Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy Green Year!

Happy 2010!

As I reflect back on 2009, I see that it was a year of keeping up with changes that I had already made and finding new ways to do even more to lessen my carbon footprint. But mostly, it was a year of...


John and I came across a gadget at the Go Green Expo. It's made by a company called Soda Stream. The contraption comes with refillable liter bottles and we make our own seltzer! We've saved money and our recycling bin has significantly decreased because we're not going through tons of plastic bottles.


Participating in the beach clean-up and the march across the Brooklyn Bridge (350.org and Greenpeace call for action on global warming) with my close friend Jen made me feel like I was really helping to make a difference. I was no longer just talking about what I should do but I was practicing what I preach.


I had the opportunity to meet one of the greatest environmentalists of our time. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) sponsored “An Evening with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.” at New York City’s Town Hall. He was both amazing and inspirational.


I noticed how many cardboard sleeves we use on our takeout coffee cups. I’ve been recycling them, but I thought there’s got to be a way to reuse them. So I asked everyone I knew to save them for me. I sat down one night and wove them into a Christmas wreath. In a similar spirit, I wrapped John’s presents in Whole Foods paper grocery bags and used the handles as “ribbons.”

Full Green Ahead
This past year I have definitely outed some bad, praised some good and definitely seen some ugly! But most of all, I have learned so much from all of your comments. I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy days to read about my adventures in going green and staying green.

I wish you a very green 2010!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Plastic Around the Christmas Tree

The other day I was waiting for the bus and watching the cars drive by. One car sped past me carrying a Christmas tree on its roof. The tree was tied to the roof of the car by...plastic wrap!!!

I stared in dismay. I'm sure my mouth was hanging open. What happened to good old-fashioned reusable rope?

In NYC, you don't go to a tree farm to get your tree. You go to the street corner. There's practically a tree stand at every one of them. Why on earth these people needed to drive to pick up a tree is beyond me. Of course I could add that the cost of driving the car to pick up the tree and drive it home didn't add to our air quality.

The next day, John and I went to get our Christmas tree. (Yes...we have a live one. Check out why below!)

I was so proud that we weren't going to be using any plastic wrap. We picked out the perfect one and proudly brought it over to the tree guy.

He took the tree from us and fed it through this round contraption. He was just going to saw some of the trunk off. While he was at it, he shaved some of the branches off too which I quickly picked up and later turned into a wreath.

When the trimming was done, he fed it through the rest of the gizmo. Only the tree came out a lot thinner. I realized that when he fed it through, the gizmo contraption wrapped the tree in a plastic netting for easy transport.

NO! I was no better than the saran wrapped car! As I realized this, he asked if I was interested in purchasing a plastic bag to wrap the tree in when we were finished!

In slow motion I mouthed the words "No thank you." I composed myself and told him that if New Yorkers leave their UNWRAPPED trees on the sidewalk the week after Christmas, the City collects them and turns them into mulch for all of the parks! But not enough people know this and are suckered into a neat and tidy tree clean up.

We carried the tree home. Actually, John carried the tree home and I'm pretty sure he was thankful that it was wrapped in plastic netting. The sidewalks are very narrow and he was barely escaping clobbering someone with the trunk. For me, I would've rather knocked someone out. Ok. Maybe not. But still, you get my point. It made me think though of all its sisters and brothers that would soon be wrapped in plastic.

We got the tree up the 6 flights of stairs and quickly into a warm, sugary stand full of water. And then I had to operate...carefully removing the plastic netting. When the surgery was over and some pine needles lost, I held the bundle of plastic up to John who felt bad. "Next year we'll know" he said.

I threw it away and decided to move on to my decorating, quickly stringing the LED lights and my favorite ornaments.

It's a beautiful little tree. And at least I know that at the end of the season, after its provided us with much love and beauty, mine will be turned into mulch for the parks.

For those of you interested, here is why fake trees are horrible for the environment:

First, most of them are made in China so the fact that they have to travel so far to reach your living room is a carbon dioxide disaster.

Second, they are made of PVC which is a type of plastic. Plastic is a petroleum based product. And they use lead to make the PVC.

Finally, you can't recycle a fake tree so it ends up in a landfill.

Live trees absorb carbon dioxide, have no harmful chemicals and can biodegrade or be recycled into mulch for our gardens.

Check out the
National Christmas Tree Association's website for more information about your Christmas Tree.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Green Thanks


I am so thankful that you read my blog week after week!

I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to write this blog!


I am so thankful for my health, my family, and my friends.

And it wouldn't be me if I didn't provide some green tips for tomorrow...

Avoid paper plates, cups, utensils, etc.
If you have nice china, use it! What good is it sitting in the china cabinet!

Buy organic or local.

Compost if you can.


Recycle your cans, boxes, bottles and aluminum foil.

Peace and love on this special holiday!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pollute What You Wish, But You Must Pollute Something

Recently, my dad came to New York for a visit and we decided to take him to The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It was very crowded so we immediately headed to a ticket counter.

We were greeted by a young girl who quickly took our money and gave us a receipt and a handful of coupons. I kindly said, "no thank you" to the coupons. Barely looking up, she gestured her head to the side and said, "The trash is right there."

I gasped. I'm actually gasping again as I write this.

I gained composure and said, "Can't I just give them back to you?" She stared at me blankly. A sarcophagus in the Egyptian wing had more life than she had in her eyes. I stared back at her and said "We can't waste all that paper! What about the poor trees?"

She was not amused by me. She had other people to deal with, other coupons to give out. Without looking up, she snatched the coupons from my hand and threw them back into her pile.

I walked away feeling agitated. My day at the Met was ruined. It was all I could think about. How many other people had wanted to give the coupons back and wound up throwing them away because she wouldn't take them?

A few hours passed and we were ready to leave. I couldn't possibly leave without saying anything or at least inquiring about their recycling policies.

I went to the information desk and the following conversation took place:

"Hi. I'm just wondering...does the Met recycle?" I asked.

"Um. I'm not...hey...do we recycle?" said a woman.

A man answered, "We print all of our brochures on recycled paper."

"That's great! But I'm wondering, do you recycle?" More sarcophagus stares.

Feeling frustrated by their non-response, I said "OK...here is what happened..." and I told my story. Neither of them seemed interested in the fact that those tiny coupons made of trees almost wound up in the trash, needlessly.

But then, I discovered what got their attention. I mentioned that the girl had been rude.

