What’s Your Eco-Vice?

We all have them, those things we do that cause us angst and shudder our moral core. But hey, if we confess them to the world and promise to do better, just maybe we’ll actually try harder for this place.

Eco Vice Jamie Ford

Jamie Ford
Author, Songs of Willow Frost

Driving to an air-conditioned gym where I run in place on an electric treadmill while watching the Food Network is a pretty damning eco- vice. In fact, there’s no point in redemption. Someone should just nuke all the gyms from outer space and then sow salt into the radioactive ruins. Wait, that’s not very eco-friendly, either. I guess I’ll just go for a hike.


Nikki McClure

I make stuff. It is how I make my living. I order large quantities of paper (100% post-consumer waste, not coated with clay). I have it shipped across the country (Wisconsin to Olympia). It is printed heavily with inks containing heavy metals and they stink though they are soy-based (GMO?). The printed pages are sent to Auburn to be collated and bound and packaged in plastic. (10% recycled!! Which isn’t anything really.) Then the calendars are sent out. They hang on the wall for a year…and then?? Recycled? Thrown away? Made into cards or origami boxes? So how do I make amends? I give. To rivers and trees and air and fish. I donate money and to auctions to save forests. I plant trees: cedars. I print local even though it is much more expensive. I print on recycled paper even though it “uses more energy”…but who tallies the sunlight conversion of a forest? Who counts the mosses and beetles and stones that only glaciers and the Earth’s rumbles have moved?

Eco Vice Autumn Martin

Autumn Martin
Chocolatier and Founder, Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery

Definitely hot tubs and baths. Ugh, all that water and energy to heat the water…but man, hot hydro-therapy is my jam. One day I will have a wooden, wood-fired hot tub and I will use the old water for my veggie garden and maybe even my llama would drink it…someday. Oh, I am also really into trucks—old, non-fuel efficient trucks. There’s just something about certain years and models that make me feel really good. It would be amazing to restore an old truck with an electric engine.

Eco Vice Blaine Wetzel

Blaine Wetzel
Chef, The Willows Inn

I have a bad habit when it’s cold of letting the car (2007 Toyota Tacoma) idle when I’m waiting for the ferry. I have the heat on and I listen to music. I turn up the music and I don’t look at anybody. There’s even a “No Idling” sign five feet from the ferry line. I’m trying to time myself more with the ferry so there’s no waiting time. Or, less of it.

Eco Vice Governor Jay Inslee

Gov. Jay Inslee

Milkshakes. I search for the best milkshake in every Washington town I visit. That’s a lot of driving and a lot of milkshakes. (But) I get small milkshakes instead of large! And by the way, the best chocolate malt in Washington is at the Burger Barn in Darrington.

Eco Vice Linda Derschang

Linda Derschang
Designer and restaurateur, Linda’s Tavern, Oddfellows Cafe+Bar

Magazines are my biggest eco-vice.  I’ve slowed down on my subscriptions in the last few years, mainly because some favorites like Gourmet have folded. I still love design magazines: British Vogue, The New Yorker and the newest wave of indie mags like Cereal, The Gentlewoman and Cherry Bombe. The way I make amends for the thousands of printed pages? Keeping some of the magazines forever.  I’m always going back through past issues for inspiration when I’m designing.

Eco Vice David Horsey

David Horsey
Editorial cartoonist and columnist, Los Angeles Times, Formerly Seattle P-I

My guiltiest eco-vice is owning an old Dodge Ram pickup truck that gets terrible gas mileage. Luckily, I don’t drive it that often, although, when I do, it’s usually to tow a speed boat: another eco-vice! I try to redeem myself by drawing cartoons, lecturing everyone else about taking care of the environment and fighting global warming. I’m sure that doesn’t qualify as hypocrisy, does it? How embarrassing.


Joey Manson
Director, Seward Park Audubon Center

I compost, recycle and responsibly dispose of spent bulbs and batteries. I never touch bottled water and my electric bill is less than $10 a month. I strive to be green, but I must confess: The beast in my garage gets seriously bad MPG. I do use it to haul hundreds of pounds of bird feed and sometimes dozens of plants in pots, but most of my trips are my ten-mile round-trip commutes to work. It’s my hope to relocate closer to work and commute by foot and save the beast for the big jobs.

Eco Vice Maya Lin

Maya Lin

My guilt is that I’m not a vegan. I do eat meat. But I live by Michael Pollan’s comments—Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. Eat meat as a side dish. I’m acutely aware now of eating lower down on the food chain. But I’m an omnivore. I couldn’t completely go vegan-vegan.

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