Turning Green: The first step in a journey towards greener living

By Dolores Tropiano

Green is my least favorite color. I don’t have green decor anywhere in my home, don’t own any green clothing (save for that faded green T-shirt I pull out every St. Patrick’s Day), and I have a very hard time with jealous people.

And yet here I am, working at Green Living magazine and (gasp) sitting in an office with one wall so green I feel like I’m staring at artificial turf all day.

The first hour on the job it really hit me. I was tossing an orange peel into the trash when a hand swept down like a seagull on the beach and quickly intercepted it. It was a quick lesson in office composting. Legal pads, Post-its and all those other precious paper products that I love were strangely absent from the setting. And I had to remind myself every morning as I got out of the car not to bring in a plastic water bottle or the Panera coffee that was sitting in the cupholder.

So, if any of you pick up our publication and think we have all arrived at Emerald City, rest assured. Here at Green Living headquarters, we are not perfect at our practice of eco-friendly living. In fact, we seem to be at different points on our trek, with me possibly stumbling a bit behind the others. So relax, enjoy the magazine, and don’t be discouraged. We all have to start somewhere, and I am currently — at 10:32 a.m. March 6 — a very, very, light hint of green. I recycle and, uh…oh, I drop off used clothing to the local thrift store several times a year.

But you know, for a moment, while I was writing this, a memory came to mind and I realized something. Although I had not recognized it at the time, living sustainably was a part of my childhood. When I was growing up, I was embarrassed by my parents gathering rain water in our backyard in Farmingdale, New York. Coffee grounds, egg shells and scraps (not many) from my mom’s Italian meals (not many) always had a place around the plants that grew there, especially in the large garden which took up a third of our suburban yard. There were six sections where corn, string beans, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants and many varieties of plump, juicy tomatoes grew. When the produce was harvested, the fruits of our labor were quietly left on the neighbor’s doorsteps in recycled grocery bags.

Those are my roots, and while I was always one to wander, like many people I seem to be returning to them now. I am poised for growth and perhaps you are, too.

Over the next couple of months, I plan to share my process of turning green. My hope is that this space serves as a place to encourage others, like me, who are just stepping into the green scene. I would also welcome (friendly) suggestions from those further along on their planet protecting path.  


Dolores Tropiano is the new managing editor for Green Living magazine. She comes to the publication after years in the newspaper and TV business. Tropiano lives in Scottsdale with her husband, Alain, her two boys, Andre and Dante and a maltipoo named Milou. Email her at dolores@greenlivingaz.com.

2 Comments
  1. I’m looking forward to taking this journey with you! I could relate to so much of what you wrote and am “re-inspired” to live greener.

  2. I love this. I think back to my Grandma who kept at least 27 neatly stacked and cleaned out cool-whip containers in her cupboard in case guests wanted to take leftovers home after the big farm dinners she hosted. The (recent) roots of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ in my family.

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