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NEW COLUMN - We are pleased to announce the start of a new regular column on sustainability and the environment for our readers. The column, written by graduate students, is part of a partnership between Miami Fourth Estate and the Rosenstiel School of Atmospheric, Marine, and Earth Science at the University of Miami. We’re delighted to have future scientists inform and engage our community about these important issues.

In college, when I moved into a house with three other girls, I thought it was a great opportunity to further my sustainability journey bringing my new roommates along the way. They were on board, supporting my multiple initiatives, asking for clarification where needed and claiming that we would be a house on a mission to save the world (or at least reduce our waste). It was a unique sense of pride for me only needing to take the trash out weekly (sometimes even biweekly) as a household of four and that was usually due to the trash bin smelling versus the trash bin overflowing. 

Unbeknownst to me, prior to moving in, my roommates worried how much change I would require of them, and how much effort it would take to live a more sustainable lifestyle. But after roughly half a year living with them, one confessed to the group’s previous worries and expressed how surprisingly easy it was actually to make all the little changes.

 I felt both humbled and encouraged. While they knew living sustainably was worth doing and they were attracted, even supporters can feel anxiety about falling short and heavy workloads.  

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I want to share that it’s not as difficult or scary to make strides towards a sustainable lifestyle as it may appear on the outside. It’s also not an all-or-nothing choice. Perhaps you finish up your shampoo bottle – what a great time to try out a shampoo bar! Maybe you do a spring cleaning, ready to toss out stained clothing and ripped T-shirts – wait, this old fabric would make a great rag!  At the end of your cleaning supplies – why not try a refillable and made safe home essentials company like Blueland? 

Our group, the University of Miami Rosenstiel Sustainability Initiative, wants to spread the pride and joy that comes from this initiative and that caring about sustainability is another way to care for ourselves. We have been given the platform to share how we’ve made changes to help the Rosenstiel community live more sustainably – and hopefully positively impact the Key Biscayne Community. We’ll be sharing topics ranging from water quality and textile recycling to sharks, corals, and gardening including small steps you can take to live more sustainably in that given topic.  

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Our 2022 UM Rosenstiel Sustainability Initiative impact by the numbers:

  • Diverted 700+ pounds plastic bags from the landfill (60,000+ plastic bags) for Trex composite decking
  • Recycled 6000+ aluminum cans and bottles with the Reverse Vending Machine raising over $300 for the Sustainability Initiative 
  • Hosted 2 clothing swaps donating remaining clothes to Lotus House Women’s Shelter
  • Held 2 DIY planting days using upcycled glass jars and cutting from our Garden by the Sea
  • Recycled 400+ pounds of electronic waste with E Scrap
  • Hosted countless cleanups

We hope you join us on our sustainability journey in our weekly Tuesday columns! 

“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” -Jane Goodall

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REMEDY RULE fell in love with the ocean on a family trip to Grand Cayman where she got to snorkel with a hammerhead shark. She attended University of Texas to pursue her undergraduate studies as well as develop her swim career. Swimming brought Remedy all the way to the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo where she competed for the Philippines. After the Olympics, she retired from competitive swimming to allocate her time and energy to the ocean, enrolling at the University of Miami Rosenstiel. She is now a master’s student at the University of Miami Rosenstiel studying coral reef restoration and Sustainability. She is the sustainability initiative co-chair.

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REMEDY RULE fell in love with the ocean on a family trip to Grand Cayman where she got to snorkel with a hammerhead shark. She attended University of Texas to pursue her undergraduate studies as well as...