And the winner is…

April 19, 2009


The other week, I offered an eco-friendly cellphone to the person who could give me the best idea for my next green book. Suggestions poured in and, frankly, I’d be happy to live out my days writing about every single one of them. However, there is only one phone, so after bugging my editor at Wiley to read through the ideas, he finally chose a winner (and a runner-up, in case that person doesn’t want the prize).

Here are his comments:

“Alison’s consumer culture book is interesting, but I worry that it would essentially be a manifesto. I like the idea of not eschewing all technology in the name of sustainability, but she (rightly) suggests the need for some big systemic changes that are definitely beyond the means of just one person.”

“Just Ducky seemed to have the most succinct request for an urban homesteader book, and because I was just reading about peak-oil alarmists (who seem like a fascinating, scary bunch), I think s/he might be on to something there, if the book were less of a “how-to” and more about profiles of these people.”

“Reuel touches on a topic near to my heart: I’m amazed at what’s going on in the developing world … I think there are some exceptional, inspiring stories out there, and they’re not being told. And, additionally, I think that a book about initiatives in the developing world will help us gain perspective when we consider some green ventures too bothersome.”

In the end, he chose Reuel as the winner and Alison as the runner-up — I’ll be getting in touch with you guys to sort out mailing addresses. But in the mean time, let me just say that I’m still a big fan of the green granny wisdom idea (see photo above, featuring the Raging Grannies). Our elders know a lot about living lightly, whether it’s the best recipe for preserves and pickles, or how to live without a fridge, how to darn socks and knit scarves, and even reuse a milk bottle. The new wave of hippies could learn a lot from their grandmothers, and if this wisdom were somehow adapted and repackaged for modern times, all the better.

Anyway, congrats Reuel! And thank-you everybody for the suggestions.

Give me an idea and win a green cellphone!

April 9, 2009


Recently, I wrote about how the green wave has started to wash over cellphone companies (you can read the article here). One of the phones I focused on was the Motorola Renew, pictured above, which is “carbon-neutral” (I put that term in scare-quotes because really it’s just been offset for a couple years at, has a body made from recycled water bottles, a prepaid envelope to ship the phone back to Motorola for proper recycling, less charging time required, minimal packaging made from recycled cardboard and no PVC, lead, exposed nickel or other hazardous materials.

As Bill Olson, the Motorola rep I spoke with, said: “If you take a marginal product and stick a green label on it, it’s not going to fool anyone. If, however, you have a really great product and it happens to be green, that sells. The key is to offer people something thoughtful and well-executed.”

I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not the Renew deserves praise or criticism; in the mean time, if you’re an environmentalist in need of a cellphone but feeling the credit crunch in a major way, fret not! You can win a Motorola Renew — right here, right now. How can you win it?

Simple: Although my awesome-and-so-worth-paying-$13.83CAD-for book is coming out in the very near future (next week in Canada; mid-June in the U.S. but you can totally pre-order), I’m already thinking about my next project. The problem is, there are so many green books flooding the market right now, and the last thing people need is yet another book full of tips. So my question to you sage readers is: What do you want to read about? What kind of green book would you buy? Do you want personal, chicken-soup-for-the-hippie-soul kind of stories or hard, apocalyptic facts? Do you like straight-up non-fiction or juicy memoirs? Broad, multifaceted topics like global warming or an in-depth look at one subject, like bees? Maybe you’d like a whole cookbook/guide for fridgeless living, or maybe a coffee table book on guerilla gardening?

Whoever offers the best idea for a new green book (I’ll consult with my publishers to see what they think… and yes, this is unfortunately a very subjective contest) wins the phone!

Ready, set, brainstorm!

Is it getting Hot, Flat, and Crowded in here?

December 14, 2008

As some of you environmentally minded bookworms may have noticed, there’s now a little addition to my sidebar — a button welcoming all those who found Green as a Thistle by reading Thomas Friedman‘s latest bestseller, Hot, Flat, and Crowded. I have no idea how this brilliant author stumbled upon my ridiculous blog in which I mostly just complain about taking Navy showers in the dark before droning on for infinite paragraphs about my undying love for menstrual cups. Nonetheless, he did, and proceeded to write about my site twice — TWICE! — in his book.

In the first mention, on pg. 206, he says he “takes succor” from all the young people in the world trying to do something to better the environment regardless of all the doom-and-gloom talk. And in the second mention, on pg. 216, he talks about how I “wryly observed” the fact that in order to move forward in helping the planet, we have to learn to live with our vices and hypocrisy (such as driving to the farmers’ market or riding your bike to the nearest steak restaurant).

Anyway, it was pretty exciting. So for all those intellectuals who are reading this, welcome! I may not use many poly-syllabic words, but I am fond of semi-colons; see, I just used one.

Poke around and send me an email or comment.

Highlighting a problem (Day 302)…

December 27, 2007


I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to reading. I like to own all the books I read instead of borrowing them (I know, I know, SO not green, but it’s an irrepressible OCD thing), preferably in hardcover. I also like to use proper bookmarks, highlight all the interesting things, then underline the most interesting parts of the highlighted things.

Admittedly, this is a procedure I did more often in university, when I’d have to read 1,800-page tomes like Clarissa and write essays, tests and so on, and now there’s far less motivation to be so organized.

But I do still like to keep track of the cool facts I stumble across in The Omnivore’s Dilemma and all the fabulously erudite exposition in my Nabokov collection. So I’ve decided that, in the name of being eco-friendly, I’m going to fold the corners and possibly underline stuff, but not use anymore highlighters (or rather Hi-Liters). This will save plastic and ink, not to mention all the stress of deciding which colour to get.

Photo courtesy of I’m godmother’s photostream on Flickr