CLEANER, GREENER SHOWERS
Everyone likes to look good. But sometimes taking care of your skin can come at the cost of the environment. Germany-based Anika Aroma Cosmetics (distributed in the U.S. by Cool Spring Organics) offers a line of body and skin care products that uses organic ingredients whenever possible, avoids synthetic preservatives and is never tested on animals. Delightful grapefruit shower gel ($12.99), soothing lavender body lotion ($13.99) and a variety of other products for different skin types combine comforting and long-lasting aromas with gentle, softening skin care.
Cool Spring Organics
Tel: (540) 348-2419
Turkeys are the guests of honor at most American Thanksgiving feasts, but only through Farm Sanctuary’s annual Adopt-A-Turkey program can they actually enjoy the experience. You"ll "gobble up" an alternative meal of stuffed squash, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce, while your adopted turkey (color photos and an adoption card will be sent) gets a new lease on life. The $15 fee includes a year’s subscription to Farm Sanctuary’s newsletter.
Farm Sanctuary Turkey Adoption Line
Tel: (888) SPONSOR
Are you tired of all those disposable chopsticks floating around your utensil drawers? Simplify your life and recycle them! Juvel International, a family owned and operated business, has recently introduced attractive, long-lasting chopsticks that do more than replace wasteful, single-use ones. The company’s Rare Earth Chopsticks ($11) are handmade by master craftsmen based in a small village in Southern Thailand. These villagers earn a fair wage, and they use non-endangered softwoods and recycled hardwoods. Juvel also donates five percent of profits toward forest preservation and village development. The elegant chopsticks come with a handwoven reed pouch for sanitary storage and easy gift giving.
Tel: (877) 774-4745
Finding make-up that makes you feel beautiful without environmental or social guilt is not easy in today’s synthetic world. Bare Escentuals, however, would like to help you look like an Earth goddess without harming the source. The company uses natural minerals, waxes and vegetable oils in its shimmering eye shadows ($12), soft-as-silk powders ($24) and creams ($35) that throw a little mud in the eye of the aging process. The luxurious, refreshing body shampoos ($16), conditioners ($10) and scrubs ($18) remind you of just how good eco-friendliness can be. Bare Escentuals also makes custom blends of herbal extracts to personalize its extensive product lineup.
Tel: (800) 227-3990
MAKE IT SUSTAINABLE
Have you always wanted to build your own furniture, but lacked woodworking experience? BYO natural furniture kits from Tamalpais TimberWorks, including tables, beds and benches, are designed for people with little experience, time or fancy woodworking tools. The kits are made from an array of sustainably grown pine, redwood or exotic woods certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Tamalpais also supplies reclaimed and salvaged lumber. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can use your own recycled wood with the company’s fasteners and plans. According to Bill Callahan, founder of the employee-owned business, "Anybody can build a piece of furniture they"ll be proud of in an hour or two." Prices range from $539 for a small redwood table kit to $979 for a Douglas fir king-sized bed.
Tel: (415) 454-9948
The herbalists and natural medicine scientists at Tom’s of Maine have been hard at work perfecting a new remedy that’s just in time for winter. Tom’s Bronchial Syrup ($8.99, available in both adults" and children’s strengths) was formulated using a plethora of herbal sore-throat helpers. Thyme, horehound, marsh-mallow, yerba santa, cherry and soothing honey are the main ingredients, and there are no artificial colors, flavors or animal products in the alcohol-free, vegetable-glycerin-based syrup. Although the potent anise oil flavoring probably isn’t for everyone, for many seasonal sufferers, the syrup provides a natural way to clear lungs and soothe that irritated throat.
Tom’s of Maine
Tel: (800) FOR-TOMS
Sometimes a piece of fruit just won’t do the trick. Nature’s Path Organic Snack Mix ($2.99 to $3.49) is yummy and satisfying when you’re craving something salty and crunchy. This baked (not fried) treat is available in Original and Bar-B-Que flavors. It is made with whole grains, and it has no saturated fat or cholesterol, due to the use of expeller pressed canola oil. The delicious, zesty treat is third-party certified organic, and it is perfect for vegans or anyone wanting to eat more healthfully this winter.
