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Use it or lose it

It has been a while since I wrote a blog, but I’m back. Due to some personal circumstances I haven’t been able to work on my writing the blog. For this blog I want to write about something that has been bothering me for a while. I think we all experience this phenomenon from day to day. I am watching people with reusable bottles, coffee cups and totebags walking around campus and I am wondering. Is this really as sustainable as they say? This made me wonder, how long does it take for a reusable coffee cup tp be sustainable? That is what I am going to find out in this blog.

 First, of all I want you to know I am all for reusable things and sustainability so there are no anger issues here (haha). Little confession, I have a reusable coffee cup myself. I am just wondering and thought it would be the perfect subject to write a blog about and enlighten you on my findings. So here goes the blog.

 You walk towards your favorite espresso bar, hand the barista your reusable coffee mug, and pat yourself on the back for not using one of those “bad for the environment” single-use cups.

 Sounds simple. Right?

 Perhaps.

 Granted, using a reusable cup lowers the waste-management environmental impacts. There is something you might not have thought about. Things such as the materials and energy that went into making you sturdier reusable cup, the soap, and the hot water it needs for cleaning, and the energy source behind the heat of this washing water. On average the reusable cup scores well on, emitting fewer greenhouse gasses than their single-use counterparts. Likewise for toxic emissions, smog, and ozone depletion.

 But I found out that there is a bitter part. Washing the reusable mugs with hot water and soap puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to ecosystem-quality indicators. These indicators cover issues such as ecotoxicological emissions, acidification, eutrophication, and land occupation.

For the caffeinated among us, the most relevant finding was that the number of times a cup is used is crucial. Indeed, only frequent use can reduce the reusable cup’s potential impacts; depending on the cup/mug type and the environmental indicator, it would take between 20 (human health category for a polypropylene travel mug) and more than 1,000 (ecosystem-quality category for all travel mugs) uses to make up for the impacts of a single-use cup. The single-use cup is better for the environment if a reusable cup is used less than that.

 So, what are our options? Is it possible for us to help the environment? Yes, a reusable cup is the way to go if you plan on using it for several years and restrict the amount of soap and hot water you use to clean it. Limiting your coffee consumption is another option to consider, but that is another issue altogether.

Stuck in traffick

Have you ever watched a Parliament session? It can get nasty in there, with the members of parliament going for each other’s heads. Thankfully, there is an official to control the debate; the speaker. He helps moderate the sessions and ensures that there is order. Without him/her, little would ever be accomplished there. He/she is the mediator. The same reasoning can be applied to cars on a road. Everyone is in a hurry trying to get to wherever he/she is going. Without a mediator to control the motion of vehicles, accidents and chaos will surely arise. That is the exact job description of traffic lights; mediate traffic.

The funny thing is that a traffic light has the exact same colors we are using. Which makes the guess for the third color of this year very easy. If you haven’t guessed it yet – it will be green. The color green can be associated with many things such as flora, Heiniken, sustainability, and many more! 

The anecdote of the traffic light gives me many opportunities to write about different topics, but one of the most burning questions in my mind is: does everyone stop for a red light? I’ve caught myself running through a red light more often than not. Don’t worry, I only do it when I’m walking or going by bike. I won’t run a red light when going by car, because I am scared of a fine… Unfortunately the quarter for the color red is over so I cannot rant about this anymore. This quarter I will be discussing different topics that are related to the color green. If you have anything that you find interesting or have any good ideas for me to talk about, please send me a message or walk up to me in the BouwPub next thursday on February 17th!

Another brick in the wall

Over the Christmas holidays I have been thinking about a new subject to write about. The holidays are almost over and I am still wondering what to write. When I think about the colour red multiple things, emotions and companies flash through my mind. For example, fire, love, Christmas, communism, Levi’s, etc. I feel you are wondering, write about one of these subjects?! Well, for this next blog I wanted to link my studies (Management in the Building Environment) to the color red. That is quite a hard thing to do, because how the heck can I link red to MBE? Let me tell you something, I found a way

Most people who will read this blog know what I am writing about when I mention 210x100x50. The thing I am talking about is the most basic building material that is used in the Netherlands. No, it’s not concrete. The object that I am talking about is a brick. Most of the time the brick has standard measurements, can be laid in different patterns and be used in different ways. 

I want to use the brick as a metaphor for what we are doing as MBE students. For this metaphor I am obviously using the red brick. Let’s take a look at a brick. It has multiple shapes, colours and sizes. This brick can be compared with the problems we have to solve at MBE. These problems go from empty coffee machines to making new friends to solving the whole housing crisis in ten weeks. In Conclusion, these problems have different shapes and sizes just like a brick!

Step two is to stack these bricks on top of each other to create a wall and build multiple walls to create a building. This stacking can be done in various different ways. I can name them all, but I will spare you the horrific details. Just like there are multiple ways to build a wall with different shaped and sized bricks, there are also multiple ways to solve problems. You just have to stack the different steps on top of each other to create the solution. I guess what I am trying to say is there are multiple ways to solve your problems with or without bricks. 

