What Am I Doing?

Location: Boston Logan International Airport

Welcome to From Brown to Green! This is a project I’ve been working on for several months and I’m incredibly excited to start sharing it.

During my time at Brown University (hence the title of this blog) I’ve become passionate about environmental policy and resource management, and I want to make decreasing my personal environmental impact a priority in my post-grad life. I’ve become increasingly aware of how wasteful my choices can be and I’m working on becoming more cognizant of my own actions. I have already made several lifestyle modifications that reflect my desire to live a more environmentally-conscious life, but I want to make more concrete changes. Therefore, I am starting a monthly challenge for myself.

On the first day of each month I am going to to change one thing to make my lifestyle more environmentally friendly and/or less wasteful. 

The purpose of this challenge is to incrementally work towards a generally more eco-friendly lifestyle. I hope that by challenging myself to be more environmentally conscious in my personal life that I will become more aware of when I am wasting resources and money.

Why a monthly challenge?

I chose the time increment of one month because I think it is an achievable goal. Some of my challenges will require time to adopt and the challenges are intended to be difficult but also feasible. I anticipate that for particularly busy months I will use challenges that don’t require major changes. For example, I might choose to make a challenge something that I already do 99% of the time, such as not using disposable water bottles. That way I can still add a permanent change each month, even if the challenge doesn’t require a significant amount of time or effort during that month.

I also chose a longer interval because I want to take the time to understand the changes I’m making. In order to make a change sustainable and permanent, I need to understand why I am making that change, and how I am going to adjust to that change. That will require an investment in time and potentially money.

Why now?

I’ve been a swimmer for the past sixteen years, and I loved (almost) every minute of it. Swimming requires dedication, hard work, commitment, and time. My competitive swimming career ended in February and I could not be prouder of what I and my team accomplished. However, I was ready to hang up my goggles and discover new ventures to be passionate about. Since then I’ve been looking for a project to put my energy into and I’m excited to start here.

This year is also a year of drastic changes for me. After graduating from Brown, I am moving to Geneva for the summer to work at the United Nations Environmental Program in the Chemicals and Waste Branch. In September I am moving to London to pursue an MSc in Environmental Economics and Climate Change at the London School of Economics. Through all of college I was on a dining hall meal plan because it made the most economic sense as an athlete. I’ve also lived in dorms (and one dilapidated house) for the past four years which means I didn’t have access to a (functional) kitchen nor any of my own kitchen supplies. Therefore, this is the first year where I’ll have full control over what resources I’m using. It makes sense for me to begin the transition mindfully.

Why a blog?

I want to write about my experience for several reasons. Firstly, I don’t anticipate this will be easy. I need a way to hold myself accountable to my goals and to track my progress. Secondly, I want to encourage myself to write more. Several years ago I started a blog about music that I really loved. I unfortunately gave up on this blog after it came to light that an artist who I was inspired by, and about whom I had written several posts, had been accused by many women of abuse, manipulation, and assault. Writing that blog made me a better writer and I wish that I had worked through those feelings of disappointment rather than giving up. I want to use this blog to continue improving my writing and learning about resource use with the express intent of working through challenges.

Lastly, I want to share my experiences with family and friends. This blog will not only contain my journey into sustainable practices, but also my year+ of living abroad. I hope that I can use this both to keep my family Stateside up to date and also to document this adventure for myself.

In summary, I want to learn about sustainable living through doing and I’m using this blog to chronicle the challenges that come with it. To be clear, I am not aiming for a zero-waste lifestyle. There are many aspects of zero-waste living that are simply unfeasible for me at this point in my life, given where I am and what I am doing. I am simply going to try to be a better, more conscientious version of myself every day.

If you want to follow along on my journey, you can subscribe via email using the link in the sidebar. I would love to hear from you if you have thoughts on one of my posts or a suggestion for a challenge.

Stay tuned for more…



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