Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Ark Valley Voice created the Small Steps series to provide a simple framework for community members to become more sustainable and environmentally conscious. This week, AVV spoke with the Lead of Resource Management at GARNA, T.R. Price. Price is 26-year-old and was raised in Salida, Colorado but left when they were 16 to live in South America. Price lived on and off in South America while pursuing their higher education.

Recently Price paused their Ph.D. in Environmental Economics from a university in New Zealand to start this position with GARNA. Their Master’s is in Environmental Studies Sustainable Development and Climate Change. During the pandemic, they wrote a scholarly article about health being dependent on the environment.

With GARNA, Price works as the lead for resource management; this position is about assessing how to better waste diversion within the area. Currently, they are thinking more about circular economic design within Salida, along with the potential to help business increase their sustainability through the principles of reduce, reuse, recycle.

When asked what they think community members can do to help climate change Price explained “What we have found in the research community is that even though we have great scientific backs and great research behind different cases a lot of times it doesn’t help to tell people what they need to do because no one really likes being told what they need to do.”

“Having people come up with it for themselves as to how they can change their lives to become more environmentally positive and more sustainable, can really empower that individual to start addressing these items that they think are going to be the most impactful and feasible in their lives.” To do this Price suggests Process Modeling.

Put simply, process modeling allows one to analyze their daily routine by looking at inputs and outputs through the lens of “reduce, reuse, and recycle” to determine what aspects of life can be changed to make the biggest impact. Price walked through this process step by step.

“So for process modeling what is done is to analyze what any person, organization or entity does in their normal life,”explained Price. “For example, if you’re a person, what you do normally is wake up, have breakfast. Then you drive yourself or transport yourself to work. So those are three steps that happen in your morning routine in most people’s normal lives.”

These slides were provided by Price while explaining process modeling. This slide explains the first step of analyzing what you do day-to-day. Courtesy of T.R. Price.

“With that, there are things that go into each of those steps. So, there’s something that goes into breakfast, driving, and work.”

Price then went on to speak about inputs within the example; “Your laptop for work, coffee for a lot of people, driving or transporting usually there is a car involved and usually, there is gas into that car to drive. For breakfast, there is usually eggs or bacon or something like that. So, these are the inputs, coffee, food, dining ware, for breakfast. The outputs of this breakfast are grounds, used dishes and used napkins.”

“It important to identify what items we’re using in each of our steps because this is how we can start to think about where we can make a change in our lives. If we think that coffee is something we could substitute then we could potentially substitute it for something more sustainable that doesn’t hurt the environment as much.”

This slide shows the inputs and outputs of breakfast used in Price’s example.

“The same thing with a car. Instead of driving to work, you can start biking to work and that has a less environmental impact. So, analyzing all these different items you can start getting a list together and in this list, you’ll be able to see that there are different items that go into these processes and all these steps that share a commonality.”

“For example, used paper, used (paper) napkins, used newspaper, all those can be grouped into the category of paper. Organics are, for example coffee, food, food scraps. All those can be grouped into organics.”

“When you have these groupings like paper, electronics, organics, you can start thinking in general how impactful it for you is to address paper in your life and how feasible is it to stop using as much paper.”

A breakdown of groupings used in Price’s example.

“In this example, paper is very feasible to be addressed, and it’s very impactful. An example for this paper category is substituting an e-newsletter for your newspaper. In this paper category, there are all these items that you’ve addressed beforehand: a newspaper, paper, napkins notebook, etc. Each one has an environmental impact and each one you can substitute for something else. You can start thinking about other ways in which to reuse napkins –  so having cloth napkins for example.”

“The great thing about this is not only does substituting in a “reduce, reuse, recycle” fashion for any of these items lead to a more positive and sustainable view, most of the time it also saves money. So instead of buying paper napkins constantly, using a cloth napkin and washing it save you money in the long run.”

Slide showing how to rank items after ranking your groupings.

“You can identify the leverage point is paper because that ranked as the most impactful and most feasible. Then you have your list of action items that you can start addressing. This a way to try and see how you can change your life to become more environmentally positive.”

“Every person when they start modeling their own lives is going to have a different sequence that they go through. They might identify steps that are more important to them like meditation or yoga that they do in their daily practice and the things that go into those steps, there are different inputs that they’re going to be noting. It’s basically just the general flow of things that helps to address these action steps. When you start addressing these items individually that empowers you to become more sustainable, more environmentally friendly, and you want to look down that line and start addressing more and more.”

A slide showing leverage point of paper with its impacts.

“Reduction is one of the most impactful ways in which you can have a good environmental influence because a lot of our environmental impact is due to consumption. So, the less we consume the more environmentally friendly we are.”

“It’s always helpful when you’re looking at these alternatives to look at your local area and what items are available for you. That’s also a very impactful consumer practice, tapping into your local resources.”

For community members who are interested in learning more about process modeling, contact resourcemanagement@garna.org. GARNA may also have workshops on process modeling in the future to get community members more involved.

Editor’s Note: As Price mentioned, reading a digital news platform is not just timely, and available on your mobile phone, it is also environmentally friendly.