Green Faces of Lush contest

LUSH is one of those stores that has done their branding right. Whenever I see their logo, I can almost smell the soapy, fruity smell of their bath bombs wafting through the air. Aaaahhhhh! But right now, LUSH is looking for you. They’re on a search for the Green Faces of LUSH – ambassadors of green living they can highlight, plus give your worthy green causes lots of exposure and loads of cash. What are you are doing in your daily life and in your community to help make the world a greener place? Tell LUSH, and The Top Three Green Faces of Lush will win a cash donation to the green non-profit charity of their choice.

Check out the contest overview and rules, then fill out the official Entry Form. Tell LUSH about you. Then tell all your friends about it and go Vote!

Looking for inspiration? Check out a sample entry then get your green fingers a-flying. And don’t forget to upload a great pic of you living green.

And contest entry or not, you can always indulge in some retail therapy of LUSH’s sweet smelling stuff: head on over to their website at LUSH Cosmetics.

The Green Guide

National Geographic has just released the first print issue of The Green Guide. Now, there are plenty of publications out there on how to “live green”, so I was rather skeptical when I picked this one up. However, this magazine was fantastic. There are great, practical everyday tips such as how to choose better household cleansers – or better yet, how to make your own! The article on “Lose 142 pounds (of carbon) a week” is brilliant – it’s an excellent visual cue as to what these vaporous “carbon emissions” really represent. There is a great video here showing how they did the photoshoot for this session – each big black balloon represents one pound of CO2, and the average person has 47 of these black balloons following them around every single day. Great tips follow on how to eliminate some of these balloons, and it’s really easy – washing clothes in cold water instead of hot, or better insulating your house, can reduce your balloons dramatically.

Only downside of the issue? It says that they “offer an electronic version of the complete magazine, true to every page.” If this is true, I can’t seem to find it. I have subscribed as the magazine suggested, so I will wait to see if it shows up in my inbox anytime soon. In the meantime, the magazine is printed on a combination of post-consumer recycled paper and pulp from wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, so it’s better than many magazines out there if you want to pick up a copy of your own.

Updated to add: In order to get the electronic version, you need to subscribe to the magazine. This is not subscribe like “RSS” or “Email newletter”, but rather take out a paid subscription to the magazine where you will get the option to receive the paper version or the electronic version. The paper version is $15 US per year, the electronic version $12. You can take out that subscription here.

I’m a little surprised that the e-version is only $0.75 cheaper per issue. I would assume that the saved costs of printing, raw materials and postage would more than make up that difference. But more than that, encouraging people to subscribe to the electronic version is far more environmentally friendly, which is really the whole point. I think this should be incentivized a bit more, to encourage people to take the earth-friendly option – for example, if the price is to remain the same, then why not make a donation to an environmental charity for each e-version purchased? You listening, Green Guide?

Having said that, this is in the US… the Canadian and International versions are far less expensive, which is great – it really encourages readers to subscribe electronically, thus keeping heavy printed materials out of carbon-emitting transport. Yay!

New ecojot designs

ecojot has a bunch of brand new designs for spring! ecojot creates fantastic paper products including notebooks, workbooks, little notepads, agendas and more, all out of 100% post consumer recycled paper, using vegetable inks and assembled in Canada. They have a range of designs, from simple solid colours to pretty, whimsical patterns. The products are also great – robust and can take the abuse!

They also have a great Designer Blog where you get insight into the designs and the people behind them.

ecojot products are available around the world. Click the “Where to buy ecojot” link on the website to find out more. In Canada, they’re available at Chapters and other cool retailers.

How green is green?

A recent article in the LA Times had bad news: Not all green products are made equal. Many products tested in the article, including items featured here on ecochick, were found to contain a petrochemical that has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals.

