The Final Post

me in the fridge

No schmaltz. I promise. Here we go:

As you faithful readers know, I’m a very cynical person. I don’t take many things seriously and I have little to no tolerance for earnest do-gooders. That said, I started this blog out of genuine concern — about the future of this planet, about our consumer mentality, about drowning freakin’ polar bears and, well, about our growing inability to appreciate simple things in life, like T-shirts and central heating and tomatoes growing on a balcony.

I didn’t start this to become famous or get a book deal (um, more on that later) or to be the next Al Gore. From the beginning, I’ve been an average girl stumbling through the myriad complexities of the green movement, and while I still don’t know what the difference is between a #2 and a #4 plastic, I do know that we should be recycling both.

It was important for me, going through this challenge, to keep my sense of humour in tact. Many of my prejudices about hippies dissolved over the course of the year — for instance, I now realize that not everyone who loves the earth has dreadlocks and wears ugly shoes — but unfortunately one stereotype was confirmed: A lot of greenies take themselves way too seriously. There is so much doomsday talk out there, so much arguing about whose fault global warming is, and so much repressed hostility between tree-huggers and car-drivers, it’s ridiculous. The tagline on this site has always been that I’m making a green change every day without being smug about it, and I stand by that claim — let’s take the planet seriously while keeping some perspective and laughing at ourselves. For heaven’s sake, there is something inherently funny about standing in the shower, spraying vinegar on your hair (P.S. That doesn’t work).

OK, I hate long posts and I’m already on six different tangents here, so I’m going to collect myself for a second and condense the most important lessons I’ve learned at Green as a Thistle into three succinct points:

1) In order to be truly green, we need to maintain a constant awareness of everything we do, use, eat and throw away, everywhere we go and how we get there, what we buy, why we buy it and what happens when we don’t need it anymore. As many environmentalists have said, waste is man-made, and I’ve learned that it is actually possible to live without plastic, a car or even a fridge, and still be quite happy (correction: happier). So be aware, people — constantly aware — of all your decisions.

2) Ironically, the greenest way to live is in the gray area. We can’t possibly take this movement to the next level when we’re still bickering about whether so-and-so is an environmentalist or not. Who cares? It doesn’t matter whether you’re a card-carrying hippie or a part-time vegetarian or an employee at a right-wing, global-warming-denying newspaper — choose your green vices and your green virtues. Maybe you can’t stand wasting water: So, install aerating faucets everywhere, take Navy Showers and get a rain barrel; but don’t beat yourself up over that Starbucks latte or a few sweaters you got on sale at H&M. There’s no point in trying to be so absolute about whether or not you’re officially green; just determine your own value system, try to make your choices accordingly and allow yourself occasional slip-ups because, well, pobody’s nerfect.

3) Lastly, and again, this really is nothing new, but seriously people: Stop buying crap. You don’t need it. In fact, you don’t even want it — you think you do, you want to be like that pretty girl in the commercial who has it, but it’s crap, it’s all crap, and you’re better off without it. I’m not a Luddite, I’m not an anarchist and I don’t support Buy Nothing Day because I’m all for creating a steady, strong economy, but if we don’t start turning the consumerism down a notch we are majorly screwed. There is absolutely no reason why anyone would ever need disposable Tupperware, a Swiffer anything, Glade PlugIns or yogurt in individually packaged tubes.

A lot of people ask me which changes I’m going to keep up and which ones I’ll leave behind. There isn’t an easy answer to this because I think some bad habits will return gradually while a few green habits will stick around longer than I thought. Some things I know for sure, though:

I will continue to use natural beauty and personal hygiene products as well as non-toxic cleaning products. I’ll keep eating organic, sustainable food and ride my bike instead of driving a car. I’ll take my shoes off at the door and maintain a strict no-plastic-bag policy. I’ll use a thermos for coffee and a Sigg bottle for water, I’ll keep smiling at strangers and living as simply as possible. Heck, I might not even plug my fridge back in.

I am not, on the other hand, taking lukewarm showers or letting it mellow, picking up litter in the midst of a shopping excursion, drinking wine straight from the bottle or subsisting on a diet of beets and cabbage (the local thing is fine for the most part but I’m planning on scarfing a lot of guacamole and bananas in the days to come). I’ll be using soap on my dirty dishes and baking cookies in my oven, and, most controversially (environmentalists, close your eyes): I’m unscrewing the CFLs in my bedroom. I’m sorry, I’ll stick them everywhere else, but not even the softest-glowing one is any match for my warm, flattering incandescents.

Anyway, enough. I could ramble on for hours about how giving up my car was easier than giving up Kleenex, how it’s better to be hypocritical than apathetic when it comes to the environment, how crazy and wonderful the green blogosphere is with its Greenpas and Crunchy Chickens, and all my faithful readers — blah, Hellcat13, just ducky, Rhett, Matt S., LG Adam, Healthy Cookie, Chile, arduous, limesarah, Esme and more.

But it’s time to hit the “Publish” button, shut down my computer and get the heck outside. For those of you wondering what will happen to Green as a Thistle, stay tuned. I’m not leaving the blog behind entirely, but will most likely write a few posts every now and then about which changes I’m keeping up and which ones I’m scrapping. Finally, finally, finally, a big thanks to my mom, dad and sister, my friends, friends-turned-publicists (the Telpners), publicists-turned-friends (Sarah K), my editors Ben and Maryam, colleagues, and a best friend who became an even better friend — you’ve all been overwhelmingly supportive throughout this journey (oh no, I’m using words like journey… OK, seriously time to wrap it up). I could never have done this without you there by my side — physically, virtually and … don’t say spiritually, don’t say spiritually … emotionally!

