Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I wish you all a happy, healthy, prosperous, fun, safe, and, of course, green new year!!! The Green, The Bad, and The Ugly will be back on January 5th with my Green Resolutions!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Green Christmas

Christmas was my mom’s favorite time of year. And boy, did she go all out! Every part of our house was decorated, from the illuminated deer on the front lawn to the animated Mickey and Minnie Mouse under the tree.

Our presents were wrapped in a multitude of papers that she would buy from my niece and nephew’s school fundraiser every year. And every Christmas morning, the paper was torn off and thrown away.

The artificial tree was draped in hundreds of mini-lights, not LED’s, plugged in 24 hours a day for the entire month of December and probably even some of November!

Our turkey was not free-range, the vegetables not local or organic and we’d drive aimlessly to other neighborhoods looking in awe at their non-LED illumination.

So, our holidays weren’t exactly what you’d call eco-friendly. Back then, green was nothing more than her favorite color.

But going green isn’t just about changing your light bulbs, it’s also about making things better for those around us…being a humanitarian…and for that, my mom was very green!

Our church had a giving tree. A tree that was covered with tags listing things that underprivileged children wanted for Christmas. She would always take a bunch of tags and fill the wants of those special kids.

She would cook for those in need with my niece, who was then only a little girl, teaching her the importance of giving to others.

She took care of her grandchildren when my sister had to work, offered a lending hand when a friend or neighbor needed help, advocated for animals (all of our dogs were rescued) and was active in her church.

Both she and my dad set great examples for me and my sister.

I suspect that if mom were around today, she would absolutely be on board with the green movement. She was always incredibly supportive and open-minded.  She would have had a ball finding new ways to decorate eco-style! I know she would have continued, and probably found even more ways of helping others.

While the holidays leave an open space where she once was, I’m still inspired by her Christmas spirit of giving, which will live on forever.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Peace On Earth, Green Will Towards Men

It’s hard to believe we’re in the holiday season again. A time of traditions. Ice skating in Rockefeller Center, the windows in Macy’s, buying a Christmas tree off the sidewalk in front of Duane Reade, and my company’s holiday door decorating contest.

Last year was my first time spearheading my office’s effort to create the prize-winning door. We had never entered before and I wasn’t sure if we were all going to come together on this. The idea had to be more than the “stockings hanging on the fireplace” theme which so many had done before us. But the idea came to me like bees to honey.

“We’re Dreaming of a Green Christmas.”

I was thrilled when we got the whole office to participate. We made a cut-out Christmas tree from old annual reports that were ready for the trash.  Each of my office mates had to make an ornament which incorporated an eco tip they received from me.

Everyone’s creativity was flowing. Our tips were a success! Who wouldn’t want to know that all of that wrapping paper they would tear open on Christmas morning would kill so many trees? Or that if they drank locally made egg nog, they would keep the weight of 237 dairy cows in CO2 out of the air? What about giving “experience gifts” like a massage or a concert ticket that your recipient will remember fondly? And don’t forget to use LED lights on your tree!

The other doors were green with envy! Random people would stand in front of our door reading our tips. We were proud of what we had accomplished and it had gone beyond any of our imaginations. We had come together to spread our green message and holiday cheer.

As we approached judgment day, we were on pins and needles. All of our hard work paid off and we won the coveted pizza party! (Unfortunately the pizza wasn’t organic and, of course, came in cardboard boxes…but that’s another story.)

But something magical happened after our win.

The office began recycling. My co-workers gave coffee mugs as gifts so that we’d stop using paper cups. We started using recycled copy paper. Our weekly delivery of water bottles was stopped and we relied solely on our water cooler.

Our little giving tree spoke loudly.

This week, we have begun the preparations for this year’s contest. Our theme is Peace on Earth, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the peace sign. If we’re half as successful spreading peace as we were promoting our green message, then we can definitely inspire a lot of goodwill toward men (and women)… maybe even 237 dairy cows’ worth.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Kindle Me Green

Last week, my husband told me that he'd like the Kindle for Christmas. He'd seen it on Oprah and was sold. I have to admit, I wasn't entirely sure what the Kindle was, what it did or why he was watching Oprah.

