All Fun, Little Guilt

14 mins read

Reality is often funnier than fiction. 

But today’s reality is that our leaving less of a carbon footprint for a cleaner environment is a very real necessity. 

The funny comes in with the confusion around the “how”—how do you know you’re always doing the right thing, even with the best of intentions? 

For instance, you know you need to completely clean out that used plastic peanut butter jar in order for it to be recycled. Right? 

But you live in California, and you’re in the middle of a drought. Which begs the question: how much water will you have to waste in order to clean that container properly? Which is the lesser evil?! 

That, in and of itself, sounds like the beginning of a comedian’s monologue.

Fortunately, the hosts of Guilty Greenie—Cait Bagby and Sarah Ferris—are here to help answer those types of questions without any judgment. You can count on them to be there with their reusable bag of fun and laughs. 

To that end, Cait and Sarah have a solution to that very peanut butter debacle. Sarah quickly offered it:

“My hack is to get a dog. Mine cleans out all my peanut butter jars!”

“That’s perfect,” laughed Cait.

That suggestion may be perfect for those living in a house or a condo bigger than 600 square feet. However, it may be a little harder to implement in an apartment in Manhattan, for example, that doesn’t allow pets. Such a case requires a bit more critical thinking. In the meantime, there is no shortage of laughter and jokes between these co-hosts. 

“Cait eats a lot of peanut butter,” quipped Sarah.

“And that’s how I ended up with four dogs!” Cait admitted.

This is the exact type of experience a listener can expect when listening to Guilty Greenie. In fact, the reality of how Cait, a sustainability writer, and Sarah, a true-crime podcaster, got together to produce a show on reducing your carbon footprint is comedic in itself.

“Essentially, Sarah asked me to lie to her, and the rest is history,” Cait confessed.

“That’s exactly what happened,” Sarah laughed.

“We met on another social audio platform,” Cait explained. “At the time, Sarah was doing a show called Two Truths and a Lie and was looking for guests. She invited me on through a mutual connection, and we just had a ball with it. It was such a fun time.”

“I am very, very lazy,” admitted Sarah half-jokingly. “What I realized was that I needed to make changes to be more sustainable, but I wasn’t going to actually read up on it. I wasn’t going to spend any time on sustainability unless it was enjoyable. So, I thought, ‘I’m just going to go straight to the source. We’ll start a podcast, I’ll learn through it, and we’ll have some fun along the way.’”

Speaking to their chemistry, Cait said, “Sarah was a breath of fresh air. A lot of my time is spent in the trenches dealing with a lot of the heavy research. When we were talking about the concept of Guilty Greenie, I thought it would be an approachable way to tackle it—something that is often missing from the conversation. I was excited to talk about the realities of the day to day, and about how we oftentimes miss the mark by 100 miles in our attempts to be sustainable.”

Guilty Greenie is definitely a lighthearted approach to the sustainability questions that most listeners have. Even the word “sustainability,” with its six difficult syllables, is comical in Cait’s revelation that Sarah had a tough time pronouncing it at first.

“I just go with ‘eco.’ It’s another hack!” Sarah offered.

Part of the fun of Guilty Greenie is that Sarah is like many of us—a novice in sustainability with a desire to learn. Thus, Cait finishes each episode with a challenge for Sarah.

Some of them are fairly straightforward, like air drying washed clothes rather than putting them in the dryer. Others are much more difficult, such as making products—like lipstick, deodorant, soap, etc.—rather than buying them.

“I have not created my own lipstick,” admitted Sarah. “I did my own soap, and that was just a disaster. Those bars are sitting like paint stripper in my bathroom cupboard. So that’s one of my sustainability fails.”

The hosts’ failures and successes (apparently, Cait has even created her own rosewater) 

lend themselves to many of the laughs in—and the authenticity of—the podcast. 

Like when Cait shared one of her funniest experiences in striving to be more sustainable: 

“I think the most ridiculous thing I did was back in the day, I was living in an area that was really hot in the summer. I decided not to invest in an AC or a fan. Looking back on this, I have a lot of questions as to why. 

