Tools for Green Living

DO THE ELECTRIC LOCOMOTION

An innovative, northern California-based company, Zapworld.com, is offering a wide array of clean-air alternatives to polluting internal-combustion vehicles. The Zappy electric scooter ($599.99) can make short commutes fun and efficient. The battery, which charges from a wall outlet, provides a range of up to eight miles at 13 mph. Though not suitable for car traffic and a little too heavy (36 pounds) for easy packing, the scooter is simple to ride, stable and equipped with a number of safety features.

CONTACT

Zapworld.com
Tel: (707) 824-4150

—Brian Howard


DOODLING DONE RIGHT

Are you constantly searching for scrap paper? Look no further. Green Field Paper Company has recently introduced a new line of all-purpose Field Books. And get this—the paper is tree-free. These handy pads are made entirely of hemp, recycled textiles and waste paper. Hemp paper was also trendy in Thomas Jefferson"s day, so the next time you need to scratch down some thoughts, be a true American environmentalist, and grab a Field Book ($3.95 to $13.95). The books are available in four sizes and three earthy colors—bark, sage green and terra cotta. Field Books can be found in environmental boutiques, gift stores, and art and college bookstores throughout the U.S.

CONTACT

Green Field Paper Company
Tel: (888) 402-9979

—Maria DeRuccio


FROSTING ON THE CAKE

For people who don"t have time to cook from scratch, Oetker Simple Organics offers a complete line of baking mixes. And since the ingredients are grown without man-made pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or genetically modified organisms, well, that"s just frosting on the cake—literally. Oetker"s new organic icing mixes ($2.79 to $2.99) come in two essential flavors: chocolate and vanilla. To bring the frosting to life, simply add butter and milk. These icings are a perfect way to top off your organic desserts or turn your black forest cake into a truly eco-friendly treat.

CONTACT

Oetker Ltd.
Tel: (905) 678-1311

—Roxanne Khamsi


SENSIBLE SECRETS

The soothing fragrance of aromatherapy can be a delightful addition to any living space. The Sanctum Aroma Bowl Diffuser, distributed by Naked Earth, Inc. ($39.95) disperses essential oils without the danger or sooty indoor pollution of candles. The porcelain diffusers are handcrafted by a small, family-run pottery shop, and the "intelligent heating unit" uses only a minimum amount of electricity. A variety of attractive colors and elegant shapes, including an aroma lamp and inhaler, are available.

CONTACT

NakedEarth, Inc.
Tel: (914) 232-7431

—B.H.


VIRTUAL FARMERS’ MARKET

The green community has long championed the inherent environmental, social and health benefits of small-scale farming operations. But independent farmers have limited marketing resources and often have been frustrated by failed attempts to link up with consumers. A new nonprofit web site, www.localharvest.org, has bloomed from the Community Alliance with Family Farmers and an activist-minded computer firm. Internet surfers can search the versatile, user-friendly interface for Community Supported Agriculture projects, farmers" markets, U-pick farms and small operations by location, products or description. Each listing has a detailed profile with information on business hours, background and product availability.

CONTACT

Local Harvest
Tel: (800) 852-3832

—B.H.


BIRD SONG

Calling all bird lovers and nature enthusiasts! Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, the Field Museum of Chicago and Conservation International have come together to produce a series of five CD audio guides ($14.95 each) featuring the birds that live in the rainforests of the Amazon basin. Each CD contains bird songs, calls and other vocalizations of the most diverse bird fauna of any area on Earth. This CD set will teach anyone, from average birdwatcher to ornithologist, to identify the unique sounds of the Amazonian rainforest. With an enhanced understanding of the biology of these 495 bird species, we have a better shot at protecting their environment.

CONTACT

Cornell Lab Birding Shop
Tel: (877) 274-3716

—M.D.


