A semester cut short: The main takeaways from my time in Copenhagen

Last week, I said a premature goodbye to Denmark and I’m now completing my classes online from my couch, along with the rest of the world. This entry was supposed to be a photo journal about alternative transportation in Copenhagen and I was planning on doing a loop throughout the whole city by taking every form of public transit for a short section. But because I’m no longer there, I am going to summarize and reflect upon my main takeaways …

Biking is Freedom – Local Perspectives on Alternative Transportation in Copenhagen

Goddag!    To delve into my topic of alternative transportation a little further this week, I conducted a few interviews: one local expert and two friends who are also study-abroad students in Copenhagen to get a range of perspectives.  I’m taking a class called Integrated Climate Change Planning, which focuses on the potential for cities to mitigate carbon emissions, as well as some of the challenges facing the integration of climate change concerns into urban planning efforts. My professor, Silvia, …

The Consumer Choice of Guilt

At times, environmentalists scrutinize themselves to the point of burdensome guilt.  We were standing in the middle of EcoEgo, a store in Copenhagen, huddled between hemp long sleeves and Maggie’s organic socks. The Green LLC packed into this eco-preneur’s shop in an attempt to identify an environmental place within consumer culture. We listened to the owner passionately describe the high caliber of socially and environmentally sustainable products. Not only was the entire store furnished and built from reused, recycled materials, …

First Experiences with Food Sustainability in Copenhagen

Ankle sinking, slowly submerging into the mud of the farm, I reconsidered my choice of sneakers. This shoe selection was the obvious choice only an hour ago when I was teetering on my bike behind the group, as we cycled across the countryside of Denmark. As an inexperienced bicyclist, meaning I had learned the day before, I barely glanced at the rolling grassy hills as I struggled to stay upright under the weight of my backpack. Riding in the back …

Reflections on Sustainable Fashion from Paris

Salut tout le monde, and welcome to my final blog post ! I’m sorry it’s late, this semester has decided to wrap itself up in a most chaotic fashion, with strikes across Paris impacting transport for the past two weeks, and a UK general election which really didn’t go as many of us had hoped… and all of this in the run-up to Christmas! I don’t know about you, but when I think about Christmas and the winter holidays, clothes …

Climate Conversations: An interview with my host sister

  Salut tout le monde ! It feels like forever since I last sat down and wrote a blog post for you, because this semester in Paris is really flying by – however, as what feels like a decidedly long summer has snapped into a frosty fall, we can’t forget about the climate crisis just because we’re starting to wrap up warm! As we head into the winter months, it’s easy to lose focus and energy because of the dark …

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 …

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 …

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