Green Listed

Here’s a complete tally of all the green changes I made:

  1. Switching to recycled, unbleached paper towels
  2. Giving up my electric heating pad
  3. Banning all styrofoam
  4. Switching to a recyclable toothbrush
  5. Turning down my thermostat
  6. No more bottled water
  7. Switching to organic conditioner
  8. Switching from disposable tape-based lint rollers to felt ones
  9. Eating ‘locally’ (within Canada and the U.S.)
  10. Making all my bills electronic
  11. Checking tire pressure on my car
  12. Not buying a microwave (yes, disputable, see post for comments)
  13. Switching to natural, biodegradable handwash with recyclable container
  14. Switching to non-toxic, phosphate-free dishwasher detergent
  15. Running outside only (no treadmill)
  16. Using tote bags, no more plastic bags
  17. Switching to recycled toilet paper
  18. Cancelling my cable
  19. Switching to corn-based, biodegradable cat litter
  20. Giving up disposable tissues, using handkerchiefs
  21. Using only natural, organic body lotions
  22. Permanently getting rid of any aerosol cans at home
  23. Changing over to natural glass and surface cleaner
  24. Signing up with my local Freecycle Network
  25. Making sure all the lights are turned off before I leave home
  26. Switching to natural body wash
  27. Using chemical-free, reusable cloth static-cling sheets in the dryer
  28. Unplugging anything that isn’t in use
  29. No more disposable plastic cutlery or plates
  30. Not driving my car on weekends
  31. Putting away my humidifier for good
  32. Using a thermos for coffee and tea
  33. No more gift wrap
  34. Changing all my light bulbs to CFLs
  35. Switching to Eco-Dent floss
  36. Only drinking fair-trade, organic, locally roasted coffee
  37. Using only beeswax candles; or soy-based, as long as there’s no paraffin
  38. Returning my wine bottles to the Beer Store so they’re recycled properly
  39. Switching to natural toothpaste
  40. Changing over to a natural laundry detergent
  41. Eating only free-range, organic, hormone-free (and if possible local) meat, restricting my intake of beef and chicken to no more than once per week
  42. Not buying any more petroleum-based bath poufs and loufas
  43. Signing up at to block junk mail and plant a tree every month
  44. Being conscientious about how much water I use; only turning on the taps at a “trickle” when washing hands or brushing teeth and keeping showers to five minutes
  45. Using the air-dry function on my dishwasher
  46. Consuming only locally brewed beer, organic when possible
  47. No more using paper towels or hand-dryers in public bathrooms
  48. Investing in permanent laser hair removal rather than shaving or waxing forever
  49. Only local and fair-trade chocolate
  50. Turning off my freezer
  51. Picking up litter when I see it
  52. Properly disposing of my used batteries at a local hazardous waste depot
  53. Switching to eco-friendly dish detergent
  54. Changing to natural, paraben-free lip balm
  55. Only consuming locally grown, produced and cellared wine (from within Ontario)
  56. Purchasing “green” baking soda, incorporating it into household cleaning in place of harsher chemicals like bleach
  57. Switching to natural shaving cream
  58. Switching to recycled (and recyclable) razors
  59. Only using one glass per day for water/milk/juice, one mug for coffee/tea and one wine glass
  60. Spending part of each day educating myself about environmental issues
  61. Using stainless steel rather than non-stick frying pan (takes less time to heat up)
  62. Not buying any more Q-tips
  63. Switching to natural deodorant
  64. Recycling my used wine corks through the Bag-a-Cork program
  65. Giving up gum (especially the over-packaged kind)
  66. Not buying any more makeup remover pads
  67. Turning my oven off for good
  68. Using a natural bronzer
  69. Only buying loose-leaf tea in refillable packets
  70. Switching to natural, organic shampoo
  71. Only filling my kettle with the exact amount of water needed
  72. Shutting down my computer every day at work instead of just logging off
  73. Not using the air-conditioning in my car
  74. Following the “If it’s yellow, let it mellow…” rule
  75. Using matches instead of lighters
  76. Carbon-offsetting all of my air travel
  77. Using only the herbs and spices I can grow at home
  78. Unplugging my whole fridge
  79. Weekly lobbying, letter-writing and petitioning on behalf of various environmental campaigns
  80. Requesting that my in-flight meals be vegetarian
  81. Not buying books from Amazon or Chapters/Indigo; only local, independent bookstores and only when necessary
  82. Purchasing all my music in mp3 format rather than CDs
  83. Getting allergy shots instead of buying packs of antihistamine pills, eye drops and nasal sprays
  84. Making sure there’s always at least one ‘green’ element in the gifts I give
  85. Switching to an all-natural acne ointment
  86. No more ordering food by delivery
  87. No more take-out, unless I bring my own containers
  88. Always asking for no receipt, unless I really need one
  89. Refilling all possible bottles (toilettries and household cleaning products); bringing my own plastic food containers to the bulk bins at the grocery store
  90. Switching to eco-friendly dry cleaners
  91. Using a PVC-free shower curtain liner
  92. Turning off my air-conditioning during the summer
  93. Recycling anything and everything that can be recycled — no excuses
  94. Switching to natural, minimally packaged eyeshadow
  95. Switching to a natural bar soap and investing in a recyclable travelling case for it
  96. Sleeping naked
  97. Using a natural, mineral-based suntan lotion
  98. Not having any more baths
  99. Letting my hair air dry
  100. Getting rid of face wash and makeup remover, using my bar soap instead
  101. Ordering smaller, more eco-friendly business cards
  102. Not using nail polish (or nail polish remover)
  103. Only watering my plants with greywater
  104. Only going to eco-friendly spas
  105. Picking weeds (in mom’s garden) by hand rather than with pesticide
  106. Using gauze instead of band-aids for minor cuts
  107. Switching to natural cat food
  108. Limiting my use of elevators
  109. Using cloths instead of paper towels for household cleaning
  110. Switching to natural hair dyes
  111. Raising environmental awareness through stickers, blogs and other media
  112. Using GoodSearch instead of Google
  113. No plastic barf bags or packages of Gravol when hungover
  114. Natural healing of sunburns (no more after-sun lotions)
  115. Only renting cars from companies that offer hybrids
  116. Cancelling my subscription to a secondary newspaper
  117. Selling the car!
  118. Handwashing all my dishes
  119. Buying tokens for public transit rather than tickets
  120. Only buying cereal in bulk
  121. Using plastic-free, eco-friendly photo albums
  122. Limiting my ironing time/heat
  123. Not using my hair-straightening iron anymore
  124. Composting
  125. Keeping the light in the bathroom off each morning while showering and brushing my teeth
  126. Using the same fork or spoon I’ve stirred with to eat
