I want to paint it black (Day 240)…

October 26, 2007


When I switched my search engine to GoodSearch and then Ripple, it wasn’t long before readers were suggesting I also try out Blackle — a site that helps the environment not by donating any money per search, but by providing a black screen for a background, which requires less energy to light up (it claims it has already saved over 270,000 watt hours).

All of this is just swell of course, but I’m going to take another step in this direction and set my desktop wallpaper to black. Previously, it was a pretty picture I took of some colourful clapboard houses in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia (above), and for a moment I thought maybe I’d leave it the way it is because it makes me happy, and being green and being happy tend to go hand-in-hand. But what the heck — why not revert to my high school roots and indulge in a little goth?

Just let me know if I start incorporating angsty poetry and/or Marilyn Manson lyrics into my blog posts, and I promise I’ll stop.


Bring Your Own Bib (Day 239)…

October 25, 2007

dental bib

This morning, I’m off to the dentist. I actually like my dentist, but the dental hygienist — not so much. Admittedly, I’m not the best patient: I had a tongue ring, I slacked off when it came to wearing my retainer, I broke my bottom braces and still haven’t bothered to get them fixed at the orthodontist, I don’t floss as much as I should, I eat too many sweets and now I’ve stopped using toothpaste with fluoride.

Still, that woman knows full well that I have extremely sensitive molars, and yet she continues to scrape away at them like some famished vampire, desperate to get her next meal from my poor gums (Ed note: Turns out, I had a different hygienist today, and she was much nicer — went gentle on the scraping, got the polishing over with quickly and was more than happy to accommodate my silly bib).

Anyway, a little while back, I wrote about how I was going to decline the paper gown at the doctor’s office. Well, now, I’m going to green my dental visits and BYOB — as in, bring my own bib. Rather than actually go out and buy one, however, I’ll just use my large organic cotton handkerchief, which they should be able to attach with those little metal alligator clips that go around your neck. At least if I’m going to make a bloody drooling mess everywhere, I can wipe myself up with something soft and unbleached.

Finally! (Day 238)…

October 24, 2007

Diva Cups

Of all the suggestions people have offered me throughout this challenge, there’s been one that has continued to come up over and over again. It has nothing to do with recycling, or tote bags, or going vegetarian. It’s the Diva Cup. Seriously, at least 50 women have written in recommending this alternative menstrual device (or The Keeper, which is rubber instead of silicone), and since the very first day I’ve been waiting to try it; the problem was, I’d gone off the pill and that time of the month was gradually turning into that time of the century — my progesterone had gone into hibernation, my ovaries had gone on strike, and my little cup was left sitting under the bathroom sink gathering dust.

But finally — FINALLY — the time came, and I was able to test it out. Unfortunately, things started progressing in the middle of the night without any warning cramps, so the whole … um … insertion process was accomplished in a hurried, somnambulant daze. When I woke up the next morning, there was a slight complication (OK boys, really, feel free to stop reading now): The cup got stuck.

Reading through Crunchy’s blog posts on this topic, I’d noticed that she and a few other women felt they needed to trim the little stem, but in my case I would’ve been more than happy to have had a longer one, or at least something that was easier to grab onto. Either way, I remained calm and went over to the troubleshooting page at Diva Cup headquarters, where they explained precisely what to do in this situation. I followed the instructions, and presto, problem solved.

This is definitely something I’m going to continue using. Not only is it easier to manage, far more comfortable and less expensive, but it also reduces all the waste that comes with using disposable feminine hygiene products. As the manufacturers of the Diva Cup point out, over 7 billion tampons and 13 billion sanitary pads, plus all the associated packaging, ends up in landfills and sewage systems every year in the U.S. alone. Sick! Who wants to be part of that statistic?

Not me, and I hope not any of my fellow green chicks.

So here’s the fun part! I’ll be interviewing the mother-daughter duo behind the Diva Cup — Francine and Carinne Chambers, from Kitchener, Ontario — and posting it on Green as a Thistle either this week or next. Feel free to submit any questions you have for them below; whoever has the most original question wins a free Diva Cup!


October 23, 2007


If you haven’t already seen this video, check it out. It’s from Blue Egg media, “a company encouraging sustainable living without the guilt.” The first episode features a typical Hollywood celebutante as she lets her greed spin out of control, littering everywhere and hitting the bottle — the plastic water bottle. Hysterical!

A room of two’s own (Day 237)…

October 23, 2007

odd couple

This past month I’ve been lucky enough to have a friend staying with me, sharing my 800 square feet of condo space and helping to minimize my ecological footprint — if we both want a smoothie in the morning, we’ll take turns sipping from the same cup (the one we used to blend it up); if we’re bored, we can play Scrabble together (and I can be a sore loser); and best of all, we’re currently getting much better use out of my wireless Internet connection, book collection and closet space.

As hippies know, living with a group of people in a shared space is far more efficient than living alone. Even just two is better than one. So although I can’t keep my housemate for the rest of this challenge, I will be inviting more people to come visit and, if they want, stay for a while.

Perfect Strangers photo courtesy of this website

P.S. Happy birthday, Emma!

Photo of the day

October 22, 2007


As per Change #203, I cut the end off my toothpaste tube last night to make sure I scraped every last ounce of pasty goodness out of it before throwing it away. It looked pretty cool, so I made my friend hold it up while I snapped this photo of it using the macro function on his digital camera.

The 10-second rule (Day 236)…

October 22, 2007


OK, so you may not want to bend down and start slurping a spilled can of stale Miller off a dirty parquet floor, but in most cases the 10-second rule should apply, at least if you’re a greenie like me.

It basically stipulates that, if food is dropped on the ground, it’s still safe to eat for a certain period of time, as bacteria requires a few seconds to actually take hold. But of course, as Wikipedia points out, “In some variations, the person picking up the food arbitrarily extends the time limit based on the actual amount of time required to retrieve the food.”

And, it’s pretty much an urban legend anyway. Whatever bacteria is there will either be on the food or not, and will either make you sick, or not. Chances are, however, the germs that land on a sandwich when it’s sitting on the floor will probably be much the same as the ones that sneak onto it while it’s being made on the kitchen counter.

Either way, as my floors are kept pretty clean, I’m going to stick to the 10-second rule so as not to waste food. The only exception will be liquids — I don’t mind a bit of dust in some spilled coffee, but cat hair? Not cool.

Photo courtesy of mhoran on Flickr