Wednesday, October 31, 2007

SmartPlanet - green news from the UK

I want to share with you a new green blog I learned about today: SmartPlanet.

SmartPlanet comes from the UK, where it was launched by CNET Networks UK. It's a one-stop guide to creating a smarter, greener and fairer planet, with an emphasis on energy-saving, ethical and organic products. You can find there the latest UK news on ethical shopping and living, from the hottest organic fashion and fresh Fairtrade grub to new solar gadgets and the coolest hybrid cars.

Today, for example, when I checked it out, I read 5 tips for HallowGreen celebrations (compost your lantern), learned about SHIBBY, which utilizes old billboard advertising banners to make bags, got updates from the Tokyo Motor Show on Mazda's hydrogen-fuelled future cars, and saw a video on Londoner’s carbon footprints.

Most of the green blogosphere, and especially the part dealing with green lifestyle, is dominated by US-based blogs and is very US oriented. Therefore, it is great to see another green website bringing us cool green news and updates from the UK, where a lot of interesting green stories take place.

SmartPlanet's editor is Adam Vaughan, co-founder of Hippyshopper, blogger at and helps with Friends of the Earth's Green Living pages. He is also the guy who is standing to the right of Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Good luck to Adam and SmartPlanet! I'll check this blog regularly. You are welcome to do the same.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What is Natural Capitalism with Hunter Lovins

I found this interview with Hunter Lovins at Triple Pundit. For many people, including me, Natural Capitalism, the book written by Hunter Lovins, Amory Lovins and Paul Hawken, is sort of a green bible, and it presents one of the most innovative concepts of the new green economy.

So what is Natural Capitalism? If you're looking for a short answer, check the video below. If you want to learn a bit more, go for the book!

Few more words about Hunter Lovins - She is not only a renowned author, but also the founder and President of Natural Capitalism, Inc. and Natural Capitalism Solutions, and a professor at Presidio School of Management's MBA in Sustainable Management program. She co-founded Rocky Mountain Institute and led it for 20 years. She was named millennium Hero for the Planet by Time Magazine and received many awards and dozens of other honors.

All in all, She is one of the leading environmental thinkers of our time and it's always intriguing to hear or read her thoughts.

So here's the interview with Hunter Lovins, straight from SourceCode:

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: a great green gift for the holidays!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Another innovative green idea from an Israeli entrepreneur

John Markoff reports today at the New York Times on Shai Agassi and his revolutionary plans to "reinvent the world’s automobile industry around battery-powered all-electric cars".

Agassi is a very successful serial Israeli entrepreneur. In 1992, he founded in Israel TopTier software, a leading enterprise portal vendor that was acquired by SAP in April 2001. Then Agassi became a member of the Executive Board of SAP AG, where he also served as the President of Products and Technology Group. Currently he's devoted to alternative energy and in the article today I learned about his new innovative idea - Project Better Place.

The new company will install and operate an electric recharge grid consisting of charging spots and battery exchange stations worldwide. Agassi believes in the electrical car in all of its sorts as the environmental solution for transportation and thinks that "existing technology, coupled with the right business model and a scaleable infrastructure can provide an immediate solution and significantly decrease carbon emissions."

To simplify the idea, he gives the following example - "We’re basically saying this is just like the cellular phone model. If you think of Tesla as the iPhone, we’re AT&T."

Earlier today Agassi announced in New York City that he has raised $200 million from private venture partners for this project, including the Israel Corporation, Vantage Point Venture Partners, as well as a group of private investors including Edgar Bronfman Sr., the and James D. Wolfensohn, former head of the World Bank.

I started following Agassi and his entrepreneurial achievements at the late 1990s, when I was working as an assistant to a financial manager in an accounting firm that managed R&D funds for a project that TopTier was involved with.

I think Agassi is one of the most talented entrepreneurs out there, and therefore I was very happy to read this morning on his new project. When so much of our green future is depended on innovation, we need more people like Aggasi who will help us move forward as fast as possible toward sustainable future.

If you want to learn more on Project Better Place, please check their launch webcast from today. Agassi also has a great blog - The long tailpipe.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: A Great Green Gift for the Holidays!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter - Holiday green gift guide for book lovers: part 2

Last week I started the weekly Holiday green gift guide for book lovers - the guide that will help you find the best green books to give as gifts this holiday season.

Today I am very excited to bring you the second part of the guide, which includes the recommendation of Nick Aster.

For those of you who don't know him, Nick Aster is the founder of Triple Pundit and media architect behind He currently works for a major print and online magazine and occasionally blogs at Triple Pundit.

Nick's recommendation for this holiday's gift is:

Home Work: Handbuilt Shelter

Author: Lloyd Kahn

Publisher: Shelter Publications

Originally published in: 2004

What it is about: Building on the enormous success of his book 'Shelter', Lloyd Kahn continues his odyssey of finding and exploring the most magnificent and unusual hand-built houses in existence. Page after page, the book describes homes built from the soul, inventiveness free from social constraint, but created with a solid understanding of natural materials, structure, and aesthetics.

From yurts to caves to tree houses to tents, thatched houses, glass houses, nomadic homes, riverboats and more, each hand built dwelling finds itself at one with its environment, blending harmoniously with the earth, using organically sustainable material.

'Home Work' is featuring over a thousand photos, including three hundred line drawings, stories of real people building and living in their own houses, plus Kahn's recollections, reminiscences and observations gathered over the 30 years since his previous book, 'Shelter', was first published.

Why it's a great gift: Inspired guide to hand build homes and shelters. Everything from Strawbale to Yurts. I've spent hours paging through this book and fantasizing about what to do with the imaginary land I'd someday buy. A perfect book to put on display for guests.

I looked at the book at Google Book Search and it looks like a great book. Thank you Nick!

If you choose to give your friends or family this book as a present on the holidays, you are more than welcome to balance it out with Eco-Libris, add its sticker to the book and make it the perfect green gift for the holidays.

And just a reminder on past recommendations on our series:
Part 1 - The Man who Planted Trees by Jean Giono

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: a great green gift for the holidays!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Reader's Recommendation: Gaia Girls by Lee Welles

One of our myspace friends sent us the following book recommendation:

"Need a great holiday gift? I am a retired teacher, and the award-winning Gaia Girls series by Lee Welles are the best kids books I have seen in years. Kid eco-heroes! Each book deals with a several related real-world environmental issues, has accurate science, great illustrations, wonderful storylines and even hidden codes. Despite the title, boys enjoy it as well. Middle readers, 7 - 12, tho "green" teens and adults love them, too." - Silverfox

So Thanks Silverfox, and thanks Gaia Girls! Now as an avid Power Puff Girls fan I can't help but await the animated series ;-)

Eylon @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant a Tree for Every Book you Read

Friday, October 26, 2007

MySpace and HarperCollins collaborate to publish a green handbook reported on Wednesday that MySpace is collaborating with a children’s imprint of HarperCollins on an environmental handbook coming out April 22, Earth Day.

