New Different


“I like pulling on a baggy bee suit, forgetting myself and getting as close to the bees' lives as they will let me, remembering in the process that there is more to life than the merely human,” writes Sue Hubbell in A Book of Bees. Taking readers on a seasonal, sentimental journey of beekeeping and honey harvesting in the Ozark Mountains, Hubbell contemplates the simple, rural rhythms still hanging on in a modern world. The 300 hives on Hubbell's Missouri farm give the author plenty of fodder for chapters on bee behavior, honey collecting, and insect plagues like mite infestations and pesticide use. Hubbell's words reveal what an intricate and subtle art beekeeping truly is—and how deeply beekeepers struggle to earn a living, preserving America's great pollinators in the process.


The book is $15 postpaid:
from Houghton Mifflin
222 Berkeley Street
Boston, MA 02116-3764,
Tel. (800) 225-3362

—Christina Thompson


In Lethal Laws, Alix Fano boldly argues that 150 years of animal testing has led to a corruption of science, and an even greater threat to public health. Her indictment of science's addiction to animal experimentation calls into question how tests are performed and their failure to protect people from toxins, as she draws attention to the profiteers of the trade. Fano also looks at the future of medical testing, detailing technologies, now largely ignored, that show promise as animal surrogates in the lab.


Available for $19.95 postpaid from:
St. Martin's Press
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
Tel. (800) 221-7945 (x. 270)

—Tracey C. Rembert


Looking for cool summer footwear that's sustainably-made and great for getting wet? Splaff Flopps, originally created in a garage with old racing tires, bike tubes and a shoe knife, are handcrafted in Maine with a hemp or recycled chipped-rubber footbed. “Splaff Flopps are produced in a 100 percent waste-free process in which all left-over materials are either recycled or reused,” explains vice president Tara Crawford.


The flip-flop-style shoes cost $30 to $32, and are available in black, green or tan from:
Splaff Flopps
PO Box 755
Westbrook, ME 04098-0755
Tel. (207) 854-FLOP



Whether you're suffering from a neighboring factory's pollution, or just want to be better informed before buying a house or property near industrial sites, the Internet can help. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has recently launched the Chemical Scorecard ( to allow anyone access to information on pollution and polluters in any neighborhood in the U.S. “This is the first glimpse of what public right-to-know will be like in the 21st century,” says EDF executive director Fred Krupp. The site includes maps of toxic areas, searches by zip code, grassroots resources combating the culprits, and the health effects of individual pollutants.


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The next time you're laid over at Los Angeles Airport, think water. The Oceans Gallery, created by Alan Broder, allows stranded travelers to shed their boredom with free shuttle service to the best-kept art secret in town. The Gallery's collection of marine photography features Bob Talbot, National Geographic's David Doubilet, and E's January/ February cover photographer Carlos Eyles. Each exhibit is devoted to building awareness of marine habitat preservation, and admission is free. The adjoining Oceans Bookstore offers the world's largest collection of marine books, videos and CD titles, all just two minutes north of the airport.


Oceans Gallery
9146 Sepulveda Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90045,
Tel. (310) 670-2503 for shuttle times.



According to all-natural bedding manufacturer Natura, chemical “off-gassing,” mold, mildew and dust mites build up in conventional, synthetic bedding, causing morning stuffiness and allergic reactions in many users. Natura's Organic Series, made from chemical-free wool (which repels these plagues) and organic cotton, offers a comfortable night's rest while respecting the environment and sleepers' health. Offering mattresses, pillows and comforters from twin to king sizes, Natura accompanies its bedding with an untreated maple frame with adjustable headrest that fits into existing bed frames.


680 Bishop Street North
Cambridge, Ontario, Canada N3H 4V6,
Tel. (800) 215-3002



When seafood chain Red Lobster switched from paper to cloth napkins in 1991, it eliminated 4.7 million pounds of paper waste each year, writes Kathy Stein in Beyond Recycling. Stein's handbook includes tips on reusing 70 common products, as well as guidance for saving money, avoiding disposables, and repairing and maintaining appliances, vehicles and furnishings. From making your own envelopes and mulching a Christmas tree, to paint “drop and swaps” and buying used golf balls, Stein points out the environmental bonuses of creative re-use.


The handbook is $17.95 postpaid from:
Clear Light Publishers
823 Don Diego
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Tel. (800) 253-2747



For rugs that can go from dining room to bathroom to boat dock, hemp's a good bet. Pesticide- and chemical-free, hemp floor coverings are versatile while being anti-microbial, mold-proof, and extremely durable. California-based Ortex creates natural and dyed hemp rugs that easily survive machine-washing, as well as hemp twine, upholstery and tree-free paper. “Of the natural fibers like flax and jute-hemp is the only one not affected by water,” says Ortex founder Agi Orsi. “Hemp has been the mainstay of our family-run business for over 30 years. We inherited our knowledge of hemp from our homeland, Hungary, which has a long history of its cultivation.”


Bound or custom-sized rugs, as well as custom-dyeing, are available from:
Ortex (Schermerhorn distributor)
Tel. (800) 962-4808