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No Styrofoam here in Great Barrington

I just wrote this embarrassing message to my neighborhood email list. I have lived in Great Barrington since 1992 and can't believe I've never heard anyone mention a ban on Styrofoam, but I can't remember seeing any Styrofoam around either. There was a storm of protest when cigarettes were banned in restaurants and I remember that clearly enough - and I remember all the packets of cigarettes I saw, with people's hands resting lightly on top, when I went into a place frequented by old-timers. Here's what I wrote to [...]

November 15th, 2012|Categories: Home Ecology|Tags: , , |

Keeping Cool tips – we’re looking for more ideas from other places

I don't have air-conditioning in my house, my company's offices have no A/C, and quite a number of our friends and family members and neighbors live without A/C, too, along with most people in the world. This is a fine thing in terms of the environment, and in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts hardly heroic. But these last few days of heat have made us think about extreme weather conditions and how to manage without A/C. I found a short "keeping cool" list in one of my early books, [...]

July 16th, 2012|Categories: Home Ecology|Tags: , , , , |

Walking to the shops makes life better

It often takes an outside eye to help one see things close at hand. Last night, a friend came to my house for supper. I'd made a rhubarb crumble, and mentioned that it really should be served with ice cream. Everyone agreed, and my daughter said, in the most ordinary way, "I'll go get some at the coop." The Berkshire Coop is a small version of Wholefoods and it's about five minutes' walk from my house, straight down the hill and across Main Street. She picked up her purse and [...]

June 27th, 2012|Categories: Home Ecology|Tags: , , |

The time of our lives

The opening chapter of my first book was about time, not the most obvious aspect of "home ecology." A book called Time Wars had just been published and I was fascinated by it, and very much conscious of time shortage in my own life. But looking back on this in 2012 I am astonished by the fact that I read Time Wars (and really read, front to back) and many other books then, far more than I read now. I can't help wondering if the time I now spend on [...]

May 27th, 2012|Categories: Home Ecology|Tags: , , |

The London Book Fair (and how this blog began)

I made my first trip to the London Book Fair in 2004. I was there as a new independent publisher and was rushing around to to publishing events, but I also had a meeting scheduled with MQ Publications, a gift-book company with a fast-talking editor who had persuaded me to sign a contract to write a book for them. They had already chosen the illustrator and planned out the chapters. They had the title picked, too: The Armchair Environmentalist. "I'm not an armchair kind of person," I said. I was [...]

April 23rd, 2012|Categories: Home Ecology|Tags: , |

10 Practical Ways to Green Your Home

I have often been asked to define the most important thing an individual can do, and I've never liked the question because the answer is, "It depends." On where you live, how you live, whom you live with, and how much time and especially how much money you have. I prefer to talk about principles that anyone can apply. But there are some things that almost all of us can do, so I thought I'd share this list of "10 Practical Ways to Green Your Home," written for a magazine [...]

March 23rd, 2012|Categories: Home Ecology|Tags: , , |