August 24, 2009
I am really excited about Jennifer McCann's new book Vegan Lunch Box Around the World: 125 Easy, International Lunches Kids and Grown-Ups Will Love! I've long been a fan of Jennifer's first book Vegan Lunch Box, and now my family has more recipes to try!
Vegan Lunch Box Around the World offers a delicious array of meat-free, egg-free, and dairy-free lunches that will take you on an adventure across the globe. The book includes balanced international and regional American menus with 100 recipes from Ratatouille to Moroccan Tagine, New England Chowder to a Japanese Bento Box. With quick and easy recipes, fruit and veggie ideas for even the pickiest eaters, and an allergen-free index, Vegan Lunch Box Around the World is essential for every family raising healthy kids--and for anyone who packs a lunch.
Of course, the recipes aren't limited to lunches, and this cookbook is super user-friendly. The layout is aesthetically pleasing, and each recipe includes allergen information. The color photographs are beautiful, and I like how Jennifer includes regional American recipes as part of the international flare, making this vegan cookbook truly universal for any nationality. From mango noodles to caramelized squash and apples, your child will be the envy of the whole school with these lunch box goodies.
August 19, 2009
Global Coastal Change is a comprehensive discussion of how coastlines around the world are being affected by climate change. Each chapter provides "real-world" examples and evidence-based research on the changes that are occurring on coastal regions from "atmospheric changes, sea level rise, alterations in freshwater and sediment use and transport, toxins, overfishing, alien species, and eutrophication".
The central facts about change in the coastal zones of the world are that: i) there are increasingly more people in the world and their activities have historically been focused at the land/sea boundary, for biological, cultural, economic, and geographic reasons; and ii) these people consume resources...The changes generated by humans, moreover, have, during the 20th century, become large enough to exceed the changes pressed upon coastal environments by "natural" or non-anthropogenic forces.
Written by Ivan Valiela, Global Coastal Change also offers possible solutions to the problems facing the world's coastlines.
July 22, 2009
The Cul-de-Sac Syndrome: Turning Around the Unsustainable American Dream
by John Wasik explores how suburban home ownership is costly and damaging to our health and environment. Often families chose homes away from urban workplaces under the guise of getting more for their dollar (i.e. a yard, bigger home, etc.); however, when you factor in gas, water, and taxes, suburban life is quite costly. Based on research, Wasik explores the "destructive connections between home ownership, economics, and the environment".
In an age of burgeoning info-technology, why are we still building homes with the latest nineteenth-century techniques?...How did we come up with the idea that we should buy as much house as we can afford, with no regard for the cost of heating and cooling it and the time and expense of getting to it? We've gotten stuck in a vicious cycle, a cul-de-sac of unsustainable costs and serious long-term consequences for our health and our environment.
Not only does Wasik discuss the problem, but he offers solutions. "New Urbanism embodies the ideas that are needed for a transition to energy-independent communities."
July 8, 2009
In the past, we've reviewed several green titles from the Complete Idiot's Guide
. Here are a few more:
The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Your Carbon Footprint
Awareness of global climate change has reached critical mass around the world, and people are looking to see how the choices they make affect the environment. This highly practical and easy-to-use reference helps readers understand how to do their part to combat global warming in simple but effective ways.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Living
• Clear explanations of the relationship between energy use and carbon emissions, and an individual's carbon "footprint"
• The topic is gaining momentum on a worldwide basis
• Easy-to-use, with accessible information
The environmental movement and rising awareness of global warming have sparked an interest in green living. People want to know what they can do to live sustainable lives. In this book, you will find an overview of global warming and environmental degradation of air, water, and soil; what sustainable living is and how to do it; how to cut down on carbon output (the cause of global warming) with alternative cars and fuels; and environmentally friendly home and lawn care products.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Careers
Green careers include jobs in which environmentally conscious design, policy, and technology are implemented to improve the environment and provide sustainable living. A growing number of people, whether right out of college or already well established in the workforce, are looking to market themselves and their environmental convictions. It is a promising path to a larger paycheck and healthier environment.
