Tools for Green Living

ECOBABIES!

Tired of disposable nappies, plastic toys, and the latest baby fashions? Ecobaby Organics grounds its line of baby products in the concept that healthy babies create healthy lives. Comforting your child with organically grown cotton diaper doublers ($29.95 for a 10-pack), biodegradable diaper liners ($5.95 for a roll), and the all-in-one flannelette "Kushie" diaper ($8.95 each) will not only feel right, but will reduce unneeded waste. In addition, Rock Maple wood rattles (from the same tree that gives us maple syrup, $19.95), pure wool-filled organic animals ($19.95), and cleverly designed organic baby apparel will please both young children and their expectant moms and dads.

CONTACT

Ecobaby Organics
Tel: (800) ECOBABY

—Chas Offutt


FAST FOOD FOR PLANTS

This spring, when you start indoor plantings for your organic garden, you"ll have some help available. With Grow Joe, a new biodegradable starter pot, you don"t have to go to the trouble of messily transplanting your tender plants from pot to garden soil, since the pot itself can be placed right in the ground ($2.99 for three). Composed from a mix of natural fertilizers like coffee grounds, bone meal and limestone, and sealed over with a natural resin, the pot maintains its structure for up to six months. When placed in the ground and watered, it decomposes in about two months, providing fertilizer that will help your garden bloom.

CONTACT

Grow Joe
Tel: (800) 881-7288

—Starre Vartan


SKIN"S BEST FRIEND

Even though we all know that skin is the body"s largest organ, we continue to expose it to potentially harmful agents while cleansing and moisturizing. Vermont Soapworks" natural, non-toxic line runs the gamut of personal and home care products. There"s a biodegradable camping soap ($3.49, four ounces) for use on the trail, and an all-purpose house cleaning soap, Liquid Sunshine ($9.99, 32 ounces), as well as a fruit and vegetable wash ($5.99, 16 ounces). From a so-delicious-you-could-eat-it Orange Shea Lotion ($10.99, eight ounces), to indulgent lavender-scented bath salts and an Aloe Baby Soap ($3.49, 3.5 ounces), all of the company"s products are ideal for those with sensitive skin (the founder has it!) or for those just interested in a "green" way to get clean.

CONTACT

Vermont Soapworks
Tel: (802) 388-4302

—S.V.


THE GREEN GUIDE, AGAIN

‘One of the saddest things about the demise of the environmental group Mothers & Others in 2001 was that our E team no longer received The Green Guide, a sprightly consumer guide to cleaner, healthier lifestyles. But now, a year later, The Green Guide is back, as an independent newsletter, with the same clear-eyed mix of consumer tips and action items. The first issue, April/ May 2002, will have articles on low- and high-tech air cleaners, non-toxic spring cleaning products, eco-correct and humane home d?cor, and a report on air quality from Ground Zero at the World Trade Center. "We want to show consumers how to make a real difference," says Editor Mindy Pennybacker.

CONTACT

The Green Guide, $25 for six bi-monthly issues, from:

The Green Guide Institute
P.O. Box 129
Sea Cliff, NY 11579-0129
Tel: (212) 475-7789

Until the end of May, E readers can get The Green Guide for $20 a year.

—Jim Motavalli


GREENER HEARTHS

Recent years have brought more and more hand-wringing over the future of our resource use, and a line of wood-burning fireplaces from Finland may be part of the solution. Built entirely of beautiful gray soapstone, Tulikivi fireplaces ($4,800 and up) offer a highly efficient way to heat your home, warming for 12 to 24 hours on only two armloads of wood. The design of the fireplaces ensures complete combustion and minimal smoke emissions, which means better air not only outside, but inside too—a boon to those with allergies. Many designs incorporate bakeovens and cast-iron cooktops for fresh-baked bread and flapjacks in the morning.

