Tools for Green Living

Honoring the Islands

“To protect the land” is the motto of Hawaii Naturals, whose exotic line of sauces, dressings and purees are inspired by the flavors of the islands. Many of the all-natural ingredients for such lively blends as Mango Habanero Hot Sauce and Wasabi Lime Dressing are grown right at Kauai Organic Farms, on the north shore of Kauai. Add a little Papaya BBQ Sauce to your winter chili or Ginger Miso Dressing to your stir-fry, and you’ll surely be transported there, too. Look for these products in natural foods stores throughout the U.S. and Canada for $3.99 a bottle, or contact Hawaii Naturals, PO Box 1122, Hanalei, Hawaii 96714, tel. (808) 828-1997.

—Jennifer Bogo


Brand You

According to Kalle Lasn, editor of Adbusters and author of Culture Jam: The Uncooling of America (tm), the nation’s largest polluter is the culture industry and its product is you. Every day advertisers spew over 12 billion entreaties to BUY! into the mental environment, and an overdose of commercial pollution on everything from gas pump handles to bananas has eroded our humanity and transformed us into lab rats programmed to purchase on cue. Lasn urges citizens to fight back against the allure of materialist soma by joining a growing movement of “culture jammers” waging a subversive “de-branding strategy” intent upon monkeywrenching the “corporate cool machine.” Does this sound radical? It is. Organized, like Walden, by season, Lasn’s book combines a Huxley-esque anti-commercialism with an eloquent call to simplicity not seen since Thoreau and the American Renaissance. Available for $25 from William Morrow.

—Josh Harkinson


Time for Conservation

You may find yourself checking the time a lot more often when wearing a Zoobee watch—chic new timepieces that showcase the acclaimed photos of internationally renowned wildlife photographer Art Wolfe. The watches come in 45 safari and American animal styles and include wristbands that feature distinctive animal markings. Seiko quartz movement and a lifetime warranty ensure that these watches will last, while Zoobee’s donations to the Wildlife Conservation Society will help to ensure that the animals last as well. Available for $30 from: Zoobee, 4753 Old Bent Tree Lane, Suite 1207, Dallas, TX 75287, tel. (800) 815-1306, URL: www.zoobee.com.

—Damon Franz


Learning by Doing

Expert educators agree that children learn best when they participate in active investigation. A Kid’s Winter EcoJournal (Trickle Creek Books, $9.95) will encourage your child to do just that. This 56-page activity book by Toni Albert is a great introduction to the art of journal-keeping, complete with space for entries, tips for observing nature and entries from Albert’s own journal. In addition, the EcoJournal is packed with fun, educational activities such as building a bird feeder, tracking animals in the snow, making gifts, and conducting simple experiments. Spring, Summer, and Fall Ecojournals are also available, and all are designed to foster an understanding and love of nature.

—D.F.


A Plumbing Ploy

It may look like a cubist elephant, but no care or feeding is necessary for the Fuller Group’s AquaSaver. Simply installing this device could reduce your entire home water bill as much as 22 percent. This two-inch piece of plastic redirects refill water into your toilet tank, filling the tank quicker and decreasing the amount of water wasted by each flush. The AquaSaver costs $5 including shipping and carries a lifetime guarantee. Available from Fuller Group, PO Box 91088, Raleigh, NC 27675, tel. (919) 786-9701, URL: www.aquasaver.com.

—Benjamin B. Chadwick


Save the World, and Eat Dinner Too

Two new books can help you make the career jump from eco-dubious mercenary to conscientious environmental champion. Melissa Everett’s Making a Living While Making a Difference (New Society Publishers, $17.95) dispenses new-agey tips like “wake up to the interconnectedness of everything” to help you shift into spiritually soothing employment, improving the world and your community. Packed with illustrative examples and charts, the book focuses on personal fulfillment, suggesting careers in which profit never supersedes idealism.

The Complete Guide to Environmental Careers in the 21st Century (Island Press, $17.95) , compiled by The Environmental Careers Organization, takes a more comprehensive approach that abandons spiritual concerns and focuses on the jobs themselves. Organized around specific environmental sub-fields (i.e., solid waste management), each chapter includes a list of possible jobs, realistic salary expectations, history and background, example profiles and plentiful resources for contacting the appropriate organizations and companies.

—B.B.C.


Sometimes They Come Back

Remember that box of gears, cogs and chains in your garage, accumulated from decades of mechanical frustrations? Such forgotten sprockets are finally seeing light again, thanks to Resource Revival, a company turning bicycle parts into everything from key chains to coffee tables. The wheel rim wine racks are perfect models of the 1930s art deco ideal—with a heavy dose of 1990s recycling philosophy. No functional bicycles are harmed in the creation of these streamlined futuristic zombies. The catalog, itself a marvelous testament to environmental creativity, is available from Resource Revival at 2267 North Interstate, Portland, OR 97227, tel. (800) 866-8823.

—B.B.C.