  127. Not using any more straws
  128. Cutting my hair and keeping it short (so I need less product)
  129. Buying an all-natural kitchen/bathroom cleaner
  130. Using biodegradable pens
  131. Developing my photos in bigger batches/fewer deliveries
  132. No more Swiffer products
  133. No more tabloids or trashy magazines
  134. Only staying at eco-friendly hotels
  135. Only buying sustainable and/or local clothing
  136. Not drinking anymore canned beverages
  137. Not drinking anymore bottled beverages
  138. Purchasing only fair-trade and if possible local flowers
  139. Giving regularly to a green cause
  140. Only drinking organic hard liquor
  141. Only eating free-range eggs from accountable farms
  142. Restricting myself to organic dairy
  143. No more recreational driving/boating/etc
  144. No more gyms, all exercise must be outdoors
  145. Eating food straight from the pot or pan
  146. Fixing something if it’s broken rather than getting a new one
  147. Bringing my own headphones for the plane
  148. Using corn-based BioBags for the garbage bins
  149. Volunteering regularly with a green organization
  150. Investing in eco-friendly cat litter tray liners
  151. Switching to a natural toilet bowl cleaner
  152. No more smoking whatsoever
  153. Buying organic cotton or bamboo bedsheets
  154. Enforcing the shoes-off-at-the-door policy
  155. Using hand-held fans instead of electric ones
  156. Not buying any leather
  157. Making sure my house sitter agrees to the green rules
  158. Only buying eco-friendly jewellery
  159. Washing all my clothes in cold water
  160. Feeding my cat natural treats
  161. Showering in lukewarm, rather than hot, water
  162. No more gift cards unless they’re homemade from scrap paper
  163. Printing on both sides of the page
  164. Not using anymore Wite-Out
  165. Buying all my spices in bulk
  166. Putting a bottle of water in the toilet tank to reduce the amount used per flush
  167. Only buying eco-friendly shoes
  168. Using a hand-held bicycle pump rather than CO2 cylinders
  169. Using biodegradable soy-based peanuts or popcorn when sending packages in the mail
  170. Not wearing a gown at the doctor’s office
  171. Buying and donating clothes to Goodwill and other thrift stores
  172. Not using staples
  173. Using wind-up or solar-powered flashlights
  174. Getting indoor plants
  175. Only using natural perfume
  176. Only getting hand massages rather than using massage chairs or gadgets
  177. Using services like Brown Paper Ticket for shows and concerts
  178. Declining press kits at film screenings to save paper
  179. Eating only organic tubers (squash, eggplant, etc.)
  180. Greening my dating through or Green Drinks
  181. Not using anymore paper napkins
  182. Preserving jams and canning fruits
  183. Only buying used sports equipment
  184. Using all-natural, locally produced face cream
  185. Using revolving doors wherever possible
  186. Grooming my cat more often to prevent hairballs (and thus use less paper towel and water to clean them up)
  187. Buying alcohol in bulk (ie. kegs, 2L bottles of wine, etc)
  188. Using coconut oil instead of K-Y jelly
  189. Wearing items of clothing twice or more, as long as they’re not dirty or smelly
  190. Taking smaller notes and using both sides of the page during interviews
  191. Not using toilet paper for peeing
  192. Natural bug extermination, ie. drowning fruit flies in wine or syrup
  193. Switching to a natural mouthwash
  194. No more using the Internet after dinner (unless it’s to update this blog)
  195. Not buying anymore DVDs
  196. Decreasing the margins on my Word documents
  197. Not going back on the birth control pill
  198. Signing up with a CSA for weekly delivery of local, organic produce
  199. Only purchasing ceramics from potters who recycle their clay
  200. Reusing envelopes
  201. Using towels a minimum of five times before washing them
  202. Eating only ethically raised and caught fish
  203. Cutting the end off the toothpaste tube when it’s almost done to scrape the last little bit out
  204. Hanging the Do Not Disturb sign on hotel room doors so housekeeping doesn’t need to vacuum, change linens, replace toilettries, etc.
  205. Using incense or candles instead of artificial room fresheners
  206. Using chalkboards instead of whiteboards or flip charts
  207. Watering my outdoor plants at night instead of during the day
  208. Shaving in the sink instead of in the shower
  209. Cooking at a gentle boil instead of a rolling boil
  210. Using only sustainably made cutting boards
  211. Using water or homemade saline solution instead of synthetic eye drops
  212. Using Lunapads rather than disposable pads
  213. Getting my ice cream in a cone instead of a disposable cup
  214. Sticking to designated paths while hiking
  215. Working from home at least two days a week
  216. Towelling off in the shower before stepping onto the bathmat
  217. Smiling at one person I don’t know every day
  218. Using parchment paper or cheesecloth instead of cling wrap
  219. Only buying wooden hangers, preferably used
  220. Swimming in natural bodies of water, not public pools
  221. Pulling the shower curtain open when finished so it dries properly and requires less cleaning
  222. Turning down the temperature on my water heater
  223. Using cash instead of credit or debit to minimize receipts
  224. Getting cooking smells off my fingers with used green tea leaves rather than soap
  225. Voting for the Green Party
  226. Making sure I don’t pour grease down the drain
  227. Borrowing and sharing
  228. Soaking my dishes overnight so less water is needed to clean the tough stuff off
  229. Navy showers
  230. Letting my clothes air-dry on a rack, not in the dryer
  231. Not taking anymore supplements, vitamins, detox shakes, etc.
  232. Using scouring pads made from recycled plastic
  233. Only buying organic cotton underwear
  234. Making sure to use every last bit of shampoo/ketchup/etc in the bottle, using the “hit and swish” technique with some water
  235. Consuming every part of the pumpkin I carve for Halloween
  236. Going by the 10-second rule whenever I drop food on the floor
  237. Sharing my living space with a roommate whenever possible
  238. Using the Diva Cup instead of tampons
  239. Bringing my own reusable bib to the dentist’s
  240. Setting my desktop wallpaper to black, which uses less energy
  241. Eating my apple cores (and pear cores, etc) to waste less food
  242. Only buying and playing eco-friendly games
  243. Chopping food up extra small before putting it in the food processor
  244. Not using anymore hand sanitizer
  245. Making a Halloween costume/decorations from clothes I already have
  246. Not using Post-It notes; scrap paper instead
  247. Emptying lint traps, cleaning filters on a regular basis
  248. No more Dustbuster
  249. Natural aloe-coated condoms instead of Trojan or Durex
  250. Not using any toothpicks
  251. Not buying anymore cheap umbrellas; using a sturdy big one and sharing it whenever possible
  252. Getting others to do green stuff that I can’t
  253. Drinking green tea instead of prescription drugs when having a nervous breakdown