CONTACT

Tulikivi
Tel: (800) 843-3473

—C.B. Gaines


SOY A-GO-GO

Now you will never again have to be without your daily mug of soymilk! Better Than Milk powdered soy and rice milks come in a rich variety of flavors, including original, carob, chocolate and vanilla, and they"re portable: just add a few spoonfuls of powder to a glass of water. They"re perfect for travelers, backpackers or for storage in a second home or at work. Although not quite as tasty as fresh soy or rice milk, Better Than Milk can be mixed as thick as you like it, and since it comes in canisters ($8.69 for 21.4 ounces), that means less packaging. Better Than Ice Cr?me is a yummy powdered soy smoothie mix or sweet topping to fruit or cereal. It has a rich flavor, and is low fat to boot.

CONTACT

Better Than Milk
Tel: (800) 227-2320

—S.V.


Books

BODY SHOP VS. SWEATSHOPS

Is globalization the new face of corporate greed? The Body Shop"s founder, Anita Roddick, examines this question in her new book Take It Personally (Conari Press, $24.95). Through colorful imagery and powerful real world examples, the author shows how the movement of global capital leads to the destruction of peoples and the environment. Roddick looks closely at the failure of big business to comply with environmental regulations, and she encourages conscious consumer choices. Try this book for an eye-opening look at the powerful, money-driven machines that run our world.

—Laura M. Hrastar

AROMATHERAPIST"S COUCH

If you want to ease sore muscles, guard against winter colds, or lessen your child"s hyperactivity, essential oils may offer time-tested natural remedies. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy (New World Library, $19.95) provides a wealth of easy-to-use information for beginners and expert practitioners. Author Valerie Ann Worwood shows how to use oils to help heal ailments from athlete"s foot to toothaches, and how to make your own body lotion or insect repellant.

—S.V.

NATURE ON FILM

The Color of Wildness (Aperture, $60) is the first retrospective look into famed nature photographer Eliot Porter"s career. With gripping images from his tra

vels to Tanzania in 1970, Antarctica in 1974, China in 1980 and throughout North America, the book reveals Porter as arguably the first great nature photographer. Porter"s stylistic development is examined in John Rohrback"s essay "Envisioning a World in Color." In Rebecca Solnit"s essay, "Eliot Porter as an Environmentalist and an Artist," he is shown as a man who put saving the planet ahead of his own recognition as a photographer. Through his work and incessant activism, Porter was a force in shaping the world"s attitude toward our environment. A traveling exhibition of Porter"s work is also planned by the Texas-based Amon Carter Museum.

—Jonathan Rogers

THE REAL SURVIVOR

Journey through the wilds of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, with scientist, author and adventurer Alan Rabinowitz in his book Beyond the Last Village (Island Press/Shearwater Books, $25). Rabinowitz gives a gripping personal account of his trips, beginning in 1993, to survey the creatures and meet the nearly forgotten peoples of a rugged land where lush rainforests meet snow-covered mountains. As the director of the Science and Exploration Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society, Rabinowitz helped establish a wildlife preserve and discovered the leaf deer, a mammal species previously unknown to science. Delve into this intriguing work for the inspirational tale of a modern explorer.

—L.M.H.

THE SOUNDS AROUND

The brown thrasher bird performs nearly 2,000 songs, while some of its close avian relatives perform only three or four. Nobody knows why. Nature"s wild song has long inspired musicians, as David Rothenberg, a professor of philosophy, writer and clarinetist, writes in the collection The Book of Music and Nature (Wesleyan University Press, $24.95). Vivaldi wrote a "Goldfinch Concerto," and Messiaen transcribed birdsongs for orchestras. The book"s contributions vary widely across centuries and genres, and feature musicians" own heartfelt observations about natural inspiration: "To play the piano is to consort with nature," observes Russell Sherman. Rothenberg discourses at more length on creativity and impromptu improvisation in Sudden Music (University of Georgia Press, $29.95). Both books come with musical CDs, so you can actually hear the author and others jam with walruses and pied butcherbirds.

—J.M