The idea behind the book is that it will feature ideas from MySpace users, who through Nov. 7 can post environmental tips on According to Brenda Bowen, vice president and publisher of the Bowen Press, a HarperCollins imprint, about 40 such suggestions, their length ranging from a sentence to a paragraph, will be woven throughout the text.

What to MySpace and environmental issues? Tom Anderson, co-founder and president of MySpace said in a statement "MySpace has entire online communities, such as the Impact Channel and OurPlanet, dedicated solely to environmental and social causes. The first MySpace book is just one more way we are working to engage the MySpace community in environmental issues and encourage people to take action."

The book, "MySpace/Our Planet" will be about 160 pages and will cost about $12.95, and a first printing of 200,000 copies is planned.

I am wondering if MySpace and HarperCollins will take one step forward and print the copies on recycled paper, or balance them out. I believe that every book on environmental issues, especially green guides, should walk the talk and shouldn't have adverse environmental impacts.

Let's see how this one goes..

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Everyday with Rachael Ray goes green

Our focus is on books, but we shouldn't forget that there are other publications that consume virgin paper such as magazines and newspapers. Therefore I was very happy to read on the Environmental Leader (brought from Folio Magazine) that Everyday with Rachael Ray has announced that the magazine will be printed on 85 percent recycled paper.

According to report, Ray wrote in the editor’s note of the magazine's November issue that "Starting this month, we’re printing our magazine on recycled paper and saving 11,500 trees with every issue—that’s 115,000 trees a year!”

According to 'Everyday with Rachael Ray', the chlorine free recycled paper is 10 percent post-consumer waste and 85 percent post-printing waste, according to the magazine.

Kudos to Rachael Ray and her magazine for the bold move! We hope to see many publications following Ray's steps.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tonight is the second part of Planet in Peril

'Planet in Peril' is CNN's four-hour documentary that examines global environmental issues. The first part was on CNN last night and the second part will be broadcast tonight at 9PM ET.

This documentary looks at four key issues: climate change, vanishing habitats, disappearing species and human population growth. To tell this story, Anderson Cooper, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Animal Planet's Jeff Corwin traveled to some of the most remote and remarkable places on Earth.

I saw the first part yesterday and I enjoyed it, as much as you can enjoy a documentary on these troubling issues.. Yet, this is a good opportunity to see these issues and not just to read about them. Also, they try to discuss these issues from more unique angles, to make them more interesting for the viewers, and I think they do it well.

For more information on Planet in Peril, please check CNN's website.

You can also get an idea about Planet in Peril from this trailer:

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Joe Wikert and the future of the publishing industry

I haven't recommended for a while on a bookish website, and therefore I was happy when I learned few days ago about Joe Wikert's Publishing 2020 Blog.

For anyone who is interested in the future of the book publishing industry (and I definitely am), Joe Wikert's blog is a great place to get information and news from an insider perspective - Wilkert is a Vice President and Executive Publisher in the Professional/Trade division of John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Only on this month's posts you can learn on issues such as print on demand (POD), future of textbooks, e-books, Microsoft's Live Book search program, and more.

The blog has a clear techie orientation, but even those who are not very interested in new media formats can benefit from it. Sustainable reading is about awareness, vision, leadership and economics, but also about technology.

So you're welcome to check it out. I will certainly will.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sloom and Slordig - Bookshelves From Hell

Ok, this is just too silly not to pass on. Cory Doctorow of Boing Boing reports this intentionally absurd design disaster in the form of a bookshelf. Sustainable? Only because it leaves you no more room for books so you have to release to the wild some of the old ones.

Eylon @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read!

Financial forgiveness for the benefit of Costa Rica's forests

We don't hear too much positive environmental news about the Bush administration, so I was very happy to read last week about the swap deal with Costa Rica.

Marc Lacey reported on the New York Times that "The United States has agreed to forgive $26 million of Costa Rica’s debt as part a debt-for-nature swap that will protect some of the country’s most threatened tropical forests." The deal was brokered by the Nature Conservancy.

The debt for nature swap is an innovative mechanism to sustain long-term conservation efforts in developing countries. It is an agreement between a developing country in debt and one or more of its creditors, where the creditors agree to forgive debts in return for the promise of environmental protection, usually protection of large areas of land such as tropical rainforests. This deal not the first debt for nature swap, but it's the biggest one so far.

According to the article, the funds will help protect important Costa Rican natural areas including the Osa Peninsula, Tortuguero, La Amistad, Maquenque, Rincón de la Vieja and the Nicoya Peninsula.

The Bush administration was very clear about the importance it sees in the benefits of the deal to the natural resources of Costa Rica: "“There’s a double benefit for these countries,” Claudia A. McMurray, assistant secretary of state for oceans, environment and science, said in a telephone interview. “They get some or all of their debt wiped out, and they get help in preserving an important natural resource.” On top of that, Ms. McMurray said, there are the benefits to climate, as forests play an important role in absorbing greenhouse gasses."

So what's the reason for this unexpected greenness of the administration? I am not sure about the reasons behind the deal, but I assume it got to do with some other parts of the deal - "To qualify for the program Costa Rica had to meet a series of political and economic requirements, including cooperation with Washington on drug enforcement and counterterrorism." I also suspect that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who is well known for his green attitudes, contributed to this deal.

In any case, no matter what the reasons are, this is a positive step and a necessary one - Costa Rica's natural treasures are under increasing pressure from human activity and deforestation stripped the country of almost 80 percent of its forest cover, although environmental groups say replanting efforts have helped reversed the trend.

More information on debt to nature deals can be found on WWF and the Nature Conservancy websites.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Man Who Planted Trees - Holiday green gift guide for book lovers: part 1

The holiday season is just around the corner, and if you already start thinking about gifts, we hope you would think about books. A good book is always a great present!

To help you find out which books are best for giving this holiday season, Eco-Libris blog begins a new series: Holiday green gift guide for book lovers. Yes, every Sunday you will find here an interesting book to be considered for your gift list.

Of course, our recommendations will be green, and I'm not just talkin' about balancing out your book gift, but about the subject of the books. Just wait and see..

