Plastic Purge: A Whole New Way Of Looking At Plastic

plasticpurgeI remember the first time I had a conversation with someone about bottled water. I was probably pretty obnoxious, heh. But I knew that bottled water was just such a terrible waste. My friend believed that if you drink the water and recycle the bottle, what’s the harm? I pointed out the processing behind creating the plastic, the fossil fuels used in the bottling process as well as transportation, and the energy required to recycle the bottle itself (which, frankly, the majority of people don’t bother doing.) She protested, saying that the bottled water just tasted better and besides, tap water is the same water that you use to flush the toilet! ew! (more…)

Green Books Campaign: The Value of Nothing by Raj Patel

A month or so ago, I was contacted by Raz from Eco-Libris about a campaign.  200 bloggers were going to simultaneously publish reviews on sustainably published books (meaning, books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper).  The concept was simple: We select from a list of books, the publisher provides us with a copy, and on November 10 at 1 pm, we publish our review. (more…)

Organic Manifesto: Why should you go organic? And – Book giveaway!

Congratulations to SimplySolar who said…
As a fitness buff, I can definitely attest to the fact that organic eating will definitely increase performance.

I`ve been sold for awhile!

You’re getting a copy of the Organic Manifesto from Rodale Publishing!

I’ve been thinking: Organic food’s been getting a bad rap lately.  Since a 2009 study pronounced that organic food was no more “healthy” than non-organic food, many people have wondered why they’d spend the extra money.  I had a big problem with that study, because it totally missed the point of why people buy organic in the first place. If you’re wondering why we do, then there’s a great new book for you to read:  Organic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe

Written by Maria Rodale, founder of Rodale Publishing, the book is described as eye-opening, spectacular, and passionate.  Organic Manifesto explains in detail exactly what organic food means for us and for the planet. From the website:

Rodale was founded on the belief that organic gardening is the key to better health both for us and for the planet, and never has this message been more urgent. Now Maria Rodale, CEO and Chairman of Rodale Inc., sheds new light on the state of 21st-century farming. She examines the unholy alliances that have formed between the chemical companies that produce fertilizer and genetically altered seeds, the agricultural educational system that is virtually subsidized by those same companies, and the government agencies in thrall to powerful lobbyists, all of which perpetuate dangerous farming practices and deliberate misconceptions about organic farming and foods. Interviews with government officials, doctors, scientists, and farmers from coast to coast bolster her position that chemical-free farming may be the single most effective tool we have to protect our environment and, even more important, our health.

If you’re considering going organic – or perhaps more importantly, if you’re not – this book is a must-read.  Organic Manifesto: How Organic Farming Can Heal Our Planet, Feed the World, and Keep Us Safe is available at Amazon, Chapters and other retailers.

And – I have a copy to give away compliments of Rodale! Simply comment on this post detailing what your reasons are for learning more about going Organic by Friday, April 30th. Make sure you leave me a way to contact you. I’ll draw a name at random and contact you directly. Good luck!

The Green Blue Book: Book Giveaway!

Congratulations to Ash who said…” Pick just one scary fact eh?
1581 gallons for 1 pound of beef – sure helps reaffirm sticking with the vegetarian lifestyle!” You’re getting a copy of The Green Blue Book!

It’s kinda turning into water week here on ecochick, what with bottles and filters and all kinds of great tools to help you use water in your home more wisely. But there’s another way to think about water consumption, and that is how much water went in to the production of the things we eat and use before we actually have them in front of us – what’s called “imbedded water”. And it’s the majority of water use on the planet. Did you know, for example, that that cup of coffee you’re sipping while you’re reading ecochick actually consumed 37 gallons of water before it got to you? Or how much water that cow needed to get that steak on to your plate? Or even, how much water it takes to make the paper cup at your water cooler (answer: 6 gallons!) It’s time for us to realize exactly what the true water impact is in the things that we consume, and what the actual cradle-to-grave impact is of anything that we use. Enter The Green Blue Book: The Simple Water-Savings Guide to Everything in Your Life. From the website:

In The Green Blue Book, you’ll find hundreds of simple tips for water savings in the home, garden, office, and when on the go that will help you make a difference without making big changes in your life. 

