Sustainability Fellow: Alice in Paris, France

Salut tout le monde, and welcome to my blog! I’m Alice, an international student from the beautiful North East of England, and I’ll be studying in Paris for a year, starting this fall. I’m a French and Russian major in Amherst’s class of 2021, and am focusing on Medieval French Literature and Russian Language this semester. In my spare time I love playing the flute, and I’m always planning my next radio show! As a Global Sustainability Fellow, I will …

Sustainability Fellow: Margaret in Paris, France

Bonjour! I’m Margaret, a French & Psychology major and member of the Bicentennial class. I will be spending the fall semester in Paris with Hamilton College in France and am excited to fully immerse myself in French culture & language. As a Global Sustainability Fellow, I will research strategies to combat plastic waste around the globe with a dual focus on plastic waste in France and the ocean.

My Carbon Footprint in Svalbard

Hi again! I left Svalbard about two weeks ago, so I am now writing this fourth and final blog post from a hotel in Wyoming, as I make a pilgrimage across the country in a caravan of other geology students from around the US. I’ve been launched back into the readjustment processes of non-Arctic life; however, while driving through Yellowstone National park today we saw about an inch of snow accumulation and balmy temperature at freezing— so maybe home isn’t …

Final Analysis and My Carbon Footprint

Final Analysis What marked the beginning of my journey in Bhutan was a 250-page book, entitled Interconnected: Embracing Life in Our Global Society. In one of the last emails we received before leaving our usual posts as college students in the U.S., our upcoming professor recommended us to read this book. Far from my usual choice of books, this one was written by one of the current Karmapas (a leader of a Tibetan Buddhist School), Ogyen Trinley Dorje. Through no …

My Carbon Footprint & Suggestions for Amherst

My Personal Carbon Footprint Personal efforts aren’t the end-all and be-all of environmental protection. Rather, much of the work needs to be done on a societal and systemic level. Still, there are many things that consumers can do every day to be a bit more environmentally friendly. To evaluate my environmental habits both in the US and Germany, I used a Germany-based footprint calculator suggested to me by a German resident. This calculator measures one’s impact on the environment in …

Food Supplies in the Arctic

Greetings again from the far north! I’m now down to about one month left on Svalbard, so classes are wrapping up and we’re moving into the project and exam period. The sun is shining lots and the snow is still sticking around, but the lack of blooming flora (or basically any flora for that matter) makes it feel like a rather untraditional spring. My last few blog posts have been fairly broad explorations of sustainability here on Svalbard, so the …

Biases within Directed Research

One of my professors mentioned the importance of knowing one’s position in their environment. Throughout our time in Bhutan, the group of students I studied with discussed this at length. One of the questions we tried to answer was that of whether or not we were tourists. We never reached a solid conclusion, partly because of time, but many of the students fell into one of the two categories: 1) yes, we are, because three and a half months is …

A Brief History of Waste Management in Germany

Attempting to write a singular history of waste management in Germany is a flawed pursuit, as is any attempt to vie Germany’s history as just one story. A brief overview for those of you less familiar with German history: following World War II, Germany was split into two separate countries, the German Democratic Republic (eastern Germany) and the Federal Republic of Germany (western Germany). Waste management developed differently in the two countries due predominantly to their economic differences. For the …

Realities of Bhutan’s Economy

A massive Himalayan griffon vulture flew overhead as I and the rest of the students combed the ground for insects to study. It landed behind a cow shed, and we ran over to see what it was feeding on. As we approached, the griffon took notice and flew away, leaving only the sound of her flapping wings in her wake. Where the griffon once stood, a giant cow carcass the size of a small vehicle lay in a lifeless heap. …

Energy and Waste Management in Svalbard

Hi again! I’ve now been in Svalbard for a bit more than 3 months, so I’m just over halfway done with my time here. In the span of the last month there has been a major transition from no sun shining down in Longyearbyen, to now having sun during all hours. The weather is starting to get a bit warmer too, and we’ve had a nice string of completely blue-sky days. Life up North is pretty sweet! However, with all …

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