Monthly Archives: December 2014

Pratt Now Home To Human-Powered Gym Equipment

By: Melissa Colleary, Sustainability Coordinator, LIU Post

The other day, while working out in the Pratt, I made one of my rare voyages into the cardio section to do a couple of sprints as it was too cold to do so outside. All of the normal treadmills were taken, so I was forced to use one of the curved Woodway treadmills that are usually not in use.

My first reaction to the treadmill was, “This is so cool! It doesn’t use any electricity!” As your movement powers the treadmill, it doesn’t need to be plugged in and it only goes as fast as you go. Very cool.

My second reaction was, “I understand why no one uses this! This is very dangerous!” Since your own movement powers the treadmill, it’s extremely difficult to get used to. However, after a few minutes of struggling and getting over my fear, I gained steady ground and actually enjoyed using the Woodway. I felt less pain in my knees while running and I got tired a lot more quickly from having to power the treadmill with my own movements.

I am by no means a seasoned runner and I can’t really say that I’m overly coordinated, but every time I walk into a gym and see rows and rows of people who have driven there to run on an electrically powered street, it truly upsets me. Although the Woodway is definitely more difficult to use, it’s worth taking the time to get used to. It burns more calories than a standard treadmill and it doesn’t leave your knees sore the next day. While at first I felt like I was going to fall, about three minutes in I felt that it was much more natural to run on.

That being said, there are so many workouts that you can do that require little to no electricity. Lifting weights, using cable stacks, stationary bikes, regular bikes, running outside, and body weight exercises all require no other energy besides your own.

Next time you’re about to step on the treadmill, keep your other options in mind and try to choose one that uses the least amount of resources! Head outside if possible, check for a Woodway or other cardio or weight equipment that doesn’t use electricity!

In the upcoming weeks, keep your eye out for sustainable workouts that will be posted here on the Commpost!

Treadmill

LIU Post Hosts Faculty Panel On Climate Change

By: Melissa Colleary, Sustainability Coordinator, LIU Post

On November 10, 2014, LIU Post held a Climate Change Faculty Panel. The documentary Disruption was shown and each faculty member answered questions that were either unanswered by the film, or that students were interested in.

The faculty panel consisted of Dr. Magee from Philosophy, Dr. DiVenere from Earth Science and Dr. Jennifer Brown from Sociology.

Climate Change FlyerThe majority of the conversation focused on what we could do as a country to fix the global warming problem that is becoming increasingly more evident. Dr. Brown suggested that people needed to be mobilized in order to create enough pressure on the government to make a long term change. Dr. Divenere, stemming from that idea, suggested that people need to spend more money upfront in order to reduce environmental impact. Dr. Magee responded to both professors by claiming that the majority of people are the cause of the problem we’re facing, and for the problem to be solved, the wants of the majority must be put aside.

Although what Dr. Magee was suggesting may seem extreme, it really is not too much to ask when one really thinks about it. Is it too much for us to pass up fast food in favor of preparing our own meals to enjoy at home with our families? Do we need to be eating our meals in gas guzzling SUVs because the kids are going to be late for soccer practice? Do we really need to use plastic bags to carry our groceries, or drive to our friend’s house that’s just down the street? The answer to all of these questions is no. We don’t need to do any of those things.

Climate Change Panel

If you talk to anyone who grew up in the 60’s and 70’s, they’ll tell you that they don’t remember people carrying plastic bottles with them everywhere they went and that grocery stores didn’t have nearly as many options as they do today. These are things that we lived without before, but now we’re provided with so many options that we don’t know what to do with them all. We’re overwhelmed by choices and decisions, and instead of improving our lives, they’re actually killing us. Overconsumption causes health problems and it harms the environment, but no one is willing to even slightly inconvenience themselves in favor of the longevity of our environment as we know it.

We’re in the middle of one of the most major extinction events that the world has ever seen, and it’s caused by us and our need to obsessively produce and consume. The average American uses as many resources as 270 Ethiopians, yet we still complain that we don’t have enough.

To me, Dr. Magee is right. The needs of the majority do need to be put aside to make the planet more sustainable. So, next time you’re bagging with plastic or driving a short distance, think about how your actions are effecting the environment. Chances are, you’ll want to make a change.

