I’m a professional freelance writer and editor and the author of Good Green Kitchens, Good Green Homes and Redux. Since 1988, I’ve specialized in helping people make decisions at home and at work that are easier on the environment.
To learn about my books, click on a book cover to the right. For information about my writing and editing services, click here.
Although I’m not writing a blog these days, on this site you’ll find archived posts from my Good Green News blog, as well as excerpts from my books.
If you’re looking for information on a particular topic, use the Categories links or the Search box to the right. Or just browse the Archives.
Chestnuts cooking in a GraniteWare pot inside a Sun Oven-brand solar oven.
As the days get shorter and cooler and the trees lose their leaves, holiday lights and Christmas trees have started making their annual appearance. I’ve been getting in the spirit of the season in my own way—by roasting chestnuts in a solar oven.
Gathering around the solar cooker may not be as romantic as getting cozy in front of an open fire, but some traditions need to step aside in these climate-challenged times. And it turns out that sun-cooked chestnuts are deliciously succulent. I’ve been getting a variety of chestnuts called Colossal, grown down the street by Nevermore Farm, a community-supported agriculture farm I mentioned in a previous post.
I’ve written about solar ovens on this blog, in Good Green Kitchens, and other places, but didn’t get one of my own until this summer. My oven, a type known as a box cooker, is made by Sun Oven. There are other manufacturers and types, including smaller models perfect for taking camping or to the beach. Do-it-yourselfers can make solar cookers using inexpensive materials [Read more →]
Back in February, in “What’s an Eater to Do?”, I said I would write soon about my experiences as a CSA member (that’s community supported agriculture). But I’ve had this blog on a back burner for the past six months because of some changes in my life.
A weekly delivery of fruit and vegetables from Nevermore Farm.
Opening our CSA box the other day and unpacking the bounty—melon, peaches, pears, figs, eggplant, summer squash, cucumbers, Asian yard-long beans, bell peppers—inspired me not just to get cooking but to get writing. If you like to cook and eat well, and if you care about supporting family-scale sustainable agriculture, in my opinion joining a CSA is one of the most positive steps you can take.
Until recently, Erik and I were members of Eatwell Farm, an organic farm in Dixon, about 60 miles from San Francisco. Each week I’d go to a community center in our San Francisco neighborhood and pick up a box loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables delivered straight from the farm.
But after two years of eating really well thanks to Nigel Walker and his crew at Eatwell, we regretfully cancelled our membership because we’re no longer living full-time in San Francisco. This spring we bought [Read more →]
I’ve written before about health and environmental concerns associated with halogenated flame retardants in foam building insulation and furniture foam. Levels of these toxic substances are increasing in household dust, human breast milk and wild animals, according to the Green Science Policy Institute. Evidence is mounting that these chemicals don’t belong in our buildings or our bodies, yet the green building industry has been relatively quiet about the issue.
If you’re a green building professional, I urge you to find out about the problems with flame retardants in the products you specify. A good place to start is www.greensciencepolicy.org.
If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, please join me on Wednesday, July 1 for a presentation in Berkeley about the flame retardant dilemma. I’ll be facilitating a panel of three speakers: Cate Leger of Leger Wanaselja Architecture, Brendon Levitt of Loisos + Ubbelohde, and Dr. Alex Madonik of the Green Science Policy Institute.
The presentation is hosted by Build It Green’s East Bay Green Building Professionals Guild. Click here for details.
Are you looking for a trustworthy source of practical information about how to green your home and your life? Check out the Sierra Club’s new website, Sierra Club Green Home. The site features exclusive articles on more than 100 topics, from choosing eco-friendly countertops to selecting a solar energy installer. I may be biased, since I wrote dozens of articles for the site, but I think it’s one of the most comprehensive and useful sources of green home information on the Internet.
In addition to educational articles, Sierra Club Green Home gives you access to local providers of green products and services via its searchable directory. Every company listed on the site has been vetted by the Sierra Club Green Home’s GreenCheck process — giving you assurance that the company is making a meaningful effort to offer environmentally responsible products or services.
On April 1, from 12 to 2 pm, I’ll be giving a seminar titled “Creating Dream Green Kitchens” at the San Francisco Design Center, as part of SFDC’s seventh annual Designers’ Wednesday lunch-and-seminar series for the design professional. I’ll be talking about how to create beautiful kitchens that are healthier for people and easier on the environment.
