ECOGIRL'S PRINT COLUMNS: In Chronological
Welcome to my Chronological Columns page.
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COLUMNS: CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
- Note: The Ask EcoGirl column has gone on hiatus, as she
works on other projects. You can explore her past columns here.
Also, all this content is available for reprint. Just email for
Water, Everywhere! (March 2014)
- One of the unexpected positive aspects of our current drought
for me has been seeing so many people invite and welcome the rain.
I love watching us remember how essential water is, which we can
easily forget in times of plenty. I hope that in this moment we'll
expand ourselves to habitually cherish this vital element of our
existence. To help you do that, this month's column offers six big
picture ways that each of us can joyfully align our lives more
with water's ways -- and, through that, protect it for ourselves,
our ecosystems, and generations to come.
Your Clothes Out of the Trash (January 2014)
- A reader asks what he can do with his unwanted clothes, to
keep them out of the landfill. That's important because Americans
today throw out 85% of our clothes and textiles, trashing 13
million tons a year. Plus, the production of our clothes causes
harm to both our health and environment in many ways. So it's
vital that we make full use of each item. In this column, I share
my system for doing this by establishing easy everyday habits.
Plus I offer key resources and ideas to guide and inspire your
actions on this path.
the Gift of Local Organic (November 2013)
- As the winter holidays come around again, I encourage you to
include the bountiful and nourishing Mother Earth in your seasonal
embrace. Among the items on my eco-gratitude list are the gift of
local organic foods. I love how they fill my body with health and
aliveness! Plus I'm thrilled to support local eco-farmers and
ecosystems. Even better, I'm grateful that this simple (and
delicious!) act helps us address the serious problems in our
current food system that are harming our health, communities, and
planet. Learn more about this easy way you can be part of the
solution, why it matters so much -- and why it's vital to buy both
local and organic!
Effective Community Teams (October 2013)
- Community groups are an essential tool in our work of
reclaiming our health, communities, and planet. That's because
they help us gather together the "people power" that's needed for
bigger changes. And I'm grateful for folks who participate in
them. However, they often can have negative dynamics that
discourage participation and harm results. Unfortunately, it only
takes one person playing by abusive covert Machiavellian rules to
spoil the whole project. We can create healthier dynamics, but
only if everyone pitches in. I've experienced a wide range of
groups, including some amazing teams, and ones that could've been
great. From these and other experiences, I've developed what I
think are key tips for creating happy interactions, efficient
productivity, and meaningful results.
- The Art
of the Yard Sale (August 2013)
- If you were thinking about hosting a yard sale this year --
there's still time! Yard sales are a great way to lighten your
load, make a little cash, connect with neighbors, and make full
use of your discards -- even those items that thrift stores won't
take. So how can you hold a successful event? Here are some of the
key techniques that I've developed over the years, which can help
you save time, attract more visitors, pass along more goodies,
earn more money -- and have more fun!
Rebel & The Status Quo (June 2013)
- Often people see themselves as primarily either a traditional
rule-follower or a rebel change-agent. Then they can harshly judge
other people who they see as being in the other camp. How much
time have we spent fighting in this dynamic? However, EcoGirl
feels that both these urges are within all of us, that both these
roles can bring positive contributions -- and that both can be
expressed in negative ways too! By stepping back and getting a
better understanding of each of these roles -- and how they can
give their gifts more constructively -- we can break free of the
harmful part of this pattern and greatly improve the level of our
outcomes, both personally and collectively. That's because this
understanding can help us be more empathetic of others, bridge
viewpoints, combine the value of change and tradition, reduce
unnecessary conflicts, and create smarter integrated solutions for
our future. Read this piece to explore these ideas further!
Groups: The First Meeting (May 2013)
- Protecting our individual well-being must include acting at
the community level, because sometimes that's the best, or even
only path, to solution. And community action groups can help us
amplify our power there. However, people often start action groups
without realizing that they require specific skills. Even folks
experienced in other aspects of community work can make basic
avoidable errors that harm their cause and rebuff interested
people. To help community groups get started on a good foundation,
EcoGirl offers her list of six key first meeting errors, and their
remedies. May they help improve our overall results!