I’m not finding this particularly surprising. The point behind ecochick has always been to find more environmentally friendly alternatives for everyday products and highlight them so that consumers can make a better choice. But the hard truth is, there is no product that’s perfect. By being alive, you have an environmental impact. There is never a 100% environmentally friendly option. You could be sleeping on organic cotton sheets, reading your recycled paper book via compact flourescent lightbulb lit with solar power, and you still have an impact. The manufacture of those sheets, the disposal of the bulbs, the chemicals in the solar batteries. It’s unavoidable. All of the products featured here on ecochick still have an environmental cost. The cost of these products is less, hopefully, than the products used everyday by most consumers, but it’s still there.

The green purchasing movement is fraught with peril from all directions. Greenwashing (“This product contains 1% recycled content! Conscientious consumer, buy it cause it’s Green!”), overjustification (“I drive a hybrid, so I’m saving the planet!”), saturation from the media (“Al Gore, Al Gore, Al Gore, Al Gore!”), trendiness (“See our “Green” section in our magazine!”) But the most pervasive, the most damaging issue is hypercriticism. Anything that claims to be “green” is then inspected under a microscope, and criticised for the least failing. People refusing to use CF bulbs because they contain mercury, even though the environmental impact of that mercury is far, far less than the impact of the power generation required to power one traditional lightbulb. Or studies such as this one, that gleefully point out any issues found with products that claim environmental friendliness, while neglecting to point out the comparative environmental hostility of mainstream products. And it’s feeding the feeling of hopelessness: That no matter what we do, we are doomed.

Will this study affect sales of products named in the survey? Probably. And it sucks, because even though they have been found to have petrochemicals, these products are still most likely far ahead environmentally than most mainstream products.

The truth really is that making better choices can make a difference. The products I highlight here are ones from companies that, in my assessment, are at least trying to look at the world and their interaction with it differently. By and large, they aren’t simply products that are capitalizing on a green movement; they are products from companies that are saying, we want to make products that are different. We want products that are simpler, better for you and for me. Yes, they still have issues. No, they aren’t perfect. Consumption, by nature, cannot be perfect. But they’re better. And better helps.

Luka B

Looking for another online resource for all your favourite skin care brands? Add Luka B to your list. Here you’ll find ecochick-featured products like Dr. Hauschka, Kiss My Face, the decadent Cake products and plenty more – all available here. You get free shipping on all orders over $75, so order lots!

Babies Natural

More and more, people are turning to natural, environmentally friendly and organic baby items to take care of their wee ones. With the news constantly blasting us with poisonous this and toxic that, it’s not much wonder. And Babies Natural wants to help get you everything you need.

Their exclusive “Goo-cchi Goo” line provides you with natural, organic baby gear made from bamboo and organic cotton. They provide this exclusive Babies Natural Feng Shui Kimono Onesies, which combine the goodness of natural fabric with the tradition of giving bamboo shoots for good luck. In addition, the Goo-cchi Goo line is all made in Canada.

Babies Natural items are available on their website and various retailers across Canada.

Tuscan Farm Gardens

For well over a decade, Heather and Arleigh Fair lived on 80 acres of wild land in BC’s Fraser Valley. Over the years, they developed a beautiful garden and grew amazing organic plants, creating products for your body out of their wares. Their shop at Tuscan Farm Gardens illustrates the love and care that goes in to everything they create. You can read the story of their labour of love on their first farm, or the story of their current endeavour.

But for those who won’t be visiting their beautiful gardens, we can take a little piece of their efforts home with us. Things like their Organic Lavender Soothing Balm or sugar-based Peppermint Foot Scrub.

Or you can browse their neat gift collections such as the Ultimate Gardeners Gift containing lovely skin care products and neat garden accessories, including a Japanese Mini Sickle.

Tuscan Farm Gardens ships across Canada and the United States.

Wired: Eco-Friendly Gadgets for your Home and your Hood

At this week’s Cleantech forum in San Francisco, the gang from Wired magazine patrolled the halls for the coolest new green technologies. Check out what they’ve found, including an electricity generator powered by toilet flushes and lower power LED streetlights. ecochick takes this as a good sign that mainstream companies are looking for green alternatives for everyday energy uses and consumption.