I did some research. Why I didn't already know about this electronic reading device baffled me. It's an answer to my green prayers! To be able to read my favorite books without needing a physical copy. Imagine…no more back room piled to the ceiling with books (you think I'm joking). No more paper, all those trees saved! And light enough to carry everywhere.

Now I wanted one and was determined not to buy any more books. Of course, there's always the "but."

Jessica Lange was at Barnes and Noble last week discussing and signing her new book, 50 Photographs. I absolutely adore her and wanted her book. I mean, what do you do when you absolutely have to have the physical copy? And the thing is, I love new books. The feel of the cover, the texture of the pages, the smell. Hers was no exception.

This was a coffee table book. A huge one. "Meant to be displayed," I told myself. Could I go back on my new pledge...just this once? After all, I didn't have the Kindle yet. Of course, I don't have a coffee table, either.

Hoping to make peace with myself, I carried my oversized book to the cashier. He greeted me with a nonjudgmental hello and proceeded to ring up my purchase.

Then he asked me if I was a Barnes and Noble member. "No," I replied.

"It's only $25 to join and you'll save 20% on this book!" he exclaimed.

Now, why should I pay for discounts? Does this make any sense? I tried using logic.

"I'm a Borders member," I said, "and they don't charge." I realized I had gone too far.

"Borders discounts aren't as good!"

"Stop Meredith! Stop right there," I shouted to myself. But did I listen? Nooooo….

"Borders has way better discounts!" This guy was getting more than a little heated. We began to argue in an unpleasant "No they don't!/Yes, they do!" exchange.

"Well, you can't apply for a job in person at Borders. You have to apply online."

So Borders has a green application process, nice! "They're saving paper," I said.

"That's just so they can ignore your application," he said. "And they didn't hire me!"

I was about to say, "I wonder why..."

Then, with a snippy tone and a thrust of his wrist, he pushed the book at me, turned to his co-workers and rolled his eyes. Was the universe telling me I shouldn't be buying any more books? Or just that I shouldn't be buying any from him?

Completely frazzled, I went upstairs to see Jessica. My evening got better as soon as I sat down to look at my new book full of her black and white photographs taken all over the world. I left feeling inspired.

I realized that the Kindle won't capture the magic of large photographs or autographs, but it will keep my reading free from unwanted paper, and also free from unwanted encounters with psychotic check-out clerks. At least until Jessica Lange publishes her next book.

If only I had only had the Kindle six months ago when I was buying the Twilight books for myself, friends and family members . . . I could have saved more trees than 94,000 Borders applications.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Excuse Me, Are You Green?

I recently found out that jetBlue had gone green and that they had opened a new terminal at JFK. In last week’s post, I decided to do a little investigative reporting to see if there were any fun, green things going on at the new terminal.

So, as promised, with Sigg bottle and luggage in hand, I set out on my mission.

My plan of attack was to question the stores to see what they knew about the new building or if their company was doing anything to go green.

The first stop was a sushi restaurant. There were two older Japanese men at the counter frantically chopping up raw fish. “Excuse me.” I said. Neither looked at me. I gave it one more try. Nothing. And so…I ran out of there. But that’s OK. I don’t eat sushi anyway!

Next was Borders. I picked up a birthday card made from recycled paper and printed with soy ink. This was good. I placed my card on the counter, took a deep breath and asked the saleswoman if she knew whether or not the new terminal had gone green. She looked puzzled. I added words like eco-friendly and sustainable. She still didn’t know what I was talking about. But she did ask if I would purchase a children’s book to give to a child in need. So I did.

The next store was Muji to Go…a great little place that sells fun household items. The saleswoman also didn’t know about her store or the terminal’s green elements, but we became engaged in a lengthy conversation about how NYC should get rid of plastic bags and make taxis all hybrids.