REDUCE, REUSE, REAIR

Although CFCs are being phased out in America, many consumers still use aerosol products that rely on potentially harmful chemicals. The ReAir Refillable Duster & Mini Pump, from Read/Right ($16.99), is a non-flammable, non-toxic, chemical-free and completely ozone-safe tool ideal for photographers, hobbyists and electronics technicians. The device produces a fine stream of clean air that removes dust from sensitive surfaces. Since the canister can be refilled up to 100 times, consumer waste is effectively reduced. The pump also can easily adapt to inflate other objects like toys and tires.

CONTACT

Office Innovations
Tel: (800) 648-4348

—B.H.


Books

GETTING PERSONAL

"All I ever really wanted to be was a twentieth-century version of a nineteenth-century biologist," confesses Thomas Lovejoy. He and 15 other scientists share their personal and professional reflections in Life Stories: World-Renowned Scientists Reflect on Their Lives and the Future of Life on Earth (University of California Press, $16.95), a collection edited by Heather Newbold. Each mini-autobiography offers a glimpse into formative life experiences: Chemist Sherwood Rowland describes what it"s like to blow the whistle on a $2-billion-a-year chlorofluorocarbon manufacturing industry, and population specialist Paul Ehrlich recounts his distress at seeing most of the places where he has done fieldwork destroyed in his lifetime. These essays get to the heart of environmental research and show that scientists really do care.

—R.K.

ARSON ON THE MOUNTAIN

In Powder Burn: Arson, Money and Mystery on Vail Mountain (PublicAffairs, $25), Daniel Glick traces the underlying forces and events leading up to the 1998 arson attack on America"s largest ski resort. The colorful, detail-packe

d narrative showcases the cultural clashes between mainstream and radical environmentalists, wealthy financiers, big business, ski bums and local residents. Glick skillfully develops the story of unrest at Vail as a platform to analyze wider issues of resource allocation, sprawl and corporate and citizen responsibility. The book serves as a valuable template for understanding the roots of eco-terrorism around the world.

—B.H.

CHATTY CHIVES

Listen closely, and you will hear the oak tree tell you about its medicinal uses or the chives suggest themselves for a salad. Of course, it helps if you happen to be exploring the woods with Walking the World in Wonder: A Children"s Herbal (Healing Arts Press, $19.95), written by Ellen Evert Hopman and illustrated by Jane Allemann. Sixty-seven herbs—organized by season—playfully introduce themselves and talk about their na-tural habitats and many uses. Your kids learn "green etiquette" along the way, such as making sure at least seven individuals of each species remain to reproduce at each site where you gather plants.

—R.K.

WARS OVER WINDMILLS

According to author Peter Asmus, "wind power will need to play a major role if we are to stave off catastrophic global climate change." In Reaping the Wind (Island Press, $24.95), Asmus examines the detailed history of wind energy in the modern world. The book describes the fascinating struggles of maverick scientists and inventors toiling to overcome mechanical challenges and the efforts of bold entrepreneurs to make the industry economically feasible. The setbacks, political battles and rocky reception from the environmental community are presented as challenges to this renewable resource that can be overcome in the quest for a cleaner world.

—B.H.

LIVING IT UP

While much emphasis has been placed on large-scale environmental problems such as global warming and deforestation, less consideration has been given to the underlying social trends that may have led to such degradation. In Triumph of the Mundane (Island Press, $22.95), scholar Hal Kane examines how tremendously our day-to-day choices and popular lifestyles impact the environment. Kane exposes the cultural and historical contexts of several destructive themes in modern life, including the speed of information transfer and daily activities, the increasing geographic mobility of people, the rising number of small family units and of people living alone, and the growing emphasis on physical possessions. The book"s final chapter presents thoughtful suggestions on how we can restructure a more healthy society.

—B.H.

AMPHIBIANS ON THE COFFEE TABLE

The Nature of Frogs: Amphibians with Attitude (Greystone, $24.95) is a spectacular photographic collection of frogs and toads in their natural habitats. Harry Parsons complements the full-page, glossy images with lively, clever captions. The narrative weaves together provocative descriptions of the animals" evolution, life cycles and biology with touching accounts of their varying roles in human myths, thoughts and history. Parsons also examines some of the current challenges that amphibian populations face around the world and the efforts being done to protect and preserve their environment.

—B.H.