In this land of free-flowing corn syrup and 600-calorie coffee drinks, the specter of food scarcity may seem remote to many Americans. That could change in the coming decades.
This week the United Nations Environment Programme released a report predicting that by 2050, global food production may drop by as much as 25% due to climate change, water shortages, land degradation and the spread of invasive pests. During those same decades, the world’s population is expected to climb to 9 billion from nearly 6.8 billion today.
These opposing trends spell catastrophe, especially for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Although none of this sounds like good green news, there is a silver lining: each of us can make a difference with the choices we make every day about what we eat.
Waste less food
According to the UNEP report, more than half the world’s food is wasted due to inefficiencies in the food chain, from produce that rots before it gets to market to food that’s purchased but not eaten. The problem isn’t limited to developing countries with poor distribution networks. In the United States, food waste and losses in the food chain are as high as 40 to 50 percent, according to the UNEP.
Photo: Linda Svendsen for Good Green Homes.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that American homes, restaurants and grocery stores generate nearly 32 million tons of food scraps every year. All but about 2.5 percent of that waste winds up in landfills, where it decomposes and produces methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide.
While we may have little say over what happens between the field and the market, we do control what happens between the market and our mouths. [Read more →]
In a recent post, I wrote about the ubiquitousness of halogenated flame retardants and their potential health effects on humans and other species. If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, there are a couple of events coming up where you can learn more about why halogenated flame retardants are a problem and what we can do about them.
On Friday, January 30 at the University of California–Berkeley, the Green Science Policy Institute is holding a daylong, interdisciplinary symposium on halogenated flame retardants. Open to the public, this event convenes two or three times a year, bringing together scientists, business leaders, environmental and health activists and others to present research and discuss issues related to the use of halogenated flame retardants. More information and registration: www.greensciencepolicy.org.
On Wednesday, February 11 in San Rafael, I’ll be taking part in a panel presentation, “The Flame Retardant Dilemma: Keeping Buildings Safe without Toxic Chemicals,” at the North Bay Green Building Professionals Guild. Fellow panelists include Cate Leger, Leger Wanaselja Architects; Alex Madonik, Green Science Policy Institute, and Brendon Levitt, Loisos + Ubbelohde Associates. Click here to find out more.
1/29/09 addendum: If you can’t make it to these events, I encourage you to watch these two short videos featuring Arlene Blum, Ph.D., talking about the problems with toxic flame retardants and what we can do to keep our homes and families safer. Dr. Blum is the executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute and a visiting scholar in chemistry at the University of California, Berkeley.
This post belongs in the category of shamelessly tooting my own horn.
The January/February issue of the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine has a special section called “25 Amazing Alumni, 25 Amazing Ideas” in which Dartmouth College alums “from all walks of life offer the ultimate in how-to advice that will make you smarter, richer—and more interesting,” according to the magazine.
In addition to featuring my ideas for how to green up your kitchen, the section presents 24 other indispensible pearls of how-to wisdom, like “How to save capitalism and prevent the downfall of democracy” by former labor secretary Robert Reich ‘68.
Also included is expert advice from Dartmouth alums on how to raise happy kids, how to fast as a means of protest and survive, how to prepare credible intelligence (from a former CIA officer), and my personal favorite, how to build your own igloo.
The magazine isn’t online so I can’t give you a link but if you’re interested in how to green your kitchen, you can always go to the source—my book, Good Green Kitchens.
Organic cornfield at Eatwell Farm, Dixon, Calif. (www.eatwell.com). Photo: Erik Kolderup.
I got an email today from my friend and former colleague Liz Muller. She’s spreading the word about Food Democracy Now’s petition asking President-elect Obama to choose a Secretary of Agriculture who will lead this country toward saner agriculture and food policies.
Liz and I worked together years ago on environmental programs and policies at Gap Inc. She’s now an environmental consultant (www.lizmuller.com) helping organizations develop more sustainable products and operations; improving agricultural practices in developing nations is one of her many areas of expertise.
I’ve copied her email (with her permission) in this post — it’s good summary of [Read more →]