The pinch hitter of litters (Day 19)…

March 19, 2007


There’s a reason Lewis Carroll used the British Blue as a model for the Cheshire Cat in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: this breed can be downright evil. If I forget to give Sophie her Feline Greenies treats (Nantucket Bay Scallop flavour) before I leave in the morning, I can expect to come home and find strategically placed poop either on the rug or, if her cranky pants are really chafing, on the bed.

Recently, however, she’s been good, and I think part of the reason is that I switched her litter for a greener variety. For a while I was using the standard clumping clay stuff, which is apparently akin to letting your cat smoke a pack of Gauloises a day. Then I switched to the silica pebbles, but they kept tracking and were almost sharp enough to draw blood if you stepped on them.

So then I tried World’s Best Cat Litter — which I thought was a fairly presumptuous title — but hey, it earns it. Made from whole-kernel corn, it’s safe enough to ingest (in case you’re running low on groceries or something), clumps perfectly, has a soft texture, barely tracks, is biodegradable, dust-free and scent-free. Seriously, you should just marry this litter, without a prenup.

Prices vary; I got mine for about $16, which seems a little steep, but a little goes a long way and, in the end, if it means I don’t have to come home every night to stinky droppings of wrath on my bed, it’s worth it.

Also, Thistle reader Carissa sent me an e-mail about Swheat Scoop litter, which is made from wheat and has the same benefits — plus a cuter name. Maybe you could even mix the two and call it muesli.

I don’t want my MTV (Day 18)…

March 18, 2007

abandoned tv

Like the microwave post, this could be considered a bit of a cheat, but I’ll leave it up to you, green readers, to decide: I cancelled my cable at the end of February, before I started this blog, but the cable didn’t cancel me until today, so it’s only as of now that I’m officially without my beloved Amazing Race All-Stars, Barefoot Contessa and … well … that’s pretty much all I was watching, hence the decision to not pay $50/month for it anymore.

I have to say, when I turned it on this morning to check the news/weather and was confronted by a blaring white noise and rather aggressive fuzziness, my chest tightened, my heart palpitated and the pop-culture devil on my shoulder whispered, “You better refill that Ativan prescription.”

But then I remembered: the news was in the paper I just read, the weather was right there on my balcony. And when it comes to prime time, I’ll console myself with the fact that Rob and Amber just got kicked off the Amazing Race and that Ina Garten has a website. Also, I’ve heard about these things called books — maybe I’ll dust off the one that’s been sitting on my bedside table for the past few months and try … what do you call it again? … oh yeah, reading!

Photo courtesy of electro_quiche on Flickr

I gave that movie four stars? (Day 17)…

March 17, 2007

Toilet Paper

Something about using recycled matter on, well, rather private places disconcerts me. I know, it’s pathetically squeamish — and in fact what’s probably more unsettling is the amount of bleach in most rolls of toilet paper — but all I can think is, “Am I going to be wiping myself with leftover Christmas greeting cards? Outdated issues of Maxim? The review I wrote months ago for Blood Diamond?” (Perhaps more importantly: How can I ensure that I wipe myself with the latest Family Circus?)

But I’m getting over it. I just bought the Whole Foods 365 brand of recycled toilet paper. It’s #1 on the NRDC’s list of environmentally friendly TP, comprised of over 80% post-consumer recycled fibres. Although the package declares it to be “soft and absorbent,” it’s not exactly cashmere — but it’s not like it gives you splinters either.

I think this is a switch I can tolerate. It may not be good enough for fluffy kittens and cartoon bears, but it’s good enough for me.

In the words of the wise and venerable Cute Overload: “Holy McCrapulence!”

March 16, 2007

Breathe … Breathe … Slowly now …

OK, I think I’ve just attained Official Hippy Status — today, I was profiled on TreeHugger!!! The greenest of all green websites, it gets over two million unique visitors each month. My new best friend Lloyd Alter, who posts about all the Canadian happenings for the site, wrote it. Although he suggests I do 366 days to make up for my errant microwave post, he still gives Green as a Thistle two green thumbs up. Tonight, folks, the hemp beer’s on me!

Here’s the link:

Every tote counts (Day 16)…

March 16, 2007

BYOB totes

Why is it that so many tote bags are a tote-al disaster when it comes to aesthetics? They always look like this or this, or in some severe design vacuums, like this. I’m all for the ironically ugly once in a while, but not every single time I need to dash out for another carton of milk (unsweetened soy, natch), so it makes it difficult for me to commit to my latest green move — you guessed it — using tote bags.

Thankfully, some fellow Canadians have come to the rescue. BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) was founded by Jenny Hughes and Elizabeth Clark after they noticed “a serious lack of choices on the market” when it came to plastic-bag alternatives.

Their totes are handmade and printed in Vancouver, and come in 100% natural or organic cotton. They’ll even take custom orders (Aritzia, for instance, commissioned a line of bags printed with the phrase ‘Live like you give a damn’ — whew, tough love!).

Currently they only sell in Vancouver and through their website, but hopefully they’ll expand. As for me, I’m pledging to bring my own bag whenever I go to the grocery store or need to bring stuff from home to another destination. I can’t account for any impulse purchases, but basically, whenever possible, I’m gonna rock the tote.

No Impact Man

March 15, 2007

Oh no, stop the RSS feeds! This guy has totally stolen my idea, improved upon it and taken it to the next level! Don’t you just hate when people do that? He even has a book deal and a movie coming out, too.

Of course, I’m kidding (sort of). I have nothing but bitterness loathing jealousy praise and utmost respect for this green-hearted New Yorker and his family. As he says: “The fact is that if city dwellers can’t learn to live without reducing their ecological footprint then we’re in deep trouble because most of the world’s population now lives in cities. Saving the world can’t be left to the country bumpkins.” It’s true, those bumpkins with their porch swings and their banjos are not to be trusted.

The treadmill is dead ’til (Day 15)…

March 15, 2007


… March 1st, 2008, when I officially end my green challenge. But for now, I’m running outside only and conserving the electricity that would otherwise be used not just by the treadmill in my building, but by the lights I’d need to turn on in the gym and the TV I’d probably watch, too.

Considering I’m running at least four times a week these days — training for the Sporting Life 10K — I think it’ll make a significant difference. Obviously, by next February, when there’s no sun until 9 a.m. and four feet of snow on the ground, I’m going to have to become a serious runner, or a serious couch potato.

The other thing is, this isn’t Springtime in Paris, it’s Springtime in Toronto, so it’s still pretty nippy out there and I only have a couple pairs of jogging pants. Think Lululemon has the Reverse Groove Pant in organic hemp? That stuff will make my butt look cute too, right?

Image © Tim McGuire/CORBIS, from obiwanmakanubi on Flickr