Sustainability Solutions- Composting

As I have said many times in class and in my other posts, I am very lucky to be an intern for MUSC Sustainability and Recycling. On my first week there I was in a hairnet in the hospital kitchen, on my hands and knees in the dirt, and feeding paper towels to worms. It was extremely weird but also eye opening!
There is a lot of talk in the world and media about becoming “zero waste,” but what does that mean? It does not exactly mean that a person or entity will not create any waste at all, but that none of the waste created will be sent to a landfill. It means that all of the waste will be able to be reused. We want less waste going to landfills because when waste goes to a landfill, it is there forever. There is currently too much waste going to landfills, and when it decomposes it creates methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas, and we definitely want less of that! Landfills affect the economy because so much of what is already inside of them could have been used for reusable projects. Also, those reusable objects take up a ton of space that can be used for other landfillable objects.
So how can this be fixed? Education is necessary, but not efficient. There needs to be action taken!
So first, we have to educate people on what waste goes where. My favorite topic to talk about is something I’ve become very familiar with as the MUSC intern; Composting!
MUSC uses composted soil all over campus. I am lucky enough to get to feed and mix the worms on a monthly basis. However, it gets very challenging when the MUSC campus fails to correctly compost. If any raw meat gets into the worm bin, it’s a smelly nightmare and we have to air out the compost shed. But composting is so easy if done correctly, that it’s possible for everyone to compost at home!
There are tons of resources to start at-home composting, and I will link a video down below!
Composting is an easy and rewarding way to become that much closer to zero waste!

Event- CSA Presentation

A few weeks ago in class we were introduced to Brian from Lowcountry Local First. He shared the idea of “CSAs” to us. I also recently had the opportunity to create a presentation with my internship with MUSC Sustainability on CSAs available in the Lowcountry! I will link the presentation below if you want to watch me in action!

Community Supported Agriculture – MUSC Conversation Cafe Series

In case you missed it! Our conversation cafe on Community Supported Agriculture Shares (AKA subscription vegetables). Eat healthy and support your local farmer with a CSA.

Posted by MUSC GoGreen on Wednesday, August 2, 2017

So, what is a CSA? CSA is an acronym for Community Supported Agriculture, where members of the community purchase a “share” of a farm in order to support a local farmer. In return, the farmer gives the community member fresh produce that was grown directly from the farm.
CSA’s are a great way to support local agriculture while getting extremely fresh produce, sometimes even straight to your door. With a CSA, you are subscribing to a produce box which you can customize to your needs. Many farms have various sizes and time ranges for their boxes. While most CSAs are fruit and vegetable focused, there are even a few in the Lowcountry that provide meat and fish like Abundant Seafood!
CSA’s are sustainable for many reasons. First, you are supporting local farmers! This keeps local economy thriving and makes you feel good about where your money is going. Second, you know what’s going into your food. You are able to visit the place that your food is being grown and see the care going towards it. Third, your food will be traveling much less than produce grown in a grocery store, which is a big contender of pollution. Lastly, you are getting food at the peak of its freshness. Sure, you may not be getting your favorite berries in the middle of summer, but you will be getting the most incredible tomatoes at peak freshness!
Two of my favorite CSAs that I researched were Compost in my Shoe and Hudson Family Farm Bounty Box. Compost in my Shoe has an extensive list of drop-off areas, along with many add-on items to their already large boxes! These add-on items include honey and eggs straight from their farms as well. The Hudson Family Farm Bounty Box also has a ton of options for how big of a box you may want!
If you would like more information on CSAs or would like a recommendation on what share would suit you and your budget best, please do not hesitate to reach out!

