A New Shade of Green
My fascination with our planet began when I was eight years old. It started the summer my family moved to rural Brandenburg, Kentucky, outside of Louisville. My father was in the military so I’d already lived in four different states, mostly on army bases. Brandenburg was different from anything I’d ever known.
Our white farmhouse included an expansive front porch with a wooden swing, where I was quickly swept up in the awe of late afternoon thunderstorms. My days were consumed with exploring the surrounding farmland and tending to our large garden, the pigs, rabbits, and horses. Then there were the dozens of pet cats and our trusted guard dog Leo. I even kept a wild catfish alive for years in a trough beside the barn.
It was in Brandenburg that I was introduced to the raw power of nature. As we unpacked the boxes in our new home, people in the town were still piecing their homes back together. Three months earlier, Brandenburg was nearly wiped out by an F5 tornado, one of 148 tornadoes that ravaged 13 states and killed hundreds during the “Super Outbreak” that began on April 3, 1974. Nearly every home or business in Brandenburg was damaged or destroyed and 31 citizens lost their lives.
I have many memories of waiting out tornado warnings with my family in the dark root cellar where the potatoes dug from our garden were stored. I also vividly remember the afternoon that lightning struck the metal fence in our yard. I was holding onto it while yelling for my father to come in from an approaching storm. I wasn’t hurt, but the jolt is one that I’ll never forget. Even our house was at the mercy of these electrical storms. An electrical outlet on the outside wall of the farmhouse was never grounded properly and would become charged for hours following a direct hit. I still laugh thinking about the stick we kept near the back door so we could open the metal screen door without getting shocked.
My time in Brandenburg would teach me how dependent we are upon nature. In the next phase of my life I would complete the circle and learn how nature is also dependent upon us.
I took my passion to Metropolitan State College of Denver, in Colorado, where I earned a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology. I intended to spend my career researching the inner workings of thunderstorms, until an internship in the weather office at KUSA-TV led to a seventeen-year career in front of the camera.
Ultimately, I became Chief Meteorologist for a station in Charlotte, NC. In addition to providing nightly weather forecasts, I created opportunities to educate my viewers about natural gardening techniques and the importance of protecting our fresh water supply. However, I was frustrated that there wasn’t a natural platform as a television meteorologist to talk about the damage that we were doing to the planet and the many things we could do to lessen our impact. So when the opportunity presented itself, I decided to do something about it.
Changing the conversation
Today my mission is focused on one thing: redefining the green movement in this country.
Going green is not just about greenhouse gases or rising sea levels. It’s not a political movement or a political statement. Going green is about making smarter choices with decisions you make everyday that will create a lifestyle that the planet can actually support. One that’s better for the planet and better for you! My passion, as a scientist and a mom, is to change the current conversation taking place about “going green” so we can remove the roadblocks to creating a healthier lifestyle and ultimately a healthier planet.
Living green is not about doing just one green thing. Living green is about exploring the hundreds of ways we can create a sustainable way of living. I want to empower you with all the tools you need to go green because it’s simply the right thing to do.
Takeaways for your family
In the chapters that follow, you’ll be given enough information to decide for yourself what’s most important for your family and your lifestyle. You’ll be able to decide where to spend your eco-friendly dollars and where you can save by going green. You’ll learn how making smarter choices will save resources while saving you money.
In the Appendix, you’ll find a round-up of resources including my Top 5 Lists, green-cleaning recipes, a room by room checklist to help you get started and solutions for healthier or cost-effective alternatives to things we do every day. You will also find many more resources at DoYourPart.com, like how-to videos and the latest news and information that will help you Do Your Part every day.
My goal with this book is to empower you with the knowledge to make smarter choices for you and your family — choices that can be convenient and cost- effective. We’ll begin by taking a cold, hard look at the facts so we can get guilt and politics off the table. Then we’ll look at the simple changes you can make to Do Your Part to create healthier children, healthier homes, and a healthier planet.