Our first recommendation for this holiday's gift is:

The Man Who Planted Trees

Author: Jean Giono

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

Originally published in: 1953

The story: it is a touching story of Elzéard Bouffier, a shepherd, who after being widowed, has decided to restore the ruined ecosystem of the isolated and largely abandoned valley in the south of France by single-handedly cultivating a forest, tree by tree. He planted 100 acorns each day before, through, and after two world wars, and transformed a sorrowful place into one full of life and joy.

Why it's a great gift: This is an inspirational story about what one person can do to restore the earth. Jean Giono's story offer a tribute to how much good one person can accomplish in a lifetime and advise on how to live life with deep meaning.

If you're not sure yet, you can watch the animated version of the story, produced by Frédéric Back in 1987. Also, if you look for a special edition of the book, Chelsea Green Publishing released a special twentieth anniversary edition on National Arbor Day 2005 with a new foreword by Wangari Maathai, winner of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize and founder of the African Green Belt Movement.

And if you give your friends or family this book as a present on the holidays, you are more than welcome to balance it out with Eco-Libris, add its sticker to the book and make it the perfect green gift for the holidays.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: a great green gift for the holidays!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Michael Pollan at OrganicallySpeaking


I just wanted to pass on this very interesting podcast interview at that I just listened to. Michael Pollan is the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, published April 2006 by the Penguin Press. If you are in any way into organic food, nutrition and our food chain, and haven't yet read it, do consider adding it to your BookMooch wish list :)

Have a great weekend!
Eylon @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant a Tree for Every Book you Read!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mooching books has never been easier

The source of today's post is again the New York Times, where I find new treasures every day. This time it's BookMooch, an online community for exchanging used books.

Joanne Kaufman wrote last Monday on the NYT ('Clear the Bookshelf and Fill It Up Again, All Online') about BookMooch, " a book-swapping Web site created a year and a half ago by John Buckman, a bibliophile who describes himself as a “wealthy ex-dot-com person.”"

The concept is very simple - BookMooch lets you give away books you no longer need in exchange for books you really want. Buckman created a system based on points, where according to the site "every time you give someone a book, you earn a point and can get any book you want from anyone else at BookMooch. Once you've read a book, you can keep it forever or put it back into BookMooch for someone else, as you wish." And yes, it's totally free.

Book swapping is a great concept: you can find books you are looking for at no cost, give books you want others to enjoy and of course benefit the environment. It's the same idea as with library - maximizing the usage of every printed book minimizes the need to print new ones and saves many trees from being cut down.

Don't get me wrong - we don't want people to stop buying new books, but as long as books are printed mostly from virgin paper, we would like to see maximum usage for each printed copy. Therefore, we think the concept of book swapping is definitely a way to green up on your reading and make it more sustainable.

BookMooch is not the only book swapping website (The list includes also,,, for textbooks and others), but what differentiates BookMooch from the others is according to Buckman " its neighborly feel. “If someone has been especially nice, very explicit about the condition of the books they’ve sent out, you can give them a ‘smooch,’ which is an anonymous thank-you gift of one of your points,” he said. Members can also donate their points to selected charities — New Orleans libraries, for example, which are restocking their shelves in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.""

BookMooch looks like a great website, we recommend to check it out. I haven't used it yet, but I intend to do so in the near future. I won't be there alone it has already 40,000 members around the world and according to Buckman, who by the way runs BookMooch by himself, 300 new people are joining every day. Participants The “library” has some 750,000 titles, and Buckman estimates it will hit one million by the end of December.

Enjoy BookMooch,

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

No more catalogs for you!

Eric Wilson of the New York Times made me very happy. Wilson wrote today ('Deforest Your Mailbox') on a new online service called Catalog Choice that helps people to reduce the number of repeat and unsolicited catalog mailings they receive to their mailbox. And no less important - this service is free of charge!

Any news about an attempt to reduce the amount of catalogs sent to people's mailboxes is great news. Every year 19,000,000,000 (yes, 19 billion!) catalogs are mailed in the US. According to Catalog Choice's website, over eight million tons of trees are consumed each year in the production of these catalogs. Take into consideration the fact that most of the catalogs go directly to the trash bin (or recycling bin in the best case scenario), and you've got pure waste of natural resources.

Catalog Choice is according to the site "a sponsored project of the Ecology Center. It is endorsed by the National Wildlife Federation and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and funded by the Overbrook Foundation, the Merck Family Fund, and the Kendeda Fund." Its mission, besides reduction of the number of the mailed catalogs, is to "promote the adoption of sustainable industry best practices. We aim to accomplish this by freely providing the Catalog Choice services to both consumers and businesses."

I tried it and it's a very easy and user-friendly process. You register yourself and then can indicate which catalogs you no longer wish to receive. Afterwards, they update the businesses with the list of consumers no longer wanting to receive their catalogs.

I like Catalog Choice as it creates a win-win-win situation: Customers benefit from reducing their junk mail at no charge, the companies benefit since they save money by not sending catalogs for customers that don't wish to receive them, and of course the environment benefit due to all the trees that won't cut down.

You are welcome to check it out. According to their website, 29,726 people already registered to the site, having opted out of over 103,490 catalogs. And they're online only since last Wednesday!

And last word - if you want to stop receiving any kind of junk mail, check out other services available like one of my favorite sites, GreenDimes.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: plant a tree for every book you read!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Harmonious Environment – A Green Author's Self-Publishing Success

I'm in touch all the time with authors and wanna-be-authors and hear quite often stories about the challenges and difficulties of getting your work out there. Some decide to self-publish, and then of course need to address the distribution and marketing part as well. Many struggle. That's why I took special notice when I read on Norma Lehmeier Hartie 's blog that her book, titled “Harmonious Environment” is the new grand prize winner of the “15th Annual Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Awards.”

So what makes a green, conscious, self-publishing success? An interview was in order!

Q: Norma, what is the most unique thing about your book?

The variety of subjects found in one book.

Part I explores how to get rid of the negative energies in the environment, which includes the toxic products in homes and how to remove unseen negative energy. It includes information on natural and organic food with recipes and natural body care products.

Part II teaches how to trust intuition to create a beautiful home that vibrates with loving, positive energy and how discover how to manifest your dreams and aspirations.

Part III serves as the confidence booster for those who may still be shy about their undeveloped talents as a designer. The section also pulls together the entire book for a greater understanding of how all the principles in the book are interconnected.

Part IV lists hundreds of resources to help make a harmonious environment.

Q: Who is your book aimed at?

The Cultural Creatives who are roughly one-third of the American population.

Cultural Creatives are those who:

  • Love nature and are concerned about its well-being.

  • Care about both psychological and spiritual development.

  • Want to be involved in creating a new and better way of life in our country.

  • Are concerned about what the big corporations are doing in the name of making more profits.