Up to Stop Fluoridation (April 2013)
- Unfortunately, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors recently
took another step towards fluoridating our precious local water
supply, even after many community members waited hours on a
workday to speak against it. Certainly, the proponent claims for
community water fluoridation (CWF) seem appealing, and I think
many folks wish that it actually were an easy remedy for community
dental health. However, that's not what the science shows, and
it's vital that we be willing to look beneath the PR claims. And
if we want CWF stopped, we're going to need to build a much
larger public outcry against it, and within the next few months.
Otherwise, we'll be the ones paying the price -- in our health,
environment, and pocketbooks. Learn more of the key facts, with
citations, in this column.
Aim For Your Eco-Message (March 2013)
- Eco-writing doesn't have to be depressing. In fact, it's more
effective when it's not! In this column, EcoGirl lists what she
sees as the top harmful eco-communication approaches -- and the
key principles we can use instead to encourage cheerful,
constructive, and effective eco-action.
We Fluoridate Our Water? (February 2013)
- Over the past few years, a controversy has been brewing in
Sonoma County over the proposed addition of fluoride to the water
supply for most of our homes, schools, businesses, and
restaurants. This issue is coming before the Board of Supervisors
again in the next month or two. But isn't fluoride a good thing?
The well-meaning proponents do make appealing claims of public
dental health benefits, especially for lower-income people.
Unfortunately, though, these claims don't match the facts. This
isn't the quick fix some want it to be! In this article, EcoGirl
outlines what she sees as the core problems with fluoridation, and
hopes that this helps Sonoma County reject it and pursue more
sensible solutions. (This online version also includes additional
supporting data and source links.)
Effective Eco-Action (January 2013)
- To protect ourselves and our families, it's vital that we
integrate smart eco-behaviors into our everyday lives. However,
not every problem can be addressed at an individual level. Thus we
also need to regularly support community-level actions. In this
column, EcoGirl talks about how we can easily fit that into our
busy lives -- and help produce tangible and meaningful results
that benefit everyone -- and our shared future. By joining our
efforts together, we amplify our power to create a better
- What Do
We Do Now About GMOs? (December 2012)
- Unfortunately, California Proposition 37 (GMO labeling) didn't
win this election -- largely because of well-funded opposition ads
full of GMO manufacturer lies. However, Prop. 37 did succeed in
getting over six million votes and alerted many more people to the
experimental and hazardous GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms)
that are increasingly being put into our mainstream food supply.
It's exciting to see how many people want to keep taking action
against these largely-untested "novel" materials that are putting
at risk our food, health, farms, communities, and environment. In
this key column, EcoGirl suggests the key priority actions we can
take to stand up for our well-being -- plus a few suggested
actions that she advises we skip. Please share this with your
friends and allies!
Green: A Pop Quiz (November 2012)
- This month, EcoGirl flips the format and asks her
readers the eco-questions. Yup, it's time for a Pop Quiz!
Here's your chance to see the bigger picture of how you're doing
in some key green arenas -- and maybe identify some upgrade
opportunties. You can also compare your scores with your family
and friends, for a little competitive fun!
Yes on Prop. 37 for Labeling of GMO Foods (October 2012)
- As expected, the GMO manufacturers have been spending millions
of advertising dollars to try to talk voters out of our right to
know if GMOs are in our foods. Don't be distracted by their
deceptions! The truth is that California Proposition 37 is not
complicated or expensive. It will just offer consumers the same
right to choose that's enjoyed by people in nearly 50 countries
around the world -- 40% of the world's population. People have
worked for years to finally give us this opportunity in the U.S.
Let's make sure it succeeds. Read this column for the key
information to know -- and share it with your friends!