·Green-collar jobs are on the rise according to Businessweek magazine
·The Green Jobs Act of 2007 anticipates a growing labor need for thousands of green-collar workers with $125 million in annual funding for training and research
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Greening Your Business
Businesses are always looking to increase their profitability and market share. With rising costs of fuel and consumers targeting environmentally-responsible companies to patronize, businesses have jumped on the green initiative and reaped the financial benefits. The Complete Idiot's Guide® to Greening Your Business provides the most up-to-date, concrete, and practical steps for readers to follow to get rich by going green.
·Solid authors with "green" background
·White-hot green market
·Comprehensive, practical business approach
At about $10 a title, all of these green guides are well worth their price. The Complete Idiot's Guides are user-friendly and have something for everyone. From the individual just exploring more eco-friendly options to the hard core greenie, the Complete Idiot's Guides have you covered.
June 17, 2009
Children deserve to be read to and sharing literature is a great way to learn appreciation for our Earth. The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales (One World, One Planet)
is a collection of stories and activities to inspire your family to become a "thoughtful caretaker of our planet":
In this beautiful anthology of folktales, young readers learn how different cultures around the world live in harmony with the rhythms and patterns of nature. Discover how to tread lightly on our precious Earth by following the easy eco-tips and trying out some of the fun and creative activities that accompany each story. The perfect gift for any eco-conscious child!
I love the story from Kazakhstan called "The Magic Garden". When finding a magic pot of gold buried in the land, two friend decide to buy seeds with the money and plant a garden after consulting a wise man and his students. Instead, when he reaches the market to buy the seeds, he uses the gold to pay for the release of caged birds meant for the Khan. Upset that there will be no garden and feeling like a fool, Arman notices the birds are planting a magic garden because he saved their lives. "Such is the story of the magic garden, which grew from the generosity of two old friends and the dream of a young boy."
When reading Earth Tales families explore Australia, Nigeria, USA, Bali, Kazakhstan, India, and Wales. Before each story, a little background on the part of that part of the world is given. Each story's moral teaches children to respect the Earth and the cultures of the world.
May 15, 2009
Clean Body: The Humble Art of Zen-Cleansing Yourself
is an amazing little book about green beauty care. According to author Michael Dejong, you only need five ingredients to take care of you body needs. From cuticle conditioning to toothpaste, everything is contained in this highly organized book.
As with the first book, this is not merely about washing away the dirt: it embodies a mindset, a philosophy, an alternative to mass consumerism. DeJong draws from Eastern belief systems--especially the element theory in Chinese medicine and Asian cooking--and harmoniously balances five pure essentials in his recipes, using baking soda, lemon, olive oil, salt, and white vinegar as the basis for his all-natural concoctions.
Personal hygiene without expensive products: This book will save you money while keeping your body green and clean. Zen philosophy enters the process in drawing our thoughts and actions into all chores, including non-toxic body care. Cleansing with natural ingredients while focusing our minds and senses on how we are one with the universe takes personal care to a Zen level.
May 11, 2009
Written by Douglas W. Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Updated and Expanded
explains how you can bring more wildlife into your backyard by planting native plants. Even just a few native plants can help you become a backyard ecologist. This book contains extensive lists of native plants for regional habitats, as well as incredible photographs.
But now, for the first time in its history, gardening has taken on a role that transcends the needs of the gardener. Like it or not, gardeners have become important players in the management of our nation's wildlife. It is now with-in the power of individual gardeners to do something that we all dream of doing: to make a difference. In this case, the "difference" will be to the future of biodiversity, to the native plants and animals of North America and the ecosystems that sustain them.
The Bringing Nature Home website
has a lot of information like "What should I plant where I live?", including an interactive map, and "The vital role of native plants." From suburbia to rural america, we can help promote biodiversity by planting native plants in our yards.