Cheers to another brick in the wall, 

Valerie

 

New quarter new colour

New quarter, new colour

You might have noticed that writing is a passion of mine (or else I wouldn’t be in the publications committee as the writer of articles). However, writing in English, which isn’t my mother tongue, comes with new challenges and findings for me. Therefore, my passion is getting challenged with every blog I write. I struggle with multiple things when writing, but foremost; is the way I phrase my sentences the correct way of expressing my feelings and opinions? Maybe I am too blunt about my topics and writing style. But that doesn’t stop me from performing ony of my biggest passions; creative writing. 

When you look up the word passion in the dictionary you will find that passion is an intense desire or enthusiasm for something or someone. Being passionate is something beautiful, but it could also be something dangerous. It is a fiery emotion that could create tunnel vision or even anger. However, during my masters it was argued that anger isn’t necessarily a bad thing to achieve things. I do not agree with that. I agree with the theory of the philosopher Hume. According to him we need passion as well as reason to fuel our motivation. I don’t think anger fits into the picture of motivation. 

In the introduction I was talking about my passion for writing. Don’t even start thinking that is the only passion I have! Passion is in all little crooks and corners even with the things you don’t like. After almost two years of not studying, I noticed that studying is something I don’t like. I am talking about die hard reading, learning all the facts and cram things into your head. However I do see acquiring new knowledge as another passion of mine, which is strange for my adversity of studying. 

During the last quarter I wrote about the colour yellow and happiness. Now we got into the second quarter it is time for a new colour and new topics to write about. Guess what? I will make you guess the new colour based on the topic of this article. Let me know what colour you think will be next. Will it be blue, green or red?

Cheers to a new colour,

Valerie

Yellow isn’t really a happy color

Yellow isn’t really a happy color

Following up on my last post I made the decision to call you out and let you create an opinion on the color yellow. There are many opinions about this color. Some people find it ugly, some people think it’s pretty and for others it is their favourite color. But the foremost opinion on the color yellow is that it is a happy color. This opinion creates an opportunity to switch out the topic of this blog to the emotion; happy. Over the past two years I haven’t considered myself happy all the time. The corona virus took a toll on everyone, but that made me wonder; is there a way to achieve ultimate happiness?

I think almost everyone had a moment of despair during COVID. A moment where happiness just faded away and hopelessness took over. Amongst you are thousands of other students. For some time student’s mental problems have been addressed in the news. However, not seeing it on the news anymore doesn’t mean the problem just goes away. With bringing up this problem, I want to encourage you to contact that one seemingly lonely person in your study group, distanted friend or even roommate. Maybe they are that one student who feels lonely or sad or developed anxiety or depression. Even a message with you thinking about them could help them feel a little more happy. 

So, what about the ultimate happiness? Being happy is something that we could see as relative. It depends on how you look at it. Your moment of  happiness could be a minority for someone else. Somehow everyone seems to compare their happiness to each other. But why and how? There is no such thing as a happiness meter that you can use to compare yourself to other people. Think about your moments of happiness for a second. You will probably notice that it lies within your memories and thoughts and makes you happy for some time. 

To conclude, this blog I think achieving ultimate happiness all the time isn’t possible. It means shutting out some of your other emotions, which wouldn’t be a great addition to your mental health. However, you could achieve happiness by thinking about your happy moments and doing things that make you happy. Even sharing a happy moment with others will cheer you up. Come and share your happiness with me at the bouwpub during the BOSS q2 drinks on november 17th?! 

Cheers to being happy and creating new happy moments, 

Valerie

Cheers to new beginnings!

Cheers to new beginnings!

The beginning of a year can be very hard. Especially when starting a new job, study or moving to a new city or even country. It means making new friends, finding a new way of working or even getting to know the neighbourhood and finding your new favourite bar. For us, the publications committee, it was a new beginning too. New people to work with, a busy master schedule and publication deadlines to meet  didn’t make things easy. But here we are; Sarah, Frank, Carlota, Noah and me (Valerie). We are going to provide you this year with juicy blog posts, blooming podcasts, a lively yearbook and last but not least shining social media output! 

This year we took a different approach to the publications committee and decided we wanted to have a theme as a thread throughout our year. It is something that has never been done before, which makes it an experiment for us. An experiment that hopefully engages you to the publications committee a bit more. 

For this year’s theme we chose colours. Why colors, you might ask? Colours can be linked to different emotions, objects, companies and even personalities. For every quarter in the academic year of the TU Delft we chose a colour. We picked 4 colours that we thought were most resilient and we could link a lot of subjects to. The four colors we picked are yellow, red, green and blue. Three primary colors and one secondary color. It is almost like the four seasons. Yellow for the summer and sun, red for the fall leaves, green for spring and blue for snow and winter. What the exact order of the colors will be is still a secret, but you will find out along the way. 

This year the articles are not going to be what they used to be. I am going in a different direction this year. No stuffy 2000 word long essays, but short and opinionated blog posts. As different or opposing opinions ignite interesting conversations and we need conversations to question previous assumptions to evolve. I think creating an opinion is one of the most important things to learn in life, so here is an interesting, paradoxical  statement I would like to introduce to you: Yellow isn’t a happy colour. Do some research and let me know what your opinion is. 

Cheers to new opinions!

Valerie