White Light, Green Attitude

Your flashlight batteries are dead. You’re wondering if that noise in the dark woods is a misguided moose or a rampaging grizzly—whether to stay put or run for your life. It all comes down to one question: “Are you feeling lucky, punk?” If only you’d bought the new NightStar flashlight! The NightStar is eco-friendly, recharged by gentle shaking and illuminated by LEDs instead of a breakable bulb. The flashlight actually charges itself if carried while walking. According to environmental researcher John Ryan, “Batteries are classified as hazardous waste. Using this human-powered flashlight means you’re not adding toxic chemicals to the planet.” Proven to be nearly indestructible, the NightStar is backed by a rare lifetime warranty. Available for $90 from J & K Enterprises, P.O. Box 17431, Seattle WA 98107, tel. (877) 879-1669, URL: http://shakelight.com.

—B.B.C.


Penguin Tales and Stranger Things

Penguins occupy a border space in the imagination. They’re real, but so whimsical in appearance that they nearly cross into the fantasy world of dragons and unicorns. Frans Lanting’s award-winning nature photography brings these fanciful birds down to earth, as it were, and exposes their eerily human t

raits. Penguin, a coffee-table book of Lanting’s photographs, highlights our flightless feathered friends with stunning crispness. Against the stark background of Antarctica, the scrubby grass of the Falklands, or the rocky landscapes of South Georgia, their playful character always emerges. It’s the disoriented look of tuxedo-clad children at a cocktail party. Available for $25.95 from Terra Editions.

—B.B.C.


Soft Solutions

Tackling that leftover bowl of mixed nuts from the holidays, but notice your skin seems to be doing all of the cracking? Sun Dog offers a solution for that winter-induced dry skin with new hand and body lotions made with only natural ingredients, like aloe vera, vegetable glycerin and organic hemp oil, and free of chemical preservatives. The three lotions, Patchouli, Orange/Lavender and Naked (unscented), smooth in leaving skin soft, not greasy. Each eight ounce bottle sells for $4.79, and as with all Sun Dog products, 10 percent of profits are donated to Native American cultural preservation.

CONTACT

Sun Dog Hemp Body Care
PO Box 64
Westby, WI 54667
Tel. (877) 786-3649

—J.B.


Laboratory DNA

The authors of Genetically Engineered Foods: Changing the Nature of Nature warn of a future in which doctors prescribe potatoes instead of medicine, and small family farmers become serfs to the lords of biotech. By the end of the 20th century, they point out, there will be enough GE crops grown to cover all of Great Britain, Taiwan and New York’s Central Park to boot.

In simple, straightforward language, Martin Teitel and Kimberly A. Wilson guide readers through the questionable process of toying with a food’s gene pool, and offer a glimpse of the technology hidden behind the misleading label. “We have the choice,” they say, “to choose an abundant, safe, and healthy food future for our families, our communities, and our nations.” The book, with a foreword by Ralph Nader, gives consumers the tools and impetus to do just that. Available for $12.95 from Park Street Press.

—J.B.


Outmaneuvering GE

Mothers & Others for a Livable Planet is telling Americans to “Stop! Don’t Shop in the Dark!” with a campaign aimed at putting power back in the pocketbook of the consumer. A free Biotechnology Consumer Information and Action Kit provides practical information on the issue for consumers to use in their daily lives. Separated into steps one can take while in the garden, the supermarket, the kitchen or at the desk, the kit provides tips ranging from how to shop for GE-free foods to information about seed companies and ways to influence corporate change. The kit can be requested by simply calling tel. 888-ECO-INFO, x. 341, or by signing up for the GE Action Network at www.mothers.org. The Network regularly updates subscribers on how to make their own voices heard in the increasingly noisy debate over GE foods.

—J.B.


Sole Asylum

Whether your lifestyle carries you up mountains, to the office or just around the corner, soles of the earth has the shoe to take you there, guilt-free. Made from materials like rubberized cotton, recycled tires, hemp and lorica, some of these shoes may look suede, but there isn’t an animal-derived product in the bunch. The leather-free footwear from companies like Birkenstock, deep e, Ethical Wares and Etonic ranges in price from $45 to $100. For a catalog, contact: soles of the earth, PO Box 477829, Chicago, IL 60647, tel. (773) 252-sole.

—J.B.


Save Energy, Make Cents

Whenever you consider repairs or renovations in your home, you’re given the rare opportunity to save money while helping save the environment. This win/win situation is only achievable, however, if you can navigate through countless options of products and projects to arrive at-home energy-efficiency. Enter the Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings ($8.95, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy). Not only does the Guide rate all the brands of major home appliances and fixtures for energy efficiency, it also shows how to insulate, landscape and maintain your home in the manner that will make your wallet and your planet greener. To order, call ACEEE at tel. (202) 429-0063 or visit http://aceee.org.

—D.F.


The Truth about TP

Anticipating the need for some literature in the stall, Seventh Generation offers “facts about chlorine that will scare the crap out of you.” This promotional roll of toilet paper is printed with more disturbing news than the daily paper, listing the many perils of dioxin, a byproduct of chlorine-bleaching common in household products. But according to the company, dioxin is one risk you don’t have to stay seated and take. Seventh Generation’s paper products are made from 100 percent recycled fibers and manufactured free of chlorine-bleach. And to ensure other companies follow their lead, the Seventh Generation web site (www.seventhgen.com) encourages people to “Take Action”—consumers can send an e-mail directly to offending manufacturers or learn where to return those products until they take the hint.

—J.B.