Greenhouse-sitting (Day 157)…

August 4, 2007

trinity

When I decided to take a vacation, I knew I’d need a housesitter. But I didn’t want someone coming in, cranking the air-conditioning and running the dishwasher half empty — whoever took care of my place would also have to take care of the earth.

In the end, one of my green-hearted friends came to the rescue. I let him turn on the fridge, but he kept the thermostat off, made sure my worms had something to munch on and kept my balcony herbs watered — he even wrote to tell me that one of my organic cherry tomatoes had turned red! Everything was recycled properly and he made sure to use my natural cleaning products; I couldn’t have asked for a better sitter.

Now that I’m on the second half of my vacation, I’ve got a different guy looking after things, but he’s just as willing to step into my hippie shoes and keep things eco-friendly.

It might take a bit more searching and some extra-convincing rhetoric, but from now on I’m making sure all my housesitters pass the green test.

Photo of my building courtesy of this website


No steaks on a plane (Day 80)…

May 19, 2007

Recently, I confessed to booking a somewhat elaborate summer vacation that requires a fair amount of air travel (which I’ve at least offset with TerraPass). On the plus side, I made sure to take one big chunk of time off work, so for the most part the flights will be short-haul; on the down side, due to scheduling conflicts, it also means taking a lot of connecting flights (and by “a lot” I mean … um… *cough* nine).

As I’ve already committed to eating meat sparingly — and, when I do, it has to be free-range, organic and/or grass-fed — this means I’d have to pick apart all my in-flight meals, being careful not to get genetically modified pork residue on the peas.

But the reality is, whether or not I eat the meat on my plate (or rather plastic tray), it doesn’t make a difference by that point; the demand for it is created as soon as I book my ticket.

Fortunately, this greenie plans ahead. I requested that all my in-flight meals be vegetarian or nothing at all. Most airlines these days are very accommodating — besides having veg options, they usually offer kosher, low-cholesterol, gluten-free and even bland/ulcer meals.

Unfortunately, I can’t request that they leave out the plastic cutlery set or make sure that both the coffee and any chocolate in the dessert is fair-trade. But if the cutlery comes separately, I’ll pass it back (then again, if I can’t get my portable chopsticks past security, this could be a problem).


Coffee: 11 cents cheaper. Saving the environment: Priceless (Day 32)…

April 1, 2007

thermos
You knew this post was coming. Well, here it is: I’m over disposable coffee cups like a cheating ex-boyfriend from the ’90s who litters and wears white after Labour Day. Phew, what a diss!

Seriously though, I just got this adorable neon-green “Bow Corridor” Bilt thermos from MEC (like the ones in the photo here but a much cuter colour, and for only $10!).

So I’m ready to not just create less waste, but keep my coffee warmer for longer and get that 11¢ off my tall bold at Starbucks. And Bilt, which happens to be the largest paper company in India, appears to have a green side. As much as I loathe people who casually throw around the word synergy (unless they’re referencing Jem and/or the Misfits), I do like the sound of Bilt’s eco-policy and community development projects, as well as their partnerships with a slew of NGOs. Their website explains it all here.

Because the thermos is too bulky to carry around in my purse, it means I can’t make any spontaneous coffee purchases. But I can always keep it in my car along with my spare tote bags, or I can kick it old school and actually take the time to sit down, in a café, to drink my coffee. I know, it’s a frightening concept — it might even require these scary things called mugs. But I’ll try to be brave.

Photo courtesy of MEC