  • Are seekers of knowledge and information.

  • Are authentic.

Q: Who would benefit most by reading it?

Anyone who wants to improve their life and/or the health of the planet.

Q: What do you think appealed most in your book to the judges in the contest?

I only have one judge’s critique so far, and this is what he wrote:

"This is a beautiful looking, very well organized and thoughtfully written book. The author obviously has thoroughly done the necessary study/homework as she writes with an authentic voice, one of experience. The cover is especially lovely, evenly designed and inviting to the potential reader to open the book and go further. In reading we can only be inspired to beautify our lives, make the necessary changes that would make us happier, healthier, more at peace—on a personal, group, community or global level. I found myself drawn in to clean out my cluttered basement and give things away, as well as to get out my pendulum again for special use, and to be more conscientious about my cleaning products or home purchases. The benefits for clearing out, cleaning, and adjusting energy are explained succinctly and reasonably, and these tips are therefore encouraging and convincing. A lovely book to keep and refer to often. So many answers therein – if lots of people would accept this wonderful holistic approach."

Q: Tell us a little bit about the process you went through in order to
self-publish this book? Did you chose it or did you try and interest
publishers first? How long did it take?

I first tried to get an agent and then a publisher. In hindsight, I sent out proposal too early, as book was not fully developed. I read The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Tom and Marilyn Ross and The Publishing Manual by Dan Poynter and decided to do it myself. If you are considering self-publishing, these are must-read books! From editing to finished book, it took about 5 months.

Q: Many of our readers are authors or aspiring authors, and self publishing is obviously on their mind. What was the most difficult part of self-publishing?

The painstaking process of reviewing edits and accepting/deleting them.

Q: What was the most fun part?

Seeing the book for the first time…Seeing the book for the first time in Barnes & Noble.

Q: Is self-publishing worth it from your experience?

I cannot imagine not having (self)-published. It was definitely worth it.

Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages that you experienced?

The chief advantage I experienced was the freedom to create my own cover and interior and decide on what got edited. When you self-publish, you are the boss. Disadvantage is money has to be spent before any books are sold.

Q: Who did you work with to accomplish it all?

I hired an editor, book designer, book producer (printer), a librarian for the cataloging-in-publication data and a POD printer for galleys.

Q: Did you take any special "Harmonious" steps in the book publication?

I printed on partly recycled paper and used non-toxic ink. Most of the writing was done on computer with little printing of paper.

Q: Many excellent books are self-published, but only a handful get the notice they deserve. Do you have any tips to our readers who aspiring self-published green/conscious authors on how to bring their book to the publics' attention?

Through the media—get reviews, quotes in articles, write articles. Write a blog and post on other’s blogs. Become a speaker. Sign books/talk in bookstores, libraries or anywhere else you can. Join appropriate yahoo groups and contribute. Read books on publicity and public relations for new ideas. Join Yahoo’s Self-Publishing Group for support and to learn about the business.

Norma will be will be teaching a self-publishing workshop on December 1st at 1:00 at the Hendrick Hudson library in Montrose, New York.

Eylon @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blog Action Day - the day after

It seems that the Blog Action Day went really well yesterday. Thousands of bloggers wrote green posts and for one day it seemed like everybody is talking only about the environment (at least on the blogosphere..).

Some of the bloggers wrote their environmental post yesterday on Eco-Libris, and I would like to thank all of them for presenting Eco-Libris to their readers. You are welcome to check their websites as well:

1. Em's bookshelf - Blog Action Day and Eco-Libris
2. Makeup Minute - Plant A Tree With Every Makeup Book Read With Eco-Libris
3. Mommy talks, Wife Stories, Girl Speak - Today is Blog Action Day!
4. - Blog Action Day: Read, recycle, replant
5. Classroom 2.0 - Read a book! Plant a tree!
6. A side of cartoons..Please - Adaptations (and thank you Robbay for the great cartoon!)
7. A Writer's Words, An Editor's Eye - Blog Action Day: Publishing and the Environment

So, thank you all of you for taking the time and writing on us. We will continue to work hard to move everyone towards sustainable reading!


Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Paying developing countries to protect their forests - Blog Action Day

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

Greetings for all the blogs that are participating today in the Blog Action Day! This is a very important day and I hope it will generate a powerful green voice that will help us all move in the right direction. I would like to contribute to this day a post on very good news I read during the weekend on Planet Ark. They published a story from Reuters on a new fund initiated by the World Bank that is aimed to pay developing countries for protecting and replanting their forests.

The idea is very simple - paying developing countries money for protecting their forests will give them an economic incentive to preserve them and fight deforestation. If you make conservation more worthwhile than logging to the governments and the local communities in these areas, it should keep these precious trees alive. Less deforestation = les greenhouse gas emissions.

The logic is also very clear - deforestation contributes 20% of total greenhouse gas emissions, which is, as they remind in the article, more than all the world's cars, trucks, trains and airplanes together! And as the world bank sees it - less deforestation = less greenhouse gas emissions.

The development of the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), as the new fund is called will depends on the global agreement that will take effect after Kyoto Protocol will expire in 2012. In the meantime, the article reports that there will be some testing of the concept in 3-5 countries to check how well it works in real life.

I think that all in all it's a good idea and with no economic value to the forests, it will be very difficult to save them from logging. It's also important to make sure that this funding will be spent wisely and that the governments will collaborate and share it with local communities that live in these areas. Their participation and support is critical to the success of this mechanism.

In any case, we still have to remember that this is only a temporary solution. A sustainable solution will have to include also the demand side and ensure that consumers in the developed world will consume alternatives for logging products. For example, recycled paper instead of virgin paper. Only then, when demand will fall, we'll be able to secure the future of the forests and the future of this planet.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: plant a tree for every book you read!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Last day for "Hotter than I Should Be" t-shirts auction

Do you want a cool (or hot, depends how you look at it..) t-shirt with the signature of Scarlett Johansson or Orlando Bloom and benefit the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) at the same time?

So if the answer is YES, you still have time to participate in a special auction in eBay of "Hotter than I Should Be" t-shirts, made of 100 percent organic cotton and signed by celebrities. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to WWF's global conservation initiatives including fighting threats like climate change.

So who are the celebrities that participate in the in the special auction organized by WWF? Scarlett Johansson (2 shirts!), Orlando Bloom, Rachael Ray, Harrison Ford, Cate Blanchett, Oliver Stone, Tobey Maguire, Candice Bergen, Gisele Bündchen (2 shirts!), Kevin Bacon, Paul Newman (2 shirts!), Martin Short, Charlie Sheen, Cindy Crawford, Betty White (2 shirts!) and Susan Sarandon (2 shirts!).

