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April 23, 2008

Allie’s (Green) Answers: Spreading the Blog Love

 

Allie, of Allie’s (Green) Answers, who is one of the nicest green bloggers in town, awarded Fake Plastic Fish, as well as several other cool blogs, this nifty Blog of Distinction award. Why thank you, Allie! And now I get to pass the award on. But first, I decided to do a little interview with Allie to learn more about her and her blog. Allie is a delight. Please enjoy:

Beth: Describe Allie’s Answers in a nutshell. And please tell us what kind of nut it is.

Allie: Allie’s Answers in a nutshell — I’m trying to make green simple and accessible. And I’d have to say walnut — full of flavor, crunchy, and good for your heart.

Beth: Why did you decide to create Allie’s Answers? Did you have an “Aha!” moment, as Oprah would say?

Allie:
It wasn’t an “Aha!” moment as much as an evolution. I started writing Allie’s Answers as a column for a website called CelebCause.com. When CelebCause.com ended, I realized I didn’t want to stop writing about environmental issues. I loved doing the research, and I loved the idea that even one person might make an earth-friendly lifestyle change with my help, so I decided to start my own site. When I started, I worried I that I might not be able to come up with enough tips to keep it going for very long, but I have a library of over 250 tips up on Allie’s Answers now, and I’m not even close to running dry.

Beth: What do you think distinguishes your blog from other green blogs out there?

Allie: I do daily tips and a daily news round up. And I try very hard to make the tips I put up things that people can do with minimal effort and discomfort. People can be resistant to change. We are creatures of habit. If someone isn’t willing to make one big change, maybe they’ll be able to make a few little ones.

Beth: What inspires you to get up in the morning?

Allie: The work I do for Allie’s Answers inspires me. Usually, the first thing I do when I get up in the morning is check other green sites for articles to include in my morning news round up. Seeing what everyone else is doing for the environment gets me energized. It’s amazing inspiration.

Physically, what wakes me up is usually a big, wet dog nose and a whole bunch of whining.

Beth: Do you have a favorite post?

Allie: By far, my most popular post has been my Make Your Own Kitty Litter post. I like that it’s taken off the way it has, because I’m happy that people are out there looking for healthier options for their pets. But who would have thought so many people would be so interested in kitty litter?

Beth: Of all your tips, what is the one you’d like to see everyone do?

Allie: I really want people to read labels and be conscious consumers, which is something I’ve encouraged in several tips and articles. Petroleum products, parabens, talc — these are ingredients that are in the majority of mainstream personal care products. They are harmful to our environment, in their production, their normal use (running down the drain, etc.), and their disposal, and they are harmful to our personal health.

People use so many personal care products on a daily basis. There may only be a tiny bit of an icky ingredient in your moisturizer, but what if that same ingredient is also in your face wash, deodorant, eyeliner, nail polish, hair gel and foundation? You’re not getting exposed to just a tiny bit of it anymore.

I recently started using baking soda as a facial scrub. It works better than any other skin care product I’ve tried. It’s not a sacrifice at all. My skin looks great! If you’re not ready to strip down your beauty regimen, there are a lot of luxurious green products out there too, but you have to read labels. Not all green products are created equal, and sadly, there’s a lot of greenwashing going on.

Beth: Of course I have to ask, what steps have you taken to eliminate plastic waste from your life personally?

Allie: Since starting my blog, and even more so since I started reading Fake Plastic Fish, I’ve been paying attention to packaging very closely. I’ve switched brands to avoid bringing plastic into my home, and I buy in bulk when I can. I reuse the plastic that does make it into my home as much as possible. And I never ever ever buy bottled water. I carry my Kleen Kanteen bottle with me everywhere, but if I’m ever stranded without it, I make sure I purchase a beverage in a glass bottle, or not at all.

Beth: What are your goals for Allie’s Answers in the coming months?

Allie: My friend Neil is an amazing person. He’s made a commitment to raise $20,000 for The Cambodian Children’s Fund by December 31, 2008. He’s taking on extra work in writing, editing, and yoga instruction to help raise funds. Neil is writing some posts on yoga for Allie’s Answers over the course of the year, and I’ve pledged a percentage of my advertising income to the cause. I have never been very focused on generating traffic, but now I’m much more motivated to increase my readership, spread the word about going green, and help out as much as I can with Neil’s project. It pushes me to write that extra post, or submit to one more blog carnival.

I also want to do what I can to add to this feeling of community in the blogosphere. It’s something I really enjoy and find comfort from, and it’s a goal of mine to foster that as much as possible.

Beth: What do you enjoy the most about blogging?

Allie:
I enjoy the connection to other people. I love the research, I love learning, but at the end of the day, it’s nice to know that other people are out there and other people care too. To have the opportunity to connect with people from all over the world — people I would never meet otherwise — it’s a gift.

