The Kranz Family
In high school, I took part in the very first Polar Bears International Arctic Ambassador program, thanks to the San Diego Zoo. I learned the importance of conservation with special relation to polar bears. I’m currently a fourth-year physical anthropology major at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). I live with three other roommates, all guys. UCSB is an incredibly bike friendly campus, so we ride our bikes everywhere. Things I do for fun include reading, surfing the Internet, playing pool, and generally appreciating the amazing climate and habitat of coastal California.
We’ve issued challenges to our “green” families and asked them to share their experiences. Challenge #5: It’s All Fun and Games.
This previous week was finals at UCSB. Considering that my friends and I consistently had finals throughout the week, I’m a little surprised we went camping at all. I don’t really remember how it started, but at some point last week someone suggested the idea. It was probably the fact that none of us have genuinely gone “camping” in the woods with a tent in a few years, something I had hoped would never happen. But we ended up finding a relatively secluded place only an hour away in Ojai, California.
Challenge #4: In the Dark?
From what I can tell, everyone in our house is pretty educated when it comes to moderating their electrical usage. We all make an effort to turn the main lights off if no one is here, as well as individual lights in our rooms. As I’ve talked about before, our biggest drains have to be our laptops, which are consistently plugged in and, if not on, then asleep. This still doesn’t mean there aren’t ways that we can still save energy. Especially since I finally received my box of Zoo schwag and energy saving devices (Green Family Challenge Kit) that never made it here the first time around (see post Shower Time at College). Unfortunately, this means I missed out on getting to use the nifty thermal leak detector, which is nothing short of awesome.
Challenge #3: A Green Valentine’s Day?
For Valentine’s Day, my girlfriend of 2.5 years came up from her hometown of Burbank (Los Angeles). I love to cook, so when I heard this assignment was for a Valentine’s Day dinner, I nearly spontaneously combusted with delight. Not only would I cook delicious things, I would get to eat them! I only had a few hours before she arrived, so I went to the local co-op to pick the freshest ingredients. Our co-op is fantastic: the freshest ingredients, mostly reasonable prices, and plenty of hippies to cater to one’s every whim.
Challenge #2: Staying Warm for Winter.
Unfortunately, it seems that both the thermal leak detector and the electrical monitor I was to receive as part of the San Diego Zoo’s Green Family Challenge kit were taken off of my front porch, so this blog post leaves me a little limited for Challenge #2. I enjoy picturing the look on the thieves’ faces: an unwatched FedEx box, ripe for the taking. “Anything could be in there,” they thought to themselves. “Video games! Books! Movies! Mixed nuts!” Imagine their surprise when they opened it to find conservation materials. But, I digress, because fortunately, a few days before, another interesting conservation gadget arrived on my doorstep.
Challenge #1: What’s your carbon footprint?
I consider myself a fairly conscientious person when it comes to using basic resources that we all have to share. I don’t leave the lights on when I exit the room, I don’t let water run and run just for a bit of convenience when I’m doing the dishes, and I try to recycle pretty much whatever I can. That being said, when I used the Zoo’s carbon footprint calculator, my carbon foot print is almost exactly that of an average American (9.44 tons a year). Let’s break this down step by step and see where we went wrong.