At the end of our conversation, she let out an “Oh!” and led me to a display. Shirts and socks made from recycled yarn! I was getting somewhere. I bought the socks and continued on my investigation.

While most of the stores’ employees had no idea as to whether this building was green, they were helpful in pointing out their own store’s little touches. For instance, a market that sold some organic foods, a store that sold candles, sweat suits and undies made from soy, and a pharmacy that carried natural body care products.

My last stop was the food court. I asked one of the counter guys what the restaurants were doing. He said the food court’s cooking oil is recycled (not for human consumption) through a complicated process that left me more puzzled than the first saleswoman I encountered.

At this point, my flight was boarding. I got on the plane with new knowledge and some comfy recycled socks – and I can’t wait to try my new soy underwear!

Monday, November 24, 2008


My grandmother is turning 90 this week and my whole family is flying to California to celebrate with her. I’m really looking forward to it. Well, most of it.

See, I hate to fly. I hate the sensation of taking off and God help me if we hit a few bumps along the way. I grasp onto my chair, close my eyes and pray.

Even worse, I hate watching the flight attendants collect the headsets at the end of the flight. I watch that bag fill up with barely used audio devices just to be taken to the landfill. Don’t these people have iPods? Don’t they know their headphones are better than the free ones?

And then there is the issue of empty soda cans. I can only hope that the trash is separated and someone turns in those cans for the 5 cent refund.

But aside from headsets and cans, there is something even more deadly to our environment and that is the carbon footprint left by our favorite mode of transportation.

It’s no secret that flying isn’t very eco-friendly. And believe me, if there were another way to get me to Cali in less than 3 days, I would take it. But there’s not.

So the next best thing is to buy carbon offsets.

You choose what you’d like to offset, like a plane ride, car trip or home energy use. Then the company providing the offset invests your money into clean energy like wind farms or other projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a great idea and controversial but I figure, if Ed Begley, Jr. will fly with them, so will I.

My airline of choice is JetBlue. Not just for the blue potato chips but for the comfy seats and, most importantly, the little TV’s. I also appreciate the light humor the flight attendants provide. The whole experience makes for a nice flight.

So…imagine how ecstatic I was to find out that JetBlue is flying green!! They’re all about reducing their impact on the environment with new technology and they even support environmental and social activities in their local communities, encouraging their employees and customers to do the same. This is my kind of airline!

They’ve even opened a new, green terminal at JFK. So I thought that while I’m waiting for my flight to board, I would explore the new digs and see if Jet Blue is doing any other fun green things.

You’re probably thinking, why don’t you just read a book like the rest of us? I’m thinking, I have a follow-up story for next week!!

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Green Travels!!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Greener Shade of Blonde

I am a natural blonde. Well, sort of.

I’ve been highlighting my hair since high school. A few years back, I had an acting teacher who told me I’d be more marketable as a redhead. It was not a good look for me. Coupled with the cut I was sporting, I looked like Mamie Eisenhower. My mother was horrified. I went back to being a blonde.

But being blonde takes a lot of commitment, money and of course, coloring. When I turned green (my lifestyle, not my hair), I found a salon that used students, charged less, and colored with a naturally derived permanent hair dye. How much better could it get?

I was so excited for my new salon. I even planned a new look -- uber blonde. I sat in the chair for three hours while they showed me color swatches, chose my perfect shade, and layered my hair in foils.

When they took the foils out, my hair looked like it had hardly been touched! I was about to burst into tears. The girl got her teacher, who picked through my hair, saying, “Sometimes the lift doesn’t take.” Now the student looked like she was about to burst into tears too.

They offered me a complimentary re-do. When I went back, they assured me that this time I would be REALLY blonde. Three hours later, I was REALLY not.  

The teacher said that for some reason my hair wouldn’t take their natural dye and that I needed to use a bleach-based product.

