is the 13th Amendment that makes it unconstitutional for someone to be held as a slave, with the exception of criminals. Where are we today when it comes to slavery and racial injustice? This is a powerful and thought-provoking message that challenges us to come up with solutions (although not an easy undertaking) to systemic racism

    Is this a subject that we're continuing to address in our workforce? In our educational systems? In our day-to-day lives? We have a long way to go in order for us to live in a world where people "will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

  • Arturo C Romua, Jr.'s avatar
    Arturo C Romua, Jr. 10/25/2022 8:24 AM
    The Ultimate Health Podcast was my listen this morning. They make learning about food and nutrition interesting. For instance, I was reminded that magnesium supports muscle relaxation (especially if taken in the evening). It opens up the arteries, lowers blood pressure, and regulates blood sugar. Examples of magnesium-rich food include leafy greens such as kale and spinach, legumes such as lima and black beans, bananas, and even dark chocolate! I love learning about these foods as a way to enhance the human system. Away from western medicine and more towards food-derived medicine, as appropriate. 
  • Reflection Question
    Enacting Equity Research Indigenous & First Nations Communities
    Indigenous speaker and activist Winona LaDuke says that, “most indigenous ceremonies, if you look to their essence, are about the restoration of balance — they are a reaffirmation of our relationship to creation. That is our intent: to restore, and then to retain balance and honor our part in creation.” Why is balance important to sustainability? If you identify with or are a member of an indigenous community, how does your community practice sustainability?

    Arturo C Romua, Jr.'s avatar
    Arturo C Romua, Jr. 10/24/2022 10:47 AM
    Sustainability entails the balance of the three pillars being ecology, economics and equity. Modern knowledge and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) or indigenous perspective are both important sustainability factors, as we move the needle in a forward direction. We need to understand the past as we make decisions that impact our present and future.

    This makes me to think of the Eric Sanderson's book entitled Mannahatta: A Natural History of New York City, which gave us an understanding of how the borough of Manhattan looked like 400 years ago and how it can look like moving forward. As we know today, Manhattan is a business capital defined by buildings, roads, tunnels, and other human infrastructure. 

    When I think about the future of Manhattan, I think about a more integrated environment, where people and nature are intertwined. This element of integration entails malleable/flexible thinking where cultural representation is about the unity of new and old perspectives. 

    Researchers, government entities, academia, non-profit organization, the local community, and indigenous communities should all be involved in the decision-making process from subjects ranging from conservation, climate change, housing, employment, education, etc. Integration is when the sum can greater than its parts. That is when change is meaningful in our society. 

  • Reflection Question
    Nourishing Food Forest-Friendly Foods
    How did you figure out ways to remove foods that are not forest-friendly?

    Arturo C Romua, Jr.'s avatar
    Arturo C Romua, Jr. 10/24/2022 5:59 AM
    Completely removing food that are not forest-friendly are difficult, if not impossible, in the way our current food systems are. It is important to note ecolabels which entail a higher set of standards. Our decisions to consume should be informed not only by the face value of ecolabels (or  generally labels for that matter) but by doing our own research as to who the vendors are and where/how the products are sourced. Consumer products ought to be traceable (from cradle to grave). There should also be a non-biased governing body (or bodies) that oversees the certification/recertification process and challenges the status quo.

    The use of shade-coffee certification, for example, is not enough to justify sustainable cultivation [and purchase] of coffee. Shade-coffee, as the name suggests, entails coffee grown in the shade of an existing natural forest (without clearcutting) or a forest that has been partly converted for economic and ecologic diversification. Smithsonian bird-friendly coffee certification, to make a clear distinction, is shade-grown coffee that ensures preservation of bird and wildlife habitats, advocates for organic cultivation of coffee (fertilizer and pesticide-free), and provides fair compensation for workers. Purchase of products with this robust bird-friendly certification, for instance, certainly suggests environmental stewardship. 

    In addition to forest-friendly food, we should also look at ocean based certifications such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification which ensures that fish are harvested in a manner that is not exhaustive and allows repopulation to take place. MSC standards should also undergo routine re-assessment to make sure their sustainability commitments are strengthened.
  • Reflection Question
    Regenerating Nature Volunteer in My Community
    What event did you volunteer for and what was the experience like for you?

    Arturo C Romua, Jr.'s avatar
    Arturo C Romua, Jr. 10/24/2022 5:35 AM
    I did a shoreline clean up at Conference House Park, Staten Island, NY. It was an event organized by the NYC Parks Department. I'm data oriented so I downloaded the Ocean Conservancy's Clean Swell app to characterized and quantify the trash collected.

    Over the span of the cleanup, the top five most prevalent trash items collected were food wrappers (25), plastic bottle caps (16), plastic straws/stirrers (10), plastic/foam pieces (9), and gloves and masks (9)—equating to 15.52 lbs.

    Volunteering is so unique because people who participate have different driving forces. I went not only to meet the EcoChallenge, but also because I enjoy beach combing and wildlife viewing. One person I spoke with, Natalie, says that Conference House Park (and the shoreline) has been a refuge for her and her family for three generations now. Therefore, she had a responsibility to be a steward of the space.

    No matter what our motivations are to volunteer, we should always be grounded by our core values, attitudes, and consequent actions. This is our civic identity after all.

  • Arturo C Romua, Jr.'s avatar
    Arturo C Romua, Jr. 10/23/2022 9:54 AM
    Happy to have spent some time birding in the Coney Island Beach area and exploring the grounds of the NY Aquarium. Enjoyed learning about fish, sharks, cephalopods, penguins, seals, sea lions.

    Also, I saw designated parking spots for fuel-efficient and low-emitting vehicles. I hope to see charging stations in the future as the NY Aquarium and other Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) locations continue to evolve...from a clean-energy standpoint.