“But what we would do is freeze water bottles during the day, and at night, we’d put them in the bed behind our necks. It worked brilliantly to cool us down, but every morning, we would wake up to a soaking-wet bed! Why it never dawned on me to put the bottles in bags, I have no idea, but this went on all summer. It was just ridiculous.”

“You essentially created a waterbed,” Sarah joked. 

“It just didn’t jiggle quite as much,” Cait returned the laughter.

This is what you get with Guilty Greenie: an unintentional comedy based on actual experiences, resulting in more genuine laughs than many intentional comedy shows.

Cait and Sarah agree that they have had a ton of fun and a plethora of laughs on the podcast. But they differ in what they consider the funniest moment thus far in producing the show.

“Mine happened during an episode we did on green burials,” Sarah said, referring to “Dying to Be Green,” which went live on February 21 of this year. “I don’t know how many digging puns we ended up tripping over. When we started talking about water burials, I just had this vision of Auntie Mary floating up onto the shore after being buried at sea. Three nautical miles doesn’t sound far enough!”

Cait agreed that was a funny episode. She also admitted that they felt the need to put a disclaimer in the description of it, because they were “slightly irreverent.” It actually appears in the first sentence:

“Now, trigger warning: If you are offended by endless death puns, you may not ‘dig’ this episode.”

Those listeners who, like Cait and Sarah, don’t take things too seriously, are apt to be both entertained and educated by that episode.

But Cait’s vote for most humorous episode would probably win a comedy contest for the title alone:

“I think my favorite hasn’t been released yet. It’s called ‘The Condom Conundrum.’ We had to mute ourselves a couple times because we just couldn’t hold back the laughter. At one point, we had to figure out how to demonstrate putting on a condom. It just went on the microphone.” 

Whether by accident or by design, Cait and Sarah have forced themselves to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. That has also contributed to a podcast that both entertains and educates the audience.

“The episodes that are the funniest are the ones with topics that Cait knows are going to take me to uncomfortable places,” Sarah reflected. “I’m just literally like, ‘You might as well stick both feet in my mouth,’ which she enjoys watching, I think.”

“I think it’s the same for both of us,” Cait chimed in. “We both get awkward at certain points, and our reaction oftentimes is to just laugh.”

“As long as it is educational, no topic should be off limits,” Sarah agreed. “Even if they’re uncomfortable, they are also things people need to hear.”

While Cait certainly offers a lot of expert advice without judgment, many people may align closely with Sarah’s perspective, since she is not a sustainability professional. Rather, she’s just trying to do better. 

“Cait brings the deep content … the real backstory.” Sarah agreed. “I bring the shallow.” That brought a laugh to everyone.

By “the shallow,” Sarah refers to the desire to do better at sustainability, though she lacks the deep knowledge to truly make a difference … or at least, she feels she does. 

Cait is the first to say that it’s fine to just do something “a little better.” Even a small improvement can make a difference. 

“It’s nearly impossible to be completely sustainable,” Cait admitted.

“We are into incremental gains,” Sarah continued. 

Talking about those incremental gains and the troubles that come with making them contributes to the genuine fun of this show. Sometimes, their stories around the challenges even extend to Sarah’s family, when she can convince them to participate. This creates even more comic relief.

Those stories are probably the most relatable to many listeners, because there are many households in which one member is trying to be a “sustainability hero” who hopes that everyone else will ride her or his cape.

Sarah shared a couple of those stories:

“One that sticks out in my mind is when my kids all said, ‘You can bugger right off, mom.’ This was in response to the challenge Cait gave us to not stream or download anything. Everyone said they weren’t going to do it except my youngest, who gave it a try. She lasted one hour before she gave up. So, it was only me who did that particular challenge. That was the hardest one.

“The one that they were surprisingly straight on board with and very knowledgeable about was composting, which I hate. I was the one who was completely resistant. But a lovely sideline out of it was that we had conversations that we would definitely never have happened around the table.”

It is those types of conversations that Guilty Greenie encourages both on the show and at home. But the podcast is more than educational. It’s a lot of fun and genuine laughs, because again, reality is often much funnier than fiction.


September 2022 Issue

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