"Oh ma'am! We're so sorry! Please, fill out this form and return it to our customer service department." All of a sudden, they were as attentive and full of purpose as George Washington Crossing the Delaware.

I took the piece of paper and left the Met, making sure to recycle my little metal "M".

Here is my message to The Met. Let's save paper for something better . . . like artwork that my father will see hanging in a museum the next time we visit. Or how about this...the coupons were for discounts to the gift shop. Since everyone gets a coupon with their paid ticket, why not just discount everything and save the paper!

I have sent my complaint to their customer service department. I'm hoping that they realize that being rude to a patron is one thing, but being rude to the planet is pretty bad too.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Project: 350

When I was a kid, my mom used to say to me, "If your friends jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you do it, too?"

On Saturday, October 24, my answer was, "Jump, no. Follow them across? Yes!"

My friend Jen and I were walking to stop global warming. This was an environmental action day sponsored by 350.org.

From their website:

And what does this 350 number even mean?
350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide—measured in "Parts Per Million" in our atmosphere. 350 PPM—it's the number humanity needs to get back to as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change.

People from all over the globe put groups together to show their commitment.

Some groups formed themselves into giant "350's" while others stood in large groups with signs and took pictures. Some went skydiving while some surfed. And some, like ours, marched in peace, not protest, to show our concern for the condition of our planet. I've posted some photos of our walk but check out the website as well...some of the pictures are amazing! 350.org

There was definitely a sense of pride walking over the bridge and hearing the cars beep to show their support. Some of us chanted things about saving the planet while others of us talked about what our government was going to do to help this problem. Regardless of what words came out of our mouths, we were all united for one cause.

Despite the rainy day (and trying not to look down between the grates at passing cars), we made it across the bridge and into the park to take a group photo.

Now I'm hoping that the NEW parental cliche will be, "If your friends marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to save the environment, would you do it, too?"

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Choosy Peanut Butter Shoppers Choose Less Packaging

I love grocery shopping! My two favorites are Trader Joe's and Whole Foods.

It brings back memories of Saturday mornings with my dad. Back then, grocery shopping wasn't about organic foods and local produce. It was mass market and whatever was on sale. He'd hand me a bunch of coupons and I'd set off on my journey to collect all of my items. Apples were from New Zealand or some other country. It was all about meat and potatoes, Lucky Charms and Skippy peanut butter.

Today, grocery stores are still filled with those brands that I would not likely touch anymore, but they are also developing their own lines of organic foods and labeling local produce.

When I'm in Whole Foods, I feel good. Healthy. It's clean and there is such a wide variety of wholesome foods to choose from. And these days, I focus more on the outside aisles than the inside ones stocking all of the processed foods. Not only are most processed foods not healthy, but they also carry a lot of packaging.

On a recent shopping excursion, as I looked down my list, I was pleased to see "peanut butter." My favorite part of Whole Foods is the peanut butter station. They have machines that grind the peanuts right in front of you. I love watching the peanutty goo pour out into the cup and feeling the warmth of the freshly grounds peanuts. Plus it tastes great.

The other day I was enjoying my zen peanut butter experience when a girl came up and started to use the machine next to mine.

She reached under the shelf, but instead of pulling out the container, she only pulled out the lid.

I tried not to stare as she began pouring the peanut butter onto the lid. And then she licked it. She made a face, threw away the lid, grabbed another one and repeated the process on another machine filled with honey roasted peanuts. Same pour. Same face.

I removed my container from the machine and slammed it down on the counter to distribute the peanut butter.

But really to make a point.

She looked at me and I glared at her lid. She looked at it, too. Then threw it out and walked away.

As I became increasingly annoyed I thought about how many other people have just "tasted" the peanut butter. Or the ice cream. All of those little plastic spoons and cups that we all gravitate toward at Trader Joe's and Costco.

We are using so much energy to make things we care so little about.

On my way out, I walked by the peanut butter station again. There was a dad holding his little boy who was thrilled at the idea of flipping the switch and watching the creamy peanuts flow. I looked at them and hoped that by the time the little boy could reach the machine on his own, he would know what the peanuts tasted like so that he wouldn't need that extra lid.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009-Climate Change


I heard about this and knew that I had to participate. What is Blog Action Day?

"Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. Blog Action Day 2009 will be one of the largest-ever social change events on the web."

Thank you all for reading and I hope you enjoy today's post!



Last week, I attended my very first KISS concert. As a kid, I was not a KISS fan, though I knew many boys who were. On Halloween night, you were guaranteed to see at least a dozen Gene Simmons demons, several Paul Stanley star childs, and one or two Ace Frehley space-aces. Never a Peter Criss cat man.

However, I was familiar with "Beth," "Shout It Out Loud" and a few others, and I admit, their over-the-top, theatrical stage show has always fascinated me. John saw them ten years ago and had been hyping them every since. So when they came to the Garden for their Alive 35 tour, curiosity got the best of me and I decided to see the spectacle.

A spectacle it was. But what is the old saying? Curiosity killed the cat man?

The show started off great. Classic songs, big explosions, cool effects -- breathing fire and spitting blood, band members flying through the air. Doing the most talking was Paul Stanley, who, in addition to being the rhythm guitar player and main vocalist, is also the band’s MC. He pumps up the crowd and introduces the songs. However, his intros became long, drawn-out speeches.

Despite the length of the speeches, I was actually touched by his rhetoric throughout the show. At one point he told how KISS used to rehearse at 23rd and 5th (10 blocks from the Garden), and how as a cab driver, he once drove people to see Elvis Presley. He told himself that one day, he, too, would play the Garden.

But my soft spot for him quickly hardened about ¾ of the way into the show, when he made yet another speech: "There are a lot of troubles in the world. But if you came to hear about troubles, you came to the wrong fuckin' place." So far, so good. Didn't need to curse, but I got the idea.

Then he dropped the big one. "All we hear about is Save the Nukes, Save the Whales, Save the Porpoises. You don't want to hear about that! You want to escape!"

Cannons placed all over the arena blasted tons of confetti everywhere. All to the tune of “Rock and Roll All Nite.” And then, as if the paper wasn't bad enough, the people in back of me started chanting, “Fuck the porpoises!"

It was more like a rock and roll all nitemare. They weren’t driving me wild, but they were driving me crazy. Paper? The poor trees. Fuck the porpoises? What did they do? And what exactly did "Save the Nukes" mean?

