Let me guess: you're wondering why Vanityfair.com asked me to write about the environment. I'll be the first to admit that I'm no Al Gore. What I am, though, is a working mom who's trying to adapt to our changing world by changing her lifestyle. Think of me as your eco-everywoman.
As a mother, you obviously want to feel good about the Earth you're leaving to your children, but there was something else going on as well: my kids were making me feel guilty! They go to a very environmentally aware school, where they do beach clean-ups and hand out cloth bags and reusable bottles. I guess it's part of living in Malibu, but I think my kids would look down on me if they caught me wasting plastic.
Ungrateful little jerks.
I could start by making little changes. Did you know when you leave appliances plugged in they are still draining electricity? I didn't. So I started by unplugging one thing—a toaster, my cell-phone charger, the TV in the guest bedroom.
That's actually three things.
I wasn't ready to rough it with recycled toilet paper, but I decided I could live with recycled napkins and paper towels. Maybe I'll start buying the toilet paper too. A little roughness will be worth it in the long run.
Iron butt! But what about water quality issues, Cindy?
I liked the idea of drinking tap water, maybe because I've never lived in a place where the tap water tasted bad. New York City water tastes good, Illinois, where I grew up, tastes good, and Malibu tastes good. The problem is, taste isn't everything. You don't taste some of the bad stuff. New York City says it has the safest water in the world, because they test the water. But that's at the plant. They don't test the water after it's gone through pipes that might be 100 years old.