Great. So I was green, but my hair wasn't. If I wanted to get my blonde ambition on, I was going to have to fry my follicles.

Then I went home and my husband said, “I thought you were getting your hair done.”

That did it. I was going to have to go for bleach.

And so I did. I sat in the chair and was slathered with chemicals, all to make me look like I had just returned from California. When it was time to rinse, my hairdresser said that I should breathe through my mouth since the fumes were strong. What was I doing?

I left there with my perfect blonde hair, which I loved...but which came with a hefty environmental price tag.

My roots will be coming in in about two months, which means I have that amount of time to find a salon that uses naturally derived products that my hair -- and my conscience -- will take.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The People-Pleasing Vegetarian

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a friend’s house for dinner. She made spaghetti with meatballs. Something I love. But there was a problem. I couldn’t eat it because I’m now a vegetarian. And I couldn’t tell my friend because I’m a self-proclaimed people pleaser.

So what did I do? I ate the meatballs, of course.

As a people pleaser, I will do almost anything to avoid upsetting others. This includes, but is not limited to, going out to a crowded bar at 1 AM on a Sunday night, spending exorbitant amounts of money on bad plays, and eating foods I don’t eat anymore.

For me, going vegetarian is an important part of going green and leading a healthier lifestyle. But going veg and staying veg are two different things.

I haven’t made the full transition. I’ve only eliminated fish and meat so far. Fish because of its high mercury content and over-fishing, and meat because of its impact on the environment (run-off from factory farms that pollute our waterways and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from just one kilogram of beef, to name just a few).

After the dinner with my friend, I realized I wasn’t going to get anywhere if my convictions were as soft as her spaghetti noodles. I would have to stop pleasing others and start pleasing myself.

My next dinner invitation, I held my ground. Sort of.

It was my father-in-law’s birthday. They were serving ribs. I panicked. I took a deep breath and told myself that I would not eat them. Unfortunately, I also didn’t tell anyone else. So, while they were getting stuffed on ribs, I was getting starved on salad.

My stomach kept growling…loudly. The kind of growl that attracts attention. I excused myself. “Did you eat enough?” someone asked. “NO!” I screamed inside my head but let out a quieter, people-pleasing,“Yes.”

I couldn’t get home fast enough. We walked through the door and I ran for the fridge. I grabbed anything I could get my veggie hands on. I had a three-course meal of sunflower seeds, black beans and old grapes.

Then I felt sick. All because I was too afraid to ask for something else to eat. Was this any better than not eating meat?

The problem wasn’t my eating habits. The problem was my pleasing habits. I realize I need to reduce them and ultimately get rid of them.

There should be Jenny Craig for people pleasers. You would be allowed certain portions of people pleasing per day.

Or a reality show called The Biggest Pleaser. Instead of trying to get along with others, contestants are rewarded for standing their ground, no matter what others think.

I’d sign up for a show like that in a second. But only if it didn’t upset someone else…

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


We just came inside after taking Bailey for his walk.  The city is electric.  Everyone is cheering and screaming and horns beeping madly.  I've never felt anything like this!

CONGRATULATIONS President-Elect Barack Obama! I and the City of New York look forward to an amazing 4 years!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

You Can’t Always Green What You Want

In my journey to go green, I’ve made some cold-turkey changes…like changing out my light bulbs and carrying reusable shopping bags.

But many things aren’t that simple. I am constantly finding out that you can’t always get everything you want into one neat little package.

For instance, my deodorant. I always used Secret. Loved it. Kept me dry and non-stinky. But then I found out the secret. Aluminum. That’s what was keeping me fresh as a daisy. But aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer's, cancer, and God knows what else. The other ingredients in my favorite deodorant weren’t much better. So I decided to switch to a natural brand, Tom’s.

I began my crossover in the winter when I barely sweat. Worked like a charm.

And then, it started to get warm. I felt myself starting to get sweaty. I took a sniff. Crap. It was the deodorant. The missing aluminum! It wasn’t clogging up my sweat glands. I was definitely au naturale.

