"Sustainable Lifestyle Website" (Neta Nakash, Raleigh McCoy)
A major contributing factor to unsustainable actions is a lack of information. Most people don't have the express intention of living unsustainably; rather, they do not know the effects of their actions or are unfamiliar with more sustinable alternatives. This website seeks to remedy this problem amongst IES students. The IES sustainability website offers information specifically targeted at IES students living in Barcelona to help them amend their habits to live more sustainably. For simplicity, we have chosen to target three areas of sustainability: food, transportation, and general habits. Each area has its own page with information about sustainable habits, as well as links to outside web pages and pictures that communicate the information quickly and in an interesting way. Previous students designed a welcome page, a forum, resources about restaurants and grocery stores, and an item sharing registry. These resources will also be available on the same website.
1. What is the action
We have added relevant sections to a Sustainable Lifestyle Website under the categories of Food, General Habits, and Transportation. The suggestions on the website provide students with the means of being environmentally friendly and sustainable while in Barcelona, and hopefully they continue to do so in the future. This website was created by students in 2011 through sc.seeds4c.org and we have simply added these relevent pages under the 2013 tab at the top left corner of the webpage. IES students were notified about the website once we completed these three webpages.
1.1. Why this action makes things more sustainable?
This action is improving the sustainability of IES Abroad Barcelona by educating students about the concept of becoming sustainable, as well as giving them real world tools needed to be more sustainable. Many times, the root of the problem is not students making conscious decisions that harm the environment, but rather, a lack of knowledge about the effects of their actions and of alternatives. A simple lack of information, when aggregated over hundreds of IES students, creates an urgent threat to sustainability. Examples of positive changes to habits include accessing more sustainable modes of transport (walking, biking, and public transit), using products that are more sustainable, and reducing water consumption. The website seeks to change the habits of students in the long term, not just for their semester abroad, with the ultimate goal of long term reduction of waste, water use, and ecological footprint. Lastly, by publishing this information as a webpage we are eliminating paper or other waste, thus educating students in the most sustainable way possible.
1.2. "Cradle to Cradle" design
This design is cradle to cradle ready since it is all online, thus there is no waste. The webpage was updating using an already existing computer so no new waste was created. Electricity was needed to charge the computer. But ultimately there is no paper trail in this project or new waste! We chose to communicate this information electornically rather than through paper resources like fliers, handouts, brochures, etc. because the information will be available in perpetuity and endlessly distributable. This action seeks to be not just eco-efficient, but eco-effective by not advocating for quick fixes, but real solutions to unsustainable habits. For example, rather then suggesting that students use energy efficient appliances, we recommend that they simply do not rely on these appliances at all.
1.3. Similar actions from previous semesters
This action was started in 2011 and has information about vegetarian, vegan, and organic restaurants, as well as information about renting bikes through IES. Other actions from previous semesters that are similar to this one are listed below:
Courses:_:From 2011 Spring - Where to EAT in BCN Blog (Natalia - Liz - Ali - Jake)
Courses:_:From 2012 Fall - IES Environmentally Friendly Welcome Kit (Sean - Anthony - Jose)
1.3.1. Why This or a Similar Action Didn't Succeed in Previous Semesters?
The website was created successfully and presents the information in a clear, approriate manner. It is unclear if the website was advertised when it was implemented. This website was not advertised to us this semester so in this sense it was unsuccessful as a continued effort. Publishing a website and advertising through the means of the internet requires that students have access to the internet, which can pose a problem. However, the IES center has free WiFi for students as well as computers available to students, so any IES student has the ability to access the website.
October 4: Begin work on website, including researching information about sustainability pertaining to BCN
October 14: Website is ready for publishing
October 14: Wrote blurb for email to be sent to all students at IES
Octotober 14: Email website URL to IES Abroad webmaster. Request the addition of a link to our page on the IES website as soon as possible.
October 14: Email website URL to staff member involved with the student life department. Ask them to email the URL to all IES students along with a brief blurb that we will write describing the content available. Also, ask the department to publicize the website in future semesters via email, using the same blurb.
October 15: IES Students recieve email about existing website
2.1. The action
We updated the existing website to include three new pages with information about sustainable habits, sustainable transportation, and sustainable food choices. The new pages can be found under the tab called 2013 in the top left corner.
|Time Consuming||We decided to focus on implementing three categories, (Transportation, Habits, and Food) and hope that next semester students will continue to develop the website to provide even more resources|
|Requires basic HTML, or web design knowledge||We have asked for assistance we needed and create basic web pages that display the intended information and content rather then focusing on the design aspects|
|Dependent on IES staff to publicize||We did not have the resources available to reach a wide audience of IES students, so we had to ask IES staff member Jane Ewart for help. She was very accommodating, but it would have been better for us if we could have done it ourselves.|
|Having to deal with the existing IES GO Green website||Since we had to use their format and styling, we had to adapt to their format for presenting the information. This was a compromise we had to make and thus that was the solution.|
2.3. How will this action be sustained when you are not here?
IES will need to advertise about the website by promoting it during orientation, sending email reminders to the student body, and featuring a link on the IES home page. Select students in the following semester's sustainability class can choose to maintain and update the website as well and aid IES in the advertising of the website. The beauty of a website as opposed to other forms is that it does not degrade the way physical information will. This is not a poster that can be taken down, or a brochure that can be thrown away. Also, the concepts advertized on our page will not become obsolete for a long time - for instance, taking short showers will always be more sustainable than taking long showers. Therefore, the content does not need to be edited very often. The one thing that should be curated carefully is the links to external pages, making sure the links stay active. If the link URL changes, the link will no longer work. However, our site does not rely heavily on links; most of the information is unique text that is saved on the website's server.
3. Document format
No external documents were created for this project, simply the website itself.
5. Other References
The pictures used on the webpages come from the following URLs:
Most of the information provided in webpages comes from previous sustainability and environmental science courses.
Email to Jane Ewart regarding advertizing of website:
Is it possible to post this link to the IES Barcelona homepage and social media accounts? We really want to get the word out about this website and reach the widest audience possible. Below is the text of the email. Thank you so much for your help!
Subject- Small Changes, Big Results: Be Sustainable
Curious about sustainability while abroad in Barcelona? Your fellow students have created web pages with resources that will not only help save the planet but also your money. You can find information about sustainable habits, transportation, and food suggestions.
Here is the link, scroll over the tab that says 2013 for the newest information
The website host, sustainability.seeds4c.org allowed this website to be possible.
Xavi helped with formatting our specific web pages.
Olga provided us with necessary instructions on how to edit the website.
6.2. Students involved in this action
Neta Nakash came up with the idea to implement the Sustainable Lifestyle Website and was the official leader, outlining the necessary tasks for the project. Raleigh wrote the email blurb and sent the instructions to Jane. Neta has prior experience in HTML formatting so she was in charge of posting the researched and gathered information to the webpages as well as the images. Both students researched infomation to be put up on the website. Both students worked together on the IOA plan and met together to add content to the website.