Green People: Doreen Horstin

Welcome to Green Stacks. The community resource for a greener life

Doreen Horstin


What’s your library branch?
Main and Mission Bay

What do you do?
I am the California Documents Librarian in the Government Information Center and also a member of the Library’s Green Stacks committee. For the past three years has I have worked on commuting and transportation issues and resources for Library staff and administered the annual staff commute survey.

Doreen Horstin

Favorite Book, Music or Movie

There are so many great books, I can’t remember them all. Some all times favorites include The Shipping News, The Grapes of Wrath, Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, The Long Emergency, Lord of the Rings, The World Without Us, What is the What, and all the Harry Potter books. Recently I read Winter’s Bone by Daniel Woodrell, the Dragon Tattoo trilogy by Stieg Larsson, and Zeitoun by Dave Eggers. I like mysteries when I want to relax, and I like non-fiction books about social issues. I also like all kinds of music, especially punk/alternative, rock n’ roll, and folk music.  My favorite magazine is the Economist – it keeps me informed on international issues.  I also look at Harper’s, The Sun, Vanity Fair, and Bust. My daughter and I really enjoyed the most recent Harry Potter movie, and we are looking forward to the final segment!

What is your green philosophy
Only buy things that you really need, ride a bicycle, and set a good example for others – don’t just talk about it.

Is it easy being green?

What do you renew, recycle, reuse?
Everything. I mend my clothes until they are beyond repair, and then they become rags or scrap cloth. Of course I recycle and compost – the City makes it easy to do that. I try to shop and eat locally and I repair and maintain my bicycles. Note paper, wrapping paper, gift cards – all of that stuff I scavenge and reuse – I never buy it new. I also try to avoid excessive plastic packaging and I bring my own bags.

What one thing would you encourage others to do to help the planet?
We need to reduce our dependence on private automobiles for all our transportation needs. I would encourage others to go car-free, even if it’s just one day per week. It makes a difference!

Who is the person who has had the most influence on your environmental philosophy?
My parents. They are from a generation where you don’t waste things. I was taught to buy something once and then take good care of it.

Was there a key moment when you knew you had to become involved in environmental activities?
No. I was already practicing all these green/thrifty/zero-waste habits.

If you could live at any time in history or the future, when would it be?
I wish I could live in Middle Earth.

Where is your favorite place?
San Francisco, and Northern California in general.

Favorite plant or tree?
I like all plants and trees. I do like to hug the redwood trees whenever I visit them. It’s not just that I’m a tree hugger – the redwoods have been around so long, they actually give off a vibe. I like to hug them because I can feel whatever it is that they give off.

Favorite animal?
I like all animals. For companionship, I like cats.

What’s your secret?
I can’t tell you!

Take our survey