Thursday, 13 September 2007


This week I made a little video for the Friends of the Earth Web March to ask the government for tougher laws to control climate change. About 172,000 others have joined the march (lots of famous people and that) and I encourage you to do the same. Friends of the Earth will also send an email to your local representative or MP on your behalf - I got a very nice letter from Greg Hands (MP for Hammersmith and Fulham) telling me what his party plans to do for the bill.

Click here, put in my name in the search field and you should be able to see it! Friends of the Earth are encouraging everyone to record their message on a digital camera or mobile phone and upload it to the site. It's easy and fun! Hurrah!

I have just returned from a lovely weekend in Scotland.
Gosh, was it beautiful!

I know the Brits are a nation of sun chasers, but as we consider the carbon footprint of every flight we make to a Mediterranean country, we should remember that this country has some of the most breathtakingly unspoilt scenery in the world and stay at home once in a while.

It was my sister’s birthday weekend and we managed to combine a spot of culture with our camping in the walled garden of a country house on the Scottish Borders.
"Camping? Cos it's eco, Warrioress?"
"No. Cos it's CHEAP! My first time: NOT a fan, love!"

On Saturday evening we saw a production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters performed by The Actor's Temple at Chesters, a gorgeous Georgian mansion. I mean, literally IN the house. In the dining room, in the drawing room and in the hallway...should have been a murder mystery, shouldn't it? The whole thing was very Gosford Park meets Remains of the Day [apart from the camping that is!]


On the way back down to London we stopped off at Alnwick Garden. Not as in-your-face-green as say, The Eden Project, but a beautiful place none the less.

The Duchess of Northumberland has done an amazing job at creating and designing a fantastic contemporary garden with wonderful water features, educational areas for children and one of the largest tree houses in the world.

Anyone spending time and money on growing plants in a beautiful and interactive setting and sharing them with everyone else is an environmentalist and an ecologist in my book. There are many additions planned to the existing design and I can’t wait to visit again. There will always be new things to see in each changing season.

Here's a bit of showbiz GREEN GOSS!
My friend Linda Kerns and I met while we were filming TITANIC in 1996. She was 'THIRD CLASS WOMAN' and I was 'FIRST CLASS WOMAN' so an instant bond was formed - one that would not have been possible in 1912, I suspect!
Linda is in the Pantages production of
WICKED in Los Angeles. She read by blog last week and posted a comment that I have to quote here:
"WICKED", the musical about a green witch goes green. Good idea, don’t you think? One of our producers called a meeting last week to encourage us all to make what changes we can, both at home and at the theatre. We're adding more re-cycling bins, having re-usable pay envelopes, changing all the dressing room light bulbs, using environmentally sound laundry detergent for costumes, etc. Too many ideas to mention here, but if you think of anything further, let me know! Linda

(witches cackle) “Heee hee hee hee hee hee!!!”

COAT HANGERS - The Saga Continues...

A few weeks ago, I blogged about returning your wire coat hangers instead of making landfill fodder from them. Have you been good? Are you collecting and taking them back for your dry cleaner to reuse? I also talked about that icky smell emanating from every dry cleaners in the land and wondered just how harmful those vapours are to our systems.

Leo Hickman at The Guardian wrote a great article about the ethics of
dry cleaning your clothes. I think the evidence speaks for itself. I picked up two of Leo’s books at The Eden Project book shop when I was there a few years ago. A Life Stripped Bare: My Year Trying to Live Ethically, is an hilarious account of the year his family committed to living an ethical life. He has also written a guide to all things ethical (and therefore, nearly always eco) A Good Life: The Guide To Ethical Living . I learned a lot about a green, eco and ethical life from them.

Leo also told me about a COAT HANGER AMNESTY that Marks and Spencers are having for (don't get too excited!) THREE whole days this month! You can take your hangers into selected stores and they will recycle them for you. All part of their mission to be carbon neutral by 2012.

I personally think they should take the hangers year round at all their stores…but as I continue to chant: Ohhhhhhmmmmm.....every little bit helps......ohhhhhhhmmmm....

According to recent research, there are over 530 million unwanted hangers stashed away in UK homes and almost 100 million of them go straight to landfill every year. The average Briton has 67 coat hangers in their home and 18% of these aren’t used. (not in my house. I’m doubling up on most of mine! Note to self: STOP shopping! ) As a result almost a fifth of them end up in the bin. The remainder are taking up valuable storage space in lofts, garages and wardrobes.

So, if for no other reason than a clutter-clearing
Feng Shui one, dig out all those wire coat hangers and take them back to your dry cleaners or Marksies - if you live near a participating store.

We don’t all have Joan Crawford for a mother, thank God! However you do have ME, your friendly Eco
Warrioress, instead!

Participating Marks and Spencer stores are:
Lisburn · Liffey Valley · Cardiff · Glasgow Argyle Street · Newcastle · Manchester · Bluewater · Plymouth · Merry Hill · Peterborough · High Street Kensington

The passing this week of Dame Anita Roddick can not go unmentioned. Long known as The Queen of Green, the founder of THE BODY SHOP died of a brain haemorrhage last Sunday. Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, said: "Anita was a leading light of the modern green movement, and was one the first people to combine a profitable business with environmental responsibility. She spent an enormous amount of energy not only in running a pioneering company but also devoted passion and creativity to helping green, human rights and development organisations achieve their aims."

