Make your home radiantly clean with Fruits and Passion‘s "Art Home" line. These household cleaners are made with a plant-based formula that is readily biodegradable. The Ecological Heavy Duty Home Cleaner (34 ounces, $10) and Countertop Cleaner (17 ounces, $8) thoroughly remove stains, leaving only a fresh scent behind. Fragrances are available in tulip, blue lavender, California grapefruit and lavender mint. To sample a variety of the products, try the Household Mini Kit ($22), which includes the household cleaner, countertop cleaner, a room and fabric deodorizer, a carpet deodorizer and a microfiber wipe. Fruits and Passion also offers hand care and laundry care lines. The products can be found at gift, beauty and specialty stores nationwide. —Jennifer Lucich
CONTACT: Fruits and Passion, (800)276-9952, www.fruits-passion.com.
Pure Alaska Salmon Company‘s canned Red Head Wild Sockeye Salmon and Think Pink Wild Pink Salmon ($24.99 to $39.99 for 12 7.5-ounce cans) contain only Alaskan salmon caught in the wild, not grown on farms. Salmon farms are typically made from floating net-cages or standing pens and can pollute the local marine environment, spread disease and cause competition with native stocks. Aquatic farms typically use human-grade antibiotics and potentially harmful pesticides, and the harvested fish have tested positive for cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxin (see "Salmon of a Different Color," Updates, July/August 2003). Unlike farmed fish, wild Alaskan salmon has tested clean for mercury. Salmon is low in carbohydrates and contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acid, which helps fight depression, reduce aggression, prevent heart arrhythmias and stimulates the brain. Pure Alaska Salmon Company’s products are Kosher certified and contain no pesticides, preservatives or hormones. —Stephanie White
CONTACT: Pure Alaska Salmon, (888) 328-7885, www.purealaskasalmon.com.
MUTUAL FUND COMBATS WARMING
Pax World Funds, the mutual fund company founded in 1971 to provide socially responsible investments, has continued to expand and diversify since then to include environmental responsibility (see "Investing for the Earth," cover story, March/April 2004). Now Pax is launching another first: It is taking direct action against carbon emissions that lead to global warming. Pax has become an associate member of the Chicago Climate Exchange, a pilot program marketplace for reducing and trading greenhouse gas emissions. (Members make electronic trades of emissions through allowances or offsets.) Pax will offset its greenhouse gas releases by purchasing CO2 credits and retiring them, equivalent to 360 tons of emissions per year. —Jennifer Veilleux
CONTACT: Pax World Funds, (800)767-1729, www.paxworld.com.
WRITE THIS DOWN
If you are looking for blank books, address books, sketchbooks, photo albums and scratch pads, look no further than the Woven World Expressions line from Adventure Trading. The company uses handcrafted, natural fabrics and traditional techniques from Thailand, Bali, Ghana and Guatemala to create environmentally friendly products. Each book ($2.99 to $18.99) is unique because the thread is hand sorted, dyed with natural pigments and woven by native workers from around the globe. No bleach or pesticides are used. The books are made of 80 percent hemp, while 100 percent cotton hats, bags, Hackey Sacks, purses, hammocks and bookmarks are also available. A portion of the proceeds are donated to indigenous relief organizations, including Water Partners International, which builds water systems for poor villages, and Escuela de la Calle, which helps children survive the streets of Guatemala. —S.W.
CONTACT: Adventure Trading, (800)640-3506, www.AdventureImports.com.
HENNA FOR HAIR AND BODY
Brazil-based Surya Nature has created a semi-permanent henna hair color that does not include the ammonia, peroxide, heavy metals, common allergen paraphenylenediamine (PPD), resorcinol or parabens that are often found in conventional products. The company’s henna line is made with 100 percent plant ingredients, many of which are sourced from India and the Brazilian Amazon. Because henna is all natural, it’s less likely to damage hair, and Surya Henna Powder ($4.95) and Cream ($8.95) can be used during pregnancy and on chemically treated hair. There are eight to 15 different shades to try, including light brown, red, mahogany, copper, ash blond and black. Surya also sells fun temporary tattoos, which are made solely from plant ingredients. Surya Henna products are not tested on animals and are available in health food and beauty supply stores throughout the U.S. —S.W.
CONTACT: Surya Henna, (877)99-SURYA, www.suryahenna.com.br.
HEMP ON THE TABLE
Although many nations are cashing in on harvesting hemp for a wide range of uses, the plant still can’t be grown legally in the U.S. However, the domestic hemp industry’s recent victory against the Drug Enforcement Administration ensures that Americans can still enjoy nutritious hemp foods. Canada-based Manitoba Harvest offers four categories of hemp foods: seed nuts ($2.99 for two ounces), seed nut butter ($9.99 for 10 ounces), seed oil ($11.99 for 12 ounces) and protein powder ($14.99 for 16 ounces). Each contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, digestible protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Hemp Seed Butter can be used as a spread and contains no trans fats, hydrogenated oils, cholesterol, added sugar, gluten, preservatives, artificial colors or flavors and has low saturated fat. Hemp foods are good in salad dressings, smoothies, juices and as snacks. —S.W.
CONTACT: Manitoba Harvest, (800)665-HEMP (4367), www.manitobaharvest.com.
DO-IT-YOURSELF BABY FOOD
Want the freshest food for your baby without spending hours in the kitchen? The So Easy Baby Food Kit ($34.95) from Fresh Baby makes that possible. This kit helps you produce your own natural baby food in just 30 minutes a week. A 22-minute video helps guide you through the process. The Fresh Start Cworkbook [sic], "a combination cookbook and workbook," gives more detailed instructions on the preparation of more than 40 easy recipes. The kit also contains two reusable freezer trays that hold 24 servings of food and a quick reference card that highlights useful tips on baby nutrition. Shelling out some cash for the kit will not only provide long-term relief from the added cost of pre-made baby food, but it will also reduce the amount of garbage your household produces. —J.L.