  254. Enforced quiet time (no radio, stereo or other music)
  255. Using old socks and T-shirts for dish rags
  256. Switching to a natural carpet cleaner
  257. Not using the fan in my bathroom
  258. Properly disposing of electrical waste like old computers and cell phones
  259. Backing up my work with a USB stick rather than CDs
  260. Not bothering with any rubber charity wristbands or ribbon campaigns
  261. Reusing old floppy discs as coasters
  262. Driving the speed limit when I rent a Zipcar
  263. Drinking straight from the bottle
  264. Not using fruit and veggie wash or rinsing things for more than a second
  265. Knitting scarves instead of buying them
  266. Holding my hair up with a pen, chopstick or rubber band from my newspaper instead of buying more elastic bands or other hair accessories
  267. Polishing silverware with baking soda
  268. Cancelling magazine subscriptions, donating extras to the doctor’s office
  269. Buying used furniture and recovering it rather than getting new stuff
  270. Learning to sew and mend my own clothes
  271. Reusing a fake Christmas tree from last year, not buying ornaments
  272. Asking that others only buy me eco-friendly gifts
  273. Keeping my addresses on my computer rather than buying a paper notebook
  274. Using an all-natural shoe polish, like coconut oil
  275. Making my own soup broth instead of buying it
  276. Not using anymore tape
  277. Not shaving my legs anymore
  278. Not consuming anything that contains or is manufactured with genetically modified corn (ie. high-fructose corn syrup, corn starch, ethanol, corn-fed beef, etc)
  279. Not using soap to wash my dishes unless there’s oil residue
  280. Only buying my beans dry, in bulk
  281. Having a regular “inside day”, staying at home and not buying anything
  282. Adding an eco-friendly tip to my email signature
  283. Only drinking fair-trade tea
  284. Not buying any individually wrapped food
  285. No more downhill skiing (unless I carpool there, then haul my own ass up the hill)
  286. Only taking cabs fueled by natural gas
  287. Sticking to organic, raw honey
  288. Using couriers that use bikes, walking or public transit instead of cars and trucks
  289. Letting my dishes dry in the dishwasher rack with my houseplants beneath to collect the excess water dripping off
  290. Hand-whipping my whipped cream instead of using an electric blender
  291. Only buying organic, unbleached cotton towels
  292. Using up my change at the cash register
  293. Using a broom and dustpan instead of a vacuum
  294. Packing carry-on rather than check-in luggage
  295. No more paper towels
  296. Using scrap paper as bookmarks instead of buying new ones
  297. Using manual tools rather than electric or battery-powered ones
  298. Using natural lipstick
  299. Organizing my stuff so I don’t lose things (and therefore don’t need to repurchase them)
  300. Going to the bathroom before I go on the plane
  301. Only using a crank-up and/or solar-powered radio
  302. No more highlighters
  303. Making my own cosmetics and beauty products
  304. Using old books and shoe boxes as storage containers
  305. Only purchasing used kitchenware and appliances
  306. Restricting myself to cold water only for washing hands, face and dishes
  307. Using biodegradable chain lube for my bike
  308. Not buying anymore plastic whatsoever
  309. Choosing to use the subway transfers printed on recycled paper rather than the ones that come on laminated coloured paper
  310. Using a soap dish made from reclaimed chopsticks
  311. Collecting the elastic bands from my newspaper each morning and returning them to the delivery boy/girl
  312. Opting for a green-minded real estate company when buying/selling my house
  313. Only eating at restaurants that serve local and/or organic food, and offer eco-friendly take-out options
  314. Using Coccoina, an all-natural glue
  315. Getting used boxes for moving day
  316. Using organic cotton produce bags and bulk-bin sacks
  317. Framing my art with reclaimed barn board and recycled glass
  318. Buying 100% recycled CD sleeves instead of jewel cases
  319. Going to an eco-conscious bike repair shop
  320. Shopping at green malls
  321. Only using the small burners on my stove
  322. Sending out electronic invites rather than paper ones
  323. Making fenders for my bike from old water bottles
  324. Having a green moving party — using cargo bikes, trolleys. man power and other carbon-free alternatives to vans and trucks
  325. Eating all my skins (potato, carrot, cucumber, etc)
  326. Switching to an eco-conscious accountant for tax season
  327. Only buying handmade, bamboo or organic cotton blankets
  328. Commenting on other people’s decisions that aren’t very green, educating them about why it’s important to consider alternatives
  329. Learning shorthand, so I take smaller notes and thus save paper
  330. Squeegee my shower tiles each day to prevent mildew and mould
  331. Enrolling in a butchering class to confront my meat-eating ways
  332. Only consuming organic maple syrup
  333. Buying a used mattress and boxspring
  334. Screening my future tenants to ensure green practices throughout the household
  335. Signing up with Bullfrog Power, which puts wind and other green forms of power back onto the main energy grid
  336. Using a natural pumice stone to remove pilly fluff from sweaters instead of sending them to the drycleaners
  337. Planning out my routes, double-checking maps and directions to avoid getting lost on road trips (and thus preventing excess CO2 being emitted by the car)
  338. Shovelling snow and using sand instead of corrosive salt or antifreeze
  339. Installing a dual-flush toilet
  340. Buying low-VOC paints
  341. Setting up a rain barrel to collect water for plants, etc.
  342. Not wearing anymore makeup
  343. Using real, leftover wood for fires instead of artificial firelogs
  344. Not running lots of applications on my computer at once
  345. Restricting my diet to food within Ontario
  346. Using rechargeable batteries
  347. Closing my curtains at night to insulate the house
  348. Signing up for the local PeakSaver program to minimize pressure on the energy grid during peak hours
  349. Only buying recycled glass
  350. Taking the most direct flight instead of cheaper ones with stopovers
  351. Using natural, homemade furniture polish
  352. Purifying my indoor air without using a plug-in air purifier
  353. Tucking my pants into boots/socks to prevent them getting dirty
  354. Buying recycled wallpaper and homemade glue, or using stencils
  355. Using a service like Green Map when touring a city
  356. Going skinny dipping
  357. Helping push stuck cars out of the snow
  358. Covering holes in the wall with pictures instead of buying plaster
  359. Writing an eco-friendly funeral into my will
  360. Making my own stamps, or using lickable ones instead of stickers
  361. Writing poetry in haiku form only
  362. Recycling my old running shoes
  363. Deleting all spam and stale emails from my Gmail inbox
  364. Only buying fair-trade vanilla products
  365. Fixing other people’s green mistakes
  366. Sleeping more

