Green Living columnist to focus on business

As George Harrison sang in 1970, “All things must pass …” and so it is with my involvement as the author of this column. After nine years and 234 consecutively published columns in this space, I am hanging up my Green Living keyboard.

The reason? I wore the letters off the keys and can’t type on them anymore!

Actually, it’s really about priorities. Change is the one thing that’s guaranteed in life and this one feels right. In my other nonwriter life, I have a small business that is also green. It makes a difference in its own way and right now things are going well. I want to focus on it, so the time is right to move on.

Over the years, Green Living has covered a lot of topics, from the smallest details to the biggest issues. I did my best to plant seeds of awareness, providing useful information along with food for thought. I’ve helped promote green events and education as well.

I am grateful for the opportunity to share my dream with so many. For that, I thank the paper and the wonderful editors I’ve had the pleasure to work with.

My wife, Marsala, gets full credit (or blame, depending on your point of view) for the original idea to get this admitted nonwriter to start producing a regular column. She has always believed in me.

Writing can be a lonely experience sometimes. Fortunately, I’ve heard from many readers over the years. I answered questions as often as possible, either directly or in my columns.

Some readers visited our home during several solar home tours. Some attended a lecture or my classes on solar energy or green homes, and it was always a pleasure to meet them. Thanks for the kind words and encouragement.

Reading is a huge part of the writing process for me. I devour information about green building, simple living, scientific reports on the environment and other topics on an ongoing basis. Distilling a complex topic into 600 words or so every other week was not easy, but the intent was always clear: help as many people as possible by sharing the benefits of living lighter on the planet.

Even though Marsala and I decided not to have children, our sense of responsibility runs deep and well into the future. We believe that what each of us does every day will impact people we’ll never know.

I think writing about our personal experiences was the best part for me. Nothing is more authentic and genuine. Marsala and I know that green living works and it was fun to share what we learned.

Much of what we’ve accomplished is the result of hard work, delayed gratification and informed purchasing decisions. I hope those points resonated with readers. Anyone with the desire can do the same and reap the environmental, health and financial benefits of living a simple, greener lifestyle.

The big picture topics that I often wrote about have become more acute in the last nine years. Many committed people in our community continue to make a huge difference with renewable energy, green building, school gardens, vegan food, land stewardship, species protection and overall awareness.

Southern Nevada has come a long way. Your involvement to create positive change can build on that. There is much to do.

For those who’ve read my columns for awhile, thank you. I expect your homes are now well-insulated and using energy made on your roof. You’ve said goodbye to huge electric bills and maybe you even drive a vehicle powered with nothing but fresh sunshine.

If that’s not yet the case, there are ample, easy-to-search archives on my website at where most of my columns are posted and will continue to reside. I also may add new posts occasionally and, of course, your comments are always welcome.

Going back again to 1970, U.N. Secretary-General U Thant said, “As we watch the sun go down, evening after evening, through the smog across the poisoned waters of our native earth, we must ask ourselves seriously whether we really wish some future universal historian on another planet to say about us: ‘With all their genius and with all their skill, they ran out of foresight and air and food and water and ideas,’ or, ‘They went on playing politics until their world collapsed around them.’ ”

We have known we have a big job to do for quite some time. This game may not allow overtime. If I had to describe a common thread running through all my columns, it’s that it is time to get it done. I wish you all the best!

Steve Rypka is a green living consultant and president of GreenDream Enterprises, a company committed to helping people live lighter on the planet. For more information and links to additional resources relating to this column, or to reach Rypka, visit

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