Tuesday, 22 May 2007


Greetings Fellow Greenies!!

I have to apologise, because I have been away from my blog for a while. My other life as an actress has taken over for a bit as I'm in the middle of producing a play that I'm also performing in, at The Hackney Empire in June.
I'm working with a writer and actress friend I have known since we were at drama school 20 years ago. Kia Sian has written two beautiful, moving and funny monologues for us about two Hackney sisters and their families. The pressure is on to get press releases out and the big opening night on the 7th sorted. 15% of our profits will go the the adoption and fostering charity BAAF. www.baaf.org.uk
If you are in London we would love to see you there. Tickets on line at www.hackneyempire.co.uk

Or so Al Gore and Robert Redford and all their famous celeb chums would have us believe. And of course I do believe them, but WHAT are we all doing about it? The pace is picking up. The plethora of newspaper, magazine and TV articles that have come out in the last month since I last blogged is about all I can keep up with! There was the Vanity Fair 2nd Annual Green Issue and all the Sunday colour suppliments and on and on....
The Grand Design Live Show at Excel is coming up in June www.granddesignslive.com. All these events and media are emphasising the need to be more concious of the energy we use - and the consequences of ignoring the overwhelming evidence is that we really don't have enough time to reverse the effects of what we have done....so do we just keep driving gas guzzling cars and using new plastic bags every time we go to the supermarket and flying to Morocco on that cheap getaway weekend? It's hard to give up all these things, isn't it? We must each change in small but significant ways. I truly believe this. The government is giving a lot of lip service and is trying but it takes 5 years to get a bill passed. Not good enough!!

As an example of what I'm talking about: I spoke to the PR manager at THE BEACH at Carylon Bay after my last blog because I had wondered where, if any was there any ecology of design being used on their vast project. Was a marvelous opportunity being wasted? She explained that the developers have owned the site for many years and have spent a great deal of money in planning and research but also many months and years waiting for planning permission to be granted for something as simple as a cedar fence that will protect the buildings and gardens from sea storms. It all takes forever and then they get permission for that, a new eco technology comes out that would like to utilise in the design and the process has to start all over again - it is made all the more difficult because many of these new techniques have no track record and planning permission can be very hard to obtain. You can see where a developer who is looking at his bottom line and who has to answer to a board of investors can get very discouraged

As individuals we have to start changing and information sharing is the key.
How about offsetting your holiday flight with a donation to companies like Driving Green? You can purchase verified emission reductions (VERs) from DrivingGreen.com. When you do, you support projects that have been implemented on livestock farms that reduce the methane normally emitted from the animal waste.www.drivinggreen.com.

As another example: when I live in LA I drive a Mini Cooper. If I estimate that I drive about 10,000 miles a year - that's what I claim on my car insurance - then I'm emittng 6,600 pounds of carbon per annum and can offset all that with a $24 donation to a project that is doing the opposite. [This is all calculated on the website for you] I also get a decal for the car, a licence plate holder that says 'This Vehicle is Greenhouse Neutral' and a free t-shirt that says 'I emit no gas'. I know a few people who canNOT say that - don't you? But, is $24 all it takes?

You can offset your party, your business and of course your flight. My friend Kay and are going to Greece in June [the minute my play closes!] We are going on a yoga retreat to the beautiful island of Santorini. And we were happy to pay a little extra on Last Minute.com when invited to offset our carbon emissions. Easy-peazy. We want to offset the stress in our lives but of course feel [a little] guilty about having to go to the Mediterranean to do it so, we paid a small fee...well, actually, Kay pointed out that neither of us have any kids, by choice, and she had read that as a child can produce the same amount of carbon as 700 round trip flights to New York that we have few trips to go! See? We feel better already!!

Coldplay and U2 are famous for having done the same for their world tours and album recording emissions by planting acres of trees to offset their carbon emissons...but the jury is still out on all this. Is planting a forest of trees to offset all that jumbo jet fuel really going to make a difference? I think the only difference is to their peace of mind.
Some studies show that forestation too far above the equator can actually trap heat and make the planet warmer - oy! - Planting trees above 50 degrees latitude in say, the equivalent of Scandinavia or Siberia can also cover up tundra normally blanketed in heat-reflecting snow.

You can't bloody win, can you?

I would say that planting more oxygen giving plants and flowers will always be a good thing - I'm going to The Chelsea Flower Show on Friday - can't wait. More beauty in horticultural design that gives pleasure to the eye and all the other senses! Bring it on!! And I also love to see the passion of the gardeners there...this is a paltry term for individuals who's entire lives are given over to producing amazing plants and gardens that I can only dream about creating....or go to see once a year in SW3!!

Here's a couple of things I did this week. I try not to buy clothes that need dry cleaning a) cos it's so bloody expensive, Sweetie and b) cos of the environmental impact of dry cleaning - duh!! I try and dry clean as little as I can....organic cotton still goes in the washing machine. At 30 degrees, of course!!

My cleaners in Hollywood changed to a 'green' method of cleaning a few years ago and that aweful smell you associate with dry cleaners has gone. Hurrah! They also gave me a cardboard triangular shaped caddy to keep in my wardrobe and I put all their coat hangers in it. When it's full, I take them back and they put them right back on the rail to be used again. How many of you either keep using them [oh well, don't tell Joan Crawford! Yes, I know she's dead!] or just chuck them in the bin? Guilty? I know you are!!
I asked my local dry cleaning place here in Fulham, how much they spent on wire hangers and how much could they save if they found an incentive for customers to bring them back to reuse.... I don't know, if he offered, say, one free shirt cleaning for every 20 hangers returned?.....think of all those businessmen's shirts every week that each have to have a hanger?!
Would they bring them back if they got something for free in exchange? The dry cleaner needs to educate his customers if he is going to save the money....and the planet...which will always come second. Talk about the bottom line and then you get people's attention. I got him thinking...

Another consumer waste that I hate to think about but love to hold, are those fancy, shiny, ribbony bags you get at specialist boutiques. I bought a top the other week that was not cheap, admittedly...it was wrapped up in the lovely schrunchy tissue paper, secured with a sticker embossed with the little boutique's logo on it and then put in an emormous pink glossy bag and tied with a ribbon. Of course I loved walking the 200 yards back to my flat holding a bag that made me look like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman...but as soon as I got home, the top came out of its tissue caccoon and was hung in the wardrobe. The gorgeous bag sat on my bedroom floor for a few more days as it makes me feel so decadent to have purchased such a lover-ly thing...but then, as it showed no signs of use or wear, I took it back to the shop and said, 'Please reuse this for your next customer'. I mean how much do those bags cost for the boutique owner? They carry home gorgeous little bits of lace and silk and then get thrown away.... next time I'll go to Camden Market, I promise.....no bags...well they give you plastic ones....so I'll take my own like I do to Waitrose!!

Email me your good eco deed for the day and I'll highlight it here!!

See you next time!


Anonymous said...

Does anybody else feel like Al Gore is turning his back on the country by not running for President? He's got everything going right this time around but he won't run. Doesn't he have a duty?

Denise said...

Great ideas in your post! Keep up the good work!! We all have to do our part, cause sometimes it's NOT easy being green!!

Love, Love to you!!