As we start this new year in a midst of troubling news from the White House to Hollywood, it seems appropriate that I should take a look back at my original 18 questions posted when we launched eco18 back on July 18, 2011, and see if my answers have changed. The world has changed dramatically in many ways, but in some remains remarkably the same.
- What is your name?
Sue Taggart – no changes here!!
- What is your occupation?
Entrepreneur – still loving the challenges and the wins of building businesses.
- Do you have a “green” memory growing up?
Growing up in the rural area of Kent, I remember my grandfather growing all his own vegetables in the back garden. He also had an allotment—a parcel of land that the local county council made available for people to use to grow flowers and vegetables. Each allotment was about 10’x 15’ with a little shed to keep your gardening tools in. I thought it was such a great adventure as a kid when he would let me go with him to his “lotment” as I called it. Fertilizer didn’t come in convenient packages, he would walk behind the farmers’ horse and cart with his shovel and put the manure in a sack to spread over the garden – we had the biggest veggies! I didn’t even know we were green. It left me with an appreciation of fresh produce from garden to table without knowing it was organic
– while the memory is as strong as ever, I am making new ones with my feeble attempts at gardening at my house in the Catskill Mountains. As it’s more of a weekend getaway, it’s very challenging to grow my own vegetables, so I often frequent the numerous farmers markets for fresh picked organic produce.
- What’s your favorite meal?
That’s a toughie. I like so many things. Before I went green it was seared foie gras (sorry, so bad, I know!) and a really good cheese board. Now, I still love the cheese board, but would have to say one of my favorite meals is chilled curried summer squash soup that I make myself and a seared scallop and Mexican corn salad. Lobster with drawn butter would be on the top of the list too, as would baby lamb chops—cooked rare with some mint sauce (it’s the English in me!). I’m not much of a dessert person—I do make the most amazing mini-brownies with Grand Marnier, perfect with fresh raspberries and a scoop of Godiva white chocolate and raspberry swirl ice cream. But, I do remember the most amazing French Apple Tart I had in Paris once. I was in the Monmartre area, and had just snapped up the last apple tart in a small Patiserie just as it was closing. Sitting on a bench at the top of the hill with a magnificent view of Paris spread out before me as the sun was just going down – I have never forgotten that moment or the mouthwatering, buttery taste of the very best apple tart ever. I’m not sure anything will ever taste like that again!
– Ah, how things have changed!! I now lean much more towards healthy fruits and veggies as well as ancients grains. I’ve learned to appreciate eating what’s in season and enjoying simple meals. But I have never lost my love of cheese!
- Who/What inspires you to be more “green” in your life?
Not so much inspires me, but makes me think—kids. I don’t have any myself, but we all have a responsibility to leave the planet greener for the kids. After all, they are the ones inheriting all our problems.
– The blatant disregard for our planet is what inspires me to be more green – the pollution of our oceans, the melting ice caps and the denial of global warming. When our politicians don’t care, we have to take a stand. When greed disregards the common good, we have to make ourselves heard. And we do have a responsibility to leave the planet greener for the next generation.
- Where on the “green scale” do you fall?
I’d say right around the middle. I try to buy wind-powered products, but don’t always buy organic. I recycle and I try to buy things with the minimal packaging. Over-packaging drives me nuts. I like to support companies that have sustainable practices and good corporate responsibility.
– I’m much more aware of what I’m purchasing and how that can impact the planet. I like to support small brands that are really trying to make a difference. We write about them as often as we can. Personally, I’m still stuck in the middle. So this year I’m making a real commitment to move the needle, to consume more consciously.
- What are the most rewarding and most challenging parts of your job?
The two most rewarding parts of my job are, when it comes to the people that work with me, mentoring them and seeing them grow to realize their full potential, and when it comes to clients, executing really successful campaigns and knowing that what we do makes a difference to their company. The kind of brands we work with impact people’s health and wellness in a positive way. It’s good to know we are helping bring consumers options for a healthy lifestyle. I really also enjoy dealing with lots of different people, that can be both rewarding and a challenge at the same time! But the biggest challenge is my brain never stops, Ideas are constantly flowing, so it can be difficult keeping track of everything and deciding where to best focus my time – I enjoy doing everything, but of course that’s not possible and there are never enough hours in a day. I also do not suffer fools gladly and I hate rudeness and bad service.