I understood what Paul Stanley was trying to say but using the environment as his examples was too much.

I seriously think we need to ban the confetti thing. Did anyone stop to think how many trees were chopped down to produce even one machine full of confetti? Probably not. Paul McCartney used it in his concert as well. PAUL! Maybe it's a "Paul" thing?

To that I ask the questions: Why do we, the audience, get excited about little bits of paper falling all over us? Do you take it home as a souvenir?

Ironically, Paul Stanley’s statement about “escape” helped me do anything but. All I could think about for the rest of the show was waste, whales and porpoises.

At this point, I couldn't get back on board with the concert which bummed me out because it was the encore and those were all the songs I knew. I would've loved to rock n roll all night but my mind was off in Detroit Rock City being pissed off over the whole porpoise/nuke/paper fiasco.

I guess I wasn't made for loving you, KISS.

Monday, October 12, 2009

You're Never Too Old To Have A Green Childhod

I was recently in a meeting where a new recycling program was about to be unveiled. As excitement stirred among my peers, our group leader admitted she was not that interested in recycling. "All I care about is how it will save us money," she said. "Going green is for the young people."

She explained that she was too old to change her ways, because she was (gasp!)53.

For real? I was completely bummed. This woman has young children. Was she that unwilling to set an example for them, let alone help make the earth a better place to live?

And then I started worrying. Was I going to turn out like her when I turned 53? Would I stop caring and just dump everything on the young 'uns?

That couldn't be true. I was already in my 30's when I decided to go green. When Al Gore started the work that led to An Inconvenient Truth, he was 56 -- three years older than my ancient group leader.

What was the problem? Was she too old to throw a bottle into a blue bin instead of a black one? Why did she use her age as an excuse for not caring about the planet? The earth is older than she is (at least I think it is).

My husband told me that in the town where he grew up, every year there was a huge number of senior citizens who tried to vote the school budget down. As long as they got to their early bird specials, they didn't care if the next generation got an education. They thought it was someone else's problem.

I admit, I've gone down that road. How many times have I gone to get a drink at the water cooler only to find the jug is empty? I've thought, "I'll just leave it . . . someone else will change it." But then when no one does, I realize that water is important, I need it, others need it, and if I want it, I have to be the one to make the change.

My guess is that that my elderly leader has never changed a water jug.

But who am I to judge? If she has early bird specials to get to at the age of 53, it's not my place to prevent her from getting behind the wheel of her Winnebago and driving five miles an hour to get there.

However, I am determined not to end up like her. My responsibility as a human being doesn't end because I turn a certain age. Or any age.

Recycling is renewal, and nothing makes you feel younger than making something old, new again. In this case the planet.

Besides, being over 50 does not mean you have to be over the environment. Laurie David, Paul McCartney, Ralph Nader and Pete Seeger all prove . . . going green is for the old people!

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Pedicures are one of my favorite things. I love to sit in the big chair with the rolling massage balls on my back, while my feet are massaged and my toes are painted in fun, seasonal shades.

Recently, I found a new salon near my apartment that I thought I'd give a try. I was greeted by many women who simultaneously pointed to a chair, took my bags and asked me to pick a color. As you may have guessed, I brought my own "green" polish, free of formaldehyde.

But even with my own, safe polish in hand, I didn't realize how un-green my pedi was going to be.

I sat down in the comfy chair and turned on the massagers. I let them talk me into the special "spa" treatment. I had had a rough day. I was going to treat myself.

As the woman began to cut my cuticles, I started to obsess about the cuticle remover. What exactly was in that? Sodium hydroxide? Potassium hydroxide? Other hydroxides I hadn't heard of?

The next step was the exfoliation process. My legs were slathered with "green tea" exfoliator. Was there actually any green tea in that cream? What if it was Earl Grey? Or Lipton? But NO! I was going to enjoy this experience. I told myself to stop thinking about what was in the exfoliator! Of course, that didn't stop me from trying to smell it . . .

Wiping chemicals from my mind as the woman (possibly) wiped them from my legs, I relaxed. She rinsed my legs and applied lotions to them. I knew that the lotions would most likely not be paraben-free, but I told myself that I only get a pedi about every four weeks. I felt bad, but I figured a little lotion would be OK.

Then she got up and left.

Oh, I thought, maybe she gives the cream time to sink in. I almost lost it when she came back with two big sheets of plastic wrap. What on earth was she going to do with those? And then my question was answered. She wrapped them around my calves! Oh my God! What had I done?

The "spa" treatment cost more than an extra $10! How many women were getting "spa" pedis and how many giant sheets of plastic were being wasted?

I sat there for what seemed like forever, my legs sweating from being encased in Saran Wrap and from my imagining its chemicals seeping into my pores.

Finally, she unwrapped me. A sigh of relief. The worst was over.


She got up once again and this time returned with more plastic. Two baggies full of liquid...paraffin! She stuck the heel of each foot into a baggie and tied it around my ankle. She slipped each foot into a flipflop and applied my polish to my toes. My pedicure had finally turned "green."

I left the salon feeling guilty.

Guilty because of all the plastic that was used on me. Guilty because of all the chemicals, real or imagined. But even more guilty because...ugh...it felt good!

I feel ashamed to admit that, but it's true. Angst aside, it was one of the best pedis I'd ever had.

But taking care of my feet at the expense of the Earth is not an option. Keeping our oceans and landfills plastic-free is more important than a pampering massage. My polish wasn't enough. I've already begun my search for the ultimate green pedi.

Because the Earth deserves the real "spa" treatment.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Gag Me With A Spoon!

I was recently at a meeting where a bunch of women were discussing ice cream. Flavors, textures, brands. One woman started to describe how she eats her ice cream.

"I only eat ice cream with a plastic spoon! A regular spoon gets too cold and doesn't allow you to really taste the flavor. Try it...you'll never go back!"

The women began to oooh and ahhh. I started to gag. Was this woman serious? She was buying bags of plastic, non-biodegradable, chemical-based utensils because silverware chilled her lips and tongue? Really? Where does she store her metal spoons -- in the Arctic?

I imagined all of these women running to the store, buying plastic spoons, grabbing pints of ice cream and eating like they'd never eaten before. And then, haphazardly throwing the spoons away.

