My 5: Maziar Movassaghi, Acting Director, California Department of Toxic Substances Control
Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked Maziar Movassaghi, acting director of California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control and leader of the state’s Green Chemistry Initiative, to answer two questions we like to ask our interviewees. Following are his responses. — Publisher
5 Ways to Save the Planet
BPGL: What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?
- The overarching issue I’m going to respond to, and I think all these issues feed into it, is that everybody should not wait for the silver bullet, the one thing they can do that will fundamentally change everything about them. There’s a lot of fun stuff that we can do in our homes, little by little, that makes a big difference.
- To me, one of the most important is water usage. There are a lot of inexpensive alternatives out there, like dual-flush toilets, low-flow showers. In a good part of the country, especially in California, water shortage is going to be a big issue. For not too much of an expensive cost, folks can add cisterns, and capture rainwater and reuse it. I think this kind of stuff could be fun for kids.
- Another thing that is fun for kids is to have a little bit of a vegetable garden in your backyard and teach them about where their food comes from. I think it promotes both healthy eating, and gets them to think about seasonality of foods. And it’s fun, actually.
- Another thing that’s’ a big thing for my wife and me is that we barely use any chemical cleaners in our house. We actually clean the kitchen with vinegar. We mix vinegar and water, and we’ve never had any problems. It’s a much safer alternative, and it actually saves you a whole boatload of money.
- The last thing, which is a big deal for me, is that when we go visit friends or when we give gifts, we don’t give cut flowers, we always bring a potted flower. Or sometimes, we give a potted herb out of our garden. They last much longer. I think they’re aesthetically nicer, and nine times out of ten, the recipient has been much happier receiving something that will last for a little while.
2 Minutes with the President
BPGL: If you had two minutes with President Obama, what would you say?
MOVASSAGHI: On a personal level, I would ask him how he writes his speeches. [He laughs.] I still probably can recount a good portion of his 2004 speech at the DNC.
But the second thing I’d say is, at the federal level, we really need to look at the Toxic Substances Control Act. We’ve run it for 30 years, and there are significant problems. It’s time for a new approach, rather than tinkering around the edges; and we really think green chemistry is the way to move forward.
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