Thomas Kostigen shows how to save water not just by turning off the tap, but through discovering “virtual water,” or the water embedded in the products we use every day. By making better decisions about which food, clothes, and household necessities to use, each of us can save thousands of gallons of water—and help avert the water crisis unfolding around the globe.

Water will be the next crisis if we don’t act now. So let’s start acting, and use the tips in this book as a great starting point.

You can buy The Green Blue Book: The Simple Water-Savings Guide to Everything in Your Life Amazon, Chapters or other book retailers – or – you can head over to http://www.thegreenbluebook.com/ and watch the very enlightening video, then come back and tell me which fact about water scares you the most. Ha. Leave me your comment and a way to contact you by Friday, April 30, and I’ll tell a random commenter that they’ll be receiving a copy of the book compliments of Rodale Publishing. Good luck!

Whole Green Catalog: 1000 Best Things For You And The Earth

Never judge a book by its cover, people.

In the stack of books sent to review from Rodale Publishing was one thick, telephone-book-like book, with a plain, simple cover. Immediately I thought, ugh. Some tradeshow-like publication where it lists green vendor after green vendor in miniscule text and borring.

Mea maxima culpa, people. I was so wrong.

The Whole Green Catalog is a gem among green guides. Within its sustainably managed pages are sections on greening your everyday life in areas like housekeeping, energy, clothing, gardening, electronics, travel, on and on and on. Not just a list of green products or vendors, each section is laid out rather like a magazine, with informative columns, articles, green tips, sources and lots of other great info. There’s ideas on how to green your everyday life, segments comparing green products to one another and the pros and cons of each, and tips on where to find out more green info. There’s also features explaining lots of green fundamentals, such as explaining the confusing “numbers in triangles” system of labelling recycled plastics, a glossary of chemical terms such as “biodegradable” and “phosphate free” and more.

The downside for Canadian ecochicks is that the guide is primarily targeted towards US consumers, and therefore it’s a toss-up as to whether many of the products or initiatives mentioned are available or accessible to the Canadian consumer. However, there is still enough information within the book to make it a great reference text and give you some new and innovative ideas as well.

One criticism of the book is that it doesn’t seem to explain how the products within its pages were selected – did they compare lots of products and only list the ones that came out on top by some criteria, or did they simply select things that they liked? I wanted to see more about their selection criteria and how things ended up in the book. But aside from that, the book is a great resource and would be an excellent gift for the green neophyte or eco-junkie alike.

There’s also an awesome website for more information. The Whole Green Catalog is available at Chapters and other book retailers.

Our Choice: Al Gore


In the pile of delicious books I received for review from Rodale Publishing, the second one on the review list was the new book from Al Gore called Our Choice. The former US Vice President and high-profile environmental activist has followed up his tremendously successful and enlightening first book, An Inconvenient Truth, with a work that tells us what we can do to change the truths and realities exposed in that book: a new book called Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis.

In Our Choice, Gore tells us the realities of how we’re living on this planet right now: what are the sources of the energy we use? And knowing our appetite for energy, how can we change those sources and move to something more sustainable? What are the challenges of moving to those technologies – and what are the challenges of *not* moving?

In this exhaustively researched yet compellingly written book, you’ll see beautiful images of the world we live in and how it’s changing due to the impacts of human energy consumption (including fossil fuels, food, and much more). You’ll learn about the realities of solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear and biofuels, including the way they work as well as the challenges involved in using them (eg. the requirement for a new power grid to distribute the power in a smarter way).

In the end, Gore poses us a choice. It is still possible to fix the damage we’ve done and to halt the progression of the problems we’ve created. And in 20, 40, 100 years, how will we explain what we’ve done? How will we say to our children, this is how we fixed it – or this is why we didn’t? Ultimately, Our Choice is a testimony to the reality of the climate crisis – that it is not insurmountable, that it is fixable, and that is within our power to do so.

You can pick up Our Choice at Chapters/Indigo and other retailers.