CONTACT: Fresh Baby, (866) 40FRESH (37374), www.myfreshbaby.com.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF ATLAS
"Make no mistake: the world water supply is in crisis, and things are getting worse," authors Robin Clarke and Jannet King warn in the opening chapter of The Water Atlas: A Unique Visual Analysis of the World’s Most Critical Resource (The New Press, $24.95). This beautifully illustrated and user-friendly presentation of maps, images, tables and graphs expertly describes the state of the world’s water, from dams and floods to analysis of political and corporate control. The engaging atlas is a useful aid for the student and general reader, as well as for the scientist or policy maker in understanding the big picture reality of our most important global resource: water. The atlas concludes with three possible future scenarios for water based upon usage and trends. All of them are alarming. —J.V.
When walking down the aisles in a supermarket do you ever get confused reading the labels? Ever wonder about the differences between "all-natural," "USDA certified," "organic," "fair trade certified" or "biodynamic" foods? What impact do pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and genetic modification have on our health? To answer these questions author Steve Meyerowitz (aka "Sproutman") wrote The Organic Food Guide: How to Shop Smarter and Eat Healthier (Globe Pequot Press, $8.95). The book uses graphs, pictures and easy-to-read descriptions to help shoppers decipher complicated labels and understand the benefits of organic foods. Even Starbucks, McDonald’s and Heinz have joined the fast-growing market for organic foods, so why are you waiting? —S.W.
FORGET TUSCANY: LOOK AROUND
"Leave Provence to the Provenéals, and Tuscany to the Tuscans—the world was altogether sweet enough right here." Bill McKibben takes a rare pause from his discourse on climate change, nanotechnology and humans" disconnect from nature as he walks from Vermont to the Adirondacks, reveling in the region he calls home. Wandering Home: A Long Walk Across America’s Most Hopeful Landscape: Vermont’s Champlain Valley and New York’s Adirondacks (Crown Journeys, $16) is at once a meditation on the spirit and grit of rural life and a guidebook to the community development innovations that may save it. "Local is the new organic," McKibben proclaims, pausing on his walk to visit farmers" markets and community forests—a small-scale renaissance thriving in a runaway world. The pastoral progressiveness of Vermont gives way to the vibrant wildness of the Adirondacks, a region that snarls and resists the neat, suburban landscapes that surround it. We finally arrive home with McKibben at the end of his journey, tired, satisfied and awash with hope. —Rebecca Sanborn
REBEL WITH A CAUSE
How does an "aging, single, unrepentant hippie-environmentalist" manage to fit in on the rugged western frontier? By talking tractors and flirting with the cowboys at the Buckhorn Bar, says Hannah Hinchman. Though she disagrees with nearly every anti-environmental word spit out by these tough-as-nails neighbors, she manages to find acceptance and companionship in a rough-and-tumble Montana town, as is honestly and beautifully revealed in Little Things in a Big Country (W.W. Norton, $25.95). Through this combination of hand-written, lyrical prose, sensual paintings, and detailed maps and sketches, Hinchman reveals herself equal parts scientist, artist, writer and rebel. A hand-drawn pie chart depicts the origins of her neighbors; the blurred lines of a watercolor smooth the jagged landscape. Rarely does an author provide such an intimate look at her life and surroundings. —R.S.
For those who spend the summer battling bugs and combating cutworms in the garden, pesticides sometimes seem to be the only solution. Chemicals can destroy helpful microbes and contaminate soil and water, but IPM for Gardeners: A Guide to Integrated Pest Management (Timber Press, $24.95) gives gardeners a host of tools that are tough on pests and easy on the environment. Raymond A. Cloyd, Philip L. Nixon and Nancy R. Pataky are authoritative and competent guides on this tour of IPM, stressing strategies of prevention, monitoring and good management. Packed with information and photographs, this volume explains the biology behind plant and insect population dynamics, covers important strategies for keeping plants healthy and improving their resistance to insects, and describes creative, holistic first-aid strategies when infestations do occur. Whether you are a novice gardener or a full-time farmer, IPM for Gardeners will do you and your garden a world of good. —R.S.
On a journey that is scientific and artistic, personal and purposeful, Donald Kroodsma seeks to discover why some birds sing and others don"t; and whether their songs are inherited through genes or learned through observation. In The Singing Life of Birds: The Art and Science of Listening to Birdsong (Houghton Mifflin, $28 with CD), Kroodsma describes his travels around the globe, studying the behavior of birds and the physics of their songs. His lyrical, informal prose is accompanied by scientific diagrams of pitches and notes—musical transcriptions written in kilohertz rather than eighth notes. The accompanying CD includes the songs of many of the world’s most famous species.
David Rothenberg uses art and science to take on similar questions in Why Birds Sing: A Journey into the Mystery of Bird Song (Basic Books, $26). The result, though, is utterly different: Rothenberg’s story is deeply philosophical. "The humble question, Why do birds sing? forces us to reconsider what music is and where it comes from, what sorts of thinking animals might do and to what extent we can communicate with them," he writes. Rothenberg is also a participant in the passerine orchestra rather than just an observer. A composer and jazz clarinetist, he seeks to understand why birds sing by playing music with them, and his text is inspired by the whimsical collaborations that result. Their give-and-take improvisation can be heard on the CD Why Birds Sing, which is sold separately and offers "12 different ways of making human music out of bird song." Benny Goodman, eat your heart out. —R.S.