144 Responses to Green Listed

  1. […] Green as a Thistle – a Canadian blogger attempts to make one green change every day […]

    • franz says:

      meh, I don’t even have a car and that doesn’t even begin to offset the 30,000 cubic metres/shift of Nat Gas I burn at work. Even staying off planes and wiping my buttant with birch-bark hasn’t budged my stats much. I’ve found a beer/garbonzo diet gives me gas and am trying to rig up a method of recovering it for home cooking more garbonzo lentil concoctions. I will invent perpetual self fueling. Perhaps I can run a still and get free booze too!
      I too am glad I found this handy lits.

  2. Trish says:

    If you’re a woman, or know one for that matter a waste reducing choice would be a “diva cup” or similar product.

  3. greenchick says:

    2 thumbs up for the diva cup

    • Nancy says:

      I second that! Switched to the Diva Cup about 3 years ago and will never go back to tampons, and I only have to use about 2 Natracare pads per cycle. It’s great 🙂

      • treestumpgardener says:

        I know how superficial this sounds but please bear with me. I had this in my hand to purchase this past weekend (before I came across this site) and I put it back because I couldn’t imagine washing it out in public (ahem…work). Anyone have any encouraging remarks or suggestions that will help me rise above my vain stupidity? I’ve already thought about going back to get it just for overnights.

      • hipster says:

        The beauty of the diva cup is you can wear it for 12 hours. I usually change it during my nightly shower, then again first thing in the morning. I’ve not had to wash it out in public ever! 🙂

  4. greenchick says:

    what natural bronzer do you use

  5. Personally, I wondered how this all came about. I am in the air conditioning industry and maybe just dont get it. I enjoyed visiting though!! Have a great weekend!

  6. Quah Yow Chun (Ji Yan) says:

    take vegetarian…at least once a week.

  7. Lacey says:

    Here’s an additional 2 thumbs up for the Diva Cup! I highly suggest it, and for more than green living reasons too.

  8. Cathie Ryan says:

    There’s lots that you can do to reduce the impact that your clothing has on the environment. They are:

    1. Buy clothing made from organic material.
    2. Buy “gently used” clothing at thrift and vintage shops.
    3. Remake clothing into something that you’ll wear or use.
    4. Repair clothing.
    5. Share or rent clothing that is not used too often (ie wedding dresses, formal wear, costumes).
    6. Donate any usable clothing to Goodwill or Salvation army.
    7. Recycle worn clothing into rags or find a place that will take them.

  9. Beth Terry says:

    I love this list. I’m going to bookmark it and keep checking back for ideas.

    Question: Where did you find plastic-free, eco-friendly photo albums?

  10. dor says: is a google maps mashup and directory that lets you locate organic food outlets in Ontario and get directions to the outlet.

  11. Jen says:

    This is great! I’ve randomly come across you from various other green sites, and I like your style!

    I’m all for convincing people that ‘going green’ makes simple makes sense, but most of all is HEALTHY – for you, your home and our environment!

    Keep up the good work! I’ll be checking back lots for inspiration!

    PS, good luck selling your car (and go buy a sweet bike with the $ you make!)

  12. Sarah Pretty says:

    Vanessa, did I miss a beat? Did you give up your fridge? You are so brave.

  13. martha1955 says:

    I’ve been struggling to reduce my refrigeration and would like to know more about how you managed this. Do you cook? What do you eat at home? I cook almost all of my food and pick up vegetables weekly from my CSA and haven’t been able to reduce as much as I’d like… though I have managed to give up the freezer part by putting the fridge on a timer and using the freezer section as a small fridge. (For more see ). I’d really like to read about your solution.

    Thanks and I enjoy your blog.


  14. Craig says:

    Congratulations Vanessa! I think what you’re doing is great and I’m going to keep checking back to see what other great ideas you’ve come up with. I too continue to find little things I can change each day to live a “greener” life, only haven’t been nearly as consistent as you have.

  15. […] makes for a great environmental “tip list”. You can check out the complete list right HERE. There are some really great ideas there to help you make small changes that will help the […]

  16. I know you just dedicated yourself to limiting your internet usage, but would it be possible for you to add links to relevant posts for each of these changes you have made?

    As a first time visitor, I would love to read about some of your changes, but I’ll have to dig through your archives to find them…

  17. Wife Soup says:

    Hey Vanessa, You are so inspiring! I love what you are doing, in fact, I just started my own green cleaning, on a much smaller scale, with my family. Thanks so much for the list, it will be very helpful for me. I will be posting about my experience on my blog please come check it out.

    […] I will guiltlessly plunder ideas from her list and am indebted to her for helping pave the way for me. […]

  18. /pd says:

    you need to link each one of these items to you post.. can’t wait to see the whole 365 list !!

  19. […] Green Listed Here’s a running tally of all the green changes I’ve made so far (tags: environment sustainable home recycling energy organic) […]

  20. […] in the appropriate recycling bin. Bravo, ClosetFriends. Something I can learn from you. (insert suggestion for Vanessa […]

  21. FancyMomma says:

    I checked out It sounds great..but only is available in the US. Have you found anything similar here?