The Pacific has the infamous island of plastic (that floating mound of trash the size of Texas). New York would have a sculpture of plastic in Central Park. "Form of a Giant Spoon!"...The Wonder Twins would say.

Unfortunately, I didn't know these women well enough to say anything...not that that has ever stopped me before. But it was a professional organization and I thought that I'd better keep my mouth -- which avoids plastic spoons like the plague -- shut.

Ironically, that night, John wanted an Italian Ice from the corner deli. As I reached into the freezer to get one, I saw these little "to go" Ben and Jerry's and Hagen Daaz cartons that had a little plastic spoon right in the lid. Companies like these are touting better ingredients and sustainable company practices but they're not considering the packaging. That's half our problem!

We create so much waste! Take a frozen dinner. The box, the plastic film and the plastic tray. Even though the box can be recycled, the rest goes into the landfill. Let's hope that Swanson's doesn't start including a knife and a fork.

The plastic spoons made me realize that convenience, waste (and now apparently taste) and global warming all go hand-in-hand. I told John we had no hope if what got people excited was plastic spoons.

The next day, as I ordered my lunch, I made sure to ask the cashier to not put any plastic utensils in my bag. "I have my own, thanks!" I had brought my own metal utensils from home. As I took my first bite, I could only hope that I didn't burn my mouth on the fork or wind up with my tongue stuck to the spoon.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I want to thank Ri from Music Savvy Mom for having me as a guest DJ yesterday. It was so much fun!

And I want to thank Kathleen from Brutalism (an extremely funny blog!) for recommending me!

You both rock!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Hey all!

I'm a guest DJ today at Music Savvy Mom!

Please visit the site, check out my playlist! She plugs The Green, The Bad and The Ugly and I'm really, really excited about it! AND it's a great site!

Hope the music inspires you or sends you down memory lane!


NOTE: If you're wondering how I put the playlist together...she asks you to hit "shuffle" on your iPod and the 1st 10 songs that come up is your playlist for the day!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Oh, the Things You'll Find...

Last weekend, my friend Jen and I participated in the Barefoot Wine Beach Rescue Project. I first heard of the project from the Surfrider Foundation, of which I'm a member.

Particpating in a beach clean-up was on my list of things to do this year so this was the perfect opportunity!

The clean-up was being done on Rockaway Beach. We'd never been to Rockaway Beach so that in itself was going to be an adventure. It's a very nice beach with a lot of surfers, kids and picnics. And when I say picnics...these people know how to put out a spread! Fried chicken, chips, soda...you name it. A recipe for lots of trash. We had our work cut out for us!

As soon as Barefoot and Surfrider set up their tent, we were in line to get our trash bags and gloves.

They sent each of us in a different direction. Jen and I were to go south and concentrate under the pier.

We moved slowly along the pier picking up little things here and there. Mostly cigarette butts and small pieces of styrofoam. Our bag was surprisingly...empty! This was a good and bad sign.

The good sign was that people were actually cleaning up their trash. Much different than my past few beach experiences.

The bad sign was that there was so much little stuff! All those little things can end up being eaten by fish and seagulls and in turn make them sick or even kill them.

We were starting to get a little nervous because our bag was so empty. It looked as if we hadn't been doing anything!

Then, we started finding some things that were...interesting. We uncovered some sort of, uh, love nest. It was complete with a comforter, food, water and a radio. Jen found women's panties stuck up into the boardwalk and I found men's boxers buried partly in the sand. We didn't go near them.

As we reached our turnaround point, we knew that we had to change our plan. We could not go back to the table with a half-empty trash bag. We moved closer to the water and asked people if we could take their trash. Some were appreciative while others thought we were trying to throw away their sand toys (I assured them we had no interest). And some even thanked us for our hard work.

We made our way back to the table and as it turned out, we had the biggest bag! We were very excited. As we joined the others who volunteered that day, I felt elated. Our 10 or so trash bags that sat together on the beach were proof that there are people out there who are willing to make a difference.

Fast forward to the other day when I was at the beach and something scary was floating in the water. Everyone stared but no one did anything. Then a woman reached in and pulled out a plastic bag and carred it to the trash. I smiled.

Photo: Jen takes the gloves off after our clean-up.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Letter & Response to The Grove

Here is the letter I wrote to The Grove (as talked about in the post "Doors Open-Global Warming Activated" below) followed by their response. It's a start.


To Whom It May Concern:

Recently, I was in LA and visited The Grove. I love The Grove and was very happy to be there. That was until I walked by Crate and Barrel and felt this huge blast of cold air. I realized that they had their air conditioner on full blast with the doors open! Then I looked around and many stores were doing the same thing! Anthropologie had an entire glass wall open!!

Did you know that according to the US Department of Energy, heating and cooling systems emit tons of carbon dioxide into the air each year giving a hand global warming!"

It's like a refrigerator...every time you open the fridge door, the cool air that is keeping our food cold seeps out, while the warm air from our room seeps into the fridge, warming our food and causing the fridge to work harder which in turn uses more energy. Now, because the fridge is working harder to cool off the warm air we just let in, the coils in the back of the fridge heat up causing the room to get warmer therefore requiring us to turn on our A/C. It's the same concept for cooling the outdoors.

In New York City, there is a law against this practice. I'm wondering if this is something that The Grove's management could enforce.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Meredith Forbes


Dear Ms. Forbes:

Thank you so very much for taking the time to submit your feedback regarding your recent experience at The Grove. We appreciate your concern for the environment and the information you have provided regarding US Department of Energy requirements. Your feedback has been provided to The Grove property managment team for review of current and desired practices. The Grove is dedicated to providing a safe and entertaining environment for our guests, and your feedback is greatly appreciated.

If we may be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at 323-900-8000. Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you again soon at The Grove.


Kellee Mendoza
Corporate Director, Guest Services

Doors Open-Global Warming Activated

I live on the sixth floor...a walk-up no less. It gets really hot up there but we try not to keep the air conditioner running. We do keep a fan on to keep the air circulating for ourselves and Bailey, our dog.

One day it was particularly hot and I walked into our kitchen to find John standing in front of the fridge, door open.

“What are you doing?” I screamed.

“Uh…I'm just cooling off for a minute.”

“With the door open? Do you know how much energy you’re wasting?!”

The door was already shut before I had gotten the sentence out. But I continued with my lecture:

“Every time you open the fridge, the cool air that keeps our food cold seeps out, while the warm air from the room seeps into the fridge, warming our food and causing the fridge to work harder, which in turn uses more energy.”

