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Meet UCOP Climate Hero Chris Parmelee

Chris Parmelee
Meet UCOP Climate Hero Chris Parmelee

As part of the Cool Campus Challenge, which wrapped up on April 26, we asked participants to spread their admiration for fellow climate crusaders — while earning points for their team! This week’s Climate Hero is Chris Parmelee, nominated by Tim Gallagher.

Link connected with Chris, who is a cross-campus database analyst with the Innovative Learning Technology Initiative (ITLI) to learn more about what motivates him on his quest to reduce his climate impact.

Meet Chris

What are some of the ways in which you try to reduce your climate impact?
I have a plate, bowl and utensils at my desk that I brought in from home years ago to use instead of plastic flatware whenever I eat lunch. I actively try to reduce the amount of meat that I eat, as it has a huge impact on the climate — and the waistline. I use canvas reusable bags every day, and I buy used or refurbished items as often as I can to reduce my overall footprint. I rinse my recycling, as this makes it easier for everyone down the recycling supply chain. I recently had twins, and I want to set an example for them not to take what we have for granted.

I am also lucky enough to be part of UC’s massive enterprise that can significantly help Bend the Curve on climate change. My department (ILTI) is proud to sponsor and support an online course, available to all UC undergraduates, that is taught by Professor Ramanathan of UCSD. It shares the impacts and science behind Climate Change, proving that our educational mission is working hard to prepare a new generation of climate warriors.

Why do you think it’s important to make sustainable choices?
We don’t get a second chance to undo what we may have done in the past. A single-use plastic straw will take longer to decompose than a car. Every choice we make in our own future can have a positive or negative carbon impact. What are you going to leave in your wake?

 What’s one green tip you’d like to share with other UCOP employees?
Eight months ago, our family welcomed twin girls. We have been reading lots of labels and ingredients on packages. It’s hard to find baby-safe soap that removes oil and crud without being harsh on the skin. Since switching to Mustela, a paraben and phthalate-free soap, our girls’ skin is much less irritated.

We also have to clean baby bottles and pumping parts. We started out with Dr. Bronner Unscented Castile Soap but found it wasn’t effective on oily residue. Now we are using Dapple, which is baby-safe and cuts through oil. I may switch my dishwashing soap to Dapple, too. For laundry, we try to use products without fragrances or dyes, such as Honest and Tide Free & Gentle.

Congratulations to all this year’s UCOP Climate Heroes!

Arica Hall
Ben Tsai
Bernadette Scully
Chris Parmelee
Eliseo Perez
Erika Lee
Erin Warnock-Smith
Gemma Rieser
Ida Robles
Jennifer Mushinskie
Joseph Araiza
Kenny Komorida
Leilani Hamada
Lifang Chang
Mariel Christian
Mary-Ellen Kreher
Matthew Leet
Michael Brown
Miguel Zavala
Mindy Matthews
Neil Ramos
Nhu Lac
Ray Reichardt
Raymond Boyle
Ryan Chan
Shoab Ahmad
Stephanie Lopez
Steve Garber

Keep the momentum going

Even though the Cool Campus Challenge is over for the year, it’s still important to reduce your climate impact every day. Here are easy ways to keep the momentum going.

  • Take the trash quiz. Sorting your trash correctly can help avoid sending recyclable, compostable or hazardous materials to landfill.
  • Get inspired by Climate Lab.Whether you have hours to explore this helpful site or just a few minutes, Climate Lab videos and quizzes are a fun and helpful way to inform yourself of the most pressing issues facing our planet today.
  • Make a personal checklist of Cool Campus Challenge actions. Maybe April was a busy month and you had less time than you’d hoped to support the planet and your team. That’s OK — these actions are designed to be effective throughout the year. By building and following your own checklist based on these actions, you can start making a difference every day. And, who knows: Thanks to your effort, your team could be the top tomato next year!
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