It was the same with my toothpaste.

It was supposed to be a routine visit to my new dentist. A simple cleaning. He put his magnifying camera in my mouth and there I was on the screen in front of me. He took a laser pointer and started showing me little marks. Cavities. And a lot of them. I’ve had one cavity in my whole life and now I have…a lot! I brush, I floss. How did this happen?

He asked me what toothpaste I was using. “Tom’s” I replied. He gasped. “You need the fluoride!” “No!” I shouted back. Fluoride is known to be toxic and linked to osteoporosis and now he wanted me to go back to using it! He told me it was the equivalent to not using bleach to clean your tub. Well…we know what happened to me the last time I used bleach and I won’t go there again.

So the big looming question…what do I do now?

Isn’t the presidential election like that? You’ve chosen your candidate, you’re solid in your choice and then he reveals something you just don’t agree with.

My candidate acknowledges that global warming is happening. He believes in wind and solar power and creating green jobs. But some of his solutions, like clean coal technology and off-shore drilling, are not the best things for the environment.

And so the question comes up again…what do I do now?

The truth is, I don’t want to smell and I hate the drill. So I compromise. Secret in the summer, Tom’s in the winter. Colgate in the morning, Tom’s before bed.

My candidate’s positions that I agree with outweigh the ones that I don’t. With that in mind, Obama gets my support, but not for everything. If he wants my support for clean coal technology, he’ll find, like I do, that you can’t always get what you want.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Ideals Laundered and Pressed

It’s no secret that I despise plastic bags.

Aside from being made from petroleum or natural gas, they’re a threat to our environment. Whether they’re clogging storm drains, finding their way into rivers and oceans, or simply sitting in landfills, they are wrecking havoc on our planet.

The US goes through an estimated 100 billion plastic bags a year.

I’ve tried to be plastic bag free for a little over a year now. I carry a Chico Bag…a nylon bag that scrunches up into a small ball ( … and I’ve trained John to do the same. He’s so scared of me that now, when he forgets his bag, I’ve seen him walk through the door with an armful of groceries!

And yet even bringing your own bag is not enough. There are those establishments that insist you take their plastic, whether you want it or not.

For instance, the grocery store likes to put your meat into small plastic bags to protect leakage. At Subway (not the greenest place to begin with), my sandwich always seems to wind up in plastic before I can say anything. And then there is the dry cleaner.

I dropped my clothes off this week and asked them not to put plastic over my clothes after they were cleaned. It was an organic dry cleaner, so I didn’t think this would be a big deal.

The girl behind the counter looked at me, confused. I kept explaining what I wanted. Her manager made his way over to me. I pleaded my case again and he nodded.

Two days later, I picked up my clothes and, of course, they were covered in plastic.

I saw the same, nodding manager and told him that I had asked for no plastic. He ripped the plastic off and threw it away. I shrieked, “No! The idea was to spare the plastic, not throw it away.” He walked away, still nodding.

I stood there for a moment and asked the counter girl for the plastic the nodding man just threw away. Now she was really confused. I politely but firmly reached around the counter, pulled it out of the trash and left.

Now I was stuck with a giant piece of plastic, which, instead of going into a landfill or the ocean, was going into my apartment. It can’t be recycled and can’t be reused...unless I want the grocery store to wrap a side of beef or Subway to encase a six-foot sub in it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Don't Give It 2 Me

Last Sunday, I went to Madonna’s Sticky & Sweet concert at Madison Square Garden. A tour that has made headlines not only for its amazing show, but also for its very sticky, not-so-sweet carbon footprint.

Apparently, each show leaves a stiletto-sized footprint that crosses over the borderline into 1,500 tons of not-so-vogue emissions – the equivalent of what 160 material girls create in a year!

This image went in and out of my head as I made the trek up the 10 flights of escalators that brought us to our seats.

We arrived early so we decided to get something from the concession stand. We knew getting anything healthy or green would be next to impossible, so we ordered two bottled waters. (I know, I know . . .)