His face began to lose color.

“Now, because the fridge is working harder to cool off the warm air we just let in, the coils in the back of the fridge heat up, causing the room to get warmer, therefore requiring us to turn on our A/C."

He looked like he wouldn’t open the fridge again, ever, even for some food.

“Forget about our electric bill,” I added. “According to the Department of Energy, heating and cooling systems emit tons of carbon dioxide into the air each year contributing to global warming."

I haven’t seen him do this since.

But he wasn’t the biggest problem.

I was in LA recently, attending the LA Shorts Film Fest. I was in a film, Go Fish, that opened the festival (a little plug!).

I visited The Grove while I was there. The Grove is an outdoor shopping mall with a trolley, dancing fountains and a farmer’s market. I love it.

As I was walking around, enjoying the warm sun, I suddenly felt a cold breeze as I walked by one of the stores. I turned to look and realized that its doors were open. I looked around. Most of the shops had their doors open. One store had an entire glass wall that was open! And each one also had its A/C going full blast.

The Grove had turned into a giant refrigerator with its door wide open! (And the role of John was being played by the Governator).

I walked into the store and asked the salesgirl why they had the A/C on with the doors open. She stared at me blankly. I went into a couple of other stores, but nobody could answer my question. I continued on my way, back to my car...seething.

When I got back home, I Googled “leaving A/C on while keeping doors open.” Stores actually do this deliberately to lure customers in from the heat, in the hopes that they will then stay in the store and spend money.

I was surprised to learn that New York City has a law against this. The store gets a warning, then a $200 fine if they repeat the violation. The bad part is that the store must be at least 4000 sq. ft. and must be a chain with 5 stores or more. Oh well, it’s a start.

I’ve since written a letter to The Grove stating my concerns (I've posted the letter and response in a separate post in case you're interested). I’m not sure how much good it will do but it’s a start. Who knows? Maybe the next time I’m there I’ll get to do my rant for Arnold . . .

Monday, July 20, 2009


“The great fish moved silently through the night water. The mouth was open just enough to permit a rush of water over the gills. The eyes were sightless in the black. The land seemed almost as dark as the water, for there was no moon. The fish hurtled toward the shore, its jaws open. It landed with a thud, next to crumpled Budweiser cans and stray McDonald’s packaging.”

So might Jaws have begun had it been written last week.

That’s when a 24-foot shark washed up on a Long Island beach. I will be taking a surfing lesson with some friends soon and they began e-mailing me about whether the waters were dangerous to humans because of the shark. I found myself wondering the opposite: were the waters dangerous to sharks because of humans?

This past Sunday, while I was wading in the water, something got caught around my ankle. At first I thought it was seaweed, but it wasn’t. It was a plastic bag. I pulled it off and held it away from me while I looked for a trash can. There weren’t any, so John took it and disposed of it near the restrooms…all the way at the back of the beach.

As I lay in the sun, more trash found its way to me. An empty potato chip bag, a Twinkie wrapper, a juice box…where did these people grow up that it was suddenly OK to leave your trash on the beach?

I asked John to hold the small potato chip bag while I folded our blanket. He stared at me as if I had asked him to hold a stranger’s poopy diaper. At first I was mad. But then I saw his point. We didn’t know whose this was, where it had been. But he held it and then threw it out on our way to the boardwalk.

Then I felt something between my toes. I looked down and saw that I had stepped in gum! Now I was completely grossed out. I hobbled to a cold drinks vendor. He was kind enough to give me napkins and let me dip them into the icy water holding the soda bottles. After much effort, the gum was off my foot, but not my mind.

If all this crap was on our beaches, what was winding up in the ocean?

Which brings me back to the shark. I read that when sharks are sick, they die in the middle of the ocean, they don’t swim toward land, which is apparently what this shark did. I wonder if this great fish ingested too much garbage, like potato chip bags. If that’s true, then that would make me almost as sick as he was.

To Jaws author Peter Benchley’s chagrin, his book and the movie popularized the false notion that sharks are the enemy. But we’ll need more than Chief Brody to kill that idea, and make the oceans safe for everyone. For a start, we need to clean the beaches.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I want to thank the person who commented on my Green Signs post! The web link that you included is amazing!! Stickers that say "These Come From Trees"! I will definitely be buying some of those!!

Thank you again!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Green Sign

I have recently been getting annoyed at my office's recycling efforts. We have two cans in our kitchen area: one for trash and the other for recycling. Everyday, I look in the trash can and someone has thrown out a bunch of paper. So I stick my hand in, pull it out and throw it in the recycling bin.

This has been going on for months and finally I'd had enough, so I made a sign. A friendly sign that basically said "The trash you throw away ends up in a landfill. You can lesson our impact on the earth by throwing your paper products in the blue can."

I signed my name so there was no mistake as to who was sending the kind reminder. Our office manager loved it and not only posted it right above the trash can, but made copies and placed them around the kitchen area.

Shortly after posting the notice, I walked by the trash can and low and behold, there was a ton of paper in there. Now I was really iritated. Not only was the paper blatently in the trash, but now I had wasted paper on my signs which were obviously doing no good.

Then my sister texted to tell me that she is on her school's green team!! I was ecstatic! She asked for advice and ideas. I instantly went to work finding the best information for her. Why wasn't my office as interested?

As I pondered that question, our environmental services man came in to collect our trash. He asked me to come into the kitchen area and then praised our office for posting the sign! He asked if he could have copies to distribute to the other offices on our floor! He said that at the end of the day, he himself has to separate the trash and it was just not fair. I was thrilled and instantly made the copies.

Today, I did not stick my hand in the landfill can. I walked by several times with a smile on my face!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Day 1, 2, 3 and 4

I technically started this program on Monday, June 1st. I was just a little late in my postings. So far I’ve lost 5 pounds most of which I’m sure is water weight but nonetheless, 5 pounds. I feel great!

I’ve packed my own lunch using this very cool thing that I found…the wrap-n-mat. You can get one for about $11 at http://www.wrap-n-mat.com/ . Basically it’s a fabric square that has a plastic covering on one side (read about the safety of the plastic lining here http://www.wrap-n-mat.com/Overview-of-Linings-i-16.html ) and it folds over your sandwich and holds with a velcro strip. And I’ve only been made fun of twice!