March 30, 2009
Revolution in a Bottle: How TerraCycle Is Redefining Green Business
is by the founder of TerraCycle, one of our favorite companies on Really Natural
. Tom Szaky dropped out of Princeton in 2002 to start a company that would work towards eliminating the concept of waste. Of course this book is printed on 100% recycled paper, and the bookjacket can be removed and turned into a prepaid upcycled mailing envelope to support TerraCycle's Brigade program
Revolution in a Bottle is a rollicking tale of entrepreneurial adventure and an essential guide to creating a company that's good for people, good for profits, and good for the planet. Szaky offers an array of insights into how to (and how not to) work with major companies, media, consumers and even investors. He also shares the key to TerraCycle's success and the paradigm for any eco-friendly company: making mainstream green products without charging a premium.
TerraCycle's growth has been rapid but perilous, filled with seemingly insurmountable challenges, several near-failures, and a whole lot of worm poop.
TerraCycle has seen its ups and downs, including being sued by Scott's Miracle-Gro. This is my favorite chapter in the book, as it is honest recollection of a make or break situation for this unique startup. The basis of the lawsuit was over packaging. If you are not familiar with TerraCycle, their signature fertilizer is packaged in repurposed soda bottles. Scott's eventually pulled out of the lawsuit, but ironically, the lawsuit gave TerraCycle extra exposure and publicity that helped the business grow. It is how I first heard about the company and took notice of its products and mission.
March 25, 2009
The Complete Idiot's Guide has gone green with a whole set of books on eco-friendly living. Here are few excerpts from each book to give you a flavor of the information they contain:
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to Organic Living:
Conventionally grown coffee spends its life in the sun and is doused with a bunch of pesticides. However, processing beans does away with most of the residues. But the people who grown the beans have to deal with those pesticides on a daily basis. It you buy organic coffee, you can help lessen their body burden-and perhaps spare your own.
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to Vegetable Gardening:
As you can see, many insects are beneficial to your garden, and unless you have studied them, you might have difficulty telling a good bug from a bad one. That's why it's just not a good idea to use insecticides and pesticides indiscriminately. If you just go out and spray like crazy, you'll end up killing every insect out there.
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Cleaning, 2nd Edition:
Old but clean 100 percent cotton T-shirts, clean white cotton tube socks, or 100 percent cotton baby diapers make the best dusters. They are lint free and easily laundered. Everyone has cotton T-shirts and tube socks that have worn out their welcome, so no further manufacturing is necessary. Use what you have at home helping to save our Mother Earth. Then use them as rags when they wear out their welcome dusting.
- The Complete Idiot's Guide to Natural Remedies:
Free radicals, unstable oxygen molecules that harm healthy cells, are generated by activities in the body-in this case, the brain-and all the thinking you're doing. If we eat enough of the good stuff, there's a good chance we'll have enough antioxidants to scavenge these bad boys and put them in their place. If not, and the production of free radicals overwhelms our antioxidant defense, our delicate brain cells could be in for a bruising, resulting in plaque buildup and less-than-optimal brain function.
These books are extremely user-friendly and easy to read. From light green to dark green, anyone can find useful and new information in the eco-friendly Complete Idiot's Guides.
February 23, 2009
Beauty by God: Inside Out Secrets for Every Woman
is a Christian book. I want to be up front about that with our readers, and I also want our readers to note we do not promote or endorse any religion. This site is about natural living, which includes accepting your natural beauty. The merit in Beauty by God: Inside Out Secrets for Every Woman
for our readers, regardless of their religious beliefs, is the natural homemade recipes and eco-friendly beauty advice included in the book (Just say no to Botox!). For example, how about a Brown Sugar Foot Scrub?
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl until it resembles a paste. Use circular motion and massage gently into heels, arches, toes, and ankles. Rinse with warm water.
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons aloe vera gel
- 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons ground oatmeal (ground in a coffee grounder or food processor)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon almond or olive oil
Oh, this sounds luxurious to my aching, tired feet that were crammed into ski boots all weekend!
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