Tel: (360) 332-1111
E contributor Dick Russell’s book Eye of the Whale (Simon & Schuster, $35) is getting considerable media attention, and with good reason. It’s not only a solid piece of reporting about the gray whale and its epic migration between Mexico’s Baja California and the Bering Strait, but it’s also a profound meditation on the evolving interaction between man-kind and one of the Earth’s more intelligent mammals. With a relatively upbeat tone, Eye of the Whale follows the course of the great migration, and along the way its author tells many compelling stories. These include the personal journey of Charles Melville Scammon, a 19th century whale hunter who became one of the world’s most prominent authorities on cetaceans.
PROOF IN THE POISON
Susanne Antonetta describes the poisoned landscape of our bones, blood cells, genes and minds in Body Toxic: An Environmental Memoir (Counterpoint, $26). With an intensely personal, wry voice, Antonetta describes a childhood before "envir
onmental justice" was a phrase, when the northern New Jersey coast began to sprout chemical companies and when her body began to be poisoned with toxins. Surrounded by radioactive particles, trucks full of DDT and a chemically inundated water source—courtesy of Ciba-Geigy Chemical Corporation and Union Carbide—Antonetta and her family received a legacy of infertility, tumors, manic depression and malformed organs. Interweaving journalistic research with a poet’s narrative, Body Toxic all too convincingly connects poisoning the land to poisoning ourselves.
Though Barro Colorado Island in Panama is a haven for fascinating animals, plants and insects, journalist Elizabeth Royte turned the tables and decided to observe the observers at the rainforest research station there. Her book, The Tapir’s Morning Bath (Houghton Mifflin, $25), chronicles the year she spent learning about the eclectic group of researchers who work on the island. An outsider to the scientific world, Royte accompanies them as they enthusiastically collect fecal samples of spider monkeys, observe how bats build tents from leaves and take a spiny rat census. Shifting between "a dichotomy of surrender and hope," Royte both questions and admires the usefulness of such exhaustive work and explores its place in saving a complex tropical ecosystem.
ONLY YOU CAN BATTLE GLOBAL WARMING
Does the enormity of global climate change leave you feeling helpless? Does it seem that, aside from voting against environmental scalliwags, there’s nothing you can do about it personally? Stormy Weather: 101 Solutions to Global Climate Change by Guy Dauncey with Patrick Mazza (New Society Publishers, $19.95) might give you some relief. As the title implies, the authors focus on actual changes you (or your company or city) can make that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions—from reducing, reusing and recycling to planting trees, riding a bicycle or driving an energy-efficient car and investing in solar funds. Each solution receives a copiously illustrated, two-page spread, is written in an engaging style and offers multiple contacts for further action.
As more local farm stands and orchards are gobbled up by condominiums and strip malls, connections with our food sources seem to go with them. Cooking Fresh from the Bay Area (Eating Fresh Publications, $17.95) reminds us that, aside from growing our own vegetables, knowing and supporting local farmers is the best way to maintain that link. Divided by season, the book includes recipes from 20 of the California Bay Area’s best chefs who use local, seasonal ingredients for their tasty repasts. But editors Fran McManus and Wendy Rickard don’t stop there. Interwoven between recipes, such as Oliveto’s artichoke torta (spring) or Bittersweet Bistro’s pumpkin cheesecake with chocolate hazelnut crust (fall), are stories and resources from farmers and experts about the benefits of buying and eating locally, organically and with the seasons.
WALKING THE WILD SIDE
In The Living Wild (Wildlands Press, $65), renowned photographer Art Wolfe focuses his lens on the world’s most charismatic indicator species to raise awareness about biodiversity and threatened habitat. Wolfe’s personal odyssey began with a photograph of a Florida panther, one of only 50 remaining in the wild, and ended more than three years later with a polar bear cub fresh from the den, taking its first tentative steps on spring snow. In between, Wolfe captured shots of more than 140 species in their native habitats. Accompanying the photos are eloquent essays by Jane Goodall, Richard Dawkins, George Schaller, William Conway and John Sawhill. A portion of the book’s proceeds goes to the Wildlife Conservation Society.
THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON TEACHING
Who says a book has to be just a book? Usborne Discovery’s series of lavishly illustrated volumes for children, including Snakes, Sharks, Dinosaurs and Birds ($8.95 each), offer Internet links on every page with further information and interactive activities. The books are packed with educational facts and trivia about, for instance, record-breaking birds and snake-based Native American rituals. Usborne’s imaginative multi-media books will help kids sign-on to environmental protection.
Tel: (800) 475-4522