Right now, the most desired shirt is the one with Orlando Bloom's signature ($1,150) and the cheapest one you can get is with Martin Short's signature ($123.36).

If you are interested, hurry up as the auction will end today (Oct 12). For more details and links to all the shirts' auction pages, check out this eBay page.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

2007 People's Choice Award - summary

4 days have left to those of you who haven't chose yet their favorite nominee and went to Co-op America website to vote for the 2007 People's Choice Award for the Green Business of the Year.

We have covered in the last two weeks the ten nominees for the award, and I want to say that all of them are deserved to be the green business of the year. I think that this list of nominees is more than all a milestone that shows us how much the area of green biz has developed in the last couple of years. I'm sure that the competition on the award will get even tougher in the near future when more new innovative green businesses (did someone just said Eco-Libris? :-) will join the list, already packed with thousands of successful and pioneering green businesses.

The winner will be announced at the Green Festival in San Francisco on November 10. You can also sign up for our e-mail newsletter to receive the announcement of the winner.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Oprah's book club selection - Love in the Time of Cholera

I was very happy to read two days ago in the New York Times that Oprah Winfrey has picked “Love in the Time of Cholera,” the epic love story by Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez, as her next book club selection.

Garcia Marquez is one of my favorite writers and I one of the greatest storytellers ever. I hope that this selection by the most influential book club in the U.S. will expose more people to his great work.

I don't know if it's a coincidence or not, but a film adaptation of “Love in the Time of Cholera” is scheduled for November release. In any case, I join Oprah Winfrey who said in the article “If you’re like me, you’ll want to read the book before you see the movie.” Winfrey also suggested book clubs could hold their next meeting at the movie theater. reported that Vintage Books, a paperback imprint of Random House Inc., announced a new printing of 750,000 copies for the novel, and an additional 30,000 for the original Spanish-language text.

I know that Random House, which is a leading U.S. publisher, announced in 2006 that it will raise the proportion of recycled paper it uses to at least 30% by 2010 from under 3% at the time of the announcement. Still, I am quite sure that a lot of virgin paper will be used for all these new copies.

Therefore, those of you who will buy new copies of the book (libraries or a used copy are also great options to get a hold of the book) are welcome to balance them out by planting trees with Eco-Libris. "Love in the Time of Cholera" is really a great book and can be a great opportunity to start taking action and making our reading habit more sustainable. I'm sure Oprah wouldn't mind that :-)


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Less than a week to Blog Action Day

Just a quick reminder on Blog Action Day that will take place next Monday, October 15:

Already more than 7,500 bloggers have signed (including Eco-Libris blog of course) with many, many, more signing up daily!

Beside the opportunity to spread the word about important environmental issues, I think that this day try to promote the concept that small actions (in this case, posting on your blog) have the power to make a big impact. They write on the action blog "What would happen if every blog published posts on the same topic, on the same day? One issue. One day. Thousands of voices." Well, let's hope for a powerful eco-friendly voice on October 15th that will help us all to move to the right direction. Eco-Libris will definitely contribute its share.

You are welcome to check their website and learn more on Blog Action Day. If you are a blogger, you can register your blog, although this isn't mandatory. The important thing is that on October 15th, you will participate by posting at your blog on one environmental issue (and tag it 'blog action day').


Eco-Libris: plant a tree for every book you read! 2007 People's Choice Award - part 10

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the day has arrived. After two exciting weeks of presenting the creme de la creme of the green businesses, all is left is the last nominee, and what a pleasure it is to close this nominees series with the planet's homestore. Please allow me to present nominee no. 10 on Eco-Libris blog Unofficial Guide to Co-op America's 2007 People's Choice Award for the Green Business of the Year:

Business description: online store that makes it easier to leave smaller, "greener" footprints with over 1200 items in a variety of categories, such as: Apparel, Baby Products, Toys, Appliances, Housekeeping, Books, Bedroom, Bathroom, Personal Care, Kitchen, Pets, Yard & Garden, Eco Gadgets, Reusable Bags and more. They also have a weekly internet radio show - More Hip than Hippie, where Dori and Val tell you everything you wanted to know about living a green lifestyle that is more hip than hippie. Definitely worth listening!

Located at: Chico, CA

Operating Since: 1997


The questionnaire (responses provided by Val, Ownder of

1. What makes your business a green business?

As inhabitants of this Planet Earth, we leave footprints on the environment based on the resources we consume. Nobody’s perfect (we’re certainly not!), but we can all strive to decrease the size of our footprints on the environment by the behaviors we choose and the products we use.

We have dedicated our business to making it easier for all people to leave smaller, greener footprints. We offer a wide selection of products that are both economical and unique, designed to help all Earth dwellers battle the obstacles in the path of green living.

Our number one priority is to ensure our customers can trust that we will provide only the highest quality natural products. Our philosophy is that small steps can create big change, and we will work to provide products that make taking those first, small steps as easy as possible.

Internally, we have a very green office. All of our energy is powered by wind through 3 phases energy. We are exploring ways to generate our own wind power here at our warehouse. We utilize green shipping supplies including Geami – a wonderfully green packing material that has reduced our use of bubble wrap by over 90%. We are multi year winners of the WRAP award (Waste Reduction Award Program) given by the State of California.

We were also a runner up in the Governors Environmental Award. Lights are turned off, appliances and computers/printers unplugged when not in use. We offer telecommuting for our employees and many ride their bikes. We provide health care for our employees and offer flexible schedules.

Greenfeet also strives to work with our vendors to green our communication (we’ve encouraged email communication as opposed to fax and print and mail) and discuss how products can be made more sustainable.
2. What is your green characteristic you're most proud of?

The sense of pride shared by the staff here at Integrating “green” into our business is simply a way of life. Are we perfect? No – opting for green choices isn’t always attainable. The difference is that we strive for the greenest option and push for an even better, greener option as resources allow. The commitment of the staff and their enthusiasm is infectious.

3. What is your biggest achievement so far?

The difference we are making in people lives. The feedback we receive from customers is wonderful. We hear how they’re inspired to make the small changes that lead to an even bigger impact. They also push us to go further; they ask questions, they encourage us to be even better. We thrive on that.

4. In what way do you think that you help people to take a green action and make a difference?

We celebrate the small steps they take. If someone takes a step as simple as recycling aluminum cans, then they should be applauded. We recognize that step and provide tools, advice and ideas to encourage them to take the next step.

Two years ago we launched our weekly podcast, More Hip Than Hippie which has gained an international listener base and is a great tool to further educate and inspire our customers. We’ve since launched a listener forum where ideas are shared and discussed.

