Each month we will ask a new eco-maven 18 questions about his or her life, occupation and advice for other like-minded people. For our first installment, we spoke with eco18 Founder Sue Taggart. Here’s what she had to say.
1. What is your name?
Sue Taggart, 61
2. What is your occupation?
3. 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.
4. 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!
So if I have to come up with a favorite meal:
Chilled curried summer squash soup
Baby lamb chops with grilled baby red potatoes and a medley of root vegetables
Cheese plate with a green salad
French Apple Tart
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Where’s your “greenspot”: food, bodycare/beauty, oceans, home or neighborhood, explain
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.
9. Where do you turn for your news?
I still watch TV for news and also read a lot online.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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!
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. What is the best book you have read recently?
Lacuna and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, both by Barbara Kingsolver.
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.
18. 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.