Up for GMO Labeling (September 2012)
- Coming soon, Californians will have a unique and precious
opportunity to stand up for our right to know when our foods
contain experimental and hazardous GMOs (aka Genetically Modified
Organisms). These hidden materials are shown to harm our health,
environment, farms, and communities. Over 40 other countries have
GMO labeling. So why don't we? Plus labeling in California will
likely open the door to better protections across the U.S. But
standing in the way of labeling is expected to be a serious GMO
manufacturer propaganda onslaught. To keep this from working, we
all need to educate/innoculate ourselves and others on this
essential topic! To learn what you can do, read this handy summary
and share it with others -- especially in California. This is a
key moment on a vital issue!
Your Stuff (August 2012)
- One of my life's personal pleasures and challenges has
been that I tend to collect a variety of cool things. It's not
that I bring so many items home (well, except paper information),
but that I tend to keep them longer to get full use out of them.
It's been helpful for me to understand that this keeper side of me
comes from some beautiful qualities in me, including curiosity,
passion, caring, respect, remembering -- and my eco-values! And I
notice that other eco-allies are often savers too. But how can we
manage these valued treasures skillfully so that we're not
mistaken for hoarders? Eek! I offer here the key tips I've
developed for myself over the years, presented in an empowering
and compassionate eco-perspective. (The website has more tips and
resources beyond the print column.)
the Electric Highway (July 2012)
- As we consider how to better align our activities with the
planet's ways and our true shared best interests, a vital but
challenging question is how to avoid the harm caused by our
petroleum-powered vehicles. One key solution is electric vehicles
(EVs), including plug-in hybrids, which can avoid emissions and
access eco-friendly energy as it's increasingly put into the
electric grid. EVs are finally becoming more available. Learn more
about how Sonoma County and California folks are supporting this
vision by investing in public charging stations, and thus helping
build our electric highway! (Plus EcoGirl is celebrating her 5th
anniversary. Woo hoo!)
Your Summer Vacation (June 2012)
- Summer's here! And with that comes the delight of summer
vacations. So how can you honor the earth during your travels?
EcoGirl maps it out for you! In this column, she outlines the key
principles to keep in mind overall, then identifies specific
tangible ways that you can joyfully implement them in your
destination choice, lodging, transportation, and activities.
Included are a variety of specific options in Sonoma County and
the San Francisco North Bay, as well as general resources such as
eco-car rental links.
Our Shared Power (April 2012)
- We all certainly at times can feel hopeless about all the
horrible things happening in the world, and wonder if we really
can do anything to make a difference. But EcoGirl believes that we
have much more power to impact our world and our future than we
realize -- as consumers, workers, citizens, and community members.
In this column, she gives four key steps for reclaiming that
power, in joyful and constructive ways. How exhilarating!
- It's a question surely faced by anyone who cares for the
earth: how do we persuade other people to take action on
eco-issues without making ourselves crazy? In this column, EcoGirl
describes a tool she's adopted from the marketing domain to help
tailor her message for her audience. When we can empathetically
meet people where they are, we'll more likely be able to engage
with them both respectfully and effectively.
Play The Reuse Game! (February 2012)
- In this column, EcoGirl introduces you to her fun new
activity, which she calls "The Reuse Game." You might already know
that reuse is a key component of reducing our impact on the earth
and steering ourselves away from eco-collapse. But we can also
have fun doing it! This article has lots of ideas and tips for
being creative with your reuse. You can even turn it into a social
activity! The web page also has lots more added ideas and
resources. How lovely for all of us to get rewarded for treating
the earth's gifts with respect!
Up for the EPA (January 2012)
- Some presidential candidates have said that they'd abolish the
EPA, citing supposed benefits to voters. EcoGirl looks deeper and
confirms that the facts just don't support these arguments, making
this proposal indeed harmful to our health and shared well-being.
This article can help you know the facts for yourself and to
inform others, so that we can together stand up for the value of
an even stronger EPA.
