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: 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...

Dear Dot: But what about (road) salt?

Dear Dot, Can I put salt on my sidewalk or paths to get rid of ice? If not, why not? What alternatives work best? –Mark, Edgartown Dear Mark, Two decades ago, the house Mr. Dot and I bought to...

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Dear Dot: I Need a Deck Discussion

Dot discusses decks from her deck.

A Letter from the Editors of Bluedot Living

For a relative newcomer to Martha’s Vineyard it’s the ocean that dazzles. But spend any time here and you’ll realize that, to longtime Islanders,...

SLIDESHOW: The Art of The Great Ponds

For more great ponds art, join us at Bluedot's event: "The Art of Martha's Vineyard's Great Ponds."

What’s So Bad About … Pavement?

It’s easy to overlook that stuff beneath our feet and our vehicles. But reimagining our paved spaces can go a long way toward not...

Right at Home: The Sun People of Vineyard Haven

Emily and Steve Solarazza are really committed to solar power.  When I walk up to Steve and Emily Solarazza’s 600-square foot Vineyard Haven home on...