  22. Well done. It is inspirational to see your attention to green detail. Hopefully we can all be as eco-minded in the near future.

  23. Chris says:

    Hello Vanessa,

    Changing by life style to an earthly;y friendly mind set has been a bit more expensive and reaching the products can be more “out of the way”. I am not perfect but I have certainly altered my negative habits.

    I now don’t use paper towels AT ALL. Only rags (derived from old cloths), I use all natural laundry detergent (not just biodegradable variety), and I have already started making tote bags (recycled from old clothes) to present x-mas presents in this season. I have also started using a all natural cleaning service called GoingSolo here in Toronto. So I know there’s many more things I can do and I have become somewhat of a fanatic, but at lease I am over the whole “how will my changes make a different” stage.

    Good luck and keep helping!

  24. blah says:

    My mom grew up on a farm in northern Michigan. After she got married, they built a house on the farm and continued to work there. She would pick fruit from the farm and make her own wine and her own Kahlua. I was not around at the time, but appatently it was a HUGE hit. People still talk about it 30 years after she stopped making it! Maybe it’s worth a try for you to do something similar.

  25. dave says:

    Listed Green , which is a Green MLS project for energy efficient, sustainable homes and developments, has just passed the “hundred listing” milestone.

    Consider spreading the word to help change the way we all live.

    Listed Green

  26. John Tyler says:

    Vanessa, you’re brilliant, innovative, pretty and persevering (not necessarily in that order). I applaud your efforts and ingenuity. Some of your items are food for therapy, to be sure. If you get in a jam, let me know, I can help. One good thing we got out of all this ravaging of our planet; the yucky aliens don’t want it any more. Keep up the green, ye bilaterally symmetrical upright bipeds!

  27. […] lifestyle challenge that I have just created for myself. The inspiration: a blog called “Green as a Thistle.” The starting date: November 16th, 2007. (Yes, this will include the gift-shopping […]

  28. Michelle Doyle says:

    Dear sir or madam,
    My name is Michelle Doyle. I am looking for donations of products or samples to go in care packages for the homeless and needy. Any samples you could give would be very much appreciated. Nothing that we receive will be sold. All items will go to the St.Louis Area. If you would like more information about us or where your generous donations will go please go to

    God Bless and Thank You,
    Michelle Doyle
    Michelle Doyle
    27 Fawn Circle
    St.clair, MO 63077

  29. eco ariella says:

    AMAZING BLOG. I really adore it. I just started an “eco club” at my school as an attempt to make my school “greener” and i think it will really work. I just don’t understand the “use goodsearch instead of google” idea. can someone please explain?
    Thanks, Keep up the good work & RECYLCE:)

  30. insightink says:

    Thank you for visiting and commenting on One Pebble. Your project has been really inspiring to me, and I’m glad I am imitating it. I have to admit I don’t have as much fortitude as you do for some of the tougher changes, but I’m doing little steps one by one and trying to make them “quirky” and different. If you visit my blog later you can see some of them… I plan to update the list regularly.

  31. Jenny says:

    I’m all for “reducing your carbon footprint” and all, but isn’t some of this taking it a little too far? Yes we can all make changes in our lives to benefit the environment; recycling, composting, carpooling, walking, limiting water, heat, electricity. But I wonder, will you be able to sustain a life with all these excessive changes? How is it not costing you a fortune? I try to eat organic, buy natural products and they are all signifcantly more expensive…

    • ecogrrl says:

      i disagree with anything she’s done as ‘excessive’. she is actually saving MONEY by doing these things -she’s not buying a bunch of new crap all the time, she’s saving energy and therefore $ on utility bills, and buying recyclable items that are also better quality so there is less replacement. organic veggies are only expensive if you shop at whole foods. buy them in bulk at farmers market and you’ll not only get a discount, but you’re also able to can & preserve them. i have a garden so i don’t have a farmers market budget anymore as i buy seeds for a few cents and it turns into groceries. highly suggest finding a more positive way to respond to what she’s done rather than call her ‘excessive’ – ask for constructive feedback so you can learn rather than making assumptions and judgments. she is showing LOVE for the planet and that is the most beautiful thing, there’s never such thing as too much love.

  32. lisa says:

    For more info on household greywater check out it’s got TONS of info!

  33. Jennifer says:

    what and incredible and inspiring list. I commend you for taking this on!

    Not only does it inspire me to take on more healthy changes in my life, but it also helps me to reflect on what I’ve already accomplished.

    To help you with #113- there are wristbands for motion sickness, or general nausea. They work on pressure points in your wrist. I have used them when I’ve travelled and when I was pregnant.

    Check out greenforlife, they offer a variety of natural cleansers, but one product I bought from them were magnets for washing my laundry. I have to admit, it took me a year to actually believe that they work, but now that’s what I use to wash my clothes. You do have to treat the stains more, so you need a good natural stain remover (Ecover has a good one), but you save so much on laundry detergent, and pollute the water less!

    I’d love to hear more about the Diva cup.. I’ve wondered about that too.

    I look forward to checking back to see more inspiration in the coming weeks!

    Good luck!

  34. Kristin says:

    I love what you are doing and I am starting to make small changes of my own, anyway I don’t know if you need any more ideas but if you use an alarm clock in the morning you could consider using a wind up style, just a thought.

    Keep up the good work.

  35. amber says:

    The diva cup rocks, women everywhere, you will be thanking yourself for switching.

  36. Flavia says:

    So what’s going to happen on day #366?

  37. blah says:

    I’m just checking out the new amazon “kindle”. It looks awesome! You could make your next resolution to only purchase books via a kindle to cut down on paper. It looks really cool, but it’s currently priced at $400.

  38. […] on February 28th, 2007. Every single day after that would be different. Here are some of the little things Vanessa […]

  39. Mieka says:

    take a sponge bath 4 times a week instead of a shower..install an outdoor sink with greywater going to your garden..grow lettuce indoors in the eco disks for your laundry and make your own laundry detergent..grow as much food as you can in your garden..compost your doggie’s doo doo for your flowers..train your memory instead of writing everything down..use a landline not a cell phone..go camping instead of staying at a hotel, and then haul your own water to the campsite..use natural cedar in your backyard rather than treated wood..and my favorite, buy green stocks!

