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 …

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 …

Waste Management in Germany: How Do People Know Where Everything Goes?

It’s an average evening. My partner and I have finished our dinner. He washes the dishes while I clean the table and eventually make my way down the three flights of stairs from my apartment to empty our trash cans. There are four cans and it takes me two trips to complete the task. First, I take the compostable bio-trash in its paper bag, and the “yellow-sack” recycling which consists of plastic and aluminum foil packaging. As I dump out …

Intro: Economic and Ecological Sustainability in Bhutan

Landing in Bhutan, a country with one airport and the Buddhist spirit of interconnectedness weaved throughout, I felt the cool air try to penetrate my nose, my ears, my mouth. I took one deep breath in and closed my eyes for a second. It was coming, the inexplicable twitching of my eyes every time I step into a place I’ve never seen before. The Himalayas loomed over me, us, and in the midst of Oohs and Aahs escaping my lips, …

Intro: Mülltrennung, Waste and Recycling System in Germany

Hello! I’m Bixie Eutsler, a third year Amherst student! I’m majoring in SWAGS and German, but I’m interested in a wide variety of topics including film and environmental protection. I am spending this school year abroad at Göttingen University in Germany. Amherst has a very interesting partnership with Göttingen in which every year two to four Amherst students study here. In return, two or more Göttingen students come to Amherst and act as our German language assistants. They also run …

Intro: Food Sustainability in the Arctic

2/15/2019 Hi! I’m Olivia, Class of ‘20 and I’m a Geology major from Bend, Oregon. This semester I’m studying at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, which is about halfway between mainland Norway and the North Pole. UNIS is focused exclusively on Arctic studies, and by definition the school cannot teach any courses that are taught on mainland Norway. This basically means that all of the courses incorporate a ton of field work, which …