Gratitude to Action (December 2011)
- Too often, children can devour their Christmas gifts so
quickly that they don't really experience or appreciate each one,
let alone the person who gave it. In much the same way, our
culture is voraciously turning the earth's amazing ecosystems into
momentary objects that we barely notice and quickly become part of
our overwhelming piles of waste. To help remedy this, EcoGirl
offers some easy ways that we can redirect our actions towards
sanity, and through this more fully enjoy the objects and
experiences we have, reduce our harm to the precious earth, and
help ensure that there will be happy times tomorrow!
Change and Tradition (November 2011)
- Like many folks, EcoGirl has been fascinated and thrilled to
see people come out onto the streets to call for major changes in
our system's structures. These movements offer us a chance for the
scale of change that we need to steer ourselves away from so many
crises, including eco-collapse. EcoGirl offers her thoughts about
how we all can respond constructively to the opportunity of this
powerful moment, wherever we are; what she feels is vital for the
movement's success; and how the earth's ways can (and must) be
included in the new solutions. She also honors the tradition of
our winter celebrations by offering organized and helpful lists
full of ways that you can honor the earth in all your holiday
Sane Group Dynamics (October 2011)
- A key way that we can work on eco-issues is through community
groups, which allow us to join together in creating a better
world. However, these groups are often so fraught with
unproductive conflict and covertly harmful personal dynamics that
people can shy away from them. Does it have to be that way? Or can
we create productive and enjoyable experiences? In this piece,
EcoGirl shares her thoughts about how we can constructively take
on these groups' inherent challenges in order to build effective
teams, move community issues forward, and support our own personal
Effectively for the Earth (September 2011)
- A reader asks how she can talk to her uncle, who's opposed to
President Obama's recent increase in car mileage standards,
because he thinks they're only harmful and that global warming
isn't real. EcoGirl offers her two quick links to email him that
address his key points, and offers her general suggestions for
being persuasive in talking with people about eco-issues.
the Sun as Our Aly (August 2011)
- As climate disruption increasingly impacts our everyday lives,
and nuclear energy has demonstrated that its risks far outweigh
any potential benefits, the question becomes once again: How can
we meet our energy needs in eco-friendly ways? A key solution,
says EcoGirl, is for us to reclaim the sun as an elemental ally in
our quest. Then she offers us a variety of specific creative ways
that we can each do just that. After all, the earth receives
20,000 times the energy we use each year, giving us more than
enough for our needs. All it takes is for us to put it to
There Hope For The Planet? (July 2011)
- It's easy to feel disheartened seeing all the eco-crises in
the world. Is there really hope, or is an early death for the
earth just inevitable? EcoGirl answers that there is hope -- to
the extent that we take positive actions. That's because the
future scenarios aren't black-and-white but a range of outcomes
that will unfold in better or worse ways depending on the choices
that we make. What's even more exciting though is that we also
benefit personally by taking constructive action for the earth and
proactively embracing the upcoming changes, because it reduces our
pain while creating more fun, aliveness, empowerment, and business
opportunity. Why would we choose anything else?
Your Local Activist/Change Agent (May 2011)
- No matter how bad you think the world is now, imagine how much
worse it would be without the change agents (by whatever label or
title) who stepped back from their individual lives to imagine and
create something better for their communities and our shared
future. And yet those of us working for a better world today can
often be considered odd ducks in this culture that's so often
focused on immediate personal rewards. In this column, EcoGirl
speaks up for her team of innovating pioneers, and suggests that a
smart culture welcomes and nurtures its change agents, valuing
their essential role in steering wisely and avoiding collective
disaster. She hopes that you'll be empowered by this perspective
-- and share it with others!
Our Products & Our World (April 2011)
- How can we truly protect ourselves from the multiple toxics
permeating our products, bodies, and world, given the overwhelming
evidence that they're threatening both our health and the planet?
This column describes some key resources to avoid toxics in our
personal lives, as well as two approaches being taken to stop
toxics at their source, Green Chemistry and California's Green
Cookware (March 2011)
- A reader asks how to avoid the toxic PFCs used to make
nonstick pans and other consumer products. "What are our
options?", she wonders. "Those nonstick pans are so useful!" This
month's column describes the issues with PFCs, what products
they're in, and how to help reduce our exposure by buying
healthier cookware and more.
