Dear Dot ™

Dear Dot is here to answer all your sustainable living questions from her perch on the porch. Got a question for Dot? Send her a note for a chance to be featured in an upcoming issue.

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Dear Dot: I’m Having Easter Anxiety

Dear Dot,When I was a child the Easter bunny would come to my house and leave a special basket filled with plastic straw, candy, and a new stuffed bunny to add to the pile. I...

Dear Dot: Should I ever turn down my hot water heater?

Dear Dot, What should I do with the temperature on my water heater when I leave for a week’s vacation? –Wayne, West Tisbury Dear Wayne, Your question raises something of a tempest in a water heater. On the one...

Dear Dot: Where do batteries go when they die?

Dear Dot, I seem to have a lot of battery-operated gadgets in my home. Should I switch over entirely to rechargeables? –Laura, Vineyard Haven Dear Laura, The short answer to your question is — yes, switch out those disposable...

Dear Dot: Is grass-fed beef any more sustainable than grain-fed?

Dear Dot I recently read that grass-fed beef is not better than grain-fed for greenhouse gas emissions and, in fact, may be worse. What does Dot know about that? –Robert, Chilmark Dear Robert, What Dot knows is that, many...

Dear Dot: What do all those sustainability certifications mean?

Dear Dot,  I never know what to think about the sustainability certification labels on various products. Are they reliable?  –Michael Dear Dot, I recently bought a piece of FSC-certified furniture from Pottery Barn. That’s a win, yes? –Victoria Dear Michael and...

Dear Dot: Why would anyone opt out of renewable energy?

Dear Dot, I was thrilled to hear from a friend that Martha’s Vineyard runs entirely on renewable energy from Cape Light Compact but that some people opt out. Why would they do that?  –Rick, West Tisbury Dear Rick, Let...

Dear Dot: Can I use food past its expiration date?

Dear Dot, How accurate are the best-before dates on packages? What can I do with non-compostable food, like meat and cheese and yogurt that have gone bad? –J.K. Dear J.K., Just last week I unearthed a block of blue...

Dear Dot: Can I flush kitty litter?

Dear Dot, My biodegradable cat litter says it's flushable. We have a septic tank, which makes me hesitant to flush. What should I do? –Rona, West Tisbury Dear Rona, I too am possessor of both a septic system and...

Dear Dot: How do I take the first step toward solar?

Dear Dot, I would like to put solar panels on my home. Can you recommend reputable solar companies servicing the Island? —Lisa Maxfield, Oak Bluffs Dear Lisa, Fifteen years ago, Mr. Dot and I were forced to rebuild our...

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Right at Home: Two Sisters Build Green

Editors’ note: The sisters preferred not to be named in this story.  The story begins in a familiar way. Martha’s Vineyard is the site of...

Room for Change: Rugs

I have never liked wall-to-wall carpeting. But a night on the carpet of the Delhi airport sealed the deal. I landed in Delhi around...

Wild Caught: There’s Plenty of Fish in the Sea Surrounding M.V.

“My grandfather built this boat in the mid to late ’30s,” says Denny Jason, Jr., a second-generation fisherman, standing next to The Little Lady,...

RECIPE: Black Sea Bass Piccata

For more information on sourcing fresh local fish, and more recipes, check out "Wild Caught." Eating fish that are plentiful and in season goes a...

RECIPE: Sea Scallops with Parsnip Puree and Herbs

For more information on sourcing fresh local fish, and more recipes, check out "Wild Caught." Pristine sea scallops arrive at Vineyard fish docks daily, caught...