Nursing Student Takes Action to Address Environmentally Sound Ways of Processing Food Waste

The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE) is a national organization and network of nurses around the world. Their mission: to promote healthy environments and bring awareness to environmental health through educating nurses, advancing research, and influencing policy. In 2020, ANHE’s first national student subcommittee of nurses created the Mindless Composting Guide to address how people can make environmentally healthy choices through monitoring food waste, reusing food scraps, and implementing a “mindless” composting method at home. Talya Briana, a Master of Science in Nursing student in the Family Track in the Class of 2022, highlights what inspired the committee to design the composting guide and how her experience fortified her interests in environmental science:

“As a member of the student subcommittee of nurses, I felt empowered to take initiative on an environmental health issue that I am passionate about. The committee was encouraged to find a common topic of interest and collectively design and manage a year-long project. Four committee members, including myself, were passionate about finding ways to reduce the food waste in landfills that are contributing to climate change and resulting in health consequences...For the other student nurses, this practice was something they either wanted to learn more about or wanted to start participating in. We decided to create a guide to help people find a way of composting that suits their lifestyle. Our vision soon expanded, and we worked towards inspiring people to reduce and reuse their own food scraps. The entire project was completed virtually. My interest in environmental health began when I studied the toxin levels in bottled vs. tap water for my middle school science fair project. As an undergraduate student studying biology, my interest grew as I served on our sustainability committee, and moreover as a post-graduate student, adopting a greener lifestyle and volunteering for the Sierra Club in Massachusetts. These experiences, along with my role with the ANHE, solidified my niche in nursing, bridging my interests in environmental science and public health. I am grateful to have found a group of like-minded students and nurses to work with as my career progresses.”

Personally, composting is one way I avidly take action to reduce my carbon footprint at home and it helps me nurture my relationship with food.

Talya Briana, MSN '22