5. Who is your green hero?

Our customers. Collectively they make a difference. There are a lot of individuals who are doing wonderful things however it’s the everyday people whose small steps create the change we so desperately need.

6. What's your green dream for your business?

To build upon the solid foundation we’ve built over the last 10 years. To continue to be a driving force in the journey towards living in harmony with the planet and current technology. To foster creativity and the will to push for greater achievements. Passion is what fuels us – it’s our heartbeat.

And if you missed the parts of the Unofficial Guide we published so far on Eco-Libris blog, please check them out:

Part 1 - Natural Pet Home Store
Part 2- Mountains of the Moon
Part 3 - Yoga Nine
Part 4 - Pizza Fusion
Part 5 - Green Living Now
Part 6 -
Part 7 -
Part 8 - Flexcar

Monday, October 8, 2007

Manitoba Harvest: 2007 People's Choice Award - part 9

I am a big fan of hemp. This is an amazing plant that can be used for a diverse number of eco-friendly products. Some of them, including great hemp milk that I tried yesterday at the Green Festival, are made by today's nominee. So please allow me to present nominee no. 9 on Eco-Libris blog Unofficial Guide to Co-op America's 2007 People's Choice Award for the Green Business of the Year:

Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils

Business description: the largest vertically integrated hemp food manufacturer in the world, offering fresh and high quality staple hemp food products. All Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils are grown herbicide and pesticide free, using non-genetically modified, 'original source' hemp seeds. No additives or preservatives are used and all products are also gluten free. Among their products you can find: Hemp prtotein powder, Hemp seed nut, Hemp seed oil and Hemp Bliss (the world's first certified organic hempmilk).

Located at: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Operating Since: 1998


The questionnaire (responses provided by Mike Fata, Co-Founder and President of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils):

1. What makes your business a green business?

The mission of Manitoba Harvest is to create the healthiest hemp foods, to educate the public about healthy lifestyle choices and to support sustainable agriculture. We refer to hemp seeds as “seeds of change” and since our humble beginnings, we have been inspired by a belief that this natural resource can be a shining example of sustainable agriculture and can drive social change in North America.

Manitoba Harvest makes ‘staple’ hemp food products including cold-pressed Hemp Seed Oil, Shelled Hemp Seed, Hemp Seed Butter, Hemp Protein Powder with Fiber, as well as Hemp Bliss (the first non-dairy organic hemp milk that won the Best New Food Product Award at 2007 Natural Products Expo East in September).

Hemp is one of the most useful and eco-friendly crops in the world. It is naturally pest-resistant, and because hemp plants grow rapidly and close together, they crowd out weeds and don’t need herbicides. Hemp’s only fertilizer requirement is nitrogen, which can be provided by nitrogen fixing cover crops. It is also a soil-building plant that is excellent for crop rotation. Its strong roots anchor the soil to prevent erosion and the leaves return nitrogen to the soil. Hemp cultivation generates virtually no waste and its byproducts are commercially useful.

To ensure a high-quality and plentiful supply of hemp seed, our company partners with more than 2 dozen family farmers in Manitoba. To form a strong bond, Manitoba Harvest provides them with shareholder status and prices above market for their seed. These farmers share our commitment to the eco-friendly benefits of growing hemp. Manitoba Harvest hemp seed contains no Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and it is grown sustainably without herbicides or pesticides. Our farmers also grow USDA certified organic hemp seed for our expanding line of certified organic products.

In addition to the environmental benefits of hemp agriculture that are at the core of our company mission, we follow sustainable business practices including printing all of our promotional materials on recycled or tree-free paper with vegetable based inks. All of our products are packaged in recyclable or reusable packaging and we display coding and recycling advisements on all of our labels to assist consumers. We actively recycle all paper, glass and plastics in our operations and we support environmentally friendly companies by giving sustainable products as promotional gifts. We continue to make our office and production operation a greener environment and a healthy place to work.

2. What is your green characteristic you're most proud of?

We are most proud of our role promoting sustainable agriculture, and for our role in spurring the return of and growth of hemp farming in North America. Manitoba Harvest has taken a steady, education-oriented approach to expanding organic hemp agriculture in Manitoba, and farmers are really catching on to the benefits. We are proud to be converting conventional farmers to organic agriculture, rather than just moving organic farmers of other crops over to organic hemp.

We’re an active member of the Organic Producers Association of Manitoba, and regularly educate farmer groups in Canada about the many merits of growing organic varieties of hemp seed. We have created a system that educates farmers and empowers those farmers to further educate other farmers - and on it goes.

In the early 1990s, company co-founder Martin Moravcik was importing handcrafted goods from indigenous people around the world for his stores in Winnipeg when he discovered that hemp items were in high demand. He organized the Hemp Awareness Committee at the University of Manitoba in the early 1990’s. The group lobbied the provincial government for assistance with research and development of hemp agriculture and was able to convince Manitoba’s Agriculture Minister of hemp’s great potential. Led by Martin, the group submitted a business plan and the Province responded by providing $25,000 and the services of an agronomist. His group obtained some of the first hemp test plot permits from the Canadian government, and the success of their policy activity and research led to the legalization of hemp agriculture in Canada and the first harvest in 1998.

3. What is your biggest achievement so far?

I think there are two aspects of achievement that are relevant to our company story so far: (1) policy activist success; and (2) economic success. The first policy achievement was our role in the movement that made hemp agriculture legal again in Canada in 1998. The next big achievement in that area was our role in the important hemp industry victory in the U.S. courts in 2004 to clarify that hemp foods are legal.

From a business standpoint, we have demonstrated that eco-friendly hemp can be profitable and successful. We are proud to have survived the early years when there was virtually no awareness or sales of hemp foods. We persevered to the new situation today where hemp foods are gaining accolades and more mainstream popularity as a tasty and nutritious food. Hemp foods are now one of the hottest trends in the organic industry and are poised for even more growth.

4. In what way do you think that you help people to take a green action and make a difference?

We have a grassroots style of marketing our products and our mission. We take it directly to the people, and they appreciate that and are inspired by it. They also align with our activism and strong commitment to hemp and to sustainable agriculture. For example, we played a key role recently in a lawsuit that helped to establish that hemp foods are legal in the US, after years of harassment from a government agency that caused confusion in the minds of consumers and regulatory uncertainty for retailers of hemp foods.

We help people understand sustainable agriculture, as well as the concept that ‘you are what you eat.’ These two things when combined make a difference because they lead to a healthier planet and healthier people.

