Tools for Green Living

CLEANING UP CLEANSERS

Heather Caro cleaned houses for more than 16 years, even putting herself through college. But after so much time scrubbing floors, she began to have dizzy spells from breathing in cleaning chemicals. Caro saw a need for effective natural cleansers. After two years working with a chemist, she formulated Heather’s Natural & Organic Cleaning Products, a line of fragrant, nontoxic cleansers (recently acquired by Jason Natural Cosmetics). The soaps, bleaches and air fresheners use organic acids and biodegradable surfactants to remove dirt and odor. All are versatile, kid-safe and can be found at local health food stores or online.

CONTACT

Heather’s Natural & Organic Cleaning ProductsTel: (310) 838-7543

—Jaime deBlanc-Knowles


GOOD RIDDANCE

Unlike household water that passes into the sewer system, storm drain runoff is neither treated nor filtered for toxins. The contaminated brew, which mixes with oil leaked from cars and trucks, streams directly into waterways. The EcoSense Filtration Cassette captures up to 95 percent of the oil pollution in surface water. EcoSense’s commercial filters are ideal for construction sites and urban waste systems, and make sense for any eco-minded community that cares about water pollution. The cassette can easily be removed and cleaned.

CONTACT

EcoSense USATel; (321) 449-0324E-mail: EcoSenseUSA@yahoo.com

—J.D.K.


TRAVEL TROUBLE-FREE

As any vegan knows, it can be difficult to stick to your principles when on the road, where it’s not so easy to find animal-friendly products. That’s why Donna Zeigfinder, owner of Green Earth Travel, created VegTravel.com, a shop that provides all your travel needs, from airline tickets and non-leather luggage to cruelty-free suntan lotion. Especially useful are VegTravel’s vegetarian travel guides. Zeigfinder also includes lists of bed-and-breakfasts and eco-lodges that accommodate not only vegans, but also other special-needs diets. Whatever your lifestyle, VegTravel will be a big help in planning your next vacation.

CONTACT

Green Earth TravelTel: (301) 571-4603

—J.D.K.


FOOD TO LIVE FOR

Nothing Living Tree Community Foods sells has ever touched a stove. Living Tree is a supporter of the living food movement, which believes cooking robs food of its nutrients and subtle flavors. So the Berkeley, California-based company offers an array of tasty organic products for the health-minded. The company’s raw gourmet offerings include almond butter, dried fruits, olive oil and the new black sesame seed tahini. Recipes for using these organic goodies can be found on the Living Tree website, along with testimonials from its biggest fans—athletes who enjoy the health benefits of raw food.

CONTACT

Living Tree Community FoodsTel: (800) 260-5534

—J.D.K.


MOTHER EARTH MEETS RAPUNZLE

Nature’s Gate, a veteran in the world of organic body products, is introducing a new line of hair-care items just in time for the sun-streaked days of summer. Nature’s Gate shampoos and conditioners ($6.99) use 85 percent certified organic ingredients and are pH-balanced, biodegradable and cruelty free. They come in six delightful flavors (such as lemongrass and lavender) and are full of vitamins and phytoproteins appropriate for all hair types. Nature’s Gate even offers a fragrance-free soy version for those with scent sensitivity or who want to add their own essential oils.

CONTACT

Nature’s Gate OrganicsTel: (800)327-2021

—Laura Ruth Zandstra


AT THE MOVIES

Whale Rider is an eerie, majestic movie that weaves together the ancestral legends of New Zealand’s Maori tribe with the destiny of a contemporary young girl. The compelling tale underscores the need to preserve reverence for ancient ways. The film was written and directed by Niki Caro, who won New Zealand’s 1999 Best Film Award for her first picture, Memory and Desire. Whale Rider is based on a novel by Witi Ihimaera, who was born into a small Maori community and heard the story of the whale riders in childhood. Ihimaera became Caro’s liaison to Maori elders, helping her to create a movie that explores and respects tribal traditions. Whale Rider won the audience choice awards at the Sundance, Toronto and Rotterdam film festivals.

CONTACT

Newmarket FilmsTel: (212) 303-1700

—L.R.Z.