Phew. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take a bath, shave my legs, order some Swiss Chalet and go for a ride on my sister’s motorcycle.

That’s it, kids. Yours greenly,


Photo by the amazing Catherine Farquharson (no relation, although come to think of it, we sort of look alike)


124 Responses to The Final Post

  1. Vanessa, I’ll miss your daily posts. Some of your changes were inspiring. Others were downright silly. I’ll let you consider which is which. But each post put a smile on my face, which is also a very green thing to do, although I can’t explain why. Thank you for your blog and for bringing so many people together.

    Now for the million dollar question which everyone else is wondering but no one else is bold or rude enough to ask: Will you keep swimming in the nude?


  2. Bill the Galactic Hero says:

    Congratulations on an inspiring year. I’ll miss the daily thistle epistle. They’ve certainly reinforced in me all the choices that are to be made and how aware we must be. Enjoy the bath and the wine, you’ve earned them.

    All the best,

  3. Deb in MA says:

    Vanessa, thank you for a great year (even though I found you about half way into your journey and I will have the earlier part of your blog to sustain me a while longer). Green as a Thistle is one of the blogs that I have enjoyed the most and checked first thing in the morning. I will miss you. Your ideas were inspiring and your words entertaining. The best to you in the future.

  4. Catherine says:

    I can’t believe it’s been a year. You’ve been a constant inspiration! I look forward to seeing what this blog turns into, and what else you can do on this “Green journey.”

    On a semi-related note, the new Teen Vogue that my friend bought actually has a spread called “Green is the New Black.” Really. Chew on that irony for a while!

  5. Mark says:

    I can’t imagine how anyone could have embraced the challenges with more grace and humor than you. I posted only occasionally, but checked in to see what you were up to pretty much daily, and I will miss you. I won’t miss your puns, though.

  6. Sarah says:

    darn it, i’m sad i won’t be able to check in daily anymore. but congrats to you! you’ve been very inspiring to this fellow average girl!

  7. tinybutterfly says:

    Thanks! It’s been fun to read your blog! Congrats to you and enjoy your bananas and guacamole! 🙂 TB

  8. Sense of Balance says:

    And thanks to you for providing a year of well-taken points, as well as loony follies and just plain things to think about. I’ve been a daily visitor, and I’ll miss that. There are times when I’ve enjoyed your style, and have even bought two or three copies of that mad fascist rag you work for just to enjoy your writing on topics other than Green. As you say, it’s those who make a virtue of being Green who make us furious. So go on with all good luck accompanying you, but never lose track of your

    Sense of Balance.

  9. Emma says:

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! u did it!!!

  10. patty t says:

    Bring on the cheetos! And hey – thanks for allowing the Gents that special guest headline. Onward and upward. And most of all – great work.

  11. instatick says:

    Congrats on an awesome accomplishment. You’ve provided me with a constant source of inspiration and humor for a year now and I, like everyone else that commented before me, will miss your daily posts A LOT. Again, congratulations on completing an awesome challenge!

  12. Shannon says:

    Congratulations on a full year of it. I have to say, I am sad it is over. I have really, really enjoyed logging in everyday. Thanks for taking the time to do it, and I look forward to those sporadic posts.

  13. Chile says:

    Wow, you did it. You actually did it! Do you feel a mixture of pride in yourself but sadness that it’s over? Or just relief that you can eat some guacamole?

    Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Vanessa. Don’t be a stranger!

  14. Rhain Louis says:

    ditto on what pat said, and congrats on making it through the year! I’ve been a semi-faithful reader of the blog, and I’m impressed at the changes you made!

  15. Alexia says:

    Thank You for your daily antics, I will miss them. Happy to hear you will be continuing on with a few post now and then. Over the past year you have gave me a lot to think about and I can say that I do think before I buy now, for more reasons other than my bank account! Also use a wine glass, you lush. 😉

  16. Sherry says:

    Congrats and thanks for all the info…your page has become my daily inspiration! : )

  17. Samantha says:

    Great job. Definitely inspiring challenge and I think this final post is one of your most insightful.

    I completely agree that you have to choose which parts of being green are most important to you. And what’s more important is that being concerned about the environment and sustainability shouldn’t label you a “hippie” its just being responsible and looking ahead.

    Thanks for an amazing blog. I’m already craving another posting so please don’t disappear too long.

  18. Oh, Vanessa, the blog world is gonna miss you. You started your blog around the same time as mine so I feel like we’ve been a little in lock-step for the last year. I hope you continue to post and let everyone know what you are up to. Thanks for the willingness to subject yourself to some of my challenges and promotions.



  19. Greenpa says:

    Very very nice. And a very cute photo. I’ve sent it on to my son…. 😉

    So, in Pollanesque fashion; “Pay attention. Don’t beat yourself up. Stop buying crap.”

    lol. Very good stuff- I really hope you keep in touch with us all.

  20. Greenpa says:

    oh, yeah, and about the fridge……

    It’ll nag at you forever – if you DON’T try plugging it back in.

