SCENTS AND SENSIBILITIES
Freshen up your life with cruelty-free, all-natural products from Earth Solutions, an aromatherapy company that supports indigenous artists and communities. For your bureau drawers, Hemp n"Scents air fresheners ($3) come in muslin bags filled with hemp plant stalks and delightfully fragrant oils of musk or vanilla. In the car, dangle the ScentTraveler ($7 to $9) from your rearview mirror. Lightly dab the porous, fruit-shaped wooden wedge with the accompanying bottle of essential oils to unlock the brisk aroma of your choice. Available scents include lavender/rosemary, pine/cedar/juniper and grapefruit/vanilla.
Tel: (404) 347-9900
—Laura M. Hrastar
Since one in five people suffer from lactose intolerance, Road’s End Organics has developed Nacho Chreese ($3.29), a fat-free, lactose-free, gluten-free vegan product made with more than 85 percent organic ingredients. Chreese comes in mild and spicy varieties and can be used on tortilla chips, tacos, potatoes, veggie burgers, steamed veggies and many other foods. While the texture of the innovative product approaches conventional cheese dips, the tasty flavor is more like a bean dip. Palatable for nearly everyone, Chreese makes a perfect healthy alternative for your upcoming Super Bowl party.
Road’s End Organics
Tel: (802) 888-4130
SOAPING UP WITH HEMP
For a clean that refreshes your spirit, the SunFeather Natural Soap Company offers a unique range of colorful scented soaps. If the textured, musky Tea Tree & Lavender (three ounces, $4.95) hemp bar is not for you, try the invigorating Fruit Marmalade-Kiwi Soap bar for a fruity delight (four ounces, $3.95 to $4.95). And for children or the young at heart, the colorful polka-dot Merry Go Round bar (three ounces, $4.95) has an appealing, light peppermint scent. If you’re trying to make a statement about the legalization of hemp, you might try the new SunFeather hemp washcloth collection (four for $9.95). Unlike a soft cotton cloth, the somewhat rough, knit-woven hemp fabric is unsuited for hand and facial use, but may serve well as a decoration or kitchen tool for clean up. SunFeather strives to minimize ecological harm, and several different environmental groups, including the Children’s Hunger Fund and the Dolphin Institute, get a share of the proceeds.
Tel: (315) 265-3648
ITCHING FOR A NEW CURE
Ten to 12 million Americans each year are diagnosed with lice infestation, and two new alternative products are available to get rid of lice and nits (louse eggs) safely and effectively. As people become more aware of the dangers of harsh, pesticide-based chemicals, which lice might become resistant to anyway, many parents are instead treating their children with special combs. The National Pediculosis Association (NPA) offers a comb called the LiceMeister ($9.99) that has closely spaced, stainless steel teeth that glide easily through hair, collecting lice and nits. Although the comb is safe, it is time-consuming, since it works best if used daily during infestation and regularly thereafter.
Well-In-Hand Herbals" Non-Toxic Nit Kit ($18.99) includes an easy-to-use herbal formula made of essential oils that smother and kill lice. It has a fresh, natural aromatherapy scent, and it doesn’t dry hair out. The Nit Kit also comes with a fine-toothed metal Medi-Comb and 5x magnifier to help find and remove lice and nits.
Tel: (781) 449-NITS
Tel: (434) 384-7774
REHANCE YOUR WARDROBE
T.S. Designs and the Burlington Chemical Company have produced a shirt-printing technology that is good for the environment and feels great to wear. REHANCE technology changes the fibers of garments ($14 to $18) on a molecular level, causing them to resist (lighten) or enhance (darken) the dye. Because REHANCE technology is in the fabric, prints do not crack, fade or peel, and shirts do not shrink. Many conventional shirts have graphics containing plastisol and phthalates or polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which are highly toxic contaminants in the environment that can cause liver and kidney damage and disrupt hormonal systems in children. REHANCE is a water-based chemistry that produces a breathable print, allowing you to feel the fabric, not the print.