Watch the film Disruption below:

Sustainable Recipes – Butternut Squash Curry Soup

By: Melissa Colleary, Sustainability Coordinator, LIU Post

In a conversation with one of my vegan friends, we were talking about environmentally friendly food choices. As a former vegetarian, I had done a ton of research about what the meat industry does to the environment and knew the points that she was going to make:

Confined animals generate three times more raw waste than humans in the United States and methane and the use of fossil fuels for farming creates more of a global warming problem.

She had recently transitioned to a strict, raw vegan diet and was often eating absurd amounts of fruits and vegetables. Once, she ate five mangoes and called it dinner. When the topic of sustainability came up, she immediately perked up and started bragging about her new raw lifestyle and how ecofriendly it was. Our other friends began to praise her selflessness, but as I thought about it, I realized that she wasn’t doing as much good as she thought. After all, it was October and she had just eaten eleven kiwis.

With the recent obsession with organic and war on gluten, it’s easy to forget how far your food travels to get to you. If you buy an orange in December, chances are it travelled thousands of miles to get to you. While it may be organic, it’s still causing a ton of pollution on its way to your grocery store. A good solution to this problem is to try to eat locally as often as possible and to focus on what’s in season. Even if the food isn’t grown in your town or county, it still probably didn’t travel as far if it is in season for your region.

Since it’s Fall in the Northeast now, here’s one of my favorite, really cheap and easy, recipes that also happens to be in season.

Butternut Squash Curry Soup

  • One Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 Container of College Inn Thai Coconut Curry Broth (You can sub this for chicken or vegetable broth)
  • 1 Tbsp Curry Powder
  • 1 Tsp Cumin

Roast the Butternut squash for 45 minutes at 425 degrees.

Transfer into a pot and cover the squash with broth and boil until vegetables are soft.

Transfer in batches into a blender, or use an immersion blender, and blend until smooth.

Pour back into the pot, add spices, and cook for another 10 minutes.

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Finished Product

 

College 101 Students Establish Their Roots

By: Dr. Lauren Sassenoff, Professor of English, LIU Post

All teachers who value the significance of education want to see their students flourish and gradually learn to trust their own sense of self. As an English professor and a College 101 professor, I have seen students thrive in the classroom and utilize the tools and resources they have developed in this environment of enrichment. However, this semester, I have had the privilege of observing my College 101 students further their sense of awareness and their independence by establishing their roots outside the classroom.

From the beginning of the semester, my College 101 class—comprised of the students, our amazing peer mentor, Stephanie Frobin, and myself—wanted our Service Learning Project to be something that is both original and create a sense of fulfillment. Thus, my brilliant peer mentor asked me a seemingly simple yet intelligent question: “Is there a way we can plant a tree?” Once we asked students for their input, they were enthusiastic to not only this idea but to rediscover the joy of the outdoors. Moreover, I realized that in order to better understand the environment and Sustainability, we must be in the most natural setting for such a project. Since we live in a digital age where most people go online in order to learn about issues involving our environment, our class decided to spread environmental awareness the old fashioned way: go outside and become one with nature. This was now becoming a metaphorically empowering project and a bold statement for the students as well as Stephanie and I: we are carving out our own path, and we are united on this quest to promote environmental awareness.

Tree Planting

Breaking Ground

On November 25th 2014, our College 101 class set out near Suffolk Hall to plant our tree. I use the pronoun “our” because this tree is as much a part of me as this symbol of environmental enrichment is a part of Stephanie and every student in this class. Each student would dig and help to put the tree in its proper place. Additionally, we had a team of experts and LIU Post workers so committed to our goal of creating roots. Without them, this would all be for naught. Therefore, we thank them for their time, expertise, and kindness. What started out as such a seemingly impossible and small idea took us on a journey of awareness and unification for Sustainability.

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Planting a crepe myrtle

I find myself in a very interesting and rewarding position. I have been a member of the LIU Post community for eleven years, as a student and now as a professor. Yet, it was not until this project came along that I truly felt I had put down roots. These roots are not only mine and Stephanie’s roots, but they belong to every single freshman we had the privilege of working with in College 101 this semester. Even though the semester is coming to an end, this project marks the beginning of everyone’s journey as well as everyone’s involvement with Sustainability.

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Finished Product