    What I would recommend- wait a week, or two, until the mania of your newfound freedom has calmed a bit; then very mindfully; plug it back in. I guarantee; whenever you buy something that has to go into it, the little observer in the back of your head will start working- and asking- “really? you need this? is this saving time/ money/ energy/ anything?”

    Then after a week, or two (depends on you) UNplug it again; with the specific understanding that you’re still experimenting. It’s not a commitment for all time- just a way for you to test this idea; for yourself. Then- in a couple weeks; see where you are. Gosh, it might even be possible to live with the idea that you plug it in for a while if you’ve got a party to work on; or if it’s August; and unplug it other times. 🙂 Of course, then you have to THINK about what you’re doing. gasp.

    This kind of thing can also be much more convincing for the doubters- calm, tentative, and thoughtful; not overboard emotions. You are SO right that rabid zealotry is a turn-off.

    If you then find you get to the place where you can say “You know, I tried it, both ways; several times- and I find I just don’t need it.” that will be something.

  21. debbie says:

    I too will miss your daily insight and wit! While I know I couldn’t tackle a daily change, I have decided to go for the 365 changes goal. Presently on #40. Your list and solutions will continue to inspire. Thank you so much for hanging in there when it was tough – a great role model for the rest of us. I know that’s corny but its real! And so often, what seems tough, turns out fairly simple, sometimes simpler than the non-green act it replaced.
    Thank you! Thank you!

  22. Zac says:

    Wow, you did it! I have never posted before, but I read your posts almost religiously! You are definitely one of my heroes! I try to adapt a lot of your changes, but when you have a wife and son (22 months) it isn’t possible to do everything. I don’t know what your book is about, but if there was a way to preorder it now I would! Good luck with whatever your next adventure brings (I just wish we could read all about it)!

    Peace be with you,

  23. LG Adam says:

    You’re final post was great! I think that sort of balance is what most of us are striving for. Althought you could have told me about the ‘stop buying crap’ bit earlier, I’ve been supporting the economy far too much recently. Think that’s the main thing I’ll take from your journey. That and swimming in the nude obviously…

  24. molly says:

    Thanks for being our guinea pig and doing it with a sense of humor.

  25. Mad says:

    Congrats on finishing the journey. I read your blog religiously and learned a lot. Thank you for being an inspiration and I look forward to reading your book!

  26. Ouiser says:

    I’m actually a little depressed. I think I jumped on the Green as a Thistle bandwagon somewhere around day 150, and the fact that this is over is a little too finite for me. Anyway, I’m happy you survived, and I’m happy to know that you’ll resume some normalcy (warm showers mostly). It makes me feel a little better about swearing that the one thing I won’t give up for the environment is my shower. Because, honestly, I think I’d have to go on ProZac if I gave up warm showers.

    Enjoy being a little less green for a few days.


  27. Donna says:

    This has been a joy to read.

  28. east.west says:

    congratulations and thank you for sharing your year with all of us!

  29. Rhett says:

    Godspeed! Keep the faith.

  30. fawn pea says:

    *sigh* How I have loved this last year. I apologize for any snarky comments I may have left (though I still think you don’t need makeup). Thanks for challenging me and making me laugh — I know you’ve made me a much more reflective enviro than i was before. I’m going to toast you with a local beer tonight. Thanks Vanessa!

  31. blah says:

    I am simultaneously thrilled and bummed. I’m so happy for you that you managed to actually make 365 changes all while maintaining a good sense of humor and good hair. It takes a lot of dedication, education and a good stubborn streak to do something as monumental as you have (yes, it is monumental whether you think so or not). I am bummed because your sense of humor is always fantastic. Im sure I’m not the only one at work who has been caught laughing out loud at “feminine plumbing products” that you’ve seemed to uncomfortably post about.

    The fact is, you’ve become part of all our lives in a strange and unconventional way. Every morning I sit down with my cup of tea, check my email and then go to your website for what is most likely going to be something that is a little gross, a little crazy or a little ingenious. It shows that some of the things you are doing are a little extreme for some of us, but that most of us could do at least 20 of the things on your impressive list. Your endeavor truly has a farther reaching arm than you could ever have likely imagined and for that all of us are lucky to have stumbled on to your website.

    Now, I say you take a screaming hot bubble bath (do they make bio-friendly bubble bath?), a glass of wine and read all these lovely comments while you each some nachos.

    take care and DON’T STOP POSTING!!!!

  32. Missy k says:

    The last few days I’ve been kind of holding my breath as I read your posts — oh my gosh, she’s on day 359! day 363! She must be feeling such a sense of acomplishment for the changes she made over this past year and a sense of relief that the daily pressure to come up with a new challenge is almost over!

    I hope you’re feeling all of thos things today. Thanks for the inspiration. Especially the thought that we don’t need so much CRAP to be happy. That’s kind of the surprise lesson of the green movement for me.

  33. sweetea says:

    congratulations vanessa! i’ve enjoyed reading your blog and hearing about your trials and tribulations with your experiment.

  34. Oldnovice says:

    Personally, I wish that I’d set a timeframe for when *I* would stop questioning everything I do/buy/etc. Life really should be LIVED more than analyzed.

    I’ve enjoyed this year with you; ya done good, girl!

  35. Lindsey says:

    I have looked forward to reading your blog every day, and it was like a page turner seeing what all you would do in this last month (I know I would run out of things, LOL). Thank you so much for allowing us to share with your “journey” (yeah, I’ll say it too) – I have learned so much from you, and I hope that we continue to hear from you in the future.

