Tools for Green Living

A SNACK THE DOCTOR ORDERED

Health nuts and chocoholics rejoice… Dr. Soy has taken the guilt out of eating candy. The Healthy Snacker ($1.49, available at grocery stores) is a tasty alternative to the everyday chocolate bar. Fortified with calcium, antioxidants and soy nuts for extra crunch, it satisfies that chocolate craving with only six grams of fat and 180 calories. Compare that to 14 grams of fat and 280 calories in an average candy bar. The Healthy Snacker comes in two flavors, Chocolate Caramel Crunch and Rocky Road, includes no genetically modified ingredients and provides 11 to 12 grams of protein, so it doubles as a delicious energy bar. Dr. Soy also offers flavored soy nuts, trail mix and protein bars.

CONTACT

Dr. Soy
Tel: (800) 700-8986

—Phoebe Hall


(ORGANIC) FLOWER POWER

For those who love giving or receiving flowers but are concerned about the possible dangers of the pesticides they’re doused with, Organic Bouquet now offers a simple and lovely solution: organically grown flowers. Half of U.S.-sold flowers are from Colombia, where two-thirds of workers suffer from such afflictions as headaches, impaired vision, asthma and miscarriages caused by the pesticides, according to the Pesticide Action Network North America. Organic Bouquet’s bunches of tulips ($7) are currently offered nationwide in natural food stores and, coming soon, exotic seasonal bouquets of bellflowers, godetia and other "old-fashioned garden favorites" will be available from the company’s website and catalog.

CONTACT

Organic Bouquet
Tel: (888) 899-2468

—Corene Luh


ENJOY YOUR SOY

Meals just got easier with Pete’s Tofu ($1.69 to $3.89). It’s available plain or flavored, including Lemon Pepper and Very Berry, and in a range of consistencies, from soft to super firm, for all your tofu needs. Each package also features recipes and usage tips. Make a smoothie with Peach Mango, toss Sesame Ginger into a stir-fry, crumble up Italian Herb in pasta sauce, or add Santa Fe Sizzle to a fajita. Pete’s Tofu2Go is a line of delicious finger food that comes in several varieties, each with a different dipping sauce. It can be enjoyed cold or warm, and is a healthy alternative to many convenience foods.

CONTACT

Pete’s Tofu
Tel: (800) 661-2326

—P.H.


WISER WATER

What’s in your water? If you drink tap or bottled water, there could be all sorts of impurities you don’t know about. But Waterwise promises that its purifiers remove 99 percent of the sediment, heavy metals, pathogens, chlorine and other contaminants from water. The new 8800 model ($389) fits on your countertop, cleans six gallons of water a day and features a programmable delayed start-up and a monitor so you know when to change the carbon filter. And it’s easy to use: simply fill up the reservoir with tap water, plug it in and turn it on. After four hours of steam distillation and carbon filtration, the one-gallon carafe is filled with ready-to-drink fresh water. Waterwise also makes models suitable for larger households and a non-electric distiller.

CONTACT

Waterwise
Tel: (800) 874-9028

—P.H.


ELIZA VS. THE POACHERS

A cartoon that vilifies poachers but supports the environment and animal rights has to be good news, so E readers should stand up and cheer for the release of The Wild Thornberrys Movie, a feature based on the popular Nickelodeon series. As always, Eliza Thornberry (voiced by Lacey Chabert) is the plucky girl who can talk to animals, accompanying her nature film-making parents on adventures around the world, this time in Africa where evil poachers are on the prowl. The message is soft-pedaled for young viewers, and the African bush on display here—with its untouched teeming savannahs dotted by the occasional native village—is about 100 years out of date, but kids will get the idea, and cheer when the elephants and rhinos win and those poachers are brought to justice.

—Jim Motavalli


OUR FEATHERED FRIENDS

Birds have always inspired people to sing. More recently, they’ve inspired us to conserve wilderness. Both these impulses meet in Birdsong, the new CD by Laurie Lewis (Spruce and Maple Music, $16.99). The Berkeley-based, Grammy-winning folk/bluegrass singer is an environmentally conscious artist: All of the profits from this collection of songs with avian imagery benefit the Audubon Canyon Ranch bird sanctuaries in California’s Marin and Sonoma counties.

