Dear Dot ™

Dear Dot is here to answer all your sustainable living questions from her perch on the porch. Got a question for Dot? Send her a note for a chance to be featured in an upcoming post.

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Dear Dot: Is It Okay if I Plant Seed Paper? 

Dear Dot, I recently received a card that’s printed on “seed” paper — that paper that has wildflower seeds embedded in it that we, presumably, should plant. But with all the talk about planting native species,...

Dear Dot: Is Pollution the Reason for a Beautiful Sunset?

Dear Dot, I saw the most amazing sunset last night. Someone told me the beautiful red color is because of pollution? Is there any truth to that? —Whitney The Short Answer: Those vibrant colors we see at...

Dear Dot: Where Should I Buy a House?

I’m a realtor curious about how climate change is going to impact where people will want to live. What are some climate change concerns people should be considering before committing to a next home/next location? –Karen Dear...

Dear Dot: Is Fake Grass Better Than the Real Thing? 

Dear Dot, I’ve heard about artificial grass as a water-saving alternative to real grass, but if it's plastic, is the fake stuff really eco-friendly?  – Randi, San Diego The short answer: Artificial turf is not a good alternative,...

Dear Dot: Air Dry or Paper Towels?

Dear Dot, If I'm in a public bathroom and I have a choice between paper towels and an electric hand dryer, which should I choose? I imagine it depends a lot on whether those towels are...

Dear Dot: Where Can I Find Earth-Friendly Sheets?

Dear Dot, I’m looking for bed sheets that are both happy to sleep on, and aren’t bad news for our environment. What should I look for? —Dawn My dear Dawn, Are you the same Dawn who wanted to deter...

Dear Dot: Is Green Electricity More Expensive?

Dear Dot, How green is my electricity and is that why it's so expensive?  –Roberto, San Diego Dear Roberto, The forces that keep our lights on can often seem shrouded in mystery. But it’s actually not mysterious at all....

Dear Dot: Does Being Vegan or Vegetarian Help the Environment?

Dear Dot, How much does being a vegan or vegetarian help the environment?  –Jessica The Short Answer: Put simply, Jessica, veganism and vegetarianism offer a clear environmental advantage over meat consumption.  Dear Jessica,  Dot’s eldest daughter once had a friend...

Dear Dot: Must I Remove Packing Tape and Labels Before Recycling Amazon Boxes?

Dear Dot, While Amazon and other online stores are using more recyclable packaging, they all come covered with packing tape and labels. Can cardboard boxes be recycled when covered with all of that, or does that...

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Hungry, Hungry Sea Otters

Conservation efforts that aided in the return of sea otters to a California estuary after overhunting and industrialization dramatically damaged the top predator’s population...

Climate Quick Tip: Plastic-Less Party Planning

When planning your next hosting gig: Avoid single-use plastic dishes and straws and instead opt for reusable plates, cups, and cutlery. More elegant and less...

Harness the Power of Rain All Year Long

Did you know that one inch of rain on a 1,000-square-foot surface like a roof can create over 600 gallons of water? Living in...

Dear Dot: Is It Okay if I Plant Seed Paper? 

Dear Dot, I recently received a card that’s printed on “seed” paper — that paper that has wildflower seeds embedded in it that we, presumably,...