    Now go take a warm shower and go eat out at a restaurant that only serves exotic foods!

  36. Lupa says:

    Sadly, I didn’t get tuned into this blog until around day 330 or so. But between the last month and change, and the archives, I’ve learned a lot. Thank you for sharing your experiences and being an inspiration!

  37. Your attitude during this whole project/journey has been amazing. Your daily use of puns was impressive in and of itself! For almost a year your blog was probably the most consistent thing in my life, which I didn’t even realize until today when I thought about how the daily posts will be ending. I will probably be going through a lingering habitual daily check of this page for a little while. Thank you thank you thank you.

  38. Trix says:

    I found your blog early on and have throughly enjoyed reading and taking on some of the changes you yourself have made. I used to be oblivious to where my food was coming from and I know make a point of looking for local food before opting for something outside of Canada (I love my strawberries). Although, I love having my fridge stocked with food and enjoy my daily hot shower, I know that through this blog I’ve made a few changes that have made in making this world a tiny, tiny, tiny bit better without inconveniencing my life.

    I don’t think many people know how easy it is to be a bit more environmentally friendly and hopefully more people will stumble upon your blog now that it’s done and take on a few changes themselves.

    Thanks for the fantastic posts and CONGRATULATIONS!

  39. Trix says:

    Oops, I know better than to spell check before posting.
    *now, not know
    *delete “in making”

  40. Scott says:

    Congratulations on completing your year.

  41. Lloyd Alter says:

    Rats. Where will I steal ideas now?

  42. pat says:

    Welll, you did it! Congratulations. When you first told us you were going to do this thing I thought you had gone a bit loopy. I didnt realise how big it would become and how much I would enjoy reading about your life everyday. I’m going to miss that as you know how you never call me! (motherly whine). But I always knew that my tenacious little girl (big now) would get to the end. Enjoy the hot shower and the french wine. And come back to all the green people when you have time. (I’m not including myself in the green people, I’m just a hanger-on!)

  43. arduous says:

    I Will Think Of You
    When I Use My Spray Bottle
    And Shake My Bon-Bon

    Sniff. Don’t be a stranger, you hear?

    P.S. Your hair looks amazing in that pic!!

  44. Preston says:

    Absolutely incredible.

  45. yarrow says:

    i’m going to miss this; i regret that i only found your blog a month ago! you seem to have touched a lot of people’s lives, and that is the most important part of this kind of change. incrimental lasting change is deeply inspiring, and ripples outwards to create a much more lasting effect than sanctimonious proseletyzing.

    though i’ve got to say, i’m curious about how the vinegar hair rinse didn’t work. 🙂 i’ve used one (half homemade herbal infusion, half apple-cider vinegar) for the last two years, and i love love love it. i don’t spray it on, though, i pour it, avoiding the roots, and use about a quarter-cup of it per hair-washing (twice a week). the baking soda instead of shampoo thing, though? FAIL. i’ve seen it work for other people, but it really didn’t work on my hair. so i use non-paraben costs-too-much / safe-for-greywater shampoo and vinegar rinse. 🙂

    anyhow, i look forward to hearing about your book! and congratulations on making it through an entire year of daily changes, and becoming such a source of inspiration for others!

  46. maggie says:

    like everyone else said… i will miss your daily posts as well, even though i was one of the readers who never commented on the site. your daily posts did spark up a lot of conversation among my group of friends, and we all appreciate your voice that represented what a lot of the younger generations are feeling and thinking. i’m assuming your blog opened the eyes of many greenies to make them see it doesn’t have to be so serious, but still be just as important. not very many people would’ve been as brave as you to give up some of the things you did, so congrats! now go find some illegal contraband!

  47. Lindsay Burns says:

    Thanks so much for the Thistle. I joined one month in and have enjoyed witnessing your journey. Best wishes for your future endeavours. Lindsay

  48. Teartaye says:

    Aaaw man, I so totally have ugly shoes and dreads. Le-sigh! 😉 (In all fairness the shoes have way more to do with me being cheap than my caring about the environment)

    I totally agree with your three points. (I didn’t really have anything to add to #1)
    2) I hate it when people get into greener-than-thou contests. What’s the point? Wouldn’t that energy be better spent making a real difference? Preferably in the bickerer’s life?
    3) I am so terribly against advertising it’s not even funny. One of my friend’s just got a job in advertising and I’ve been pestering him about it (great fun! I mean… uh… bad Teartaye). Seriously, I make anyone who watches TV with me (not my favourite past time but it does happen) angry because I think it’s great fun to poke holes in the commercial’s logic!
    I do have a swiffer duster (they’re washable –cold water, dry flat–… I’ll keep telling myself that makes it okay) because my allergies hate me when I use a feather duster and, well, I don’t do much dusting… comes from the lack of other crap I have… I know I could use a wet cloth, and I do sometimes, but the little things are just so much easier with a swiffer. LOL! I guess I’m not immune to advertising. It’s good to remember that.

    And as for the incandescents in your bedroom: I have one in mine too. CFLs don’t give me migraines but they sure aggravate ’em if I have one. I need somewhere to go and read if I have a minor migraine where I’m not bed ridden!

    I will miss the daily doses of Thistle! Thank you for making me examine some of my habits in an entertaining fashion. Best of luck keeping the habits you want to keep and save some of those cookies for me 😉

  49. J.R. says:

    Mazel Tov green star — well done and that includes this thoughtful wrap-up.
    See you soon!

