Quickfire with Margaret Lydecker of Green Drinks NYC



Roger Smith prides itself on an ever-evolving allegiance to the environment. Our communal vision for a green, zero-waste hotel is spearheaded by our Director of Sustainability Margaret Lydecker.

To gain a little insight into the mind of this passionate team member, who also founded networking organization Green Drinks NYC, we picked her brain a bit in this quickfire interview.

image via flickr

How did you first become environmentally minded?  Was there an aha! moment? Or something that inspired you to become an activist?

As a young child I was always curious and in tune with the natural world.

My most important experience was a 97-day backpacking trip with NOLS [National Outdoor Leadership School] where I learned general mountaineering skills, rock-climbing, caving, living in a desert environment, and winter-camping all while carrying a 70 lb backpack and sleeping under the stars.  It changed my life.

image via flickr

I have since felt a calling to protect beautiful places, educate others, and be an influencer, which always starts at home with my daily actions and choices. If I can’t get it right, I can’t expect others to either.

The second [experience] was a 4,500-mile bike trip across the country, camping the entire time. That also helped inspire my life’s path working in the environmental field.

Sand or Snow?

Snow! Specifically tele-skiing. “Free your heel, free your mind,” as they say.

You started Green Drinks in 2002. What has been the most rewarding part of the experience?

Connections.  The environmental scene in NYC circa 2002 was very fragmented. Green Drinks was created out of a need for networking among people working in architecture, real estate, nonprofits, media, engineering, law, government, art, finance, etc.

We welcome everyone committed to making positive change.

Elon Musk or Bill Gates?

Elon Musk”” a risk taker, incredibly innovative.

You are a champion for advancing sustainable business practices. Do your Green Drinks events practice what you preach? 

We don’t give out gift bags with unnecessary promotional items. We host engaging events and give out incredible raffle prizes like a week at an ecolodge in Costa Rica, a basket of Weleda body products, organic t-shirts, experiences, LED bulbs, reuseable bags, plants, and more. Our name tags are printed on 100% recycled material with eco-friendly inks and a non-toxic adhesive, which is and has been our only waste. We host electronic recycling events, green fashion shows, ocean plastic awareness events, film screenings, and much more.

High Heels or Running Shoes?

Running shoes. I’m a natural athlete inside.

Can you give us some recommendations of companies, vendors, and products that we should support?

Great question. I love sharing information on companies, vendors, and products that I think are doing great work for their employees, community, and the world.

These are in no particular order: Rainforest Alliance, Tri-state Biodiesel, Prairie Organic Vodka, Preserve, Chico Bags, Seventh Generation, Nau, New Belgium Brewing Co, Andeon Collection, Cree LED lights, Under the Canopy, and Patagonia.

We live in an amazing time of transparent-solution-based thinking. We have incredible resources at our fingertips and it’s easier than ever to make smart purchasing choices and be better global citizens.

Cook in or take out?

Cook in. I love to take the time to cook healthy delicious food. It’s very relaxing and rewarding. My latest favorite recipe is a beet hummus.

What are you reading these days?  Anything you would recommend?

I’m really into the history of New York’s garbage right now. I’m reading Garbage Land by Elizabeth Royte, and Fat of the Land by Benjamin Miller.

Press play or shuffle?

Shuffle. Variety is the spice of life.

Any cool apps out there that can help us do our part to save the environment?

I love technology and its role in helping us better communicate needs and solutions.

Some of my favorite apps include iRecycle by Earth911, GoodGuide, OpenLabel, Humane Eating Project, EWG’s Skin Deep, Dirty Dozen, and when I’m home, Yoga Studio.

My favorite sources for news are Triple Pundit, Treehugger, Inhabitat, Mother Jones, The Guardian, and Good Magazine.

Yankees or Red Sox?

I don’t follow football (laughs)

cover image via flickr

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