Tools for Green Living

WINDING DOWN

This holiday season the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has teamed up with designer Mark Feldstein to offer the Endangered Species Clock, a graphic reminder that many of our favorite creatures are quickly approaching extinction. The clock sounds the call of an endangered animal at the top of each hour. Animal lovers can now literally watch time tick away for species like the cheetah, which has declined in abundance by half since the 1960s due to habitat loss and poaching. But it's not all gloom: The Hawaiian Goose, for instance, bounced back from a low of 30 birds in 1952 to its current population of over 500.

A small percentage of every clock purchase will support the WWF's conservation efforts and help buy more time for endangered species worldwide. The clock can be ordered for $29.95 from the Harmony catalog (1-800-869-3446) , or you can visit the Mark Feldstein & Associates web site at http://www.markfeldstein.com for store locations.

—Josh Harkinson


PICTURES WORTH SAVING

Adorn your coffee table with two new books that combine stunning photography with an urgent message about preserving our wild heritage.

In Swift as a Shadow, photographer Rosamund Purcell's images of the embalmed remains of extinct and endangered animals serve as a beautiful and haunting eulogy to the birds and animals eradicated by humans throughout the modern era. Accompanying text documents the survival struggles of such familiar species as the California Condor, and the almost unheralded demise of those now gone, such as eastern North America's only parrot, the Carolina Parakeet. Available for $20 from Houghton Mifflin.

Rather than highlighting individual species, the World Wildlife Fund stresses the importance of preserving globally-important hotspots of biodiversity—the Global 200. To marshal support for these species-rich ecoregions, Living Planet: Preserving the Edens of the Earth presents images taken by famous outdoor photographers Frans Lanting, Galen Rowell and David Doubillet. The book, which includes a foreword by Walter Cronkite, sells for $40 from Crown Publishers.

—J.H.


BLUE GLASS THAT'S GREEN

Although many of Bruce Sandler's handcrafted candle votives, vases, goblets and tumblers are made from etched blue glass, all of them are green. Sandler crafts his cobalt blue Earth Glass from empty Tynant spring water and Arizona brand iced tea bottles—sanded, ground and beveled to look at home with other chic products of less humble origins. Prices range from $15 to $100 and custom etching is available at an extra charge. Order from http://www.earth-glass.com or contact Paradise City Glassworks, (413) 584-2268.

—J.H.


PACKAGING THAT PROTECTS THE EARTH

To prove that its new packaging material, E Cubes, is effective as well as eco-friendly, workers at E Tech recently dropped 101 individually wrapped raw eggs from a helicopter 1,000 feet above the ground. Only nine of them broke, which isn't bad considering that each was protected only by a six-inch by six-inch box lined with the small packaging cubes, made solely from water and recycled paper. E Tech hopes that holiday shoppers will consider its E Cubes as a pollution-free, biodegradable alternative to the traditional styrofoam peanut. To order, call (888) 778-8420. If you're skeptical, E Tech will prove its point by mailing an egg to your house.

—J.H.


GREEN MONEY

“Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons,” observed Woody Allen. Starting from this premise, two new books give the scoop on how to manage earnings in an ethical yet profitable manner.

In Investing With Your Values (Bloomberg Press, $23.95) , three gurus of socially-responsible investing, Hall Brill, Jack A. Brill and Clif Feigenbaum, debunk the myth that using environmental and social criteria to guide investment choices results in lower profits. The authors present detailed instructions on how to become a “Natural Investor”—someone who balances the need for financial returns with a desire to make the world a better place.

Former Wall Street stock broker, Marshall Glickman, goes a step further with The Mindful Money Guide (Ballantine Wellspring, $13)—an important resource for those seeking a more introspective approach to personal financial reform. A strong believer that true wealth isn't measured in dollars, Glickman gives tips on how to maximize a holistic conception of economic well-being.

—J.H.


CALENDARS WITH A CONSCIENCE

Kick off the millennium with a nature calendar from Golden Turtle Press and support a nonprofit organization aligned with your environmental interests. The publisher's scenic calendars support such groups as Eastern National, the Yosemite Association and Save Our Forests, and animal calendars benefit the Wildlife Conservation Society. Additionally, The Jane Goodall Society receives some of the profits from The Chimpanzees of Gombe, and fond tributes to Dalmatians, Dachshunds and Siamese cats are a boon to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. All calendars include important dates like Earth Day. To order the calendars, which retail for $11.99 and $12.99, call 1-800-932-0070.

—J.H.


A PLETHORA OF PLANET-FRIENDLY PRODUCTS

If you're having trouble finding quality green products, consult Gaiam's Harmony, a catalog with hundreds of eco-gift ideas, ranging from solar-powered electronics to clothes made from natural fibers. The Earth-friendly gadgets include: an energy-saving alternative to the halogen floor lamp, natural paint stripper, and a non-lethal portable pest repeller that uses sound waves to replicate the wing beat frequency of the dragonfly (the foremost predator of biting mosquitoes) . To order a catalog call (800) 869-3446.

—J.H.