  50. Jeff Crowe says:

    Congratulations! Quite the accomplishment and quite the inspiration to a lot of people on the net!
    Good luck with all things to come!

  51. gettinggreen says:

    HOLY CRAP! I just checked my comments now and am blown away there are so many — and SUCH SUCH SUCH nice words from all of you. I’m going to cry!!

    Mom, I’m glad you had faith in me… finally that stubborn streak I inherited from you has paid off, eh? And don’t worry, I’ll call more often (now that I have time without this blog obligation and all). And Greenpa, that was an even more succinct and perfect way of putting things (truly Pollanesque indeed — thanks for all your advice on living fridgeless). And arduous — LOVE the haiku!! Haha. You guys are all so great, seriously…

  52. gettinggreen says:

    P.S. HOLY CRAP TIMES TWO — I just got 8,000 hits today!!!

  53. darci says:

    Congrats on making it the whole year!

  54. […] stick– but the three main points she learned over the past year are definitely worth sharing (click for her final post)–: 1) In order to be truly green, we need to maintain a constant awareness of everything we […]

  55. csim33 says:

    Aww… is Greenpa trying to set you up with his son?

    Good work on all the changes. Like many have said, you’ve been an inspiration to me and I’ll miss the daily posts.

  56. Kudos and thanks for the inspiration. If people just took a handful of your ideas and implemented them, we would all be better off.

    Go enjoy a latte and a long bath, you deserve it.

  57. Kim Moir says:

    Congratulations Vanessa! Your daily posts have been both funny and an inspiration – I’ve implemented quite a few in my own life. Keep blogging 🙂

  58. Rachel says:

    I found your blog almost at the beginning and I’ve enjoyed it every day. I’m not a rabid environmentalist and our lives are very different, but you’ve inspired me by doing what you can do where you are to do what I can where I am. Thank you.

  59. Melinda says:

    Vanessa, you’ve inspired a lot of people to become more aware, to take a some risks for the sake of the future. And I think you’ve inspired a different crowd than most of us super green sustainability bloggers. You will be missed. I hope you continue to raise awareness in whatever form you find works best for you.

    Take care, and thanks for opening up your life and creating Green as a Thistle,
    Elements In Time

  60. Melinda says:

    Correction: you will be *sorely* missed in the blogging community. ; )

  61. Morgan Wadsworth says:

    Congrats Vanessa…and thank you so much for the daily posts and more importantly for having the creativity to start that adventure. What you’ve done is big to many people, small to others, but mostly informative to everyone that stumbled in to Green As A Thistle.

    Good luck in the future with everything you do…


  62. Kristin says:

    Congratulations! I discovered your site about 3 months ago, but this is my first post. Your sense of humor and willingness to share all the (gory!) details of your challenge with all of us have really made the whole green movement much more accessible to us regular folks. Thank you so much and enjoy all your indulgences over the next few weeks!!

  63. Melanie says:

    i’m one of those readers who read but never commented. wow, just wow! you did it!!! and your last post was amazing. i agree on all parts, especially this:

    The tagline on this site has always been that I’m making a green change every day without being smug about it, and I stand by that claim — let’s take the planet seriously while keeping some perspective and laughing at ourselves.


    365 changes, that’s amazing!! i’m happy that you will write more here every now and will be interesting to know what you’ll keep up and what not =)

    thanks for an amazing time, i will miss your posts and inspiring ideas!

    rock on!!!

  64. Mason says:

    Take a bow, Vanessa. Great job!

  65. matt says:

    Fantastic post, so true and eloquent. Very disappointed that you’re hanging it up, but I’m impressed with your resolve.

    Cheers + best of luck!

  66. Kaci says:


    I can’t begin to tell you how much I look up to you. Your project was truly inspiring and I’ll admit, I just got a little teary from reading your final, official post. What I learned most from you is that the little things count and I don’t have to become a saint overnight. Baby steps work just fine.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us.

  67. Hellcat13 says:

    Yippee! You did it! I’ve done my best to do many of your changes, but drew the line at the fridge, stove, hankies, and Navy showers, to name a few. You’re hard core, girl. (And inventive. Writing haikus? Sleep? Skinny dipping? Awesome and hilarious.)

    I will definitely be going through a serious daily Thistle withdrawal, but I look forward to periodic updates and the release of your book – if you have any advance reader copies you need vetted, you know who to contact 😉

    Thanks SO much for sharing your *coughjourneycough* with us. It was a blast, and you will be missed more than I think you (and we) realize.

    Steph aka Hellcat13

  68. Kelly says:

    Congratulations Ness! You made it! If anyone could do it, it was you 😉 Whatever will you do with yourself now that your challenge is complete???
    Reading your blog has been how I’ve started the day for a long time now…I think you should keep writing every day so that my routine isn’t affected.
    Looking forward to seeing you this summer! Maybe you can help me green-ify my apartment 🙂
    Thanks for your fabulousness sweetie 🙂

  69. Kelly says:

    Ok, that was WAY too many happy faces for one post…

  70. […] of our favorite blogs, green or otherwise seems to have wound down to a […]

  71. You are such a star. I have learned so much from your blog (and from the comments) and I LOVED the fact that I could count on it to be there everyday for procrastination, and entertainment when I was on bed rest!!

    Enjoy the guac. You deserve it!!

