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Seven Questions: Thomas Kostigen, Author of The Green Blue Book

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LA has a diverse cast of characters. Whether it's the characters with stirring stories or interesting occupations or the people who are just simply characters, this town has them all. In an effort to get to know some of those characters a little better, we've created "Seven Questions with..." If you have a suggestion for a future Seven Questions subject send us an email.

Today's subject is Thomas Kostigen.

Today is World Water Day an initiative created by the United Nations in 1992 to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. In honor of this day we turn to New York Times best-selling author and Los Angeles native Thomas Kostigen. In his new book, THE GREEN BLUE BOOK: The Simple Water-Savings Guide to Everything in Your Life explains how the breakthrough concept of "Virtual Water" and redirecting our daily actions can shore up the world’s water supply.

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Kostigen, whose previous books include You Are Here and The Green Book took some time to exchange emails with LAist about World Water Day, the concept of Virtual Water, water waste found in LA that pisses him off and water found in your underwear.

1) How successful do you believe World Water Day has been at creating awareness of the water crisis?
I don't think many people are aware of World Water Day just as I don't believe many people are aware of the water crisis we are in. I am hoping the Green Blue Book will change that. Also, Live Earth is holding the largest water awareness raiding event in history on April 18th along with Dow Chemical. I think that will open people's eyes.

2) What do you have planned for your World Water Day?
I will be doing a slew of speeches and media in New York City to raise water awareness on that day. I am also hosting an event with TOTO in Soho that evening to speak about water issues and what we can do.

3) Could you briefly describe your concept of "Virtual Water" and how you developed it?
I didn't invent the concept of virtual water; The Green Blue Book is, however, the most comprehensive guide to virtual water ever written. We researched and figured out how much water it takes to make pretty much anything and everything in your life and then provided that information (3,000 gallons to make your blue jeans, for example), as well as ways to save: buy vintage.

4) Your new book is full of ways that we can cut down on our use of water. What's one tip that you can offer our readers?
I would say buy as local as possible. You cut down on transportation and have the opportunity to know what's in your stuff: important from both health and environmental standpoints.

5) What do you think readers will be most surprised by?
How much water is in their underwear. :) I think understanding the concept of how much water it takes to grow the cotton and to make the things we wear and don't think about will shock people. It takes 252 gallons for said underwear. Another one of that it takes 3 liters of water to make a 1-liter plastic water bottle. Get's you thinking.


6) In your first book The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving The Planet One Simple Step at a Time you teamed up with several celebrities, how did you originally link up with the Hollywood community? How important have they been to increasing awareness?
The point of getting well-known friends and celebrities in the book was to attract attention. Once you get people to tune in, as it were, you can --hopefully-- provide them with compelling information.

7) You live in Los Angeles, what are some ways you see water being wasted around town that really bother you?
Having to step off the sidewalk because some nitwit is watering it is annoying. Also, seeing sprinklers in use when it's raining really pisses me off.

For more info on Thomas, the book and what you can do to help out, check out