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 issue.

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Dear Dot: Any Ideas for Earth-Friendly Wrapping Paper?

Dear Dot, My 10-year-old daughter is very eco-conscious and doesn’t want her gifts wrapped in anything that isn’t “compostable, recycled, or reusable.” I love the look of brightly wrapped gifts beneath the tree — preferably in...

Dear Dot: Dishwasher or Handwash — Which Method Saves Water?

Dear Dot,This has always been a burning question for me. What’s the most efficient water use for cleaning dishes — handwashing in sink or running through dishwasher?–Maria, Arlington, Vermont Dear Maria,It is my utter delight to...

Dear Dot: Should I Rake My Fall Leaves or Leave Them Alone?

Dear Dot, I always wrestle with this fall question: Should I rake when I'm tired of the clutter on the lawn, or should I wait until all the leaves have fallen? Is there any benefit to...

Dear Dot: What Are The Best Dog Poop Bags?

Dear Dot, We buy and use compostable doggie bags for our pup’s poops. But we typically toss them in the garbage so is there any point to compostable bags? Are they still better than non-compostable or...

Dear Dot: How Can I Celebrate Without Balloons?

Dear Dot, How can I celebrate an event without balloons? –Cathy, Chilmark, Mass. Dear Cathy, One day in third grade, my teacher Mrs. Wright showed us a movie in which a young child encounters a balloon that seems to...

Dear Dot: How Do I Start Divesting?

Dear Dot,I’m really impressed when I hear about universities divesting from big oil. I know that the biggest impact I could make would be to follow suit. Why is it I’m having such a hard...

Dear Dot: Does Recycled Toilet Paper Really Make a Difference?

Dear Dot, My husband is harping about the toilet paper I purchase, the super-soft kind that’s easy on my delicate nether region. He says I’m a tree killer and that it’s bad for our septic. But...

Dear Dot: Do Trees Reduce Pollution?

Dear Dot, The other day we were talking about how much oxygen a tree can produce from CO2 and we got to wondering — do trees remove particulate matter from the air too? –Will, Seattle Dear Will, Trees sprout,...

Dear Dot: How Do I Dispose of Cooking Oils?

Dear Dot,  I recently read an article about “fatbergs” in our sewers and I’m afraid I might have been part of the problem. I’m wondering what is the best way to dispose of cooking oil? —Concerned Cook,...

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POLL: Would You Buy Solar from Ikea?

Would you be more likely to purchase solar panels if they were available at a large retailer?IKEA has introduced solar panels in select California markets,...

Dear Dot: Any Ideas for Earth-Friendly Wrapping Paper?

Dear Dot, My 10-year-old daughter is very eco-conscious and doesn’t want her gifts wrapped in anything that isn’t “compostable, recycled, or reusable.” I love the...

Humans in Bird Costumes Bring Whooping Cranes Back to Louisiana’s Wetlands

Eva Szyszkoski grew up on a farm on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula where her family always had a brood of chickens. Later, while studying biology...

RECIPE: Chicken Tikka Masala

Everyone loves Nicole Cabot’s slow-cooked tikka masala, perfectly spiced with fork-tender pieces of chicken. It can be cooked in a Crock Pot or in...

RECIPE: Roasted Apple, Pear, and Beet Salad

This is the time of year to focus on buying and eating root vegetables like beets. It’s also the perfect time to make use...