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: Should I Burn Paper or Send it to Landfill?

Dear Dot, I am charged with supplying toilet paper in public toilets. This consists of replacing eighty to 100 rolls per week, leaving me with 80 – 100 tubes and wrappers. Which is worse for the...

Dear Dot: Is it Safe to Eat from a Bulging Can? 

Dear Dot When I was growing up, I was told that, as long as a food can isn’t bulging, it’s safe to eat. Is that true? —Chris The Short Answer: A bulging can isn’t necessarily indicative of botulism,...

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: Are (Winter) Tires Bad for the Environment? 

Dear Dot, I recently swapped out my regular tires for winter ones. But what impact do winter tires have on fuel economy? What about pollution? Are certain tires better for the environment than others? –Bob The Short Answer:...

Dear Dot: What are Some Gift Alternatives to Store-Bought Stuff?

Dear Dot, While there are things I love about the holidays, the rampant consumerism depresses me. But friends and family still expect me to give them something. Any suggestions? —Steph The Short Answer: There are many ways to...

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: How Can I Invest in Earth-Friendly Funds?

Dear Dot, Does Dot know anything about responsible investing for 401(k) plans? I was looking at mine last night and realized I have an aggressive portfolio and know nothing about the companies. —Ali Dear Ali, While Dot tends to...

Dear Dot: How Can I Unclog a Drain without Drano?

Dear Dot, I have a bathroom drain that clogs a lot. I don’t want to dump a bunch of corrosive chemicals down my drain (and into our waterways). Is there a better way to unclog it?  –Evelyn The...

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In A Word: Phenology

phe·nol·o·gynoun: /fəˈnäləjē/ the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life. As a kid, I thought magnolia...