Smart Phones Green? (February 2011)
- Smart phones, MP3 players, and other mobile devices are
sprouting up all over the place. But are they good or bad for the
earth? To help answer that question, EcoGirl walks through her
assessment process for her latest purchase, the iPod Touch. The
web version of this article also has additional information,
resources, and app recommendations!
With Your Eco-Passion (January 2011)
- Most of us love the earth, but amidst life's busyness, how do
we make sure we follow through with our good intentions to take
care of her this year? EcoGirl offers constructive tips for
eco-motivating yourself in ways that bypass "should" and shame,
and instead are fun, inspirational, and aligned with your other
goals in life. Nurturing the earth can be a fun way to nurture
Authentic Holiday Green (December 2010)
- With so many companies claiming to be green, how do we choose
products that are truly better for the earth? EcoGirl can help!
Read her column this month for quick and easy tips for buying and
being authentically green, this holiday season and all year
Earth-Friendly Holiday Cheer (November 2010)
- Does it really make a difference if we serve and bring
eco-wines to our holiday events? Yes! Here are the reasons they're
indeed better for both your health and the planet. And they're
tasty too! EcoGirl also gives you tips for sorting through the
eco-labels to find ones you like -- and even lets you in on her
Green (October 2010)
- A reader wonders if it's worth the effort to vote, and if
EcoGirl has any voting recommendations for the coming election.
EcoGirl says that she understands why some people are skeptical
about "the system", but that the best remedy isn't to toss away
our hard-earned vote (and hand over our power to those who do show
up), but to use it instead to help improve the governmental
systems that so deeply impacts everyone's lives. After giving her
responses to the top four anti-voting arguments, EcoGirl gives
links to some groups to ally with in making real change and some
eco-voting advice for the upcoming Nov. 2 election.
Care Without Toxics (September 2010)
- Very often folks will grab mainstream pet care products
without realizing that these can contain neurotoxic pesticides
that can harm both their pets and their families. How do you avoid
the products that are the most toxic and swap to less-toxic
approaches instead? This column shows you how!
the Rewards of the Bulk Bin (August 2010)
- Hiding in plain sight, the bulk bin aisles at the grocery
store offer many benefits to both us and the planet. This includes
saving us money, offering us freshness and variety, and greatly
reducing the packaging waste that fills our trash cans, landfills,
and waterways. EcoGirl offers tips for making it fun and easy to
forage in the bulk bins! (Note: The website version of this
article offers lots of additional tips and information.)
Future Oil Disasters (The Gulf, part 2 of 2) (July 2010)
- EcoGirl describes how we can channel our anger and frustration
about the Gulf's devastation into constructive action that creates
a better future. She describes ways that we can reduce our
individual petroleum use, join with others to encourage wiser
governmental policies, and encourage the recognition of the vital
truth that our health and financial well-being depends on a
healthy earth. (Note: The website version of this article includes
lots of great links for more information and action.)
Your Transportation Footprint (The Gulf, part 1 of 2) (June
- A reader is heart-broken watching the Gulf oil gusher's
slow-motion destruction of ecosystems, livelihoods, and
communities. So she asks how we can help reduce the country's need
to drill in such ecologically-sensitive areas. EcoGirl responds
with tangible ways that we can all help avoid such disasters in
the future by reducing our oil use for transportation. (EcoGirl
will also be offering other action ideas in her July column.)
for Eco-Success (May 2010)
- A reader wants to know how she can get better at actually
following through on her intentions to be more green. EcoGirl
empathetically offers three easy steps for turning her eco-ideas
into actions and everyday habits. She illustrates with two easy
examples: setting up your home recycling setup and fully using
your printer paper.