Breakfast and lunch have been pretty easy. Organic apples and bananas. Organic peanut butter and hummus sandwiches (not together) using organic bread. I have had yogurt…but organic and I recycled the container at the Whole Foods. I have my own utensils at work so no waste there. But I have to admit that dinner has been tough.

I’ve had several events after work this week which haven’t allowed me to make dinner so I’ve eaten out. Menus are a scary thing when you’re trying to eat healthier and be environmentally conscious.

Unless you’re eating at a vegetarian restaurant that screams it’s organic, it’s impossible to know where your food is coming from. And I'm even learning that the things I buy in the grocery store don't always tell the truth on their labels." Just because it says “free range” on the label, doesn’t mean that the little chicken was roaming around on the farm. All it has to mean is that the chicken was give a small door or window in an over-crowded barn. (Go to http://www.gorgeouslygreen.com/
to learn more!)

The nights I’ve had to eat in restaurants, I’ve chosen eggs and toast and, well…

Last night I went to a bar with friends for an after work drink. I’m pretty sure the gin and tonic wasn’t organic, nor were the 2 small chicken wings I ate. I was disappointed in myself. Not only was it not a meal, not healthy and certainly not organic, but I was hungry afterwards. Where I was proud of myself was when I went home and had a snack of the organic peanut butter and banana…measured out! In the past, I ate that whole plate of wings and would’ve gone home and binged on the peanut butter. But I remained in control and that was a big deal for me.

I’m going away this weekend to a conference and that will definitely be a challenge. I plan on packing snacks and will go for the more "healthy" choices.

Wish me luck!

Happy weekend...see you on Monday!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Pledge

Yesterday, I talked about the book The Gorgeously Green Diet by Sophie Uliano. In the back of the book, she has a pledge for the reader to take. Below is that pledge, exactly as written in the book, and my commitment to it.

1. I commit to cutting my beef and chicken consumption down by 25-50 percent. I will prepare at least three meat-free meals a week. Meat production has a very heavy eco-impact.
2. I commit to buying organic, seasonal and locally produced food whenever possible. I vote with my dollars and want to support sustainable producers.
3. I commit to cooking at least three meals a week at home so that I can save money, my health, and the planet.
4. I commit to reducing my food waste by 50 percent by sticking to my eating plan and my shopping list and by using my leftovers.
5. I commit to growing something edible (even an herb will do!).
6. I commit to recycling my paper, plastic, glass and cans, and to buying recycled paper products (paper towels, napkins, and toilet paper) to preserve more trees.

I, Meredith Forbes, pledge to take the six Gorgeously Green steps and to practice them for the next thirty days.

…and hopefully longer!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Gorgeously Green Commitment

Now that summer is almost here and the warm weather keeps teasing us, I find myself in the mood for fun, summery drinks…my favorite being the Starbucks Frappucino.

I am very particular in the way I prefer my Frap. I don’t like a lot of ice…I like it smooth and more liquidy. And I have, on occasion, been known to send it back if it’s not just the right consistency. The other problem that sometimes rears its head is when the cashier calls the order to the barista and says, “Frappucino, light on the ice.” If the barista is busy, he or she sometimes mistakes the light ice for the light frap, which is not a good thing. Aside from the icky chemicals that make it light, it has a horrible aftertaste.

Yesterday I was in Starbucks and, of course, mistakenly got the “light” version. I sent it back…straw, lid and cup…and watched them throw it out and make a completely new one…including straw, lid and cup. As this was happening, I asked them to just rinse out the old cup but the barista said, “That’s ok, we’ll give you a new one.”

And then it hit me. What have I been doing? Fraps almost every day. The chemicals. The calories. THE CUPS!!!

I finished my drink, felt guilty, threw it away, and headed over to Borders to meet John.

I browsed the books while waiting for him and stumbled across the perfect book for me. It was staring at me as if the green Gods were about to hit me over the head with it. The Gorgeously Green Diet by Sophie Uliano! I grabbed it and started to tear through the pages. I could diet AND save the Earth! Does it get any better than this?

I bought it, ran home and immediately started devouring (pun intended) the information.

I’ve already learned so much about the foods we eat, where they come from, the pesticides used and the packaging. It’s incredibly overwhelming and eye opening.

The author has a 30-day challenge so for the next 30 days, I am committing -- out loud -- to eating healthier, more Earth-friendly foods. This means for the next month I will become my own green barista, throwing out my old diet and making a completely new one.

I’ve decided to blog my journey through this process.

Next post...The Pledge!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Green By Example

Happy Earth Day!

This past Saturday, I attended an Earth Week event, the Go Green Expo.  It married my two favorite activities: saving the environment and shopping.

The booths ranged from fake lawns to healthy cookware, biodegradable trash bags to recycled sailcloth shower curtains and handbags (of which I bought one of each). I know the motto is to reduce, so I thought carefully about each purchase I made. (OK, so I don’t need another bag but sometimes I can’t help myself!)

This event also had speakers throughout the day. We attended a talk by Mariel Hemingway, who has written a new book,
Healthy Living From the Inside Out. And after the talk, I had a new green hero.

First of all, she is completely gorgeous and you can tell that she really takes care of herself. I’ve seen her on some "green" shows so I was familiar with her philosophies.

She talked about eating as a privilege and thinking about what you’re putting in your body as well as the products you put ON your body.  She spoke about how to be still with yourself, yoga and being respectful of the planet and ourselves.

But the one point that stuck with me was when she talked about people wanting to know how to convince others to live healthier. She said that you have to lead by example. You can’t force feed anyone this information…they won’t take it.

I thought about that...and my blog, accosting my co-workers about paper cups, huffing at the person in front of me when they take the plastic bag, and telling my husband not to eat fish. Maybe I wasn't leading, but preaching.

Then last night, I was at my play reading group. Every week the group leader brings bottled water and it drives me insane. This week, she happened to mention how horrible it is to buy plastic bottles, but that convenience wins. This sparked a discussion.

Someone said that the plastic is supposedly bad for the water. Another yelled out that her water sometimes tasted funny after a long time in the bottle. Another whined about how the security at the airport took her plastic Poland Spring bottle that she’d been using for two weeks and how pissed she was. (Believe me girl, he did you a favor!)

And then the one girl yelled, “Who cares about the bottles in the trash?  It's easier!” I wanted to leap across the table and smack her. But then Mariel popped into my head and I calmly reached into my bag, pulled out my Sigg and took a sip.