  40. […] looked over her list of things she did and many of those we do already.  Wonder how I can pump it up a […]

  41. TIFFANY says:


  42. […] lighter on the planet. If you need some ideas or motivation, check out Green as a Thistles list of 364 green things. And, don’t worry if your neighbor is more or less green than you, but do be willing to […]

  43. […] list of eco-websites that are full of ideas, info, and inspiration. One that I particularly like is Green as a Thistle, which is one woman’s quest to make one green change to her life, every day. While most of us […]

  44. Air dry your clothes an easier and more efficient way, use the Tibbe-Line. It is multi-functional in that it not only can be used to air dry clothes on an already existing clothesline but can also be made into a PORTABLE CLOTHESLINE that can be used at home or taken with you, use it just about any where (camping, traveling, vacationing, etc.) HANGERS ARE USED INSTEAD OF CLOTHESPINS AND YOU CAN HANG 21 ARTICLES OF CLOTHING IN THE SPACE OF 39″. See website at (WWW.TIBBELINE.COM). To make a portable clothesline simply (1) attach a length of rope, twine, cord or bungee from point A to point B. (2) then slip the Tibbe-Lines on the rope or bungee (3) hang clothes on hangers and (4) slip hanger on Tibbe-Line. You can use a clothes dryer but it is not necessary.

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  51. Lisa says:

    Wonderful list!!! I need to do this sometime.

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  55. Kamil says:

    I like this idea!!
    Greetings from Poland

  56. Lenea says:

    Your site is amazing and I couldn’t walk away for quite some time

    I’m am just starting out in my steps to be more eco-friendly

    plus I am just starting to build my own green site on wordpress(focusing on students)

    Your site gives me hope and a little of that fire i lost

    Thanks a Million

    from fresno california

  57. Just found your blog! What a great list! My husband and I are both doing a lot of things on that list, but far from all.

    I was curious, though… have you tried toothpowder — like Ipsab or Ecodent or something homemade? I’ve enjoyed both Ecodent and Ipsab (though my husband has stuck with Crest). I may try making my own someday to avoid the extra packaging, but the stuff seems to last forever, at least.

  58. leaf says:

    Chanced upon this whilst searching for materials for my daughter’s ‘flash card’ exercises…. for parents out there who are using flash cards to train their children, why don’t you consider using good-ole powerpoint? you can cut down on the paper-waste, considering that we need strong, thick cardboard paper to make all those flashcards. One more point about the diva cup, the UK has a similar product, called the Mooncup…. where I stay in Singapore, virtually no one has heard about such things… but proud to say, I’ve been a user since 2007!

  59. green says:

    367. Being a fag

  60. Allison says:

    with respect to –

    Switching to corn-based, biodegradable cat litter

    Are you sure this is environmentally friendly? Supporting the corn industry drives out local farmers, encourages corn farmers to sell more corn, to feed corn to cows, etc etc etc. I really don’t think buying anything corn-based (besides fresh, local corn you eat) is good for the environment. The corn industry is out of control and is changing the habitat for food development in the states.

  61. […] can read the list here of her lifestyle changes. I was interested to read that many of the things trialed are common […]

  62. Naina says:

    I came accross your website while doing a search on brand names that make unbleached 100% recycled paper towels (i already use cascade toilet paper).
    My family is slowly but surely moving towards a more green living. Your list is very comprehensive and I will keep referring to it for adding more ‘things to do’.

    I am interested in knowing the brand that you use for all-natural acne ointment.

    thank you

  63. […] and heartaches along the way.  There’s a blog posting for each of her tweaks and also a handy list of all 366 eco feats. […]

  64. […] Ideas how you could be more green Green Listed Green as a Thistle […]

  65. […] of the changes that she made each month are talked about in the book. Looking at Vanessa’s full list of eco-changes, I’m tempted to go through and note which ones I already do & ones I’m thinking […]

  66. Angelica says:

    I was wondering, why did you give up vitamins? I read that in your book but it wasn’t explained…

  67. Christine says:

    Vanessa, I am so impressed with your ideas, your book, and your website. Greetings from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Thanks for sharing.

  68. Lin says:

    I just finished reading your book and I find myself consciously thinking about the impact that all my actions make on the world. I haven’t made a lot of changes yet, but I have made a few and there is more to come! Also, I know most people have a ton of plastic bags laying around their house and I have resolved to turn mine into tote bags thanks to a great idea from a customer of mine 🙂 If you google Plastic Bag Crochet Totes, there are lots of variations and instructions. Anyways, I wanted to give a green idea and tell you how fantastic I thought your book was and how brave I think you are for making those huge changes (or small changes that equal BIG change!!) and for putting yourself out there. I hope that one day I am as brave as that. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  69. Danny Scollan says:

    I think washing dishes by hand uses more water than a dishwasher does. Obviously there’s electricity involved in using a dishwasher. Which is more efficient washing by hand or using the heaven sent dishwasher???

    Could it just be a wash??? Sorry, I had to.

    • Kalina says:

      Well I think dishwasher is better, because it’s made to use less water and also when you wash by hand you use hot water so you use electricity 🙂

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  71. Kerri says:

    I just finished reading your book (read it in two days and was the ONLY book I’ve finished in months) and feel inspired to try to make one change a day. Right now I’m in brainstorm mode and have taken some things from your list while I try to come up with others on my own. I wasn’t planning to begin for a few weeks, but tried the shower-in-the-dark thing. I realized that since I can hardly see anything without my glasses/contacts, if I’m showering during daylight, there’s no reason for an extra light in the shower anyway…enough to make out large shapes is more than enough.

  72. James says:

    Just watched your interview. I’m one of those who bought your book at the airport, in MTL! I did the same with the 100 Mile diet (I’m noticing a pattern here). I haven’t finished it yet (have another plane ride next week, should take care of that), but I must say I love it so far and appreciate the added sarcasm and wit in it. I’m floored at some of the changes you’ve made and will look to go through the list for ideas for my own life. I must say you’ve stirred quite the mid-life crisis about cheese. I think I owe you a thank you, but not quite sure yet. In any case, kudos on this massive undertaking, and I do hope you can maintain this blog and the change you’ve generated.