Medicine (April 2010)
- With illness and health care costs weighing on us all, EcoGirl
offers additional specific ways that we can use environmental
knowledge to help heal both people and the planet, as both
patients and health care providers.
for Our Health Care Crisis (March 2010)
- The health care crisis is such a timely topic right now. Yet,
amidst all the passionate debates, the environmental dimension is
still largely being ignored, even with the clear evidence linking
our high illness rates and exposure to environmental pollutants
and everyday toxics. However, by turning and seeing how our
actions in the world are harming our own health, we can find true
solutions that significantly reduce both illness and costs,
lightening the load on us all.
Your Eco-Love (February 2010)
- This Valentine's Day, you can express your love for both your
sweetie and the planet. Here are some easy ways to eco-upgrade
your amorous expressions, thus embodying your values while
revealing that oh-so-attractive eco-awareness that so many
beloveds admire. This column includes specific tips about buying
chocolates, roses, and more, including some lovely local
Your New Year's Resolutions (January 2010)
- The new year offers us a handy time to identify the changes we
want to make in our lives. And it's smart to include caring for
the earth among our intentions, because the planet's well-being is
key to our survival, and because aligning with the earth
can help us achieve our personal goals. Here some example ways
that you can eco-charge your New Year's resolutions to be
healthier, save money, connect with others, and have more
Your Holiday Waste (December 2009)
- A reader wonders how their family can reduce the increased
trash they generate during the holidays. Yes, given how much our
waste increases this time of year, this is a vital and fruitful
time for us all to cut back. Luckily, as usual, EcoGirl comes to
the rescue with an organized list of tangible ways that you can
trim your trash, this holiday season and beyond, thus reducing
your eco-impacts, your garbage costs, and even often having more
fun! Topics you'll find covered in this column include:
entertaining, food, greeting cards, gift wrapping, gift giving,
disposal after the festivities, and resources.
Your Holidays (November 2009)
- Unfortunately, our need to protect health and planet from
hidden toxics doesn't stop during the holidays. This column offers
specific tips for recognizing common seasonal threats and choosing
less-toxic options, including when buying toy gifts. Plus there's
information about how you can support current much-needed
proposals to strengthen toxic regulations, thus better protecting
ourselves for many holidays to come.
Channeling Your Inner Eco-Rebel (October 2009)
- Are you feeling guilty for not doing more for the earth?
EcoGirl makes it easy for you to convert guilt into personal
passion with her handy checklist for understanding what's holding
you back. As you then use her simple steps for resolving these, in
ways that fit with your life and style, you'll find that indeed
acting for the earth can be fun and empowering. Really!
Does Green Mean? (September 2009)
- With so many companies claiming to be green nowadays, a reader
asks, how do I know which actions really make a difference for the
planet? EcoGirl comes to the rescue with key tips for looking
beneath green claims to recognize the more committed and effective
- Being a
Smart Organic Consumer (August 2009)
- Despite areas of controversy, organics are still a convenient
way for consumers to choose food and agriculture that's healthier
for themselves, their families, and the planet. But how do you
know if something is really organic? And how do you sort out the
organic issues and labels? Find out more in this column!
Our Techno-Tools (July 2009)
- Our daily lives can be enhanced in many ways by today's
technological devices, including computers, cell phones, cameras,
TVs, stereos, game players, and more. However, it's vital for us
to be smart about our use of these techno-toys, because they do
have eco-impacts throughout their lifecycles. Here are specific
ways that you can buy, enjoy, and discard these products while
minimizing their harm -- and even saving money as well!
for a Brighter Future (June 2009)
- What's the story with these curly-cue "eco" lightbulbs? Yes,
they lower energy use, helping save money and the planet. But they
also contain mercury and can't go in the trash. Are we just
trading one eco-problem for another? EcoGirl tackles one of the
practical questions of eco-implementation with her usual
combination of information and inspiration! (Hint: The answer is
that, on balance, these CFL bulbs offer significant value for
reducing energy use and thus climate disruption, but need to be
handled with care. And there are emerging options to support. Read
the article to find out more!)
the EPA (May 2009)
- For many years, it has seemed that the EPA has put corporate
interests over its mission to protect the environment. Will
President Obama's EPA really be any better?, asks a skeptical
reader. EcoGirl says that real improvement is possible, if we
help. And this is a key action for us to take. Because, by
encouraging current efforts to restore the EPA's vital functions,
we'll help improve our prospects on a wide variety of
environmental and health issues.
