Variety [do good] Going Green

Every movement has their spokespeople, and going green is no different. Meet some of the proponents for a more organic lifestyle.

Dec 2007 

Carly Milne

Renée Loux

Claim to fame: Raw food chef, consultant for greencentric companies like Exhale spa, author of "The Balanced Plate." In April, will launch "It's Easy Being Green" on Fine Living.

How she started greening: "I had an epiphany one day after washing dishes with non-biodegradable soap for a friend. In that one moment, I was undoing all the effort I'd made in my own life of trying to live green. I really feel strongly that to live eco-minded, it's no longer necessary to sacrifice our comforts or luxuries to be really green."

Top Tips: Start with soap, looking for naturally based suds with vegetable oils versus petroleum. Move on to light bulbs that are more energy efficient, which can lessen the demand on a grid and lower your electric bill. Then start adding houseplants. "THe EPA reports that indoor air is up to 10 times more polluted that outdoor air thanks to modern living, and plants can clean the air," says Loux. "They actually pull chemicals like formaldehyde and benzene, two of the chemicals most pervasive in homes and offices, out of the air."

Danny Seo

Claim to Fame: Author of "Simply Green Living" and "Simply Green Parties." Founded Earth 2000, the largest environmental group for teens.

How he started greening: "I've always been an environmental activist, but when I was interning in Washington I went shopping on a lunch break and found Polo making hemp shirts. I stashed the bag under my desk like I was ashamed, which prompted me to argue that one could be green and gorgeous."

Top Tips: Worry about the big issues, like flooring, brands of paint, carpeting. When remodeling your home, use the scraps for new things. Says Seo, "Curate, don't redecorate." Lastly, education. "Don't ger a PhD in Environmental Sciences, but with anything new, you start by following instructions. Fix your bad habits and eventually everything is intuitive."

Susie Wyshak

Claim to Fame: Founder of DaLata Designs, whose pop-top skirts and purses have graced the pages of Elle.

How she started greening: "I live in San Francisco and went to college in Berkley, so it's become ingrained in me. I recycle and shred everything, buy things that have as little packaging as possible and buy recycled things as well."

Top Tips: Have clothing exchange parties where friends trade last season's unwanted duds. Refashion old faves into new styles with scissors, a sewing machine, crocheting, etc. "Look at the materials they use to make clothing," Wyshak says. "For example, I check if recycled plastic bottles were used in the manufacturing of fleece."

Laura Hidgon

Claim to Fame: Founder Lilipad Studio, maker of children's furniture.

How she started greening: "It started years ago with my choice to buy organic foods and make better choices as a consumer, but then when I went looking for good children's furniture I realized there wasn't any out there."

Top Tips: Eliminate the amount of plastics around your children, lookin gfor different options for toys and containers. When creating a nursery, look for non-volatile organic compounds. "All the paint I buy is through a company that is green-seal approved, which means there's a certification process that company has spent a lot of money and rigorous testing toensure all their products have low V.O.C.," Hidgon says. Anddon't forget to explain to your kids why you're making these choices.