Someone said, “I need to get one of those!” Another complained that she loses everything. My response was, “If you spend the money on it, then maybe you won’t lose it. And it’s better for your health.” That was all I said. Hopefully I led by example and maybe inspired one person to switch her water bottle.

This Earth Day, I commit to doing the following:

I will not take any cabs…only walk or take public transportation.
I will make sure that the lights are out in any room I’m not in.
I will choose things that have little or no packaging.
I will take a shorter shower.
I will lead by example!


Thursday, April 16, 2009

It's Raining Plastic

It feels so good to be settled into my new digs. And now that I’m unpacked, I get to do the fun stuff...decorate!

Saturday afternoon I decided to head over to Crate and Barrel to check out their TV stands. One of the things I like most about Crate and Barrel is their use of sustainable materials. It was raining pretty hard, so I was excited to get into the store – not only to see what they had but also to dry off.

I was greeted by a rather severe woman who thrust a plastic umbrella bag at me. If you’ve been reading my blogs, you know that wasn’t the smartest thing to do. But I remained polite.

“No, thank you,” I said and walked inside.

She chased after me. “You must take one!” I must? She obviously didn’t know me. “I’m sorry, I don’t use . . . plastic bags.” The words slithered off me like the rain off my coat.

She followed me. “Miss! MISS!” I kept walking, pretending not to hear. “You MUST take one!” she said again, but much firmer. I repeated that I did not use plastic bags, again, much firmer. She stopped following me.

But I was miffed. Why didn’t they have an umbrella stand? Or even just rugs! Plastic umbrella bags are almost as big of a waste as those little plastic plugs that Starbucks uses to keep your coffee from spilling.

I was in a rare condition for me – too pissed to shop. I left and headed off to Bed, Bath and Beyond. They, too, offered me a plastic umbrella bag which I, again, refused. They didn’t follow me around the store. But I felt like I had committed a crime. Everywhere I turned there was an angry employee, glaring at me and my wet umbrella.

I thought about this all weekend. The number of plastic bags that are used for what, 20 minutes? Wasted. Ending up in landfills or that floating plastic island in the Pacific.

The next night I was flicking channels, thinking about my wet umbrella, when Andy Rooney came on.

His rant was about the ice bridge that was holding up an iceberg the size of Connecticut and was about to break off. He said it’s got to go somewhere, and asked if any of us want something the size of Connecticut to hit us.

He said that while some who call themselves conservationists are, well, conserving and finding new resources, others are doing nothing, sure that things will just “work out.”

But it was his closing line that got me. “I’m a conservationist who uses a lot of trees and oil. I’m the problem.” (60 Minutes clock ticking sound.)

It got me because just that afternoon I had gone to the corner store without one of my bags, and took a plastic one (which I hated). Despite being high and mighty about my plastic bag non-usage, I was also the problem.

So I am now that much more aware and more committed than ever to searching for new ways to solve the problem . . . that I’ve become. (Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Movin' On Up...To The Green Side

You may have noticed that I have been MIA for the past several weeks. This was not because I didn’t have green altercations to report on, but rather, we moved!

I’ve moved at least a dozen times in my life but back then, I never considered the impact a move has on the environment. My aunt, on the other hand, considered the impact moving would have on me before I did. She sent me an email which said “I was thinking about your move and decided I had better warn you to take a couple of Xanax or Valium -- they're going to use a lot of paper and cardboard to pack your stuff. Be prepared!!!!!”

She was right.

I packed all of the boxes myself. I picked up most of them from Uhaul. They have a “leave a box, take a box” program. We took many boxes and will definitely replenish their supply. I also like how they encourage you to reuse and recycle the boxes. Because we were moving to a 6th floor walk-up, I had to use smaller boxes that would weigh less. I wound up with 115 boxes!

As I summed up the damage I thought to myself, all those trees died so that I could move. This did not sit well with me. And it was about to get worse.

We had to hire movers, which in terms of getting the stuff down the 3 flights and up the 6 flights was a life-saver for us, but not the planet. While I had packed mostly everything, the movers took care of electronics and furniture. As they started to wrap the furniture, I almost hyperventilated. They had a giant roll of plastic wrap which they wove around the items again, and again, and again. The furniture was wrapped in their blankets. Phew. Until they began to secure the blanket with rolls of tape.

I had to turn away when it came time to package our precious TV and computer. The man opened up a giant ream of paper and began crumbling it up and throwing it into the boxes. They lay the equipment down and crumpled up some more paper to cover them up. I used towels to wrap my delicates…couldn’t they find old towels?

Imagine this times the hundreds, if not thousands, of people that move everyday! Were they bringing their boxes back to Uhaul?

I gingerly unwrapped the electronics and salvaged most of the paper. I plan on giving this as an added bonus to those who take my boxes.

This whole move made me re-think the amount of stuff I own as well. I definitely need to consume less. We're all told to think outside the box. I need to learn how to think outside 115 of them.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Green Team

Like the Mother Earth ship calling me home, I am now on my employer’s Green Team! I had no idea this existed, although I had dreamed about greening up the hospital on a large scale. And now I’m working with co-workers who share my passion for saving our planet…and our office!

The Team’s first mission is to plan a green table display for Education Day. We decided on three sections: 1) What the hospital is already doing; 2) How employees can green their office; and 3) What they can do on your own. I volunteered to head up the second area since I had already implemented a green program for my department.

As I walked back to my office, I bumped into one of my co-workers. She was carrying a paper cup. My eyes got wide. She looked away and said, “I know, I know.”

Then I walked into the kitchen and looked in the trash. Paper! I quickly dove into the trashcan and pulled out what I could. I was caught in the act by another co-worker who flashed a look as if to say “she’s lost it.” Then I stood up and hit my head on the cabinet. This was not looking good.

How could I head up the “green your office” sub-committee if my own efforts were failing? I had already bragged to The Team. I told them how I rewarded those doing green deeds with reusable shopping bags. The Team loved it! And now I was crashing and burning.

I had a vision of The Team making a surprise site visit…a tour of my so-called green office while, in slow motion, my co-workers rolled up clean sheets of paper and threw them away. “Noooo!” I heard myself shouting in a creepy slo-mo voice as I got pelted with paper.

How could this happen?

Just then, I noticed that our box for can recycling was full. Not a complete disaster. And my friend came into the pantry and filled up a ceramic mug with water. She even pointed to her mug and said, “This is because of you, you know.”

