The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

Monthly Archives: July 2008

July 17, 2008

Gratitude for Diane’s Big Green Purse

These days, when I read environmental books or articles, I usually have on my heavy duty critical thinking cap. Sometimes, I get so involved in picking apart the nitty gritty details of a book that I can’t see the forest for the trees. Yes, that’s a huge cliche, but it’s apt. And I also forget the person behind the book, the author who put their time and energy and maybe even love into bringing the book into the world.

Back in May, I wrote a review of Sierra Club’s Hey Mr. Green, at the end of which I mentioned Diane MacEachern’s Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener Worldand took issue with the vagueness of the book’s recycled content statement. Well, a few days later, Diane herself left a comment here which made me rethink the way I read, review, and critique books. Here is her comment:

Thanks for the feedback on the recycled paper labeling for BGP. Actually, I had heard from the publisher… Read the rest

July 16, 2008

My happy penguin!

Back in October, I wrote about the Penguin soda maker from SodaStream. It seemed like a great way to have soda without all the plastic bottle waste. I won’t go into the full details again. Please read my original Penguin post here. At the time, there were two drawbacks to the machine: the price (over $200) and the disposable plastic flavor sample packs that came with it. So I put it out of my mind until a few weeks ago, when temperatures in Oakland hit the 90’s and all of us without air conditioning were melting. “Wow,” I thought. “I sure could use a cold one.” In fact, I went out and bought a bottle (glass) of Italian soda at Whole Foods, something I rarely do because I just don’t want to contribute to the environmental impacts of shipping water.

So I was thrilled and surprised a few days later to receive an email from Kristin Harp of SodaStream offering to send me one. She had read my blog post about the Penguin and… Read the rest

July 15, 2008

Fudge and Styrofoam, a confusing combination

So, you guys know how much I love Fudge is My Life fudge sauce from San Francisco, right? I’ve gushed over it here and here and here. But I buy it only occasionally, one jar at a time, from the grocery store. (It’s pretty pricey.) So it was a huge surprise a few days ago when I opened my front door to find a big cardboard box from the Fudge is My Life company sitting on my porch.

I was pretty sure I hadn’t ordered it in my sleep. But I had my suspicions about who did send it, considering the mountain of Divine chocolate I had sent him and mom for Father’s Day. And I was right. The card inside read, “Happy Bday, Beth. Now both of our sweet tooths are happy! Ray.” Ray is my dad, and he had waited all this time to send a birthday gift (my birthday is in January) because I kept saying I didn’t need anything… especially not anything new. But really, who doesn’t need a case of fudge sauce?

In addition to the note, the case… Read the rest

July 13, 2008

Year 2, Week 4 Results: 3.1 oz of plastic waste.

Move along. Move along. Nothing to see here, folks. That means you, little black kitty cat. Move!

Arya has been in such big trouble this week, causing her human mom (Beth) to yell and yell and her human dad (Michael) to cover his ears and then frantically rearrange the house to give Arya fewer things to mess with, thereby causing less yelling from Beth.

And Axelle, I don’t want to hear about “Mr. Sprayer” anymore. We have “Ms. Squirter,” and she does nothing to deter Arya from scratch scratch scratching on the locked bedroom door because as soon as Arya (with her super sharp kitten ears) hears mom get out of bed, she dashes under the living room sofa and hides to avoid squirtation. Mom opens the door, and no one’s there. Once mom chased Arya around the living room at 3am just so she could squirt her little black butt (I just realized how bizarre that could sound out of context), but then Mom felt really, really bad about… Read the rest

July 9, 2008

Help! I’m on the Low Carbon Diet and I need some advice.

So a few weeks ago, I started to write about how I and a couple of guys from Green Sangha had begun the Low Carbon Diet challenge (as if we all need one more freakin’ challenge right now!) but I was tired and feeling fluey and never finished the post.

Well, I’m back on it. But I’m stuck. The guys and I pretty much flew through Section 1, patting ourselves on the back for having done almost everything on the list already:

1) Reducing garbage — I have next to none. 2) Turning down hot water heater and using less hot water. Check. 3) Reducing dish washing water. Check. 4) Washing and drying clothes efficiently. This needs work. We do wash everything in cold water. And we can’t afford to buy new appliances right now. But I have been remiss about looking into drying racks or clotheslines. Mainly cuz I just don’t want to. (Don’t be mad, Burbanmom.) 5) Turning down the thermostat, and getting a programmable one. Check. 6)… Read the rest

July 8, 2008

Dear GPC Pet Products,

Here’s my weekly consumer letter. Okay, not actually weekly. I didn’t write one last week. But I sent this one twice, both as an email (via and as an actual letter. Does that make up for last week?

