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: What's Behind the (Low) Price of Cashmere?

Dear Dot, I wear a lot of cashmere in the winter. I know that might sound snooty, but I do it because wool makes my neck itch. I've noticed that in recent years, I can buy...

Dear Dot: Garbage Disposal or Compost?

Dear Dot, As I assess peels and skins and tops and petals and stems, I often wonder: Where should I put this? It's equally easy for me to put most scraps in the compost or down...

Dear Dot: How Can I Stop The Onslaught of Catalogs?

Dear Dot, Can you help me figure out how to stop all the catalogs I get in the mail? A terrible waste of paper!   –Virginia, Santa Barbara Dear Virginia, It can feel like something of a mystery in our...

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...

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In A Word: Mitumba

mitumba in British English (mɪˈtʊmbə) NOUN a. used clothes imported for sale in African countries from more developed western countries b. (as modifier) the mitumba economy If you’ve ever considered whether...