  72. Esme says:


    Thanks for being a daily inspiration, without being preachy or pedantic. I’m going to miss your funny, inspired, honest thoughts and ideas. You know how to keep it real! Keep up the good work.

    Now I’m craving guacamole. Damn you!! 🙂

  73. Deborah W. says:

    Vanessa, you freakin’ rock….pure & simple. Your daily posts have given me plenty of pause for thought and discussion. You did it with so much humor and down-to-earth honesty and none of that pc crap that we’re so inundated with. Thank you very much. I will definitely miss reading your daily posts, girl. Take care of yourself, always and all ways. Peace.

  74. Barb says:

    I found you in December and read all your archives, AND a lot of the feedback, which I’ve learned a great deal from, too. Because of you, I’ve changed some practices and the way I think, and I’m motivated to do more. I’ve faithfully logged on everyday, so you’ll be missed!

    But won’t it be lovely to blow your nose heartily in a kleenex!!? 🙂


  75. Green Mommy says:


    You really have been an inspiration to me. I too started a blog around the same time you did, and you have inspired many of my changes.

    I’m sure this is just a beginning for you. Best of luck!

    Oh, and I really want to visit Canada now!


    Green Mommy
    California, USA

  76. Julie says:

    You have done such a great job with this Vanessa. You have such talent in your writing and your wit, and I have thoroughly enjoyed being a “part” of your journey. Take care of yourself and enjoy your success!

    Julie Keenan

  77. Sandy says:

    Dear Vanessa!

    Good for you! I’ve enjoyed your blog so much — read almost every day of it — even though I didn’t comment very much.

    Don’t give up the blog! I agree with an earlier comment — you’ve become a small part of our lives and we would miss you.

    Whatever you choose to do, much success to you!

  78. toughmama says:

    Oh, honey, great job! yay! thanks for you contributions. way to go.

    Nashville, TN

  79. E to the M says:

    Wow, has it been a year already? Congratulation on making it through the year and thanks for letting us peek over your shoulder along the way.

  80. heather says:

    I’ve never commented here before, but I just wanted to echo the sentiments here. I too have been following your “journey” (hehe) since about day 100, I’d guess. So well written, with that fabulous sense of humor we all crave during these crazy times. 🙂

    I’ve never been brave enough to comment before, but I’m happy to add my voice to the chorus of cheers here! You’ve been an invaluable inspiration, not just in WHAT changes to make, but also HOW to make them (with awareness, no self-loathing, and minimal consumption).

    (here come the pom-poms…)

    You’re a true credit to our generation and greenies of all ages!!!! PLEASE KEEP POSTING!!!!

  81. Kristin says:

    Congratulations in finishing the year in good spirits!!
    I think we will all miss your posts and most likely all of us readers have taken I thing or two or more of your inspiring ideas and applied them to our own lives, your legacy will live on for longer than you ever would have imagined.

    Again thanks for everything, I will miss you dearly, and hope you have fun exploring your new freedom.

  82. Johanna in NZ says:

    *standing ovation*

    You did it! Congratulations!
    I look forward to reading about what you do next.

  83. Liz says:

    Dear Green as a Thistle, Vanessa: You’ve been an inspiration. Best wishes in all your efforts and aspirations! My family have made many changes based on your experiences, most for the better. You have inspired much reading of fine print in daily purchases, and have even cut purchases out completely. I am talking teenagers here, so that is no mean feat!

    Thank you for your work and your blog, thank you for your enlightening posts written with humour and that certain shyness that marks a true warrior. You and your blog have been a source of much information, thinking matter and good old-fashioned healthy down-to-earth wisdom, with a goodly smattering of fearlessness in the face of much temptation and human foibles. Me and my family are better for knowing you.

    We regret we didn’t find you sooner.

    Best wishes, stay safe and fare well.

    Sincerely, Elizabeth and family

    p.s., You’ll be welcomed back any time! Drop a line and we’ll be there.

  84. pookguy says:

    keep in mind,…
    motorcycles can pollute way more than a honda civic…

    look into it 😉

  85. TRINA says:

    Thank you for the inspiring blog. I really have to thank you for making me think before I buy something. Will miss your posts but I will revisit many of the 365 days. Thanks again-Trina from New Brunswick

  86. Hannita says:

    Congratulation. Thank you for exposing me to new ways of greening my life. You are awesome.

  87. Maryam says:

    Chica! You did it. I’m so impressed and proud of you! And thanks for teaching me that the (navy) showers I take actually have a name.

    See you in Don Mills.

  88. kimberly says:

    wow, congratulations vanessa!! i’ve been in total denial that this is the end… i stopped reading the “day such and such” for the past few weeks ’cause i didn’t want it to end… well, thanks for letting us all be a part of the last year with you. it went by super fast on my end, but i’m sure it was a lot of work on yours. and i applaud you for being so creative and dedicated to this project. man, my mornings are gonna SUCK now… please don’t get all preachy and arrogant like NIM. take care, and enjoy your hot shower and everything else you’ve been missing!
    p.s. what’s going on with the book? did i miss the details on it?

  89. Greta says:

    Sincere congratulations on your year. I’m eager to hear what comes next for you. You’ve inspired so many with your personal experiences and commentary and amused us with your humor.

    Thank you for wrapping up with extra attention paid to consumption. We have to stop buying the crap in order to make a meaningful difference.

    I wish you the best and will miss reading your posts. I will instead look forward to reading your book!!!