I try to avoid plastic bottled anything, especially H20. With the amount of fossil fuels it takes to make bottles, the fact that most bottles end up as part of a floating island in the Pacific or in landfills with no hope of ever decomposing, not to mention the possibility of plastic leaching into my water…it’s not for me.

I forgave myself because I could at least take the bottles home and recycle them.

And then I saw the woman taking out two paper cups. “No!” I shouted. “We don’t use paper cups!” She stared at me. “We have to pour the water into the cup.”

John whispered, “Can we just go?” He knew where this was going. We were going to get thrown out of the Garden with nothing to show for our night but two plastic bottles.

But I couldn’t help myself. What possible good reason was there for pouring bottled water into a paper cup?

So I asked.

“People throw the bottles at the stage,” she said in disgust.

Are you kidding me? So not only are we hurting the planet, we’re hurting the performers too? What has this world come to? Madonna fans have gone from striking a pose to striking Madonna?

In shame, I took my unwanted paper cup with its hated plastic lid and went back to my seat. I drank some of the water as the cup began to get weak and the lid unsecure.

The show began and I put the paper cup in the back of my head for later guilt and pondering. It was time to enjoy my $65 ticket.

We reached the point of the show where she shows her “Get Stupid” video, a montage of explosions of war and Mother Theresa, Obama and McCain and, of course, our beautiful planet earth. It was at this point that I accidentally kicked the paper cup.

I looked down at it as Madonna chanted, “Get Stupid!”

I felt like I already had. I appreciated the video, but I would have preferred not to be part of the giant carbon footprint. (Or to have my foot soaking wet from the $5 water)


Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Water Runneth Over

I remember this short film from an episode of Sesame Street. It was a split screen. Each side showed a faucet with a bowl underneath it and a boy ready to brush his teeth.

On the left, the boy turned the water on, wet his toothbrush, turned the water off and began brushing, only turning the water back on to rinse.

On the right, the boy brushed away while the water ran.

The camera then panned over to the first kid's bowl. There was barely any water in it.

On the right, the bowl was overflowing.

But lately, I've had to question whether I was on the left or the right.

I was conscientious of my water usage, but what did it matter if I gave one more swoosh of the toothbrush in my mouth before I turned the water off?

Apparently, it does matter.

As it becomes clearer that so many of the earth's resources, like fresh water, are finite, it is important to take steps now to preserve what we do have so as not to leave our grandchildren with a crisis.

These days, I'm very careful about how long I let the water run. I bought a 5-minute timer for my shower and I soap up all my dishes before I turn the water on to rinse. If my kitchen were bigger than a walk-in closet, I would probably invest in an energy efficient dishwasher (only running it when it's full, of course).

So you can imagine how it drives me crazy to see store owners and apartment building workers hose down the sidewalks...especially when it's about to rain.

And I have a physical reaction when I see women in the restrooms let the water run while they dry their hands. Most notably...Miss Niagra Falls.

She works on our floor. Everyone knows her. Even the non-greenies in my office will come back from an encounter with her in the bathroom and roll their eyes in disgust.

The other morning I was in the bathroom and I heard the water turn on. I knew it was her. I could tell by the angry way the water was pouring out. Forceful. Hot. I emerged from the stall and there she was...standing there, looking at herself in the mirror, drying her hands, slowly...carefully...water running.

I went to the sink and washed my own hands. I tried to control myself. I really did. But it was too much for me to handle. She might as well have been running her fingers down an aquatic chalk board.

I contemplated the repercussions of saying something.

But instead, I turned my faucet off, walked over to her sink and shut off the water. As she stared at me half in shock, half pissed off, I threw my towel away and quickly exited.

I felt shaky as I left and went out of my way to avoid that bathroom for a few days. But I soon decided to face her again. Now when I see her, she's cautious but friendly and she usually waits for me to leave before turning the faucet on.

Maybe I made my point.