Educating consumers about the many health benefits and rich flavor of hemp foods has been a top priority of ours from day one. We have focused resources on direct interaction at events and in-store demonstrations that can reach more than 250,000 people annually. Sampling and interaction inspires retailers and customers to spread their hemp food experiences by word-of-mouth to their friends. Once people experience the pleasant flavor of hemp foods and grasp the nutritional value it is an easy sell – so extensive sampling is essential.

Hemp foods are gaining more and more recognition from nutrition experts due to their high and balanced concentration of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), strong digestible protein profile, soluble and insoluble fiber content, and their host of vitamins and minerals. Hemp seed’s overall protein content of 34.6% is comparable to soy beans and is higher than that found in nuts, other seeds, meats, dairy products and fish or poultry. With regard to fats, hemp’s EFA profile is closer to fish oil than any other vegetable oil.

5. Who is your green hero?

We like to recognize a different ‘green hero’ every week as inspiration. This week we are honoring Dr. Seuss. His children’s book the Lorax, also an animated movie, is an entertaining way to educate people about sustainability. We appreciate how Dr. Seuss’ imaginative story is so deep in real life parallels to the economic and environmental challenges that mankind faces every day. He went out on a limb with this project - as the story was controversial when it first came out in the 1970’s due to its anti-forest products and doom-and-gloom content. It taught and inspired a lot of children and is still popular decades after it was published. At the end of the story, while they are in the smog and the water and land are devastated, the Once-ler gives the boy the last seed of the Truffula Tree to plant and nurture, we like to think of that seed as a hemp seed.

6. What's your green dream for your business?

We dream that hemp will become the next booming agricultural sector – like soy except more sustainable and eco-friendly. We want to expand the market for hemp foods, expand hemp acreage and help more farmers. This is what motivated us in the beginning in the late 1990s when we started the company and it still drives us today. Hemp is the most remarkable plant and has so many uses. It is an eco-friendly alternative to so many products that we can’t even begin to list them here. We believe hemp has the ability to change the world, and now that awareness of healthy hemp foods is spreading and farmers are gaining interest we are beginning to see some of that potential being realized.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Green Festival in Washington DC starts tommorow

Green Festival will begin tomorrow in Washington DC. I have only good memories from last year's green festival in DC and I hope to enjoy it as well this year.

Here are some details on the event:

Where: Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW Washington DC

When: Saturday 10AM - 8PM, Sunday 11AM - 6PM

Speakers: Ralph Nader – Frances Moore Lappe – Dr. Helen Caldicott - Hunter Lovins - Amy Goodman - Jim Hightower - Vicki Robbin - Thom Hartmann - Bill McKibben -Timberly Whitfield - Medea Benjamin – Kevin Danaher - Alisa Gravitz - Wendy Rieger – Warren Brown – Karen Johns – Michael Dorsey and 100 other visionary leaders....

Tickets: $15 General Admission Festival Pass. $10 Discounted Admission Festival Pass (available at the door) for students, seniors, union memers, bicyclists, etc. Children under 12 -Free

So, come on and enjoy more than 125 visionary speakers and 350 green businesses, great how-to workshops, green films, a fair trade pavilion, yoga and movement classes, organic beer, delicious organic cuisine and live music.

And for all of you book lovers - Better World Books and Green Festival are partnering to offer $5 off Green Festival admission to attendees who bring in 3 or more books. Your donated books will be sold on to help fund girls’ scholarships in developing countries in Asia through Room to Read.

see you there,

Flexcar: 2007 People's Choice Award - part 8

Sharing is a good thing. Car sharing is a great thing! I only wish we had car sharing options here in Newark, DE.. In the meantime, please allow me to present nominee no. 8 on Eco-Libris blog Unofficial Guide to Co-op America's 2007 People's Choice Award for the Green Business of the Year:


Business description: Flexcar is the progressive way to get around town that saves time, money and the environment. Their low-emission, fuel-efficient vehicles are conveniently parked near homes and workplaces. Members use them when they need them, paying just a simple hourly rate that includes gas, insurance and maintenance. It’s far less expensive than owning and operating a car, and much more convenient than renting.

Located at: Seattle, WA (corporate headquarters)

Operating Since: 1999


The questionnaire (thank you to John Williams at Scoville Public Relations):

1. What makes your business a green business?

Flexcar is a car-sharing company that allows members to drive environmentally-friendly cars by the hour. Parked conveniently around many metro areas, it allows people to have access to a car without having to own one. As a result, people sell or avoid buying a car, and rely on walking, biking and transit more.

2. What is your green characteristic you're most proud of?

We’re most proud of the fact that studies show that each shared car takes 15 privately-owned cars off the road. To date, that means we’ve effectively removed nearly 30,000 cars. In addition, by driving less and by using more environmentally-friendly vehicles, we estimate our members decreased fuel consumption by approximately 640,000 gallons (which equates to about 14 million pounds of carbon dioxide) last year alone.

3. What is your biggest achievement so far?

Flexcar has grown from 1 market and 2 cars to 15 markets and 2000 cars in just a few years. It has taken what was originally considered a “fringe” concept and made it mainstream. Today, individuals, companies, governments and major universities all rely on Flexcar.

4. In what way do you think that you help people to take a green action and make a difference?

Most people really want to do the right thing – but it’s hard. But with Flexcar around the corner or across the street, people can really get around without having to own a car. It saves them money and it saves the planet. They feel good about their actions.

5. Who is your green hero?

Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia for his pioneering efforts to literally weave sustainability into the fiber of the company and its products.

6. What's your green dream for your business?

The American dream used to be a car in every garage and a chicken in every pot. We’re shooting for a Flexcar on every block and maybe some organic pasta in every pot.

Thursday, October 4, 2007 2007 People's Choice Award - part 7

Moving? need some boxes? want to do it sustainably? If you answered 'Yes' to all the 2 questions, our nominee today can help you. Please welcome nominee no. 7 on Eco-Libris blog Unofficial Guide to Co-op America's 2007 People's Choice Award for the Green Business of the Year:

Business description: collecting used cardboard boxes, packaging them and reselling them at discounted prices. rescues truckloads of quality used boxes from businesses and also rescues brand new misprints and overruns from box manufacturers that can longer use those boxes. It puts all of these boxes through a rigorous inspection and certification process, prior to allowing them to be used in its inventory.

Located at: Santa Monica, CA

Operating Since: 2006 (Predecessor company, Boomerang Boxes, founded 2002)


The questionnaire (thank you to Marty Metro,'s Founder and CEO):

1. What makes your business a green business? is changing the moving box industry, in a very simple way. Rather than cutting down trees and using machinery, gasoline, electricity, etc. to make new boxes, we sell quality used boxes that already exist.

