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: 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,...

Dear Dot: How Do I Find Sustainable Coffee?

Dear Dot,Coffee, how do I choose? It says locally brewed but does that mean it’s better for the environment? What do all those labels mean? What should I look for?–Curious Coffee Connoisseur Dear Triple C, I, too,...

Dear Dot: Is It Time to Ditch Diamond Engagement Rings?

Dear Dot, My longtime partner and I are planning to get married. I don’t usually go for a lot of the conventional stuff but we have decided to give each other rings. I’ve heard some nasty...

Dear Dot: Compost or Recycle Paper and Cardboard?

Dear Dot, In my town, we have curbside paper/cardboard recycling, but we also have municipal composting that accepts paper/cardboard. Is it better to recycle paper or compost it? —Nikki Dear Nikki, When I first considered your question, I...

Dear Dot: Is parchment paper reusable?

Dear Dot, I’ve been doing a lot of pandemic baking. Can I reuse or recycle my parchment paper?  –Nancy, West Tisbury Dear Nancy,  As long as there’s no discoloration, feel free to reuse your parchment paper a few times....

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Cleo’s Clean Cooking: Best Ever Flourless Chocolate Brownies

Cleo Carney is a high school junior in Ottawa, Canada, and part of the Bluedot team. In addition to being an adventurous baker who...

Mr. Fix-it: How to Repair Roof Shingles

Mr. Fix-it helps you get more life out of your stuff. Why buy something new if you can fix what you've got? In this...

Floodplain Restoration Offers Hope for California’s Endangered Fish

California’s wetlands and floodplains are making a comeback. For decades, agricultural expansion and worsening drought conditions in the state have drained waterways and threatened...

Meet Caroline MacDougall: Founder of Teeccino

Caroline MacDougall was working as Minister of Herbs, sourcing herbs from around the world for the Republic of Tea, when she had a dream....

RECIPE: Plant-Based Caramelized Onion Soup with Cheese Toasts

Serves 6 French-style onion soup is a comfort food that can be remade without the traditional beef stock. It’s easier, healthier — and perfect for...