Your Green Job Dreams (February 2009)
- Green jobs are increasingly being discussed in books,
magazines, even President Obama's economic stimulus plan. And,
yes, by bringing together economic, ecological, and employment
objectives, we can address multiple problems at once -- if we pay
attention to the details. So, how can a job-seeker skillfully
align with these trends, while avoiding the pitfalls?
Traveling on Public Transit (January 2009)
- We've heard that using public transit can be great for both
the planet's well-being and our convenience. But how do we get
started? This column makes it easy, offering both resources and
encouraging stories. By including public transit among our
transportation modes, we can reduce our car pollution's
contribution to climate change, reduce our shared wealth transfer
to oil-rich nations, turn stressful travel time into useful time,
and connect more with our community.
Our Tiny Ant Friends (December 2008)
- Ant invasions can tempt one to use poisons. But studies show
that toxics are no more effective than household cleansers!
Instead of putting your family at risk, follow this three-tiered
approach for addressing your visiting ant armies.
- "Dear Patricia -- I just read your article, "Taming Our Tiny
Ant Friends." I think it's just great that you write these
articles, and always with such conscious respect for the earth,
and in this case, all those amazing little ants."
Your Holidays, On a Budget (November 2008)
- Yes, you can create greener winter holidays while treading
lightly on both the earth and your budget. In fact, one of the
silver linings of this economic downturn is that it can help us
reduce the consumerism rates that are more than the planet can
bear. Here's some ideas for how to do that while still having
loving fun with friends and family!
Plastic's Pollution (October 2008)
- Plastic offers us durability, but makes long-lasting trash,
both in our landfills and ecosystems. Even remote spots are
becoming cluttered with this debris, creating for instance the
"plastic island" in the northern Pacific. Scientists estimate that
each year at least a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals
and sea turtles die from eating or getting entangled in plastic.
Here's how to help protect the planet by reducing, reusing, and
recycling your plastic.
Sources for Environmental Info (September 2008)
- Our information sources can either lead us wisely or astray.
Too often mainstream coverage of environmental issues focuses more
on celebrities, drama, and consumerism than on the real
information we need to understand and support truly effective
solutions for the planet. In this column, Ask EcoGirl highlights
her favorite sources for keeping informed and taking wise
Your Stuff - Ecologically (August 2008)
- Do you have items that you want to discard -- without adding
to our overstuffed landfills? There are many ways to do this --
plus make a little money and delight in contributing to others! In
this article, EcoGirl walks you through the key ways you can sell
and donate your goods, summarizing the benefits and drawbacks of
each, highlighting creative options, and providing handy
information about websites, local outlets, and more!
Our Money (July 2008)
- Our current economic woes make it increasingly urgent that we
shift to more earth-honoring ways, because our economy depends on
functioning ecosystems. But how can we take care of the earth when
everyone's budgets are so challenged? EcoGirl explores tangible
ways that we all can nurture our economy's transition to wiser
- Can We
Afford to Care About the Environment? (June 2008)
- I'm anxious about the economy, writes a reader, with rising
gas and food prices, medical costs, even food riots. How can we
worry about the environment when real survival issues are at
stake? EcoGirl responds by describing how our survival depends
first on the earth, both physically and economically. Therefore,
our current economic disruptions actually offer us an opportunity
to redesign our economic systems to better align with nature and
thus better ensure the survival of us all!
Organic (May 2008)
- With today's economic uncertainties, a reader wonders, how can
I still include organic in my budget? EcoGirl offers tips for
saving money, and a reminder that our true survival depends on our
health and the well-being of the earth.