    James in Calgary

  73. Rory says:

    Hi! I’m Rory, I’m 11 and in 6th Grade.
    I’m in Advanced (Gifted, enrichment, call it whatever you want) Language Arts and we were doing our monthly Book Reports. My teacher said we had to do a non-fiction book, and sorry, but let me be honest, I hate non-fiction. I barely ever read non-fiction. After raiding my bookshelf (And getting over the fact The Little House in the Big Woods series was fiction. It was my last hope!) I found out I had NO NON FICTION BOOKS IN MY POSSESION. So, I went to my local library and my Dad lately has been saying I can’t check out of the kids section anymore. (Really. I read Pride and Prejudice and suddenly I can’t read out of the Junior High section anymore. Sheesh.) So I went into the uncharted area: The adult section. It was really quiet. One look at the biography section (It covered 3 whole walls!!!) I went over to the librarian. “Um, Hi. Can you suggest any non fiction books for me? I read at about an 8th grade (I don’t really know my lexile???) level.” And she was off, looking up and reading off of her computer. Of course, after 5 minutes of looking around aimlessly, I got bored. I looked around the shelves behind me and realized it was non fiction. It did not look good. Why Our Nation Is Fat and Losing Weight in 40 Days. Not very good for me. And then I saw your book. It looked funny and I read the back and it looked cool. I checked it out. I love it so far. But I’m only on page 97. It’s reallyreallyreallyreally good. Wow, I typed a lot for a short story. I’m gonna submit this now. Um, bye.
    PS I’m doing this book for the Book Report. Visual Aid: Compost Bin. I think I can borrow worms from a friend, but where did you get your worms? Can you get them at Petco, bait shop, online, Wall-Mart? (No, seriously, Wall-Mart sells everything.)

  74. Bowerman says:

    Great idea thank you so much to this post

  75. Elisha says:

    I love this blog and can’t wait for my copy to come in so I can review it! I found your blog while researching No Impact man.

    Take Care,

  76. […] there are many places you can check out for 365 days of greening your life: Green as a Thistle; The Green Life; 365 Days 365 Ways […]

  77. Caro says:

    Can you elaborate on “Towelling off in the shower before stepping onto the bathmat”…I’m not sure that I get it 🙂

  78. Samantha says:

    I finished reading your book last night. I was searching around my local library to find books about eco-beauty and came across your novel. I decided to pick it up and give it a read and I loved the content. What a great idea! I love the Canadian content and hope to see more Canadians taking up the Green Challenge!

  79. Michelle says:

    What a great list! I thought I was green, until I read some of your ideas which we haven’t considered yet. I’ll need to get your book to find out more details on going without a fridge. I’m happy to see that you are from Ontario and look forward to learning more from you. Take care.

  80. Theresa says:

    I just loved your book! I’ve become obsessed with becoming as green as possible (with 3 children), and have been reading tons of boring but necessary materials. Your book looked fun, and I had a blast reading it. You have inspired me to try one thing new each week, although I already do about 60% of what’s on your list. I will go through your list and come up with even more that I can do. First up is composting and I will be sure to keep my bin outside all season:) Keep up the good work and the sense of humor!

  81. Tai says:

    Hi all,
    today is the first day I visited after I got it from the book “Hot, Flat and Crouded – Thomas Friedman”. People please kindly welcome me and give me helps 🙂
    I was surprised and attracted by this page. May I add some items to the green listed?
    I assure i am green within some items above. I will be back soon.

    • Welcome. Thistle had/has many great ideas. One of her best was to post all of her activity live. It’s truly unfortunate that she has gone off-air. We need more people like her. I am always looking for additional green ideas for my website,, so please feel free to submit them to me and you may see them get added to “The Checklist”. Vanessa’s book is entertaining to read and well written, you may wish to go and get that, too.

  82. […] some help coming up with ideas?  Visit Green As a Thistle for more […]

  83. Kay says:

    Some of these things are a bit extreme. No oven or microwave? No freezer? How do you function?!

  84. Alicia says:

    I think I might take some of these!

  85. […] 365 coisas que posso fazer para diminuir a minha pegada ecológica – Green as a Thistle- Pensar Eco é lógico […]

  86. A.K. says:

    I’m in the midst of reading your book (inspiring and really hilarious, by the way). Your mention of lunapads got me wondering – have you tried using the Diva Cup? It’s amazing once you get the hang of it and so much better then reusable pads!

    Over and out,

    P.S. how do you feel about me having taken your book out from the library? It’s more environmentally sound but do authors see reap any financial benefits from this??

  87. The Environmental Goddess says:

    I hope you don’t mind, I made a similar page on my blog with some of the things I have done so far!

  88. Carbon lover says:

    “Purifying my indoor air without using a plug-in air purifier”

    aka: fart less.

  89. Richard says:

    Wow. This list shows everything wrong with the modern environmentalist movement.

    Do you realise how irrelevant so many of these are? (91, 223) Do you realise some of these choices are more damaging to the environment than the conventional alternative? (34, 64, 345) How misleading some are? (76)

    Do you realise how self-indulgent many of the rest make you sound, that they are even relevant to you? (27, 45, 113) How miserable some of the rest make you sound? For Christ’s sake anyone vaguely human smiles at strangers every day.

    Most of the rest either make you seem utterly self-righteous and self-satisfied (111, 282, 365) or are so obvious I am not sure how anyone green would even think to mention them (168 – I didn’t even know you could do otherwise).

    Nothing personal, it really isn’t. I see you want to try to live by your modern middle-class values, but I genuinely want you to look a this list with a new set of eyes. Your life could be more comfortable with less environmental impact.

    If this list is anything to go by then my life has far less environmental impact than yours had before implementing it even on your terms, and I am a very well-informed sceptic of most common environmentalist positions. This list shows some of the reasons I am sceptical.

    As for 253 – you have my utmost sympathy.

    My wife has had serious problems in that direction. Green tea was helpful (especially decaff) as was magnesium (although too much leaches calcium, so take some of that too). Medication was not – it only hid the problem, gave terrible withdrawal symptoms and had side effects she is still getting over more than a year after quitting. But the thing that cured her, something I was sceptical of but was convinced when I looked further into it, was TFT, Thought Field Therapy. If you still suffer through stress, anxiety, fear or any similar emotional issues then do try to find a practitioner.