Nature Inspiration

      I grew up on an extremely small island in New Jersey. This town is only 7 miles long by 2 miles wide, so growing up I was literally surrounded by water. I could never picture my life different than that, and it didn’t make sense to me that people didn’t live close to the beach. The sand, the ocean, and the bay are part of who I am.
     In the springtime when it was just starting to get warm, we would jump off the docks on the jettys into the bay, trying to avoid the gunk at the bottom at all costs. In the summer we would go to the beach from morning until the sun went down, sun burnt and exhausted from the days activities. In the winter we would sit on the cold sand in blankets and laugh with each other, watching the sun set. We don’t always realize how much time we spend in nature!
      Last year I spent a semester in Australia and I have never felt so connected to the Earth. The ocean was warm and rough. The air felt different. The hiking opportunities were endless! I was able to see so much of nature I had never fathomed of seeing in the flat land of New Jersey.
     My absolute favorite experience abroad was when we went to an island off the coast of Brisbane called Moreton Island. There was no electricity, no cell phone service, and it was a jungle surrounded by beach. We stayed in tents and slept on the beach, really roughing it! It was a complete weight off of my shoulders not having to check Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all the time. I had intimate conversations with people I had never met face-to-face, rather than through social media.
     The best part of Moreton Island was seeing the stars in complete darkness. I was absolutely speechless. If you have the opportunity to see the stars in complete emptiness of light, take it. I’ve never seen beauty like it, and pictures and videos will never do it justice. Seeing these stars in all their glory, that was the most I have ever been connected to nature. I realized how insignificant I am, and how I need to stop worrying about the little anxieties in my life.
      As I get older I realize that I am losing time with nature. I will someday be in an office from 9-5 and won’t be able to be in the forests and on the beach whenever I please. I think this makes me more aware of nature and that I need to take advantage of what I have now before I lose it. I think being connected with nature is important because we ourselves as humans derived from nature. We as humans ARE nature!

Starving Polar Bears

Topic: News


Leahy, S. (2018, February 01). Polar Bears Really Are Starving Because of Global Warming,                  Study Shows. Retrieved February 07, 2018, from                  2018/02/polar-bears-starve-melting-sea-ice-global-warming-study-beaufort-sea-                          environment/


As I was searching for topics to give my current event presentation on, there was not much that caught my attention. I scrolled through many mainstream media popular pages to no avail, thinking that if there was nothing that caught my attention, it would be impossible to catch my audience’s attention. I wanted to report on an article that would make people want to change their ways.

I scrolled past a National Geographic article of which the title caught my attention. “Polar Bears Really Are Starving Because of Global Warming, Study Shows.” I always knew that the polar bears were becoming endangered due to the warming of the planet, however I never realized that it was due to starvation. It reminded me of a video that went viral through Facebook, being shared along with sad faces and words of disappointment. The video showed a polar bear on an iceless plot of land, lacking in fur and life, struggling to walk due to starvation. The bear is seen looking through trashcans for something to eat, but finds nothing. The photographer of the video was later interviewed and said the entire crew had tears rolling down their faces. I decided that this would be an interesting topic that would get my audience to pay attention.

Polar bears burn more than twelve thousand calories a day meaning they need to eat more than that in order to survive, especially if they are more active while finding food. This creates a sort of catch 22. In order to get the calories the bears need to catch calories, they need to burn more calories, which means they need more calories. Seals are polar bears main form of food. When seals come up to the surface to breathe from cone shaped holes in the ice, the bears smack them on their head and drag it to the ice where the seal then becomes dinner.

Polar bears are not incredible swimmers, especially compared to seals. So because the Arctic ice decreases by 14% each decade, seals no longer need to come up for air at these cone shaped holes. This makes it impossible for a polar bear to reach the seals.

The study done by Anthony Pagano shows shocking results. The study began by capturing 9 female polar bears in an area known to have many seals. These bears were equipped with video cameras and GPS trackers and were observed over an 11 day period. By the end, four of the five bears had failed to catch a single meal, one bear losing 44 pounds during her hunt. To me, these results are painful. Climate change is occurring rapidly due to the human race, which is literally starving other animals on this planet. It is extremely selfish of us.

This source is valuable in that it was published by a prestigious news source. The study is recent and shows accurate, thought-provoking results. The author, Stephen Leahy, co-won the United Nations Global Prize for Climate Change Reporting, which shows he is extremely qualified to write on this topic.