I’ve always been interested in the green stories of other moms. There is so much to be learned from each other and this is undoubtedly the reason Mom Goes Green was born!
Recently, supermodel (and mom!) Cheryl Tiegs was gracious enough to answer a few of my questions about her own experiences going green and provide advice for moms everywhere. She is a lifelong environmentalist and health and wellness advocate, as well as the current sustainability spokesperson for Cambria, a producer of natural quartz surfaces for the home.
Cheryl: I don’t know if there was an actual turning point, but I grew up on a farm in Minnesota so I think I’ve always had a lot of respect for the land. I actually started recycling about 20 years ago. At that time I had to tie all my newspapers together, package up all the bottles and cans, put them in my car and take them to the recycling center. That’s how I remember starting and it wasn’t easy in those days.
MGG: How has being a mom affected your perspective on environmental issues?
Cheryl: I think that children and others are inspired by example. We want to positively inspire our children. For instance, with my son, I know if someone comes to my house and throws a plastic bottle in the waste basket he will take it out and throw it in the recycling bin because he has been influenced by me when it comes to recycling. Mothers are a huge influence on the community and their families. It doesn’t matter if you’re a working mother or a stay at home mother. In fact, I’m a little of both. As mothers we need to be role models and that makes our actions, in terms of the environment, even more important.
MGG: As a mom, what is your greatest environmental concern?
Cheryl: I see a lot of waste and I see that a lot of people simply don’t care. It’s so easy to do little things, many of which are very simple and save money at the same time. It’s the only planet we’ve got – everyone needs to start taking better care of it.
MGG: What is your favorite story about “going green”?
Cheryl: I did a show with my dear friend Ed Begley, Jr. called “Living with Ed.” I invited him to walk through my house and make suggestions on how to make it more “green”. At the end of the show, I asked Ed whether, in a pinch, it was better to use paper or plastic bags. He said “NEITHER” and he would not budge from that stance. For that reason, if I get caught at the grocery store without my cloth bags, I’ve been known to first fill my purse with groceries and then take off my coat or sweatshirt, tie up the sleeves and use that to carry the groceries out to my car. Someone once asked me what I would do if the paparazzi saw me carrying groceries in this way. I said “I hope they do see this. I hope they ask me why I’m carrying my groceries this way and I’m not one iota ashamed of it either!”
MGG: What one thing should everyone do to combat our environmental issues?
Cheryl: Recycle, recycle, recycle. No matter where I am, I recycle. If I bring the New York Times on a plane, or magazines, I do not stuff them into the pocket of the seat. I put them back in my bag and I recycle them, or carry them back home. In a hotel room I don’t throw them in a waste basket either. I make sure they are recycled. On a TV set, (including the current set of “True Beauty”) I always go to the producer and ask for a big garbage bin that says “Recycle”. They are always happy to supply one. Whether I’m at home, traveling or at work I make sure I recycle everything I use, and encourage everyone around me to do the same.
MGG: What environmental initiatives are you currently working on?
Cheryl: Right now, I’m part of a campaign for Cambria to help raise awareness of things we can all do to keep the air inside our homes cleaner. Many people don’t know that indoor pollutants like radon and asbestos cause a high percentage of lung cancers, problems with asthma and other respiratory conditions. Cambria felt that it was important to raise awareness that indoor air can be just as polluted as outdoor air, making it an important consideration when building, remodeling, decorating or simply cleaning a home. There are lots of easy, inexpensive ways to test for these toxins, and more people should be doing it. Visit www.CambriaUSA.com to see a set of easy, inexpensive tips for keeping the air inside your homes safe and clean.
Mom Goes Green would like to send a big thanks to Cheryl! I’m so grateful that she took the time to share… and she makes a whole lot of sense… it IS the only planet we’ve got!
(For more information about Cheryl Tiegs’ current campaign for better indoor air and for tips and advice on keeping pollution out of your own home, click here.)