Lewis is a nuanced and versatile vocalist, and this engaging collection runs the spectrum from modern folk lyricism ("When the Night Bird Sings") to fiddle-fired bluegrass/mountain music ("Singing Bird") to haunting jazz stylings ("The Blackest Crow"). The music of Laurie Lewis will surprise you, enliven you, and cause you to reflect—just like bird songs themselves. And this one’s for a good cause.

—Richard D. Smith


MIND-BODY-EARTH BALANCE

Look to your inside to care for your outside. Based on an ancient Indian tradition called Ayurveda, Body Bistro strives for a mind-body beauty treatment. The first step of your cleansing regimen is to take a quiz to figure out your dosha, or body type. Next, choose the hand-made soap, facial cleanser, elixir or eye treatment ($7 to $42) that fits your dosha. Last step, achieve inner balance, which will reflect on your exterior. Body Bistro products, which are certified vegan, are made of natural herbal extracts in their least processed forms.

CONTACT

Body Bistro
Tel: (877) 7-BISTRO

—Megan Riley


POOPER SCOOPERS FOR ECO-POOCH

Oops! That old grocery bag you used to pick up after your dog had a hole in it. Scooping poop can be hazardous for your hands—but the plastic bag, and its contents, are hazardous for the environment. Now two companies offer a cleaner, greener way to do away with doo. Biodegradable plastic bags from Oops … I Pooped ($6 for 88 bags) are small and lightweight, yet tough enough for the task at hand. Their black color conceals contents from prying eyes, and handle ties make for easy transport to the nearest garbage can. For safer scooping, Goldenlab Enterprise includes a recycled cardboard scoop with its Ooops Scoops ($3 for 30 bags). The all-natural, non-toxic coating on these sturdy paper sacks resists water and helps break down pooch poop on contact. Helpful instructions and handsome illustrations on the outside ensure you won’t confuse this brown bag with your lunch. While the similarity in the product names is a coincidence, both companies have adorable logos. Gold

enlab illustrates its wares with the cuddly pups Topaz, Conan, Morgan and Tanner.

CONTACTS

Goldenlab Enterprise
Tel: (608) 271-8663

Oops… I Pooped
Tel: (888) 811-8804

—P.H. and Kristine Hansen

Books

HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES FOR ANIMALS?

Cindy Engel, a lecturer for Open University in Great Britain, marvels at elephants that trek miles seeking clay to counter dietary toxins. In her new book Wild Health (Houghton Mifflin, $24), Engel explores this and other behavioral strategies animals use to maintain their health. Learn about chimpanzees that rummage for hours searching for anti-parasitic medicines and how we can use this information to improve our animals" health. Interested in medicine, health and animals? Then pick up this book on a new field in biology called zoopharmacognosy.

—Eve Hightower


EAT, DRINK AND BE WARY

From deadly bacteria to saturated fat to pesticides, there’s a lot to think about in what we eat. But with so many conflicting reports about food, consumers often throw up their hands in despair. Now, armed with a copy of Is Our Food Safe? (Three Rivers Press, $14.95), grocery shoppers and restaurant-goers alike can make informed choices that are safe for themselves and the environment. Warren Leon and Caroline Smith DeWaal get to the bottom of mad cow disease, genetic engineering, fish farming and the great paper vs. plastic debate, all in one straightforward, easy-to-read volume. And no, we don’t all have to go vegetarian and buy organic… but it wouldn’t hurt.

—P.H.


THE REAL RALPH

What makes Ralph Nader tick? Though a household name for decades, this famously private man has so successfully eluded journalists and biographers that to this day no one can say for sure where he lives. But with personal accounts from hundreds of friends and foes, colleagues and former employees, and even the man himself, Justin Martin pieces together the most thorough account yet of America’s number one consumer advocate. Nader: Crusader, Spoiler, Icon (Perseus Publishing, $26) chronicles Nader’s rise and fall and rise again, from his childhood and college days, to his years as public crusader, to his "Waterloo" in the 80s, to his infamous 2000 presidential bid. Martin falls short of hero-worship, refusing to overlook Nader’s tactical errors and personal foibles. This well-balanced account is a must-read for fans and critics alike.

