Pimping My Pod

pimping pod john ray jeanine patriot's-ball photo

The gang's all here! From left to right, John (from Everything Under the Sun), Ray (from Ray's and Sons) and Jeanine (the author of this blog in the vintage gown from the Patriot's Ball, who's super happy to have finally gotten her Smart Car last week!).

My pod? The Jeanine corner of the Earthwatch world involves itty-bitty blinking blue lights, a jungle of plants, traditional weavings in screamin' neon. Camel-hair Persian rug stretched out on the floor. Mirror ball hanging in one corner of the ceiling, gen-u-ine crystal in the other. Cheeky West African doll lounging in front of books with too-long titles. "Wag more, bark less;" and "be the change you wish to see in the world" (Gandhi) tacked onto the shelves. Plus more assorted bling.

Such are the decorative solutions of a displaced (Northern) California gal, who transported herself to the middle of a tiny New England mill town in the dead of winter. Sometimes, as I was picking my way down through the icy streets in my 4-inch heel boots, funkadelic stockings, and Pink blaring on the iPod, the cold, the piles of snow, and the dreary grey skies were so surreal I'd laugh out loud. But I did this willingly, folks! Earthwatch has that kind of pull.OK, it's not just all about blue lights and funky bling. My re-establishment "Back East" to join Earthwatch as their one-and-only Dr. Social Scientist involved three key principles: (1) as per Standard Operating Procedure, my pod (that's what we call cubicles clusters here) had to be pimped out by Day Two; (2) at least 80% of the furnishings had to be derived from recycled/reused, sustainably produced, fair-trade, locally-purchased sources; and (3) my home also had to be totally tricked out, a la California, in time for the May Day party I was holding for the entire Earthwatch office. Oh, and Principle Number Four: all this was to be done without a car. I have no car. I am waiting for my Smart Car, my black-with-silver-accents Smart ForTwo Passion Coupe. Dang, I've been waitin' for that wee car since 2006. And my magical "window" for getting this tricked-out wee widdle car is sometime between November 2008 and January 2009 (*sigh*).

So. How'd I do it? All eco-chics know that recycling is the first order of business, which meant Craig's List — Boston area for my treasure hunting. Think 11-piece super-sweet chocolate micro-suede sofa set surrounding an Italian designer sleek aqua glass table. Both for $800, my Earthies!! Ultra-modern futon, Ikea desk set, another $150, la de da (drool on). But, you ask yourself, how did I get these treasures home in the snow? Inventiveness, and a delight in asking for help. I won two hours of moving time at my local Unitarian church auction, and met John. Found "Rent-A-Gramps" (yah-hah!), and assembled tables with Jim. Hired Lama, a Tibetan mover, online. Enlisted Stu, the husband of my pet-sitter. My California buddy, Lane, came out and hauled for a weekend. Then "Everything Under the Sun" opened up across the street from Earthwatch, and I spent hours happily picking through recovered discards collected by John, a local guy who's been salvaging household leavings in Maynard since well, ever since anybody can remember. And with each transaction, I built community: me, the gal who moved here without knowing a soul.

Next step: buying local. Organic cotton towels, eco-friendly cleaning supplies, recycled glass bowls, handmade recycled wood coat racks, and fair-trade décor from Dunia (run by my new best friends Didi and Paige), conveniently located in downtown Maynard, MA. All my clothing from Teresina's, Deborah's hyper-friendly consignment store two blocks from Dunia (think wild eye-candy vintage plastic jewelry from the 70's, drop-dead gorgeous red silk gowns to wear to the annual Patriot's Day Ball in nearby Concord, oh yum!). My perishables from the corner store (it's around the corner). My bike from Ray's Son (Ray) at Ray's & Sons. Et cetera.

I could go on about all the awesome sources that fit my stringent environmentally- and culturally-friendly standards but then I'd have to charge über-high rates as your Personal Shopper. Instead, I wanna brag a bit about Earthwatch, and specifically about the gal on the other side of my pod wall: Ms. Tina Woolston. Tina's our Sustainability Coordinator, and when she's not digging through our trash bins (not kidding! somebody's gotta keep us in line ), she's doing all those other things that make Earthwatch proud of its sustainable office practices. We don't just carpool, compost, and recycle our paper-cardboard-glass-aluminum-plus-every-type-of-plastic-batteries-cellphones-printer cartridges-and-styrofoam, dear Earthies. We offset the carbon on every gosh-darn business trip taken by our staff and our thousands of expedition volunteers. We support Siena Farms through our weekly CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) boxes of farm produce. We host science talks in our Clock Tower auditorium. And we don't dare throw things in the wrong bin or at least not on Tina's watch.

So welcome to my little corner of Earthwatch. And stay tuned, Earthies. More adventures to come

Pimping My Pod
The gang's all here! From left to right, John (from Everything Under the Sun), Ray (from Ray's and Sons) and Jeanine (the author of this blog in the vintage gown from the Patriot's Ball, who's super happy to have finally gotten her Smart Car last

Related Content on Treehugger.com