BooksTHE VIEW FROM THE NORTHWEST

The common thread that runs through all of reporter and author William Dietrich’s writing is the environment of the Pacific Northwest. In his latest book, Natural Grace: The Charm, Wonder, and Lessons of Pacific Northwest Animals and Plants (University of Washington Press, $16.95), Dietrich focuses on his strength through a series of easy-going natural history essays devoted to the living things—from jellyfish and lichens to cedars and orcas—that have worked together to make Washington and Oregon unique. Dietrich’s colorful writing makes each seemingly mundane subject come alive, leaving the reader with a newfound appreciation for the most basic elements of life. While Natural Grace is primarily a celebration of life and place, Dietrich concludes with the hope that we can apply the lessons of mutual interdependence we learned from the natural world to preserve as much biodiversity as possible.

—Roddy Scheer

GARDENING GURU

Ellen Sandbeck has compiled a lively collection of folk wisdom for the organic gardener in her book Eat More Dirt (Broadway Books, $10.95). Did you know that beetles flock like lemmings to drown in pools of vinegar? Slugs cannot tolerate eggshells. Boiling water kills the weeds that flourish in sidewalk cracks. Want a few more? Caffeine kills mosquito larvae. One tree has the cooling power of five air conditioners. Sandbeck creates a thoroughly entertaining and educational read, characterizing Earth-friendly gardening as a way of life for everyone at home among toad huts, good dirt and all shades of green.

—L.R.Z.

GREENING AFRICA, ONE TREE AT A TIME

A lifelong career in activism and advocacy led to the extraordinary success of the Green Belt Movement, a nonprofit grassroots organization founded by Kenyan Wangari Maathai. In her new book The Green Belt Movement (Lantern Books, $15), Maathai offers both the history of the movement and information on where it’s heading. Centering on planting trees, restorative agriculture and empowering women, the movement was founded to confront Kenya’s pro

blems of soil erosion and poor access to drinking water and energy. It has made a major difference, and The Green Belt Movement is a powerful and informative book.

—Kimberly Allen

BONDING WITH DOLPHINS

The relationship between humans and dolphins is at once magnificent and highly problematic. In their new compilation Between Species: Celebrating the Dolphin-Human Bond (Sierra Club Books, $24.95), editors Toni Frohoff and Brenda Peterson explore the kinship and tragedy of the ongoing intermingling of the two species. Beautifully written essays and stories fill this thought-provoking and entertaining book. Having dolphins in the public eye is wonderful for education and conservation, some say, but the commercialization of these creatures has led to cruel exploitation for many in captivity. Jean-Michel Cousteau shares a heart-wrenching story about an agonized beluga whale kept in captivity under a roller coaster in Mexico. Wild dolphins are frequently harassed by boaters and those looking for "spiritual renewal" through swimming with these majestic animals.

—K.A.

A FEAST OF GREENS

The vegan diet usually calls up images of austerity and abstention. After all, vegans must swear off meat, fish, dairy and eggs—ingredients most chefs rely on. Fortunately, Joy Pierson and Bart Potenza, co-owners of vegan bistro The Candle Café, have proved that mouthwatering food can be created using only the purest organic ingredients. The Candle Café Cookbook (Crown Publishing Group, $19.95) features hearty, flavorsome dishes ranging from Potato Gnocchi with Tofu Alfredo Sauce to Satay with Coconut Peanut Sauce. While the New York café serves many A-list celebrities, the cookbook may well make a convert out of non-celebrities too—the glossary of ingredients and helpful tips make it easy to prepare a gourmet meal that will turn meat-eaters green with envy.

If you have to own just one more vegan cookbook, Vegan Planet (Harvard Common Press, $19.95) might be it. Robin Robertson presents a comprehensive resource of 400 recipes and a primer on "vegan basics." Its best feature? Most of Robertson’s delicious recipes are based on simple, fresh ingredients.

The Garden of Eden: How It All Vegan Again (Arsenal Pulp Press, $17.95) is the second cookbook by long-time friends Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer. This tattooed pair provide a wide array of tasty vegan recipes, many sent in by fans of their "vegan bible," How It All Vegan. The authors" lively writing and tips on "how to throw a pity party" and "45 things to do with baking soda" make this more than a cooking resource.

—Mary Ann Masarech and J.D.K