by Amanda DeMatto
While enrolled in New York University's Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting program, Amanda found herself captivated by and drawn to topics on the environment. Obsessed with learning more about the chemical and physical processes that occur between organisms and the earth, and determined to show through well-crafted writing that while our environment boasts a seemingly steadfast resilience to onslaughts of all kinds, she realized that we are swiftly chiseling away at its self-renewing abilities. She says her goal is to help others understand how important their role is in maintaining environmental stasis and to illuminate the tightly interwoven relationships between all organisms, mobile or sessile, single-celled or multicellular. In a world where the air we breathe and water we drink are of a communal supply, we need every other mind in that collective to understand and join the coalition as sentinels of the earth. Amanda has previous written for Popular Mechanics.
After losing her Rottweiler, Gust, to a cancer-related disease, Rubin was determined that her next pup, Gretyl, wouldn’t suffer the same fate. She had a suspicion that Gust’s ailment was triggered and accelerated by long-term exposure to chemicals, many of which fall under the general category of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. These chemicals have a stealthy presence in paint, varnish, cleaning solutions, cosmetics, and other products that furnish our households.
Doghouses are no exception. So, in the summer of 2007, Rubin built a doghouse like no other. With red cedar planks, zero-VOC paint and beeswax waterproofing, the doghouse was such a hit that, to Rubin’s surprise, it paved the way for a full-fledged business: Sustainable Pet Design.