Author: Jessica Griffin

Cooking Up A Sustainable Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving Day is only two weeks away; a day where families all over the U.S. celebrate all that there is to be thankful for by having a nourishing Thanksgiving feast. Although some families have their own traditions, we all know the staples of this yearly event: dishes like mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and of course, turkey.

If you have you ever thought about the impact of these millions of turkey dinners on the environment, you would be right to feel concerned. Like any other day of the year, a massive amount of carbon is used to transport food to your grocery store from factory farms. At those farms, millions of acres of land are used to raise beef, chicken and turkey. These millions of acres include not only the land where the animals graze, but also the land used to grow food to feed to our livestock. Additionally, billions of gallons of water are used to raise these animals.

Thanksgiving is a meal on a large enough scale that significant planning is required for most families. If you are already putting extra effort into this meal, why not also incorporate sustainability into your meals? There are many things you can do Continue reading

Discovering the American South

Land Between The LakesUsually, my spring breaks are uneventful, involving a lot of sitting around at my house and relaxing by the television. This year, however, I participated in an Alternative Spring Break, in which I went to Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area. Land Between the Lakes is a park managed by the U.S. Forest Service, and it straddles the line between Kentucky and Tennessee. I had chosen this particular trip among the many that UConn offers because it was environmental themed, an interest of mine.

When I left on the trip, I was hoping to make new friends, spend some time in the sun after a long winter, and see the beautiful Appalachian region of our country. I got all of this and more. There were only twelve students on the trip, plus one student trip leader and a staff member from Community Outreach. This meant that we became very close over the course of spending the week together. As we drove down to Kentucky, I got to know each person, their different personalities, interests, and quirks. We had a wide variety of majors on the trip- from chemical engineering, allied health sciences, and environmental sciences to anthropology and human development and family studies. This variety of people meant that everyone I met was new to me- there was no one I already knew Continue reading