– The one thing that has changed is a deep interest in women’s issues not just since the #MeToo campaign, but from a business perspective. Women’s entrepreneurship and the disparities between how men and women are able to scale their businesses and the huge wage gap that still exists in this so-called time of business equality. Working with organizations like NWBC (National Women’s Business Council) has been a real eye opener and I would encourage all aspiring (and existing) female entrepreneurs to check out their website https://www.nwbc.gov and the work they do to recommend much needed policy changes. Get involved in your local business communities, change may be slow, but it won’t happen without your involvement.
- Where’s your “greenspot”:
Oceans. I have always thought it would be so cool to be a marine biologist. I’ve always been fascinated with the sea, loved it as a kid and still do, whales are the most amazing creatures. The oceans are majestic and fragile at the same time. Our oceans are the soul of our planet, we have to preserve and protect them.
– Still my passion. Became involved with organizations and brands legislating to get microbeads out of beauty products. But there is still so much to do to stop plastics literally choking marine life to death as they continue to pollute our oceans. Our current government seems hell bent on overturning many environmental protection policies, so we have to make our voices heard and support organizations like http://oceana.org that fight to preserve our most precious environment.
- Where do you turn for your news?
I still watch TV for news and also read a lot online.
– We are in a really interesting “news” cycle. News or “fake news” it’s really hard to tell it apart these days. I still watch TV for the quick soundbites, but read a lot more online. There’s just so much information it’s total overload.
- What is one environmental change you vow to make in the next year?
I’ve got to give up paper towels and it seems to be the most difficult step for me. I remember what it was like before them and it’s so much easier now.
– OK, I failed miserably here…still using paper towels! But I gave up disposable coffee cups and use a refillable water bottle on my desk. Small steps!
- If you could trade places with one person from any time in history (past or present) for one day—who would it be and why?
Neil Armstrong, because I want to go to and walk on the moon. Plus, he came back, so that’s a good thing.
– Elon Musk, because he could get me to the moon – and back – that’s important to me!
- You have a meeting with the leader of every country in the world. You have 30 seconds to tell them anything you want. Go!
I would tell them to stop playing politics, stop the genocide, stop abuse to women, stop the hunger, stop war and to focus on being a human being.
– All of that and “Stop polluting our planet – it doesn’t belong to you so treat it with respect.”
- You have the chance to send one tweet to all the tweeps in the world. Let’s hear it in 140 characters, or less!
We can all make a difference. Please RT!
– Well now we have 280 characters, so I would say…. “Get your head out of your ass, do something before it’s too late. We can all make a difference. Please RT!
- If there was one industry/product that you could make more eco-friendly, what would it be?
Off shore drilling. We cannot be oil dependent on other countries and we can’t pollute the oceans either.
– Seems the US is going backwards and opening up off shore drilling. We have got to stop our dependence on oil. Buy a hybrid, put in solar panels and stop fighting windmills, I for one love how they look, I’d be happy to have them on my mountain.
- Where in the world would you most like to be right now?
Today I would say Casa Que Canta in Zihuatanejo. It means the house that sings and you can hear the wind go through it. If you ask me the same question on another day I might have a different answer, like in England to be with my mother or visiting Machu Picchu again – the most amazing place I have ever seen.
– Since writing my original answer, my mother in England passed away, but her spirit is very present. I have yet to get back to Machu Picchu, maybe this summer, but right now as we are freezing in New York I would have to say the Galápagos Islands. The temperature is in the 70’s and it’s somewhere I have always wanted to visit for its unique diversity of plant and animal species.
- What is the best book you have read recently?
Lacuna and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, both by Barbara Kingsolver.
– Oh my goodness, so many books, but most recently Stephen King – On Writing.
17. What makes you cringe?
Touching a worm by mistake. Turning one over while gardening really makes me cringe. Also, stepping on anything in the ocean without knowing what it is.
– Still all those things but I have to add ill behaved children. I don’t know what’s happened in seven years, but many parents seem to have lost control of their kids.
- What do you want your legacy to be?
I want to inspire people to be their own health advocate—to ask questions and do their own research. You can’t always assume that your health care professional is right. You should challenge him or her in order to make healthy lifestyle choices to impact your life in a positive way. I have had several major health issues in my life and they made me realize that you have to ask for the treatment options that feel right for you. It’s your body, your life; you get to make that choice.
– That I made a positive difference in someone’s life