Tel: (336) 229-6426 x. 201
A NEW KIND OF BLUE
The Ocean Conservancy, formerly the Center for Marine Conservation, has more than just changed its name. It is approaching the future with a feverish desire to conserve and protect the oceans by educating and inspiring the public through its new publication, Blueplanet Quarterly ($25 membership/subscription). Previously, the organization published a 24-page newsletter that focused on its activities and progress. Now these updates supplement wide-ranging, easy-to-read feature stories. The 48-page magazine includes captivating photography of ocean life as well as regular departments and columns that answer questions from concerned readers, debate issues about ocean advocacy, bring the public up to date on current ocean issues and tell readers how to get involved.
Alaska, one of America’s last great areas of wilderness, is also a last refuge for wild salmon. In the vividly written Rivers of Life—Southwest Alaska, The Last Great Salmon Fishery (Aperture, $50), internationally renowned writer and photographer Robert Glenn Ketchum catches the spirit of the land and rivers of Alaska’s frontier. Fellow conservationist and wildlife biologist Bruce Hampton’s moving essay describes the surreal beauty of Alaska while explaining the politics and peril of the salmon industry. With stirring words and stunning images that delight the eye, this book will educate and inspire.
The Willapa Hills of Washington may not be the Olympic Mountains or the Cascade Crest, but for author Robert Michael Pyle, they are beautiful and enticing. In Wintergreen: Rambles in a Ravaged Land (Sasquatch Books, $16.95), Pyle tells of his love for a land doomed to destruction by logging companies and paints a
clear picture of what’s left behind. The book takes a close look at the wildlife still found in the Willapas, measures the impact of forestry and logging companies, and it marvels at the struggle to survive in a land devastated by resource extraction. This book will compel readers to reexamine their assumptions about the resiliency of nature.
After reading about bioterrorism, worldwide pollution and new threats to endangered species, you might just want some fresh air. The Sweet Breathing of Plants (North Point Press, $24) takes an enthralling look at ecology in its most alluring forms. Editors Linda Hogan and Brenda Peterson compile the works of women authors, including Isabel Allende and Zora Neale Hurson, in writings about their relationships with nature, both sacred and exploited. Susan Orlean’s narrative is about orchid lovers and their obsessions with this bewitching plant. "Columbine" by Elaine Scarry will leave you dizzy from the maze of hills and plant life around her home. The book is a great bedside companion that you can plow through or just dip into occasionally.
Beginning with the origins of counting in Swaziland before 35,000 B.C. and ending in 2000 A.D. with the human genome sequence, editor Peter Tallack has carefully chosen 250 of science’s most fascinating, important discoveries and placed them, along with engaging, simple explanations, within the 525 richly illustrated pages of The Science Book (Sterling Publishing, $45). The book is full of ideas about chaos theory, the laws of planetary motion and the mysteries of pi, illuminating the historical links between environmental problems and hard science. Environmentalists will find familiar ground reading about early concepts of population pressure, the greenhouse effect, DDT, the green revolution, genetic engineering, cloning and the diversity of life.
In A Century of Early Ecocriticism (University of Georgia Press, $25), editor David Mazel brings together influential scholars and nature writers from 1864 to 1964 whose ideas led to the now burgeoning academic field of ecocriticism. Mazel supplements these essays, written by authors such as D.H. Lawrence, Mary Woolley and Mark Van Doren, with informative and entertaining biographical information. With questions ranging from "What does the wilderness have to teach us?" to "How did animal stories help pave the way for animal rights?" this book clarifies humanity’s constantly evolving relationship with nature.
If you see red every time a huge, polluting Ford Excursion goes by, Andy Singer’s book CARtoons (Car Busters, distributed by A.K. Press, $10) is for you. Singer is an editorial cartoonist with an unerring eye for the absurdity of our current car dependence. Singer’s citizens crawl to work on gridlocked highways just to earn the money to buy more cars and keep the cycle going. Singer hopes to free us from road rage with some healthy laughter, but he’s very serious about challenging automotive autonomy. His heroes pedal to work or take transit alternatives. The whimsically drawn cartoons are supplemented with well-chosen quotes and essays from anti-auto crusaders Randy Ghent (of the Czech-based Car Busters) and Jane Holtz Kay (author of Asphalt Nation). There’s also a useful bibliography and a compendium of car-free contacts.