—P.H.


A WOMAN"S-EYE VIEW

Judith Boice compiled the first edition of Mother Earth in 1992 to give women a voice in the often male-dominated field of nature writing and photography. Now, in this tenth-anniversary volume of Mother Earth: Through the Eyes of Women Photographers and Writers (Sierra Club Books, $24.95), Boice celebrates this planet’s role as the mother of all that lives upon it. Moving prose by Alice Walker and native tales recounted by Paula Underwood weave together breathtaking landscapes by Pamela Roberson and astonishing shots of animals in action by Robin Brandt. Taken together, the collection’s raw power and emotion fills the reader with awe and reverence for our Mother Earth.

—P.H.


THE BATTLE HAS JUST BEGUN

On a clear autumn day in 1999 thousands of protesters converged in Seattle to shut down the World Trade Organization (WTO), one of the most powerful institutions in the world. Ten years after people had shoved pieces of the Berlin Wall in their pockets as mementos of communism, the world began to wonder if capitalism had won after all. Global Showdown (Stoddart, $15.95) is about the people who fight on the front lines in Seattle, Quebec City, Genoa and all over the world. In their new book, Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke dispel the myths about these new activists and explain how the resistance is well-educated, technologically savvy and restless.

—E.H.


CONVERSATIONS ON THE FRINGE

In the tradition of Emma Goldman’s and Alexander Berkman’s anarchist monthly Mother Earth, the magazine New Settler Interview has for more than 15 years published conversations with people who are proud to be labeled "counter-cultural." Fifteen of these conversations are bound together in a book edited by Beth Robinson Bosk and titled The New Settler Interviews: Boogie at the Brink (Chelsea Green, $22.95). Learn how a community reacts to Carol Miller, a private school teacher who shared with her teenaged students the stories of her abortions and instructions for a 200-year-old herbal abortifacient. Meet an anthropologist, a techno-hippie, a tree dweller and many more in the 289 pages of what Alice Walker calls a "profoundly important work."

—E.H.


ASK THE BUGMAN

Got a question about pests? The Bugman has an answer. Exterminator Richard Fagerlund, the Ann Landers for the pest-plagued, helps desperate homeowners get rid of uninvited guests with four, six or more legs in an environmentally conscious way through his syndicated newspaper column. Ask the Bugman (University of New Mexico Press, $15.95) is a collection of the common-sense advice, trade secrets, and inexplicably effective folk remedies he has shared with his readers over the years. Though he prefers non-toxic solutions, Fagerlund recognizes that pesticides are sometimes unavoidable and explains when they are necessary and how to use them safely. With illustrations and commentary by Johnna Lachnit, Bugman makes a fascinating read and an indispensable guide to pest control.

—P.H.


WHERE DOES THIS ROAD LEAD?

"At four o"clock in the morning, the squad cars streamed north. A river of headlights flowed for more than a mile along old Highway 55." So begins Our Way or the Highway (University of Minnesota Press, $16.95), the story of a road, a field and a group vying to preserve what they believe in. When National Public Radio reporter Mary Losure began covering the Minnehaha Free State, an encampment of activists protesting the rerouting of Highway 55 through a sacred Dakota oak grove, she considered it a local story. She thought it was a story about a 67-year-old grandmother willing to do anything to prevent her home from being demolished and a brawny pipe fitter who is convinced the land destined to be cleared for a highway was a sacred site to his Dakota ancestors. Gradually, Losure came to understand that the story was about more than a patch of land in the Twin Cities. It was about a sometimes irrational and naéve group of protesters using their bodies and voices to preserve a sacred ideal—democracy. Our Way or the Highway is about one battle in the people’s war against global warming, globalization, privatization, war and the many other challenges that face our world.

—E.H.