Tools for Green Living

CITRUS-SOLVED

Tired of chemicals seeping into your daily chores? Shadow Lake, makers of Citra-Solv for more than 15 years, introduce two new vegetable-based products to help you clean naturally. Ultra Citra-Dish and Ultra Citra-Suds contain natural surfactants, enzymes and essential oils, remaining free of dyes and artificial colors. Ultra Citra-Dish liquid detergent costs $3.99 for a 28-ounce bottle, while Ultra Citra-Suds liquid laundry detergent comes in a 50-ounce container for $7.59. These products with a fresh citrus scent are not tested on animals.

CONTACT:

Shadow Lake
Tel: (800) 343-6588

—Amanda Presley


MAKING THE GRADE

Why not start the school year off right by making your campus a little greener? The State University of New York (SUNY)-Buffalo has launched a “Think Green” program to encourage a greener student lifestyle. From promoting paper-free communication to mandating recycling and minimizing air conditioning, SUNY has tried to reduce the environmental impact of colleges and universities.

If you’re interested in launching a similar program, Think Green will be happy to get you started. Free of charge, the group will send you its “Little Green Book,” full of suggestions, as well as stickers, pins, bookmarks and other examples of how to get the word out on “thinking green.”

CONTACT:

UB Green Office
SUNY-Buffalo
Tel: (716) 829-3535

—Hillary Young


FILLO FOR EVERYONE

Baklava, spanikopita, tyropita…if you aren’t familiar with these delicious Greek foods, then you need some help from the Fillo Factory. The company, now in its fourth year, creates ready-to-use fillo dough and mouth-watering pastry treats. Although most of the hors d’oeuvres are dairy-derived, a special vegan assortment boasts tempting flavors like wild mushroom and onion ($4.49). Each snack is wrapped in a flaky fillo shell and cut into different shapes, creating the perfect solution for a dinner party or hungry children. The Fillo Factory uses organic oils and no preservatives. Some of the products are organic and all are certified kosher.

CONTACT:

The Fillo Factory
Tel: (800) OK-FILLO

—A.P.


PAPER TRAILS

A healthier alternative to Hallmark, Acorn Designs offers a variety of organic paper products including journals, stationery and cards. The company, founded by an ecologist-turned-artist, is one of the first and only to use 100 percent kenaf in its papers. An environmentally friendly fiber alternative, kenaf plants produce up to five times more high-quality fiber per year than a tree. All of Acorn’s products are decorated with a variety of elegant nature designs, in vegetable-based inks. Bookmarks cost only 50 cents, while a pack of six notecards is $6, and a journal, $12.

CONTACT:

Acorn Designs
5066 Mott Evans Road
Trumansburg, NY 14886
Tel: (607) 387-3424

—H.Y.


Books

THE NATURE NEAR YOU

If you’re curious about that tree you’ve just parked your car under, you should consult Arthur Plotnick’s The Urban Tree Book (Chelsea Green, $18.95), which concentrates on those commonly found in cities and suburbs. Avoiding the dry descriptions typical of field guides, this book focuses instead on the history, folklore and practical uses of each species. It answers the interesting questions you won’t find elsewhere—such as how trees got their common names, or why you should know the difference between American and European Chestnuts. Informative for both novice and experienced plant people, this book offers the perfect way to explore nature without ever leaving home.

Those who want more than just intellectual information about their local plants should check out Robert K. Henderson’s The Neighborhood Forager (Three Rivers Press, $24.95). Here you can find out how to harvest and eat products from many a backyard species, including ones as unexpected as pine trees, marigolds and cacti. It also includes practical warnings on potentially dangerous species, indexes of harvesting times and recipes to help you cook the fruits of your labor.

—H.Y.


TIPPING THE SCALES

Even if your family isn’t vegetarian, your children will be enchanted by the hilarious tale of Herb, The Vegetarian Dragon the only fire-breather with his own vegetable garden. When the town almost mistakes him for one of the meat-eating dragons that crave “the crispy crunch of brave knights,” Herb’s life rests in the hands of a brave young girl. This irresistible story written by Jules Bass is coupled with brilliant illustrations by Debbie Harter of lime green dragons, purple castles and polka-dotted cats.

Herb may even get your kids cooking their own vegetarian meals with a companion book, Cooking with Herb, which includes over 20 delicious-sounding recipes. Each book is available for $15.95 hardback (Barefoot Books).

—H.Y.


TIME TO TRY HARDER

Everyone agrees that we should save the rainforest, but according to ecologist John Terborgh’s book, Requiem for Nature, remarkably little progress is being made. He documents in gripping detail the many ways in which tropical conservation efforts “are failing in country after country.” His work has been largely in Peru, but he discusses the problems of small park size and insufficient maintenance throughout the world’s tropics. Scientifically precise, yet still easy to read, this book will strike fear into the hearts of anyone who cares about the long-term prospects for the planet. Available for $24.95, hardback, from Island Press.

—H.Y.


STORY TIME

Everyone has a story to tell, and that is the basis of Margaret Read MacDonald’s Earth Care: World Folktales to Talk About (Linnet Books, $17.50). MacDonald has put together a compilation of 41 educational stories from more than 30 countries and ethnicities, as far-reaching as Nigeria and Romania. The fables are grouped into general lessons about protecting the Earth and its inhabitants, from caring for wetlands to “the folly of human greed.” Each story is basic enough for young children to enjoy, but adults will learn from its teachings as well. Families will also love reading the tales aloud, as most are based on oral traditions.

< p id="para_41" class="articleText">CONTACT:

The Shoe String Press, Inc.
Tel: (203) 239-2702

—A.P.