Your Personal Earth Action Plan (April 2008)
- The current blossoming of green stories and claims in
mainstream media can be both encouraging and overwhelming. Where
on earth should we start in taking action? EcoGirl hears that a
lot. So, instead of just giving you another list of tips to add to
your already-stuffed do-list, this column maps out four simple
steps for you to follow to uncover your personal approach to this
topic. This Plan will help you both prioritize and feel excited
about the impact you can have!
a Healthy Garden from the Start (March 2008)
- Here in one place are the easy steps to creating a good
foundation for your garden so that toxic pesticides and
fertilizers just aren't necessary. Your harvest will be healthier
food and flowers, a nurturing place to hang out, and a healthier
world for all.
- Can I
Afford to Go Solar? (January 2008)
- Most people think solar is just for those with up-front
capital. But what if you could take out a loan with payments equal
to your current utility bill? Then you'd be converting an expense
into an investment! (We love to do that!) And reduce your
vulnerability to energy price increases. Oh, and help the planet
by supporting our transition to earth-friendly energy sources.
Here are the key notions to consider, and the steps and resources
for you to determine if this approach is right for your
- "Solar financing is a complex topic and you nailed it."
Chris Cone, Writer, Coordinator Green Energy Loan
Donations: Your Magic Wand for Planetary Change! (December
- You can empower change in the world through your holiday
donations (and perhaps even get a tax deduction!). Here are
inspiring ideas for finding your own passionate issues, and
suggestions for wonderful local groups you can support.
Your Gifting (November 2007)
- Want to truly green your gifting? Here in one place are key
principles for thinking green to include Mother Earth in your
holiday giving. Includes specific ideas you won't find other
places -- plus great local resources!
Through Green Eyes: Remodeling Green on the Cheap (October
- Yes, being cheap can be good for the planet -- when you see
through green eyes! Here are great ways to remodel green and save
money, including local resources that most folks don't even know
It Clean: Less-Toxic Cleansers for a Healthier Home (September
- Cleaning green doesn't have to be more expensive. In fact, you
can clean your house less-toxically -- and save money too! Did you
know that you can do most of your cleaning with four common and
inexpensive ingredients? This also makes space in your supply
cabinet, reduces packaging waste, and keeps your home a truly
healthy clean smell.
Need Recycling Too (July 2007)
- No, household batteries don't belong in the trash! Here's the
straight scoop on where to properly dispose of your spent
batteries in Sonoma County and beyond.
MY ASK ECOGIRL
I'm delighted to offer you my Ask EcoGirl booklets, "Healthier
Housecleaning" and "Detoxing Your Life." These unique, handy, and
cheerful resources bring together key information you need to create
a healthier home for your family and the planet. They make a great
gift, and quantity discounts and wholesale prices are available. Plus
all sales support my eco-healing community work. Tell a friend! Find
out more at www.askecogirl.info/booklets.html.
FOR MORE OF MY PRINT ARTICLES
- * My Next
STEP newsletter, which has lots of information on
toxics and alternatives, plus government and community-level
actions. "It's your handy guide to less-toxic living."
Look up topics of interest in the The Next STEP
- * North Bay Bohemian. I also wrote several articles on
these topics for the Bohemian's Green
* I also cover these topics on my Facebook
page and blog.
- Ask EcoGirl is written by Patricia Dines, Author of
The Organic Guides, and Editor and Lead Writer for The
Next STEP newsletter, which gently educates readers about
toxics and alternatives. For more information about my work for
the planet, see www.patriciadines.info.
Sign up for my low-volume writing announcement list (1-3
emails a month), to get emails when my new print articles are
published, at www.patriciadines.info/EList.
- Connect via Facebook, to show your support for my work,
and get inspiring and useful eco-info in your Newsfeed www.facebook.com/AskEcoGirl.
Explore and sign up for my blog at www.patriciadines.info/LTEblog.
- I hope that you find this information useful. I welcome
your throughts and feedback! (You can email me at info
- Editors: Please contact me if you'd like to publish any of
these articles in your periodical, or discuss an article that
I might write for you.
This entire website is (c)
Patricia Dines, 1998-2016. All rights reserved.
Page last updated 4/29/2016