SUSTAINABLE LIP SMACKERS
In a fat tube reminiscent of “70s Bonne Belle lip gloss comes the Eos Lip Balm Smooth Stick. In flavors of pomegranate raspberry, vanilla bean and sweet mint, it’s super-smooth and stays that way for a while, with a nice shine. It’s also kiss-ready, being free of pigment and non-greasy. Also from Eos is the fun-shaped Smooth Sphere. A little thicker going on and less shiny, this is more in Chapstick texture terrain, though the ingredients are organic, the scents are delicious (especially the Honeysuckle Honeydew), and the round shape is novel. In an off-label use, I relieved winter dryness by rolling the Smooth Sphere over parched hands and cuticles. —Jessica Rae Patton
SOFTER AND CUDDLIER
The new line of My Natural toys ($9.99 each) claim to be “as gentle on the environment as they are to the touch.” Each My Natural plush is made of cotton (but not organic) fabric colored with plant and mineral dyes, for creatures with colors that look as soft as they feel. Children can opt for the 11.5-inch Cat in the Hat, or one of the Jane Goodall “Good for All” 8-inch wildlife creatures, including a crocodile and a gorilla, all of which can be found in Target stores beginning this Earth Day, April 22. —Emma Mueller
CONTACT: My Natural.
Hemp is a powerhouse of the plant family for its wide variety of uses, one of them nutritional. Hemp seeds are high in protein, rich in vitamins and minerals and are the only edible seed to contain GLA, an essential fatty acid. Manitoba Harvest, a Canada-based, farmer-owned company, makes several organic and kosher-certified hemp-derived items. Manitoba Certified Organic Vanilla Hemp Protein Powder ($21.99, 16 oz.) is extremely mild tasting. The flavor was undetectable in my peach soy yogurt. Certified Organic Shelled Hemp Seeds ($14.99, 12 oz.), tiny with a similar size and texture to sesame seeds, add a nutritional jolt to yogurt, salad or cereal. —J.R.P.
CONTACT: Manitoba Harvest.
Sometimes you want to use an actual pen and paper to jot down notes and brilliant thoughts, but without being accused a paper waster. Ecosystem is a new set of planners and journals ($9.95-$19.50) made in the U.S. with 100% post-consumer recycled paper sold exclusively at Barnes & Noble. Buyers can find out where their book was made, how many people assisted in its production and the environmental benefits of their particular book by visiting a designated website. And each Ecosystem planner and journal comes with recycling instructions. —E.M.
LIGHTING THE WAY
In celebration of “Earth Month,” Aveda offers its popular annual fundraising tool for water rights, the Light the Way Candle ($12). This lavender-scented organic soy wax candle comes in a sturdy, reusable glass holder made from reclaimed wine cooler bottles. Candle sale proceeds benefit Global Greengrants Fund. If all candles are sold, Aveda will donate a total of $1,200,000 for clean water projects around the world. Available beginning March 1 while supplies last at Aveda salons, spas, stores and www.avada.com. —J.R.P.
LET THE SUN SHINE IN
Vermont Soap Organics has created a product that just might meet all your household cleaning needs. Liquid Sunshine All-Purpose Cleaner is made from saponified coconut, olive and jojoba oils, tea tree and other essential oils and aloe vera. It is highly concentrated and has a fresh, astringent scent. We tried it throughout the house on floors, dishes, laundry, counters and carpets with success. It’s an effective stain remover and can be used to wash cars as well. And, it’s gentle on skin and suitable to use as a hand cleanser. Save money and packaging with the 1 Gallon Liquid Sun Kit ($35), which includes one gallon of Liquid Sunshine, plus several bottles from which to dispense it (a spray pump bottle, squeeze bottle, foamer bottles for hand-soap use and dilution instructions). —J.R.P.
CONTACT: Vermont Soap Organics.
ONE GREEN BOOK
While we might wonder whether or not it makes a difference, in the global scheme of things, to change one’s household products, it irrefutably makes a difference in the bodies of the people who live there. Switching from commercial window cleaner to water and white vinegar in a refillable spray bottle might not significantly reduce our planet’s toxin load, but it will certainly lessen the chemical burden on a child’s immune system. And one of the best guides we’ve seen thus far for making affordable, incremental shifts in one’s daily life is Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices (St. Martin’s Press, $16.99). With an introduction by Meryl Streep, this book draws on Pennybacker’s 20-plus years of environmental journalism and consumer research as editor of The Green Guide and founder of GreenerPenny.com (and contributor to E Magazine).
It came about as she tried to answer the question: “If I can do only one thing green (in my diet, kitchen, cleaning, cosmetics, baby’s room), what should it be?” Do One Green Thing is a crisp and informative read, heavy on sound-bite statistics and catchy, kitschy graphics, with quick “Choose It/Lose It” summaries throughout. —Jessica Rae Patton
NATURE AND RESILIENCE
In her latest novel for young adults, Green Witch (Scholastic, $17.99), Alice Hoffman resumes the story of Green, the protagonist of her earlier novel, Green Angel. In Green Angel, readers followed Green as she struggled to cope with the death of her family, overwhelmed by life’s struggles. In Green Witch, she continues her path to renewal.
In this moving sequel, Green once again finds herself in a post-apocalyptic land destroyed by fire and covered in ash, as she endeavors to heal her community members by listening to their stories. It is only after she hears the tales of a mystical group of women believed by many to be witches that Green is finally able to achieve the redemption she’s been after.
The beauty in each of these stories emanates from Hoffman’s detailed and thoughtful descriptions of grief, and the human capacity to learn, grow and move forward. And it’s no coincidence that the main character’s name is Green. Hoffman’s stories teach young readers about the power and resilience of nature, putting great emphasis on Green’s garden and the nourishing gifts that it produces. We learn that although death and loss are inevitable, growth and regeneration are always possible, both in nature and within ourselves. —Emma Mueller