  90. crstn85 says:

    I’ve checked in here twice today already, just in case you decided to keep updating. You deserve at least one day off- inspiring so many people every day must be exhausting. Not to mention remembering 365 different things! At the very least I bet you greatly improved your memory, maybe now you won’t have to use ink or paper to write notes to yourself? Good luck as you pick and choose the essentials, keep us updated!

  91. Allie says:

    Great final post!

    I’m just coming to your website at the end, I guess, but I’m excited to go back and read everything.

    I’m so glad to hear someone else who couldn’t do the vinegar as shampoo thing.

  92. mtb says:

    It was a wonderful ride Vanessa. I jump on late,… but enjoyed the blog when I had time to read it. I guess I missed the article on turning off your fridge, I didn’t think it would be possible. I going to go back and find that entry and read up on it. All the best to you !!

    Mike the bike

  93. just ducky says:

    I held off reading this particular post until I could give it my full attention. This was the very first blog I started reading when I finally became “environmentally aware”. I started reading it just a couple of weeks after it began. And while I know it is time for you to move on, I will miss you.

    I whole-heartedly agree with your three main points…especially about living in the gray area. As much as I would love to be an environmental Mary Poppins…being practically perfect in every way…I’m not, nor will I ever be. So the best option is to do what you know you can do…make the changes and implement practices that work in your life and always be aware of the impact your actions/decisions have.

    You are very wise, my blog friend! Congratulations! You’ve done a great thing here…you have much to be proud of!

    ~Just Ducky

  94. lalaland says:

    Congrats on the Big Finale.
    Please, for everyone who commented before me, continue this blog.
    Your writing, your insane-but-brilliant ideas, your puns (which I chuckle at throughout the day, no matter how bad) and those pictures (who can’t appreciate a blog with daily posts AND pictures) you dug up always brightened up my day with a little green light.
    Everything I wanted to say has been said so just read over the *scans* 93 comments above.
    Best of luck

  95. Melanie says:

    Thanks for a fabulous website – it was on my daily read list. You have been very inspiring, I am working on a proposal for my work to adopt some greener practices, an I have drawn many ideas form here. (You are going to leave the archives up, right?)

    Enjoy the hot showers – I admire your commitment – I couldn’t make it through ONE cool shower!

  96. Jeroen says:

    Thx for sharing your adventures in the world of green! It was good to find a green resource that is down to earth. CONGRATS and I hope to be finding more stuff here soon 🙂

  97. Josh Rachlis says:

    LOL. Love the links. “A right-wing, global-warming-denying newspaper” leads to Classic. And sad. Sassic? Clad?

    Thanks for inspiring many people to make a difference.

  98. Thank you for a truly amazing blog. I’ve read you nearly every day for almost the entire year. You provided a wonderful blog of ideas and choices for everyone to make.

    Welcome to the grey life,

  99. Theresa says:

    Congratulations! I found you on about Day 33 and have looked forward to your daily posts ever since! You never fail to put a smile on my face. Can’t wait to hear more about that book deal…..


  100. Even though we talked last night- I kind of wanted to be response number 100. I would have been the first but I am on St. Lucia time and everything here happens a little slower. What I learned coming over here is that even the little bit that I do for the planet and the lot that you have done- both personally and to inspire others is a whole lot more than the rest of the world even comes close to thinking about- let alone doing.

    I am living in a hotel (which in itself is a weird experience) that keeps the fans on everywhere even when its windy, I hide the towels so the house keeping staff won’t give me new ones, I leave a note by my light switch to please turn off the lights and leave the AC off when they come in for turn down service, I use the same plate when I go up to the buffet for seconds, i never use straws, i turn people’s cars off when they leave them idling with me inside, and I put scrap paper into the printer to make sure both sides are being used.

    In my little nutrition/environmental world at home- none of these things are weird. Living in a five-star hotel, I am considered eccentric, and a wee bit nutty. I preach the power of whole foods, CSAs and home gardening to people while they sip pina coladas and read OK magazined. Escaping from the bubble, I have realized how much my little bit is doing, how really huge it is what you have done, and how much more there is to do to get the masses on side.

    As part of the staff orientation at this hotel, they are required to watch An Inconvenient Truth. 9 out of ten people fall asleep and I am not sure the hotel all together gets it with their leaf blowers and Wednesday night mosquito fumigation- but they’re trying I guess and for anyone making any change in their own life or in the big wide world- trying a little is all that can be asked.

    You have done so much more. You are absolutely inspiring and as much as my healthy eating can be hard- what you have done seems so much tougher. Amazing that you did what you have done, that you have impacted as many people as you have and that you mentioned my family. They’ll like that. See you soon my love.

  101. Julie says:

    I’ll add my voice to the chorus: congratulations! I love it when people take on a challenge and make it a success. I’ll keep reading your blog, as I’ve really enjoyed your positive and open take on things.

  102. Pop that cork and take the night off:) Always loved the name of your blog, and always enjoyed your writing. Take good care, and stay in touch!

  103. FlatGreg says:

    Congrats!! I think you did a wonderful thing here. I love the balance that your year long experiment has resulted in, and how going green is not an all or nothing thing.