The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone

The phenomenon of celebrities becoming activists is becoming increasingly more common. Bono campaigns for Africa and runs Edun. Sean Penn has made himself a thorn in the side of many. And now, Alicia Silverstone of Clueless fame has recently jumped into the fray as a spokesmodel for PETA, and recently releasing her cookbook The Kind Diet. I was recently offered a copy of several books from publisher Rodale Books to review, including this one. Always one to try out a new book (much to my husband’s chagrin), I eagerly said “yes please!” and have spent the last couple of weeks flipping through the pages of some great texts.

The Kind Diet is a combination of vegan treatise, instruction, and cookbook. The book covers a lot of ground including why a carnivorous/non-vegan diet is not “kind”, and a vegan diet is. On one hand, Silverstone doesn’t seem to have strayed far from her Clueless background, with phrases like “soooooooo good!” and “organic apples are so cute!” peppering the book. There’s an air of, “save the animals because they’re just so sweet!” in the book, and while someone less cynical or more enthusiastic than myself may find it energizing, I found the tone slightly grating.

On the other hand, if you can get past the ditziness, the book has an excellent amount of informative content. If you’re a carnivore who’s interested in changing your diet, either whole or in part, the book gives you good information on how to make that change as well as what to expect as you’re making the transition. And the best part: Lots of delicious looking recipes and mythbusters about food that will make switching to a more Kind Diet something to look forward to. She’s documented lots of interesting foods including legumes, grains and meat substitutes for you to easily incorporate into your new menu and created meal plans so that the new vegan has some help navigating their meals. Personally, while I’m not planning on going vegan, I do want to cut down on our meat intake and this book is going to be exceptionally valuable to this household in doing that – I’m heading to the grocery store today to pick up the fixins for a Sweet Potato-Lentil Stew, Pumpkin Bread and Black Soybean and Kabocha Squash stew (if I can find a Kabocha squash – like I said, this book is introducing me to lots of interesting new foods!)

The Kind Diet
would make an excellent gift to someone who’s looking to make a diet and holistic lifestyle change, especially for someone who’s got the same kind of energy and perkiness as Silverstone herself. You can pick up a copy at Chapters and other retailers.

Giveaway Tuesday: Green Christmas – How to have a Joyous, EcoFriendly Holiday Season!

And from Random.org.. the winner is Lauren M. who said…

“I hate giving my nieces more shiny, brand new “stuff” that is pretty meaningless. So I’ve decided to put together a dress-up box for them. I’ve been collecting second hand costumes, masks, hats, wigs, anything that could be good for playing “dress up”. I’ll find a basket or box at a second hand store or on Freecycle. Hopefully they will like it… but it could just be another weird gift from the crazy aunt!”

Love it, Lauren! Please email me at talk at ecochick dot ca so that I can send your book!

Soon, very soon, the Hallowe’en decorations will be down and the Christmas decorations will be going up (if they aren’t up already). And oh, the woe: While Christmas is magical and wonderful for everyone, it’s not so happy for the planet. christmas is notoriously eco-hostile: From the use of wrapping paper that usually isn’t recycled, to the overconsumption that’s one of the hallmarks of Christmas, it’s so tough to get through the holidays with your Green conscience intact. What’s an ecochick to do?

Here’s step 1 to your green cred salvation: A great book called Green Christmas: How to Have a Joyous, Eco-Friendly Holiday Season, by Jennifer Basye Sander, Peter Sander and Anne Basye. The stocking-stuffer sized book has fantastic ideas for green gift-giving, holiday card alternatives, ecofriendly holiday decorations and more. Inside, you’ll learn how to:

  • Choose which is better – a real tree or a fake tree?
  • Learn easy ways to turn your Christmas into true Family time, rather than Shopping time;
  • Great ideas for eco-friendly celebrations;
  • Ideas for green gift giving

And much, much more. This book is little but it packs a huge wallop of ideas!

Interested in a copy? ecochick has one to give away! Simply post in the comments below by Wednesday, November 5 and tell me what you’re doing to make your Christmases greener. The giveaway will be drawn by Random.Org and posted here after the 5th, so be sure to check back and see if you’re getting a copy of Green Christmas.

Don’t like your odds? Then you can purchase a copy of Green Christmas at Amazon.ca or at Chapters. Enjoy and good luck!

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