Taking Environmental Action

Taking Environmental Action

Filmmaker Tara Gupta 19 FAV is creating an inspiring YouTube series called 100 Days to 0 Waste.

From becoming a vegan to refusing to contribute plastic waste to landfills, junior Tara Gupta 19 FAV has been making a lot of changes in her life. So she sees her 100 Days to 0 Waste YouTube series as the logical next step in her journey.

“In managing the project, I’m learning a lot about nutrition, recycling, energy efficiency and overall sustainability,” she explains. “And it’s so much easier to make these kinds of personal changes as part of a community, rather than in isolation.”

“Paying attention to how you consume is the first step in realizing zero waste.”
tara gupta 19 FAV

The series spotlights four residents of Providence who are serving as “contestants” as they respond to challenges related to reducing their waste output. Their shared goal is to stop producing any waste at all by May 29. Once contestants videotape themselves completing each challenge, Gupta and a team of other RISD students she has recruited edit the footage and add explanatory overviews and other contextual elements.


Now in the process of creating 15–20 episodes by the end of May, Gupta plans to cover such topics as recycling, buying groceries in bulk in order to eliminate packaging waste and considering every item at home—where each comes from, what it’s made of and where it will go when it's disposed of. “Paying attention to how you consume is the first step in [achieving] zero waste,” she says.

Although the project is an extracurricular one, Gupta says it’s teaching her a lot about working as an independent filmmaker and collaborating with other creative talents. “There’s a really strong, supportive student community in the Film/Animation/Video department,” she notes. “You can’t make high-quality films all alone, so you absolutely need a crew.”


sound engineer Simone Ashmoore 19 FAV

As the producer/director, Gupta sees herself as the constant, while crew members like sound engineer Simone Ashmoore 19 FAV come in and out of the project as available. “But it feels like the show is owned by all of us, which is great,” Gupta adds. She also notes that the project is teaching her a lot about managing a team as well as her own time—both skills that will be helpful in whatever career path she eventually chooses.

Gupta intends to live in Providence this summer and to continue focusing on sustainability and other environmental issues. She has applied to a number of incubator programs for young entrepreneurs but has yet to win any funding to support her projects. Fortunately the YouTube series is inexpensive, she notes. Several of her friends own good cameras, and she’s able to borrow equipment from the FAV department and edit footage using free software.

One 100 Days challenge takes place in Providence’s bulk foods market Hope & Thyme.

“The concept of zero waste can be really abstract,” Gupta says, “so the 100 Days show is an entry-level educational tool for people who want to get involved. It’s about building a community of local activists.”

Simone Solondz

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