WHY WE BUY

Americans are the most voracious consumers in the world. Ecologists estimate that it would take three planet Earths to provide an American standard of living to the entire world. But what drives our compulsion to consume? Does our frenzied gobbling of goods improve our health or happiness? What effects do our gluttonous habits have on our society and our environment? These are only a few of the questions addressed in the book Consuming Desires. This engaging collection brings together 13 brilliant essayists to explore the underlying roots of consumer culture and its pervasive impact on ourselves and the world around us. Available for $24.95 from Island Pres

s.

—Damon Franz


A TROMP IN THE SWAMP

Once seen merely as obstacles to development, wetlands are now recognized as vital hotbeds of biodiversity, providing sustenance to the surrounding ecosystem. David M. Carroll guides us through these vital, threatened and frequently misunderstood living systems with lively, eloquent prose in A Swampwalker's Journal (Houghton Mifflin, $27) . Entries in Carroll's Journal combine lessons in ecology and natural history with poetic details so vivid you'll feel the squish of mud and hear the hum of dragonflies. Carroll's own elegant illustrations complement his text. It's the next best thing to actually being in the swamp.

—D.F.


GLOBAL GIVING

What to get for that certain friend or family member who already has everything? Alternative Gifts International (AGI) has a self-sacrificing solution to your problem. By using the Alternative Gift Catalog, you can support reforestation projects, and send food, medicine, shelter and education to needy people across the world. These gifts will never sit unused in somebody's basement. In lieu of a present, your picky friend or family member gets a handsome AGI card announcing a gift that will mean life and hope for a tired, beleaguered world. An insert will explain the gift and how it will benefit some of the neediest members of our global village. Available from:

Alternative Gifts International
Tel. (800) 842-2243
URL: http://www.altgifts.org

—D.F.


REMEDIES FOR THE ROAD

Have you ever had a vacation or business trip ruined because of jet lag, injury or a common cold? Red Mountain Remedies now offers a convenient, organic travel pack to ensure that health problems will not interfere with your future journeys. Remedies for the Road ($49.95) contains 10 different herbs and natural medicines designed to handle problems ranging from stress to motion sickness. Created by herbalist Jill Rutenberg, Remedies for the Road comes in a handy canvas carrying case and includes an easy-to-use reference guide.

CONTACT

Red Mountain Remedies
6350 N. Valley View Road
Tuscon, AZ 85718
Tel. (888) 791-8333
URL: http://www.redmtremedies.com

—D.F.


EATING YOUR WORDS

Nothing's more frustrating for the road-tripping vegetarian than to pull up to a truck stop and order your eighth grilled cheese sandwich in three days. To save you from this greasy fate, The Vegetarian Resource Group and Avery Publishing teamed up to produce the Vegetarian Journal's Guide to Natural Foods Restaurants in the U.S. and Canada ($12.95) . Whether craving couscous in Connecticut or burritos in British Columbia, this book is sure to lead you in the right direction. It also offers tips on vegetarian inns, spas, camps and agencies.

And if your travels take you out of the country, there's no reason to resort to desperate hand gestures with uncomprehending waiters and maitre d's. Speaking Vegetarian by Bryan Geon is a comprehensive guide to ordering meatless meals in 197 countries ($14.95, Pilot Books) . Each nation's section includes a brief discussion of the vegetarian entrees usually available, followed by translations and phonetic pronunciations of the phrases most likely to be appetite-savers. So when offered a platter of piaju in Bangladesh, don't forget to say “Dhonnobad” (thank you).

—Jennifer Bogo


TIME FOR CONSERVATION

This holiday season you can raise money for wildlife protection while giving a gift that's stylish and practical. Zoobee watches are chic timepieces that showcase the acclaimed photos of wildlife photographer Art Wolfe. The watches come in 45 safari and American animal styles and include wristbands that feature distinctive natural markings. Seiko quartz movement and a lifetime warranty ensure that these watches will last, while Zoobee's donations to the Wildlife Conservation Society will help to ensure that the animals endure as well. Available for $30 from: Zoobee, 4753 Old Bent Tree Lane, Suite 1207, Dallas, TX 75287, tel. (800) 815-1306.

—D.F.


LEARNING BY DOING

Expert educators agree that children learn best when they participate in active investigation. A Kid's Winter EcoJournal (Trickle Creek Books, $9.95) will encourage your child to do just that. The 56-page activity book by Toni Albert is a great introduction to the art of journal-keeping, complete with space for entries, tips for observing nature and entries from Albert's own journal. In addition, the EcoJournal is packed with fun, educational activities such as building a bird feeder, tracking animals in the snow, making gifts, and conducting simple experiments. Spring, Summer, and Fall Ecojournals are also available, and all are designed to foster an understanding and love of nature.

—D.F.


INTERNATIONAL VOICES

Can a fun kid's record also teach multi-cultural lessons? That's the premise of Putumayo's World Playground, a new CD compilation of children's songs from around the world. The songs, from Senegal, Jamaica, Australia, Greece, France, Canada and others, are in many languages but share a bouncy beat and lyrics full of childlike wonder and appreciation for the natural world. The brightly-colored booklet provides translations and puts the songs in cultural context. A favorite tune is the internationally infectious “Bongo Bong” by France's Manu Chao. It's about a bongo-playing monkey from the Congo who feels out of place when he moves to the city. A portion of the proceeds from the recording ($15.98 CD, $10.98 cassette) will be used to support arts and multi-cultural educational programs in schools. Putumayo, (800) 995-9588.

—Jim Motavalli