I remember I loved to shop at the Body Shop when it first opened. Still do. As a dance student on a grant, it was great to be able to take back your shampoo and body lotion bottles to refill for less that you paid the first time. You see: recycling is driven by the attraction of saving money...very eco!! I still use White Musk oil (a Body Shop classic!) as a perfume. The scent takes me back to my youth! Ahhh...Plus: I found out today, that Dame Anita and I share the same birthday exactly 20 years apart. Hmmm. That feels like synchronicity!
Anita Roddick was an inspiration to us all and will be sadly missed.

Now don't take this the wrong way, but it got me thinking about Dame Anita's funeral already. Surely she wouldn't have wanted to be cremated - lots of pollution. Or will she be put in a 'mahogany' casket and buried in the ground? Research from The Natural Death Centre in London, showed that 89% of coffins used every year, some 600,000, are made from chipboard covered with laminate. Uch!! All that, including an embalmed body full of formaldehyde and God knows what else takes forever to decompose and pollutes the Earth. Soooooo, what are the alternatives?

I'm a big fan of Six Feet Under and was particularly moved by the episode when Nathen buries his wife, Lisa, as she had wished: in the desert, without a casket or any chemicals pumped into her body.

There are a number of alternative options to the old mahogany caskets and the ECO POD is one of them.

The Ecopod is a revolutionary design in coffins made from naturally hardened, 100% recycled paper.
They are made from 100% ecologically sound materials so are the ideal product for a non toxic burial or cremation. Perfect for use in greenfield sites where you are buried straight in the ground and a tree is planted on the site.

This should really go in Gorgeous Green things: It is the oh so stylish

This is so sleek, it's almost too good to put in the ground. If you've done everything in your life in eco style, (like I intend to do!) why go to your grave in an unattractive box? For $3,500 (1,700 GBP) you can get yourself the high gloss Uono Cocoon Coffin.
“My strategy is to convince people to buy the Cocoon before they get to the funeral home,” says Uono founder Andreas Spiegel. He realised that mourning families will buy just about any casket on the spot. He came up with the idea for this sleek Star Trek-like design after having to bury his design-loving father in a tacky brass-handled box. The result is a innovative reinterpretation of the basic traditional coffin. Spiegel succeeded in creating a sleek, stylish, futuristic oval cocoon (coffin) that combines artistic design with functional simplicity in a redesign that is also biodegradableIt comes in fourteen standard colours and even your crunchy granola types can love this thing without guilt—it's biodegradable, made from jute and coated with a water-based varnish. So there you go!

Enough of this dark subject!
It's time for


Last week I mentioned Lisa Harland's organic upholstery and today, I want to highlight the company in the States that supplies some of her fabric and wallpaper. The Mod Green Pod makes whimsical and organic cotton fabric and vinyl free wallpaper. The fabric retails for $105 (52 GBP) a yard and the wallpaper is $112.50 (55 GBP)

I think the designs speak for them selves.

I know it was an awful summer and we're all pretty bitter about it you don't want to think about BBQ's or nothin' like that til you can actually have one...but you still want to stay warm at the beach, right?
Check out this BEACH BURNER
Made from recycled steel each 24" bowl is a one of a kind work of art! (Gosh, I went all American sales
pitchy on myself there, sorry!)
The Beach Burner can be upgraded to a gas-fired pit for an additional $199 (97
GBP), which includes double ring gas burner and securely welded gas fitting in base of bowl. Gas is not only safer and cleaner than wood fire, it's also more convenient since you can turn the fire on and off at will! And the cut steel flames make great cooking rests for sausages or marshmallows!! Get your woolies out ( like you ever packed them away this year!) and get down the beach!

"What? No! Eco
Warrioress not camping on the beach?"
"Not camping ever again if she can help it!"

Don’t forget, if you need me to facilitate your green makeover, give me a call. I will advise you on all things eco and if I don’t know the answer, I’ll go and find it for you. I’ll create a 'greenprint' for you and do the simple things like changing your light bulbs to the curly low energy ones, arrange for your solar panels to be installed and everything in between. You may not be able to implement everything at the beginning, but I will leave you with a list of “can do’s” to work towards for future reference. You will end up with a folder full of green solutions and websites to help you lower your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint.
Go on, you know you want to!
You know you should do! 
Email me.


Kath Botterill said...

Your suggestion that we should all consider using eco coffins is an excellent one: but before we consider our individual choice of final package, can we not target the elimination of wasteful overpackaging generally in all aspects of life? If you walk round any supermarket you can find hundreds of examples where products could be packaged in a more eco-friendly way, where the size of a box could be reduced by half to make two (because it is only half-filled when you open it up), where many products do not even need to packaged at all but ARE for the convenience of the retailers so that they can hang products on their appropriate hooks on their shelves and stands.
I may not be the first to say this, but a campaign against overpackaging by ecowarriors is long overdue.

Kath Botterill
Green Theme International Home Exchange

Kay Plunkett-Hogge said...

When we were in Provence recently none of the supermarkets offered any bags at all, so unkess you wanted to carry your groceries balanced on your head, you have to bring a bag! After forgetting once or twice- you tend to remember them!!
If, however, we do end up with supermarket plastic bags ( and we do, let's be honest), give them to the charity will stop them having to produce their own which seems a bit of a ridiculous bite into their profits.
I LOVE the coffin!! Count me in...
Good going Boydy!