July 7, 2008

GPC Pet Products1600 Oregon StreetMuscatine , IA 52761

Dear GPC Pet Products:

I have been using World’s Best Cat Litter for several months now. I find it to be very effective and efficient; a little goes a long way. I have two cats, and compared to other litters I have tried, World’s Best clumps the best, tracks less, and smells better.

However, there is one aspect of the product that I don’t care for, and that is the packaging. It saddens me each time I must dispose of the heavy plastic bag, a bag that is not recyclable in my community and that is made from a non-biodegradable material. I urge you to consider switching to a biodegradable paper bag instead.

I have tried SweatScoop cat litter,… Read the rest

July 8, 2008

Berkeley’s Green 4th of July

I love living in the Bay Area. Especially after reading Life Less Plastic’s post about all the plastic and Styrofoam at her city’s Taste of Chicago festival.

Here are some images from Berkeley’s Independence Day celebration at the Marina:

I especially love that the garbage containers are labeled “Landfill” and explain what goes to the landfill and why it’s important to choose recyclable or compostable alternatives. All the disposable dishware at the event were compostable. And there were water stations for filling up reusable bottles.

The “greening” of this event was the doing of my friend Mary Munat, aka Green Mary. In February, I wrote about Janice Sitton, my event greener friend in San Francisco. Mary is my other event greening friend, and she’s been doing it since 2000. Here’s how she got inspired to do this work, excerpted from her web site:

Mary’s epiphany came … Read the rest

July 7, 2008

Year 2, Week 3 Results: 4.5 oz of plastic waste.

Yikes! This photo reminds me of one of the plastic tallies from Fake Plastic Fish, The Early Days. So, in the interest of brevity and my own sanity, I’m going to group some items so the list doesn’t seem so long.

Plastic items used this week but purchased before the plastic project began: 2 AC Transit bus passes, finally used up. These are not the only plastic transit passes I’ve gone through. Oh no. BART tickets are made of plastic, and I use those all the time. It’s just that BART tickets get sucked back into the machine and the end of their lives, whereas AC Transit passes stay with you forever. (I’ve learned more about those plastic BART tickets, by the way, and writing about them is on my FPF To Do List.)

1 random piece of plastic found while cleaning. It broke off of something. We have no idea what.

New plastic purchased since the plastic project began and used this week: 1 big ass bag (34 lbs) of World’s Best Cat Litter.… Read the rest

July 4, 2008

Fear of unpunctuated silence, or emptiness sucks.

The Blogger posting screen is blank and white and taunting me. I’ve been procrastinating starting this post for the last two hours because I’m not sure what shape it should have or how to begin. So I’ll just dive in and see where the words lead. Maybe by the time you read this, I’ll have deleted these introductory sentences altogether. Or maybe not.

This week, I started letting go of some things. Monday, I uninstalled the Microsoft games from my computers. No more killing time playing Freecell or Spider Solitaire. No more distracting myself while waiting for files to upload or programs to backup. No more splitting my attention with reruns of “House” playing in one corner of my screen and a game of Freecell going in another. I’m letting in a little empty space, and it sucks.

Tuesday, I used up the very last of my fairtrade organic coffee from Peaberry’s, washed out my new porcelain coffee cone as well… Read the rest

July 2, 2008

Blogher: Where the smart girls are.

Today is the last day to register. I’ll be there. Will you?

On June 6, Clif commented, “After checking out the blogs of Crunchy, Chili, etc., I just realized what happened to all those girls who got A’s in class and contributed all the poetry and stuff to the middle school yearbook while we boys were having fistfights and sneaking cigarettes…they grew up to start blogs!”

Well, many of those “girls” will get to meet up in person the weekend of July 18-20 in San Francisco, CA. I’m so excited that the Blogher conference for women bloggers will be hosted in my town this year. I’ve registered for all three days. But you don’t have to sign up for the whole conference. If you can only make one day, I’d suggest Friday the 18th, since that’s the day of the Blogging Birds of a Feather Meet-Up for Green/Social Change bloggers. It will be hosted by Britt Bravo of Have Fun * Do Good, whom I interviewedRead the rest