Tuesday, March 25, 2008


The shop, Recycled Ideas, specializes in two things - monkeys and handmade paper. This artist with a PhD started studying primates which led to her concern for the environment and the start of her eco-business.

1. When did you decide to start making eco-friendly stuff and what triggered your going green?After college I worked for the National Audubon Society on grassroots environmental campaign. By then I was already all for living a more sustainable lifestyle and making handmade paper out of junk mail. In fact, I sent my cover letter and resume to them on my handmade paper!
2. What recycled, reused, or eco-concious materials do you typically use? What is your favorite?I love re-using containers. When we buy food, we usually buy food that has little or no packaging, but when we can't do that, I look for packaging that I know I'll be able to use for storage. I also love that I found felt to use in my OrnaMonkeys line of felt monkey ornaments that is made from 100% post-consumer material (plastic bottles).
3. What non-art or craft related things do you try to do to lead an eco-savvy life?The biggest thing my family has done to live a more carbon-neutral lifestyle is to move to a community where we could live within walking distance to work, stores, banking, the post office. We drive less than once a week, which has had the hilarious result of me not knowing what the price of gas is at the same time many people are fretting about it. Our community also gets its energy from one of the largest windmill farms in the U.S. We use a low flow shower head, an Autralian style half-flush toilet, front loading washer, and do not keep a green lawn. Instead we opted for plants like lavender that grow well in our area without watering. If I had to pick one thing we could do better to live a more green lifestyle, it would be putting more insulation in our attic.
4. What is the one thing you wish people would do more of to contribute to the green cause?That's a great question. Adjust their values? Drive less? Watch less TV? Recycle more? I don't know - all of the above? Although I am making money to pay bills by selling things, I still wish people would overcome their addiction to stuff. Conspicuous consumption is a major threat to a sustainable lifestyle. As more and more people around the world imitate the American lifestyle, the earth's resources get eaten up. We'd need 9 more Earths to keep up. We could all stand to buy less, re-use more before we throw it away, and recycle or repurpose what no longer works. And if you have to buy new, at least by something that has been recycled. These days, all kinds of inventive, attractive elegant products are being made with previously used materials.

5. Do you have a green hero? Artist or environmentalist or just uber-eco friend? Jane Goodall. She has started an organization based on her love of primates that is helping teach not only the people of Tanzania (where the chimps she studied live) but also kids around the world, about conservation. Her Roots and Shoots organizations have sprouted 'backyard' environmental conservation and empowered a whole generation of young people to make positive changes in their communities.http://www.rootsandshoots.org/

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