Celebrate Green! An Author Interview

One of the greatest treasures many of us have is our books.  They’re funny, they’re entertaining, and every so often, they’re truly inspiring.  These books are the things I lug to Germany with me instead of the essential things like cheap American socks and peanut butter cups.

The latest addition to my collection tops them all in the inspiration category.  I’m constantly flipping through Celebrate Green! by Corey Colwell-Lipson and Lynn Colwell.

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This mother/daughter team is dynamite.  Their book is all about creating eco-savvy holidays, celebrations, and traditions for the whole family.  They don’t throw overwhelming data at you.  They just offer casual, good ideas.  One of my favorites is the list of things to put in Easter baskets instead of candy.  (Who knew wooden animals could sound so scrumptious?)

A lot of green books tell you to put solar panels on your roof and rip out your heating system to build a more eco-friendly one.  Those are all good, but they’re totally out of our price range.  That’s probably the best thing about this book.  At $24.95, it’s a major bang for your buck.  I’ll be going the rest of my life with it and still be turning to this book for more practical and affordable ideas.  Celebrate Green! is the cherry in my fruit cocktail.  It’s going to spend the rest of its life in Germany with me (or wherever I am), especially because I can’t help noticing… it’s made of 100% recycled paper.

So while I kept drooling (and drooling) over this book, I decided to do something bold.  I wrote to Lynn and Corey.  We’ve chatted up a storm, and now I’m pleased to present you with a fabulous interview.  It’s a little bonus footage for you by two women who are just as fabulous as they sound…


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Lynn and Corey, we hear a lot of talk about how important it is for us to make greener choices.  But why should we be altering our lifestyles to make these decisions, especially when it’s harder and occasionally costs more?

In our minds, it’s about basic values. So many people have become slaves to “stuff.” Everything in modern life seems to point us toward acquiring more and more. We’re used to working hard in order to buy things, not to have a better life. Anyone who reads this most likely has his or her basic needs met, so working to acquire is about things other than our needs. Why shouldn’t we work equally as hard to preserve the Earth, to support our neighbors and to ensure a better world for our children?

Making greener, or more eco-friendly choices isn’t about taking anything away. It’s about stepping back and looking honestly at our lives, deciding if we’re living in accordance with our values, then doing what we can to bring our lives into alignment with what we believe. And what if it does cost more? So what? What is the cost to us, our children and the planet when we live the way we have been? Now that is expensive!

Have you always been environmentally focused, or did you learn over time?

Corey became a vegetarian at age 16. Her interest in the environment grew from there. When her children were born, she became particularly interested in how chemicals in clothing, bedding and toys might affect children. As a marriage and family therapist, she is well aware of the influence of the environment on child development. Her idea about starting Green Halloween®, sprung not only from her desire to find a way to improve the holiday not only for her children, but for all kids as well as the planet.

We joke that Corey is green from the tips of her toes to the top of her head and Lynn is green, about up to her knees. In other words, Lynn is still in elementary school when it comes to the greening of her personal life. But she’s an enthusiastic learner! And many of the things she did when raising her own family, were environmentally friendly even though at the time, that was not the intention. She jokes that the friends who now call her eco-friendly, used to just call her cheap! She’s been an avid crafter all her life and all the crafts in the book are ones she made, mostly from recycled items or things she’s collected. Her love of family has made it easy to focus on meaning over stuff because that’s what she’s always done.

Could you give us a few of your favorite tips for making our homes and holidays eco-savvy?

We are madly in love with the idea of using fabric instead of paper for gift wrapping. Everyone has extra pieces of fabric lying around, whether napkins, dresses, sheets, or even socks. You can find simple instructions for wraps in our book or online. A lot of people tell us they wrap with comics or leftover newspaper. Although it’s always good to recycle rather than toss, fabric wraps can be used almost forever and they look absolutely gorgeous (see bobowrap for ideas). And if you use old scarves, for instance, the wrapping becomes a second gift.

Another idea we think is great is to skip the fancy centerpieces and get your guests involved in the table décor. Ask each guest to bring a small item that has some meaning to them. Place all the items in a glass bowl. Add a beeswax candle on either side of the bowl if you like. Sometime during the meal, ask each guest to remove the item and explain why they chose to bring it. You’ll have created a no-cost centerpiece with meaning!

Our third tip is to keep your mood upbeat and positive when you propose replacing something your family knows and loves with something new and green. For instance, brainstorm some green ideas for your child’s upcoming birthday (feel free to check out our birthday section on our website, Celebrate Green! Write the ideas on pieces of paper and put into a jar. Then have the birthday child choose one. Doing a single eco-friendly act that works just fine, will encourage more changes. Remember small steps add up.

Finally, if you could pick one green thing that feels closest to your heart, that thing you would shout from the rooftops and tell people to get greening, what would it be?

It’s easy and it doesn’t cost a thing! Reduce, reuse, recycle. What could be better, more simple or cheaper?

(images from Celebrate Green)