"Look - it's a bird, it's a plane ... no, it's EcoGirl!"

Ask EcoGirl

A syndicated eco-advice column
Written by Patricia Dines

"Encouraging the eco-hero in everyone!"

"Making it easy to be green!"

This Month's Column:
Everyday Green: A Pop Quiz

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Everyday Green: A Pop Quiz

By Patricia Dines
Published in the Sonoma County Gazette
November 2012
(c) Patricia Dines, 2012. All rights reserved.

Dear Readers: This month I'm going flip the format and ask you the eco-questions. Yup, it's time for a Pop Quiz! Here's your chance to see how you're doing in some key greening arenas -- and maybe even identify some upgrade opportunities.

In each section below, choose the option that fits you best, even if not exactly. (You can compare your score with friends, and share your results with me by email.)

1. My daily food

a. I mostly eat organic, often from a farm or farmer's market, or grown at home.

b. I often eat organic, usually from a grocery store.

c. I don't eat organic. Food is food, and eating pesticides makes a body stronger!

2. Hydrating on the run

a. I usually carry a refillable bottle or mug (ideally stainless steel, glass, or BPA-free).

b. I buy and drink water and beverages from larger (not single-serving) containers, which I reuse or recycle.

c. I often drink beverages in single-serving plastic bottles, which I then throw in the trash. It's my right to be wasteful!

3. Bagging it

a. I almost always bring a cloth bag to all stores, so that I don't need their bags.

b. I usually bring a cloth bag to grocery stores, or I reuse any bags that I take.

c. I usually take whatever bag the store offers, then throw it out when I get home. My convenience is all that matters!

4. Counter washing

a. I almost always wash my counters and spills with cloth towels and sponges.

b. I usually clean these with 100% recycled paper towels (then toss these in the compost or green can).

c. I usually clean with lots of mainstream paper towels. Why should I skimp?

5. To the landfill

a. I only discard a full black garbage can (per person) every 1 to 6 months. I do lots of recycling, reuse, composting, etc.

b. I discard that much each 2 to 3 weeks. I do some recycling/reuse/composting.

c. I dispose of that much every week, and throw everything in there. Why should I care where it goes? It goes away!

6. Cleaning and pest control

a. I don't use toxics for home cleaning, weeds, or pests (except in very rare emergencies). I like having a healthy home.

b. I've swapped to some less-toxic products, but still use some toxics.

c. I use whatever product is on the shelves and don't read the label. What I don't know can't hurt me, right?

7. Getting around

a. I have a very low transportation footprint compared to other people I know. That's because I: have a short commute; often carpool, bike, or use public transit; plan my errands efficiently; have a high-mpg vehicle; don't fly very often; etc.

b. My car is medium-sized with average mpg. I could reduce my miles more.

c. I often drive long distances in my large low-mpg SUV, but complain about my high gas bills. Pollution and climate change are someone else's problems.

8. Powering the house

a. I increased my home's energy efficiency then got a solar system to cover all my usage. I love helping reduce pollution and climate change!

b. I have a programmable thermostat, and mostly energy-efficient light bulbs that I turn on only as needed. I've gotten expert help upgrading my home energy efficiency.

c. I leave my lights on, and my heater and AC on high. Only my comfort matters.

9. Participating in community

a. I actively participate in groups that support community-level greening.

b. I send donations to eco-groups, subscribe to eco-action email lists, and forward information to friends.

c. I only care about myself. We're all on our own in this dog-eat-dog world.

10. Sharing eco-information

a. I love swapping eco-ideas with others, in non-judgmental collaborative ways.

b. I want to share eco-ideas, but hesitate because I don't want to impose.

c. I'm quick to judge and demean others, because my way is the only right way.

Getting Your Score

Give yourself 2 points for every a. answer and 1 point for every b. answer.

Total 16-20: Eco-Committed. You're doing great work walking gently on the earth. Keep it up!

Total 5-15: Eco-Competent. Your actions are helping reduce our shared impact! Look here for more ideas to "up your game." You'll often save time and money, and feel better about the future.

Total 0-4: Eco-Remedial. I gently encourage you to learn more about how everyone's well-being depends on the earth's. Then look for small ways to trim your impact and help nature's ecosystems function long into the future.

For more ways to green your life, including your holidays, see www.patriciadines.info/EcoGirl6e.html [that's this page!] and www.facebook.com/AskEcoGirl.

 • • •

Ask EcoGirl is written by Patricia Dines, Author of The Organic Guides, and Editor and Lead Writer for The Next STEP newsletter. Email your questions about going green to <EcoGirl [at] AskEcoGirl.info> for possible inclusion in future columns. View past columns at <www.AskEcoGirl.info>.

You can also become a Facebook fan of "Ask EcoGirl", to show your support and stay in touch! Join at www.facebook.com/AskEcoGirl.

"EcoGirl: Encouraging the eco-hero in everyone."

© Copyright Patricia Dines, 2012. All rights reserved.


* GARBAGE: If you're doing great at recycle and reuse, but still have a lot of trash -- consider the reasons. What are you throwing away? For instance, are you throwing lots of food in the trash? Most of it can be composted instead, in a backyard pile -- or in the green (garden waste) can here in Sonoma County. Get your local rules from your local hauler or waste management agency.

* TRANSPORTATION: Lowering your miles driven can often also lower your car insurance cost! Ask your car insurer if they have a low-mileage rate or program.

• • • 

You can also find lots more useful more information and tips on all these topics -- including greening your holidays -- through my new Themes page!

* Here's the direct link to my holidays-related columns

* I've also gathered together lots of winter eco-holidays tips at www.healthyworld.org/ecoholidays.html.

* And I recommend the beautiful and inspiring book, Celebrate Green (www.celebrategreen.net).


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 information on this and related eco-topics, see my other Ask EcoGirl columns.


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 [at] askecogirl.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, 1998-2012. All rights reserved.
Page last updated 11/1/2012