Now I'm thinking of going up to one of those shop owners or apartment guys and asking them to turn off their hoses.

Or maybe I'll just do it for them.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Clean Shower Technology

I watched the VP debate last week and to my dismay, both candidates voiced support for clean coal technology.  I expected this from Mrs. "Global Warming Isn't Man Made," but I was surprised to hear it from Joe Biden.   This technology basically consists of washing the coal and storing the carbon by-products.  OK, it's a little more complicated.  But no less harmful.

Cleaning coal was about the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard of.  Until I was faced with an even bigger challenge.

Cleaning my bathroom.
When I decided to go green, I changed out all of my chemical cleaners with earth-friendly ones. I felt so good that I was no longer exposing myself, my husband or my dog to harsh chlorines and bleaches.  My counters smelled like grapefruits and melons; my mirrors sparkled with scents of fresh rain; and my shower was . . . moldy.

I know!  It's gross.  But my bathroom gets no natural light, so once you shut it down for the day, it becomes a mold playground.  I tried a "healthy alternative" spray called Daily Shower, but it didn't work. I tried cleaning it more frequently, but that didn't seem to be cutting it either. And my latest cleaner was a summer cucumber-scented failure.  

So I caved.   I went out and bought something I swore I would never buy.


The guilt consumed every inch of me as I put it in my reusable shopping bag.  What a hypocrite! Even the bag screamed at me, "What are you doing??"  

I got home and pulled out the nasty bottle, flung open the shower curtain and got to work. I sprayed till the bottle was almost empty. I didn't even rinse and the grout was already turning white.

Then my nose started to burn.

I had to escape.  The fumes were gagging me.  John evacuated his office with a shriveled up nose.  We flung open the windows but to no avail.  We decided to get Bailey out of there.   When we came back an hour later, the whole building smelled like the city pool on 23rd Street.

It took days for the smell to go away.  I could only imagine what it was doing to our brain cells, let alone the pipes, ground water, and whatever else it touched.  However, the shower head, tub and curtain remained mold-free.

I'm investigating better, greener alternatives.  Meanwhile, before any candidate thinks about committing our country to clean coal technology, I suggest they come up with a safe, environmentally friendly way to clean my shower.


Monday, September 29, 2008

The Box That Launched A Blog

The other day, my boss came into my office. She was very serious and handed me a small box. She asked me to open it. I had no idea where this was going so I did as I was asked. After all, she is the boss.

Inside was a slip of paper inviting her to stop by a booth at the local fundraising executives conference. The paper fit neatly into the box and was supported by a giant piece of foam. I looked at her, horrified. I knew why she had handed me the box.

"Well, " she said, "since you are our resident environmentalist, I thought I'd let you deal with this."

That's me.

Never in a million years did I ever expect anyone to refer to me as an environmentalist. In fact, only about a year ago, I carried my groceries in plastic bags, thought recycling was a pain and used incandescent light bulbs! So what made me change?

It wasn't an overnight decision. I credit Al Gore. An Inconvenient Truth was the catalyst. I wanted to do something. I started with light bulbs then started bringing my own bags to the store. And then I become obsessed. I devoured information like it was a pint of Ben & Jerry's. Magazines, websites, TV shows. And then I had to learn how not to be preachy. I didn't mean to be. I was excited. I just wanted everyone to know what I was learning.

And here we are. The Green, The Bad and The Ugly. This blog will cover my adventures with all three.

As for the box that held the slip of paper... I called the marketing company and spoke with the person in charge of this nightmare. I told her that we were appalled and that we would not be stopping by their booth. She tried to tell me that everything was made from recycled materials.

"Have you heard about REDUCE, reuse and recycle?" I asked. "Do you know our planet is in trouble? Who ever thought this up must have some serious problems."

"I'm sorry you feel that way," she replied. Then she hung up.

This blog is about encouraging the good, outing the bad, going green and staying green while keeping a sense of humor. Basically, thinking outside the overpackaged box...