Beth:
What else would you like Fake Plastic Fish readers to know about your site?

Allie: That Allie’s Answers is a labor of love. I write for my site five days a week because I honestly believe that everyone can make a difference. The collective power of individuals making small, mindful changes is staggering. It’s not a corporate site. It’s just me (and sometimes Neil) writing to inspire and inform. I hope your readers will stop by. And I want people to feel comfortable sharing their green thoughts and questions with me. I love the exchange of information and ideas, and I’m always happy to do what I can to promote green causes and projects.

She’s not kidding about that. Allie links to many different sites and articles that she finds worthwhile. Remember back when I wrote about being a greedy blogger? Allie is the opposite of a greedy blogger, and that quality in her is inspiring to me.

If you enjoy reading interviews with folks who are trying to do a little good in this world, check out the blog, Tiny Choices. They have a regular interview series with some pretty cool people.

And now, it’s time to pass on the Blog of Distinction award. Oh dear. How could I possibly choose just a few from all the worthy blogs that I read? I almost gave up and pulled a Burbanmom stunt, tagging all the blogs linked on my sidebar. But instead, I’ve decided to pass it on to the blogger and organization who refuse to pull their punches but give us the gritty details time after time about chemicals in our air and water, the scrubs on our faces and coatings in our pans. Amanda Hanley is the blogger and EWG’s Enviroblog is that blog. So please, Amanda, accept this award for all the hard work you and the group do. I’ll be posting tomorrow night about their latest heart-breaking campaign.

P.S. Have you signed the Take Back The Filter petition yet? I know, I know you want to know how the phone meeting went. Patience, Grasshoppers, as Crunchy Chicken once said to me. In a nutshell (almond): The Clorox rep said some things and I said some things. Then we hung up. Then, the Take Back The Filter group discussed the things that were said. I composed an email response to Clorox, which I sent off Sunday night. We are waiting to hear back on the answers to our follow-up questions. Will let you know more, hopefully soon. No jumping of guns or other loud shooty things, okay? As Kip said to Napoleon, “Peace out.”



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14 comments
Nail Care
Nail Care

Thank you very much for the great information.ThanksNail Care

Jennifer
Jennifer

No cats anymore! I met my allergic husband in between my childhood/college cat and a new one, so never got the new one... got dogs instead. :) They poo outside.

Fake Plastic Fish
Fake Plastic Fish

Hi Mud Mama. I just left a response on your blog.And Jennifer, I just may try the kitty litter recipe. My only issue with it is TIME. I am losing time like some people lose hair. Where does it all go? I know I had some when I woke up this morning. But look, it's 11pm again! Won't be making homemade kitty litter today. Why don't you try it first?:-)

lauren
lauren

P.S. Way to go with 900 signatures on the petition! P.P.S. One of the comments on the petition mentioned buying water bottles instead of using Brita filters! Oh no...they must not be regular FPF readers.

lauren
lauren

I second Amanda's thoughts. FPF, Allies and Tiny Choices are must read s everyday--to see them all in one place was a great mid-day read.

terrible person
terrible person

The minute I opened the pageBaaDUMI could see it was a blog of distinction, a real earth-menderWell written, all online ...But seriously. Our friend Michael Pollan wrote this piece in the Sunday New York Times Magazine's "green issue". He asks the question "Why bother?" What can we actually do when so many other people are only adding to the problem? His answer (like that of Dr. Pangloss at the end of Candide): grow a garden. He explains why.

Erikka
Erikka

i really enjoy allie's blog and am so happy i found it. she's right on when she says its a boost to read what other green minded folks are doing!

Gray Matters
Gray Matters

Thank you for introducing me to Allie's blog. Can't wait to check it out.

Susan
Susan

Really nice post, Beth, and I liked your Earth Day take too. Susan

Amanda
Amanda

Beth! I'm honored -- thanks so much for passing that award our way.Also, can I just say, reading about one of my favorite blogs on another of my favorite blogs has made my morning. Y'all are awesome.

Allie
Allie

Thanks so much, Beth!

Jennifer
Jennifer

Very cool... thanks for letting us know more in depth about Allie!Question for Beth... are you going to try out that home-made kitty litter now? I was amazed at the recipe!

Mud Mama
Mud Mama

Beth I'm on a mission and I was hoping you and your VAST network of readers could help me with it. I want Crayola to take some accountability for their Crayola Twistable crayons - they took a relatively benign tool like the child's crayon and encased it in a non refillable plastic casing. We have some in our house because my daughter's previous school INSISTED that we use them. I've posted my letter to Crayola on my blog, but I only have about 20 family members reading my blog daily. I've looked online and no one else seems to have them on their radar yet. What prompted me into action was looking for "Every Day is Earth Day" crafts to do with my kids, well, the result is at my blog. Can you suggest a blog carossel or something that would help get the word out about this?Thanks,mudmama

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