  104. Doug A says:

    Congratulations Vanessa. I’m a member of our Corporate Green Team, a friend of yours Heather T, who is on the team hooked us up with your Blog a month and half ago. Although I wish it had been right from the beginning!! I have been taking the time to read each post right from the start. Your blog has been a constant source of inspiration and an unbelievable resource for us! Your final post was by far the best and I’ve been forwarding it to everyone I know. I’m sad that I won’t be seeing a daily post in my inbox from you, but I am really looking forward to the book version of this whole experience. Good luck in your next challenge Vanessa!

  105. Leni Parker says:

    It’s great that you didn’t flush your toilet, and saved water for a year…because, if you are going to continue to eat at Swiss Chalet, they are going to NEED your water for the meat industry, which uses massive amounts to produce that yummy burger you love so much. Al Gore doesn’t want to face it, and I know so many others don’t as well. No point in eating organic and local, if you can’t cut down meat consumption.

    Leni Parker

  106. bryan says:

    This is really a farce.

    I don’t know how The Current could have picked up your story.

    Really, you didn’t green anything, nor really learn anything, nor have anything substantial to teach anyone. In the end your message comes off sounding very high school and petty. Throughout, you are like anyone who makes excuses for comfort or ‘likes’ (ie., the choice to keep eating meat) for not making changes. No lessons learned. Living responsibly isn’t just a change of habit, nor is it a fad, but more a change of mind.

    I don’t think there really was any success in the end, there was nothing simple – again, it seemed petty, and no more inspiration than what I could find from a Superstore Organic Babyfood commercial.


  107. meeg says:

    Just read your article in the National post.

    You are my hero ! – well hero of the month at least

    thanks for the experiment

  108. […] last blog post was on February 29th, where declares three points about what she has […]

  109. Anna says:

    Vanessa, I am glad you made the statement to tell people stop arguing about who is more of an environmentalist. Everyone has to do what makes them comfortable. We need to stop judging each other and be positive about all the changes that our fellow humans are making. You get so much more done with honey than with vinegar.

    Congrads on making it through a year. You are a terrific writer and I hope the next part of your life brings you happiness and success.

  110. […] small (and not so small) green changes to her lifestyle. The end result of her journey is probably my favorite of all her posts. She learned a lot on her journey, and she shared her thoughts on the matter. Her […]

  111. […] sad to see Green As Thistle move into the Green Blog Algae Pool as Vanessa is moving on to other pursuits. It was a one year blogging job working for Canada’s National Post as she documented her […]

  112. Danielle says:

    I found your blog too late! I’ve been clicking through all the days constantly over the past few days, and your spectrum of changes shows me that it is possible to become greener as the days go by, as long as rational baby steps are taken. It’s hard imagining living without all of the needless products and habits I’ve been living with all my life. I’ve started my own list of changes I can make, and I’m going to try and be firm with my decisions, with you as an inspiration! I think you’re awesome and I hope the rest of your life goes well for you!

  113. Keane says:

    Wonderful blog, and an excellent post. I also found your blog too late.

    Take care and best of luck,

  114. Tara says:

    Hi Vanessa
    Sounds like you’ve had quite a year (I just got here!) and I just wanted to write to say thanks. From what I’ve read (the final post), your sane, sensible and somebody with whom every(wo)man can identify. Congrats on your green year and all the best.
    Guelph ON

  115. Hey Vanessa
    Thanks so much for your blog. Today is the first time I have paid a visit to your blog and think it is quite informative. Your energetic spirt and humor are great tools for a blog like this. As a result, I have added it to my Favorites on my tool bar. I want to be able to access the blog again and again in-order to keep reading the informative posts. Once again, thanks so much. You have done a great service to the environment.

  116. Erlisa says:

    Hey Vanessa,

    As I read your blog, a lot of things made sense. A lot of people these days feel like they’re better environmentalists than others. I can see that you took a lot of dedication into your year of “going green”, and you obviously have learned a lot of things. As a matter of fact, I think that what you did is harder than it sounds.

    And your sense of humor made this blog a lot more interesting to read.

    Hope you’re back soon!
    Good Luck with your green year.

  117. lisa says:

    I was very impressed with your challenge and commend you for your determination
    but i have one question, Is the fact that you started this venture on a whelm
    come from mere spontaniuos thought or was it much more thought out than it
    seems to appear? I am only asking because I would be willing to try this as
    something that would bring about a true, healthy and natural life change for me
    but i need to know if it intales real preperation or do you just make it up as
    you go along? I mean now that you have carefully laid everything that you’ve
    done in the past year on the table it gives me more direction than you
    started out with but i still need alittle more insight. I hope you stay determined and your road to a green life is a good one.

  118. Pinky Bean says:

    Wow, a whole year, that’s crazy, but really cool!

    I thought our readers might like to read about your journey (if they haven’t already) so I linked to your final post.

  119. William says:

    you are soo funny, you remind me a lot of myself. I love your blog and I wanted to let you know about my new website that I just launched. I would love your feedback and comments on my new site. We sell eco-friendly home decor and accessories.
    We also carry biodegradable and organic products.
    I’d love your comments:) “keep it green”

  120. stonewoodred says:

    canada head green red apple busy

  121. professional says:

    Hello. I think you are eactly thinking like Sukrat. I really loved the post.

  122. keymicrosoft says:

    pets dog night letter white steven white

  123. I thought our readers might like to read about your journey (if they haven’t already) so I linked to your final post.

  124. […] Farquharson, in the final post of her year-long Green As A Thistle project wrote, “A lot of greenies take themselves way too seriously. There is so much doomsday talk […]

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