Tuesday, November 22, 2016

December 2016 Sustainability Profile: Jacqueline Puliatti

Name: Jax Puliatti

College, Major, Year: Porter, Environmental Studies, Class of 2017

Position Title(s):  
Sustainability Office Graphic Artist

What does “sustainability” mean to you? 
"Sustainability" to me is a mindset. No matter what I am doing, my impact on the earth is on my mind. Sustainability is applicable and should be applied to every aspect of our lives. I think of sustainability in this broader sense, as a mindset more than a discipline or subject area.

Why did you get involved with sustainability? 
I grew up in an environmentally conscious family. My mother is an environmental entrepreneur and an important mentor of mine. She taught me that sustainability is a way of life. Because of her, I have been involved in sustainability since my youth. It was only natural for me to attend UCSC within the Environmental Studies Department and work for the Campus Sustainability Office.

How has sustainability related to your role(s) at UCSC? 
Well, the Campus Sustainability Office (SO) is highly related to...you guessed it...sustainability! My role is focused on outreach and design. I work on spreading the word about SO programs, as well as other sustainability events happening in Santa Cruz and the Bay Area, through my design work, social media and good old emailing.

How do you practice sustainability in your daily life? 
As I stated before, sustainability for me is a mindset. Therefore, it is on the forefront of my mind each day. Every action I take has an impact so I ride my bike, I carry a Tupperware around at all times, I use a glass water bottle, I don't buy paper towels, I buy local organic food whenever possible, I purposefully spread tips to friends, I keep an ear open for new green tips, I do personal research on the environmental movement on at local and global levels, the list goes on.

Have you had a favorite sustainability moment at UCSC or somewhere else?  
My favorite sustainability moment to date came to me at Startup Weekend Santa Cruz which happened from November 18-20 of this year. I pitched an idea for a startup and of the over 80 participants, 7 people joined my team. Within 54 hours, we created a startup that works to track individual's carbon emissions from transportation and facilitate use of carbon offsets to instantaneously offset carbon use. But we didn't start with that idea. First we developed my idea: a sustainable and socially equitable business guide to Santa Cruz. By midday Saturday, we had realized the apps limitations and pivoted to new ideas countless times until we decided on Conifr, an idea which we were all enthusiastic about. So half-way into the weekend, we scraped everything and started anew. The efforts and energy that came over the next 24 hours were incredible. Having spent quality time with our team, learning about each other and respecting ideas and opinions, we created an environment of trust that facilitated equal contribution towards our startup. We entered the presentation stage of the event with optimism that came from a collectively light-hearted yet determined mindset. We didn't care if we won, we didn't even consider it a possibility. We were proud of our perseverance and community-building. We sat there, all in a row and were utterly shocked to hear the facilitators announce Conifr as the winner of Startup Weekend Santa Cruz! My team and I have decided to see this startup through, in two cities across the world from each other, Santa Cruz and Brisbane. The half of our team that lives in Santa Cruz will be presenting at Santa Cruz New Tech Meetup and we will continue to work with our teammates from Australia as they enter the sustainability markets down under! This weekend was life-changing for me. We are making waves so keep your eyes out for future sustainability moments with this motivated team of individuals!

Are there sustainability practices you’ve picked up specific to your background or culture? 
It is rather hard to pinpoint sustainability practices in regards to my specific cultural background. If you'll allow, I would draw on my experience living in a foreign country and learning from the rich culture of Ghana. I spent last school year studying abroad in Ghana. As part of the California program, we traveled all over the country, visiting and learning about organizations that are making great strides towards social and sustainable well-being. The Ghana Permaculture Institute was the place that inspired me the most. They are working to eradicate poverty through permaculture. They hold workshops and host people from all over the world, spreading their knowledge about permaculture practices and empowering farmers to rise up out of poverty in a sustainable way. They generate their own renewable energy through solar panels and compost stomaches, they have a mushroom cultivation program and one of their main crops, moringa, is a superfood native to Ghana that has been bringing farmers out of poverty across West Africa. I want to spread the word about the Ghana Permaculture Institute and the incredible strides they've taken. We often hear about the disease, poverty and corruption on the African continent. While those issues exist, there are so many amazing, inspirational, innovative people, programs and organizations that are thriving despite neocolonial disadvantages. It has become clear to me that part of my mission in life is to raise those people up, to support people those who have not had the advantages that I have been given, and who, despite this, are straight killin' the sustainability game. I look to the Ghana Permaculture Institute for inspiration and as a reminder that beauty, goodness and power can grow out of global disadvantage.

What is your favorite green tip?   
My favorite green tip would probably have to be to travel on bicycles! I love riding my bike, I travel practically everywhere in Santa Cruz with my Bianchi. It is an obvious one but if I see cycling as the ultimate sustainable transportation medium. There are so many aspects of sustainability that entail compromise and choosing the lesser of two evils. With cycling, there is no evil: you're getting a solid work-out, your endorphins are kicking in, you're getting where you need to go and it is guilt-free.

Each month, our newsletter features a person or group on campus that is working toward a more sustainable world. If you know of a person or group on campus that you think we should profile, or if you would like to be profiled, please send us an email.

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