I looked around and made sure there was nothing to hit my head on. “Thanks,” I said. “I know, I know.”

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Paper Bowl XLIII

"All that paper!" I blurted out as twenty tons of confetti showered the Pittsburgh Steelers and their fans as they celebrated their non-green victory at the Super Bowl.

This wasn't the first time I've said this.  At Cirque de Soleil's latest production, Wintuk, I watched in dismay as the Canadian circus created winter by blanketing the audience with tissue paper snowflakes.

"I'm pretty sure they recycle this," my friend told me.  I was pretty sure they didn't.  I watched through the faux blizzard as kids and adults grabbed paper flakes as a souvenir.  (Were no two really alike?)  What was this?  Couldn't they buy a t-shirt like everybody else?  

I came home that night, took off my jacket and about 20 "souvenirs" poured out of me.  That's not counting the ones I found on the steps of my apartment building the next day.  At least those got recycled.

Spamalot was another offender.  Somehow you expect better from Monty Python.  But instead of a killer rabbit or a giant foot coming into the audience at the end, there were more paper souvenirs.  Bad enough that they celebrate lumberjacks in The Lumberjack Song.  But this?  

Come on, people!  Do we still not get that we need to start saving trees?  Is falling tissue paper really the symbol we need for celebration?  Can we just scream a lot?  We've done away with ticker tape at parades and rice at weddings.  Why not confetti?

I admit I was rooting for the Cardinals, but I still offer congratulations to the Steelers.  I can only hope that when you return home with your sixth Vince Lombardi trophy, Pittsburgh has the good sense to shower you with something biodegradable.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Green Cup of Coffee

Recently I was in Starbucks getting coffee. OK, a Peppermint Mocha. With whip. But made with soy milk. (I know, I’m really reaching now.) Anyway, the girl in front of me ordered a latte but requested two cups. Two cups? First, they have those cardboard sleeves to protect your hands and second, a latte isn’t even that hot!

I ordered my drink, not proud that I would be using one paper cup, let alone two. I noticed as I was waiting that there was a basket filled with these little green plastic things that looked like toothpicks. Then, little miss two-cupper picked one up and put it in the opening of the plastic lid. It turned out it was a stopper so her coffee wouldn’t spill.

What?! Who came up with this? Do we really need more plastic gizmos? Can’t we make do with lids that have the little flap? Or better yet, we should invest in travel mugs.

So I looked on the shelf and found one. Not only was it really cute, but Starbucks will take 10 cents off my drink if I bring my own mug. Perfect.

The next day, I ordered my drink and proudly handed the barista my new mug. I turned to pay the cashier and went back to the counter to pick up my beverage. I watched as she filled someone else’s drink in the nasty paper cup. Then I couldn’t believe my eyes…that drink was mine!

She made the drink in the wasteful paper and poured it into my nice, green mug!!

“What are you doing?” I screeched. She looked at me like a deer in headlights. “Huh?” she replied. “The whole purpose of handing you my own mug is to avoid the paper cup!” She stared back at me and gave out an uncaring “Oh.”

Feeling defeated, I took my drink and left the store. But my experience wasn’t over. As I took a sip, the coffee leaked all over and down my new winter coat. She didn’t screw the top on right. Now I was pissed.

I went back the next day to try again. This time, I made sure the barista knew to make the drink directly in the travel mug. When she handed me back my drink, I made sure that the top was screwed on tightly. I took a sip of my delicious drink and again, the mug dripped all over me.

I asked around and it turns out there are many other travel mug victims. The green alternative is good for the environment, but tends to leak. Great. Did I have to go back to the paper cup? Or should I do the smarter thing and limit my trips to Starbucks?

Since then, I’ve been on a manhunt for a better travel mug. Now when I get coffee on the go, I ask for it minus the lid and I reuse a cardboard sleeve. I’ve seen people roll their eyes but I don’t care. One less thing in the landfill. And one less stain on my coat.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year’s Green Resolutions

Statistically, New Year’s Resolutions are broken within the first week of the new year. This year was no different for me. I popped a Frango Mint about 16 minutes into 2009. So much for no chocolate or sugar.

I decided I needed to change “resolution” to “goal.” This way, I have something more solid and concrete to shoot for. Also, I have a whole year to mess up and correct a goal.

Among the usual career/eating/life goals that I always set for myself, I’ve added a new category…green goals.

On the top of my list is our trash situation. For two people, we generate A LOT of trash. One of our big things is that we drink a lot of seltzer water, so, much of that trash comes in the form of plastic bottles.

The good news is they can be recycled. The bad news is that when a recycling day is cancelled due to a holiday (like on the past two Thursdays), we are swimming in a sea of empty bottles in our tiny apartment.

But the problem isn’t really the cancelled recycling days, it’s our consumption.

Why do we need to be drinking all that seltzer in plastic bottles? Why do we need to buy processed food wrapped in 12 layers of plastic and cardboard? We should be drinking more water from our earth-friendly Brita pitcher or eating locally grown fruits and veggies from the farmers market. It’s not only a smart choice for our health, but will also cut down on the plastic island we’ve created.

And that marks my number one goal…less consumption. Do we really need this? Can we go without it? Can we substitute it for something healthier, less packaged, made locally?

My second goal is my mode of transportation. Thankfully, we live in New York City …the mecca of public transportation. I live on the 1st and 2nd Avenue bus lines but occasionally, I’ve been known to jump in a cab for no better reason than I’m really tired (or cold, hot, or just don’t feel like waiting for the bus).

It’s not only terrible for the environment, it’s also taxing on my purse. The average cab ride home is $12! Try that a couple times a week. I could be using that money to help plant trees or something! What I should be doing is walking my butt to work. Not only would it be friendly to the environment, it would be super friendly to, well, my butt.

My last goal is to do a beach clean-up. I joked earlier about swimming in the sea of plastic bottles and our plastic island, well, there really is a 70 million pound plastic garbage island floating in the Pacific between LA and Hawaii the size of Texas. My own plastic bottle contribution is only adding to it. I’m a huge ocean fanatic, so this is super important to me.

We’re now five days into the new year and I’m doing pretty well. No cabs, two plastic bottles, and I replaced the Frango mints with almonds. If only they weren’t in individually wrapped, plastic bags...well, I have a year to reach this goal.