  90. Hannah says:

    Hei! I’m actually German and therefore just type my text in Google translator on (so it could be the grammar not entirely true, but I hope not that would be pretty embarrassing Namely, and you would not understand what I really meant)
    So I’m currently reading your book and I think it’s wonderful! (I’m only 15 years but even a small eco – Freak)
    I must say at the beginning I’ve felt addressed quite as you wrote on the 2 varieties of “activist” and “pompous” and I see myself as an activist … I was very snapped, I must say, I did not want to read anymore. But barely an hour later I reached back to the book and was only the laughter! Especially as you’ve described the cynicism and reveal to your mind and think you were on the way one of these eco – become such thoughts and freaks just snuck in there with me at the above one, therefore, to read very funny!(I’m not shure, if this englisch was really correct)

    I am very impressed by your blog, your book and how hard you committed to the environment! And I really had not thought of it that creates a city person to live without a fridge or an oven!

    Before the text is too long, I will still want wish you luck on your eco-trip, and I think I’ll take one or the other tipp of your list!

    Best wishes,


  91. Sky Trombly says:

    Dear Vanessa,

    I am very impressed with your 366 day initiative and your blog in general. Not only do you write well and engagingly, you’ve stepped away from the typical analyze-green-technologies environmental blog.

    As I’ve just launched my own green-themed blog, your blog is deeply instructional on other levels.

    A suggestion: could you possibly build your list as links to the entries where you talk about your ideas and conclusions? I’d like to read about how you find haiku-writing to be especially green.

    Thank you!

  92. […] stick with it (she actually made 366 changes during this challenge and the list is available at: Green Listed. She also endeavored to stay humble about it. ;P At the end of her trial, she wrote a book about […]

  93. […] this may be a repeat of Vanessa’s Green List. For #125, she writes “keeping the light in the bathroom off each morning while showering and […]

  94. IrenitaGreen says:

    Hi Vanessa! My name’s Irene, I’m reading your book “Dormire nudi è verde” (in italian), and at the page 255 has come me to desire to write on you blog a suggestion:
    to the place that to use ecological insecticides I prefer to put in garden of the carnivorous plants that literally eats the bugs! With this I don’t want to say that all the bugs will disappear, and the snails won’t eat your salad anymore, but at least it is a method that will contribute, it’s very more green than ecological pesticidis and help to hold the gnats away from the basket of the fruit! I called my Dionea (a kind of carnivorous plant) Carnita Green, and together with my Pinguicola works very well.

    Changing matter…after watched the Oscar winning documentary “The Cove” I advice to boycott the aquatic parks and the delfinaris (as well as zoos and cirques). If someone need to know something more about it, here I link website where we can also sign the petition against this orrible slaughter and the reasns we must to avoid the aquatic parks. It would be a great green action and it’s very important that anyone watch this movie. I think that i can go to Taiji, in japan, to help Ric O’Berry and his orgnization, also with the danger of nuclear radiation as a voluntary worker. Ciao, Irene.

  95. Raluca says:

    Vanessa, I am very much enjoying your book and I feel very inspired to make little changes of my own. Thank you

  96. Sara says:

    I have just found out this list of yours and I’m feeling very inspired to use it as my guide. I have created a link to this article on one of my next posts since I really want to share it with my readers. I hope you won’t mind!

    Thank you for your blog, suggestions and insights!

  97. […] mieten, Schuhe mit Kokosöl putzen, natürlichen Kleber verwenden etc.). Deshalb habe ich mir die Liste von Vanessa Farquharsons Blog ausgedruckt und werde mal sehen, was ich davon noch in mein Leben integrieren […]

  98. Kathie says:

    Hey Vanessa,
    ich habe dein Buch in 4 Tagen gelesen und es war sehr inspirierend. Ich werde mir zwar keine Wurmkiste anschaffen und meinen Kühlschrank auch weiterhin benutzen, aber viele deiner “Schritte” habe ich mir makiert und aufgeschrieben. Zum Beispiel nehme ich alte CDs jetzt als untersetzer, Im dunkeln duschen(nei tag) ist auch in Ordnung und ich werde mir auf jeden Fall angewöhnen meine Fair Trade Stofftasche auch mitzunehmen, wenn ich shoppen gehe.
    danke für die Tipps!

  99. Erik says:

    nice extensive list of helpful things people can use to reduce there need for unecessary items and energy. I also would add peeing in a bottle instead of in the toilet to save water.

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  108. Dorine says:

    Dear Vanessa,

    I am currently reading your book, the dutch version ‘Groen, Groener, Groenst’, that is. I absolutely love it!
    I never expected it to affect my life so much. Seriously, with everything I buy, I can’t help thinking “how will this affect the environment, my body (or anyone else’s, like my children/boyfriend) and is there a better alternative?”.
    Step by step our household is becoming greener and our bodies are quite happy with all this healthy food! We haven’t shut the fridge or freezer off (yet) but I have found so many green (biological) alternatives for daily use/food in my local area! However there are still many situations in which I have to ask myself: shall I buy local OR biological? Here in Holland we cycle a lot, so next step is to actually cycle to all these local stores/farmers, which is a very good way of getting rid a few pregnancy-related-‘body-issues’ 😉

    Dear Vanessa, thank you for your hilarious and inspirational book!!



    ps. I was wondering, now that those 366 days are a few years back, are you still as green as a thistle? 😉

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    Polish reality… is complicated by our labour market with it’s irregular salaries and small wages and I have to adjust my eco friendly changes to this situation, which will be, probably, a little irritating. But the main advantage is that we still have good food, with small amounts of pesticides, plant protection products and the other bad chemical substances. The worst drawback are the prices of eco cosmetics, products , cloathes, cleaning agents – only a handful of people can afford it regularly, so here, I will try to find some solutions, and replace it by DIY things… made from raw compoments taha are available everywhere for everybody and are not ecological unfriendly. I think, in being hundred percent eco- friendly, is very hard, when your pocket is nearly empty :-)!. So it is very important, how to reconcile eco-friendly lifestyle with relentless pursuit of money.
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