Tools for Green Living

NATURAL SOLE

It’s summertime, and your favorite pair of leather sandals are falling apart at the rawhide. Now is your opportunity to invest in some eco-friendly footwear. EcoDragon offers a wide range of sandal styles, including the new Hempadrille ($29), which is made from organic hemp and natural rubber. The sandals are sewn by hand, made with low-impact, fiber-reactive dyes and no fixative chemicals. Because they are composed of vegetable fibers, EcoDragon’s sandals can be composted once they’re worn out. Or try Splaff Flopps ($20 to $22), durable sandals made from recycled tires, bicycle inner tubes and other waste-free materials.

CONTACT

EcoDragon
Tel: (888) 884-HEMP

Splaff
Tel: (619) 221-9199

—Katherine Kerlin


BLUER BILGEWATER

Many Americans will spend part of their summer cruising our beautiful waterways. But boat engines, prohibited altogether on some hypersensitive lakes, can release potentially toxic amounts of fuel and oil into the environment. Centek Industries now offers a range of filtration and spill-absorption products made by Mycelx Technologies that will help boaters clean up their vehicles and avoid costly federal pollution fines. The patented molecular technology instantly captures and removes hydrocarbons like oil and gas from water. The problem-specific packages, like the Boater Emergency Spill Kit ($68) and the Bilgekleen Filtration System ($197-$386, depending on size), are compact and user-friendly.

CONTACT

Centek Industries
Tel: (800) 950-7653

—Brian Howard


WAX ON

The tub of citronella on your patio table might keep the bugs away, but do you want to be sharing those chemicals with the moths and mosquitoes? Way Out Wax (WOW) has combined pure vegetable wax with citronella (an essential oil) and hemp seed oil to create a toxic-free summer evening. WOW’s cotton wicks contain no metal, so they burn cleaner with no harmful residues. The vegetable wax is biodegradable, and no synthetic fragrances are added to the essential oils. The citronella candles are available in tins (4 oz., 12 oz.; $3.15, $6.49) and galvanized tubs (2 lb., 8 lb.; $9.95, $14.95).

CONTACT

Way Out Wax
Tel: (888) 727-1903

—K.K.


BEFUDDLING BAMBI

Deer may be a joy to watch, but they can become a nuisance in areas where they are especially abundant or overly bold. Deer-Off Repellent, from Deer-Off, can keep a menagerie of browsing animals, including deer, squirrels, rabbits and moles, away from your home or garden. One water-resistant application can give you up to three months of pest protection. The product, available in spray or concentrate form ($20 or $28), is completely biodegradable, non-toxic and all natural. Active ingredients include eggs, garlic and cayenne pepper extract. It is EPA-approved for use on food crops.

CONTACT

Deer-Off
Tel: (800) DEER-OFF

—B.H.


MUSIC PRESERVATION

Gardens of Eden ($15.98), a new CD from Putumayo World Music, compiles selections from such artists as Shweta Jhaveri of India, Ana Rita Simonka of Brazil, Yungchen Lhamo of Tibet and others. The artists, who are from some of the world’s most beautiful and most environmentally threatened places, interweave the acoustic sounds of their culture into songs of life and love. The message they create is one of cultural and environmental preservation. The CD’s liner notes describe the environmental and historical background of the featured artists" countries and also include a list of international organizations working to protect the environment.

CONTACT

Putumayo World Music
Tel: (212) 625-1400

—K.K.


MAPPING THE WILD

Delving into the unknown is part of the adventure of visiting national parks. But most of us don’t want to get completely lost. Maptech’s National Park Digital Guide is the next best thing to having a personal park ranger. This software provides the latest official park maps, U.S. Geological Survey topographic views and information about camping, accessibility, park history, trails, wildlife and more. You can even customize your own map to take on your hike. The guides ($29.50 each) are available for all 54 national parks. You can also get regional park sets ($69.50), such as those for parks in Alaska or the Southwest.

CONTACT

Maptech
Tel: (800) 627-7236

—K.K.


GREENER THUMBS

Millions of gardens across America will provide opportunities for fresh food, fragrant flowers and joyous relaxation this summer. The employee-owned, Vermont-based Gardener’s Supply Company publishes an excellent, full-color catalogue and website packed with hundreds of useful, ecologically friendly garden products. Since 1983, the company has designed dozens of innovative, exclusive gardening products, including flower supports, composters, grow lights, greenhouse supplies, growing mediums and organic fertilizers. The company has also worked to sustainably revitalize natural areas around its corporate headquarters.

CONTACT

Gardener’s Supply Company
Tel: (800) 427-3363

—B.H.


Books

THE CORAL CATHEDRAL

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, drawing more than 200 million tourists a year, is one of the most magnificent enclaves of wild habitat on the planet. Reefscape: Reflections on the Great Barrier Reef (Joseph Henry Press, $24.95) by Australian writer Rosaleen Love explores the geological, ecological and biological mysteries of the threatened natural treasure within a framework of different human perspectives and interpretations. The intriguing, lyrical narrative blends together the stories of filmmakers and pirates, commercial divers and ocean activists, Aborigines and scientists. By illuminating the region’s dynamic past and forecasting its future, Reefscape builds a powerful connection between people and nature.

—B. H.

ECOTOURISTS SLEPT HERE

Looking for an organic meal in Philadelphia or a farmer’s market in Vermont? Eco-conscious travelers to New England and the Mid-Atlantic States can now find a cornucopia of green accommodations and attractions through Dennis Dahlin’s Earth-Friendly Inns and Environmental Travel Northeast (Sandbar Wi

llow Press, distributed by Chelsea Green, $18.95). The handy guidebook profiles a diverse range of organizations that preserve local traditions while upholding positive commitments to the environment, such as outstanding recycling programs, car-free zones and solar heating. The snippets of poetry, recipes, quotations, photographs and drawings add depth and color to the wealth of information on travel in general and the regions in particular.

—B.H.

PREVENTING PROBLEM BEARS

Gary Brown, a former chief ranger of Yellowstone, Denali and Rocky Mountain National Parks, knows how difficult it can be for human beings and bears to coexist peacefully. His new book, Outwitting Bears (Lyons Press, $14.95), is a comprehensive guide to responsibly protecting wild bears while safeguarding our property and families. The highly readable, engaging text is peppered with exciting photographs and packed with practical information on topics such as bear feeding habits, effective pet management and bear-human conflict resolution.

As North American large predator populations are slowly recovering and civilization is continually expanding, our interactions with potentially dangerous wild animals will only increase. To educate kids about this important issue, Joni Sensel and illustrator Chris Bivins have created Bears Barge In (Dream Factory, $14.95), a beautiful, lively picture book. In this clever, heart warming story, the bravery of one little boy teaches a growing community to learn to live in harmony with local wildlife.

—B.H.

SUSTAINABLE CEILINGS

Once upon a time, people depended on sunlight to illuminate their lives during the day and breathed fresh air for longer than a brief walk to their car. Lucky for us, this ecological way of life appears to be making a comeback. In Eco-Techture: Bioclimatic Trends and Landscape Architecture in the Year 2001 (Loft Publications, $34.95), edited by Aurora Cuito, cutting-edge building design meets environmental sustainability. The book takes you on a photographic journey from the Barcelona Botanical Gardens to the physically ventilated RWE Tower near the Ruhr River in Essen, Germany. The nature of each construction—and the helpful architectural explanations—will leave you breathless.

—Roxanne Khamsi