With traditional cardboard box recycling, quality used boxes are baled and shipped to Asia, to be made into new products. There is nothing wrong with that type of recycling, especially if the boxes can’t be used again, here in the US. However, works with companies right here in the US that historically dispose of quality used boxes. We acquire those boxes and we put them back into the marketplace right here, in the US. No need to destroy them. No need to bale them. No need to ship them to Asia.

The great thing about is that our customers aren’t just buying a “green product” from a “green company”… they are actually saving money, at the same time.
Few more green points:
- Over $120,000,000,000 worth of cardboard boxes are produced around the world, each year.

- Over 90% of all products in the U.S. are shipped in corrugated cardboard boxes.

- Almost one billion trees a year are used for making paper.

- Trees clean our air by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing clean oxygen back into the air for us to breathe. One tree can filter up to 60 pounds of pollutants from the air each year.

- It takes an estimated 17 trees to create enough cardboard boxes to move one family living in an average three bedroom house.

- Making the pulp from trees for use in corrugated cardboard creates sulfur dioxide pollution. Recycling corrugated cardboard cuts the emissions of sulfur dioxide in half and uses about 25% less energy than making cardboard from virgin pulp. No recycling the box, but simply reusing it emits no sulfur dioxide.

- Saving one ton of cardboard saves over 9 cubic yards of landfill space, saves 390 kWh of energy and saves 1.1 barrels (46 gallons) of oil.

- Nationwide, paper and cardboard account for 41% of all municipal solid waste--that's close to half of all the garbage generated in the US!

- It takes 17 trees to absorb the harmful carbon dioxide emitted from one car every year.

2. What is your green characteristic you're most proud of?

That’s pretty easy. We are very proud of two things, here at

- We’ve created a virtually “zero waste” company that not only sells a very “green” product, but sells it for LESS than the competition. So, I’d have to say that we are most proud of the fact that we are showing the world that green does not have to cost more. At, being green actually saves you money.
- Unlike a lot of “green companies” and other organizations that are popping to do their part to save the planet (which is a great thing), we are actually making money while we do it. Its very difficult to be green and also pay your own bills, let alone grow. is proud to say that we are a for-profit company that has proven to the world that you can make money AND be green. It doesn’t have to be a choice between the two. We help our customers save money, we pay our employees well, we are making a strong impact on the environment and society, all while making enough profit to keep us growing. Yep, we are proud of that!

3. What is your biggest achievement so far?’s biggest achievement so far would have to be the fact that we took a local “retail store concept” in Los Angeles and went nationwide. Two years ago, we were proud to say that we serviced an area from Santa Barbara to San Diego, and we delivered 2 days a week. Today, I’m excited to say that is NATIONWIDE! And, we ship our moving boxes anywhere in the country, for FREE.

There are lots of traditional box companies that offer 5-7 day shipping and/or charge $14.95 - $49.95 just to ship enough boxes to move a household. But at, anyone in the country who orders used moving boxes from our website will get their boxes in 1-2 business days, guaranteed. We are the only company in the US that can do this. We’ve come a long way in the last few years and I’d say that’s quite an achievement.

4. In what way do you think that you help people to take a green action and make a difference? provides a way for people to buy a “green product” that actually costs less than the traditional product. And, because has a 100% satisfaction guarantee, we provide a “no risk” way to try us out. Because we take a portion of our proceeds and plant trees through our partner,, our customers purchasing actions do more than just get them low cost, risk free moving boxes… they contribute to planting trees and educating people about trees, at the same time.

Our customers don’t have to research charities to find out who actually plants trees and how many. We’ve done the research and completely stand behind them. A portion of our proceeds to go plant trees, but our customers can also choose to plant their own from our site, for only $25. Its amazing to see when our customers purchase one of our smallest moving kits for just $36, but then go ahead and donate a tree, for an additional $25. We like to think that because of the money we are saving them, they are able to do such wonderful acts. The reality is our customers are just plain awesome!

5. Who is your green hero?

Well, there are a lot of pioneers in the green movement these days. New people come up with new green concepts everyday. But I have to say that for, our heroes are our customers. We have built an amazing business with sophisticated processes and world-class technology. However, if its wasn’t for our customers, that made a conscious decision to switch to used boxes, we would be out of business quickly.

However, we have been growing strong. Not only do more and more customers come to, but one of our top referral sources is word of mouth from our customers. They are helping us spread the word, by telling friends about us, nominating us for Coop America’s “Green Business of the Year” and more. I can’t tell you how many calls we get from people saying “my sister said that I just HAD to use you….” and the like.

We don’t have a single salesperson at We are grateful to have a customer base that loves to brag about us. So, whether they have been green for years, or are just experimenting for the first time with, our customers are our biggest green heroes.

6. What's your green dream for your business?

On one hand, our dreams have come true. We took a simple concept and spent 5 years developing the logistics, technology and business processes to have national company, where anyone in the country could easily purchase used cardboard boxes. We did it! Now, our dream is for EVERYONE in the country to know that “you don’t have to cut down a tree, to make a used cardboard box!” In other words, the dream for is that every person and company in the country will consider using a used box, before contributing to making new ones!

The next nominee: Flexcar

And if you missed the parts of the Unofficial Guide we published so far on Eco-Libris blog, please check them out:

Part 1 - Natural Pet Home Store
Part 2- Mountains of the Moon
Part 3 - Yoga Nine
Part 4 - Pizza Fusion
Part 5 - Green Living Now
Part 6 -


Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for everybook you read!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Tamsin Blanchard shows you how to change the world with style

It all started in a confessional booth.

Cyndi Rhoades of Anti-apathy has a mobile fashion confessional booth she takes to workshops and festivals. In the summer of 2006, she took it to a local festival in London. Tamsin Blanchard, the Style Director of Telegraph Magazine and a longtime fashion journalist, who was helping to organize an eco-fashion day at this festival, decided to take advantage of the opportunity and went to confess at the confessional booth.

These moments at the booth were epiphany moments for her. "I went to confess my fashion sins and from then, I really began to seriously consider the issues of pesticides in cotton, fairtrade clothing, clothing dyes, recycling etc." she told me. She acted fast and one year later she launched her new book: Green is the New Black: How to Change the World with Style. The book is a guide to everyone who is looking for ways to green up their lifestyle, without compromising on style, quality, being fashionably, etc.

Nowadays you can find a growing number of books written on different aspects of green consumerism, but this is the first one written by a fashion journalist. Naturally, it focuses on topics such as eco-fashion, eco-style, green weddings, eco-friendly shoes and bags and getting the (green) look.

In addition the book also presents the alternative way to be green and fashionable - DIY. Blanchard, knowing very well the significance of recycling, gives many tips how to make clothes and accessories from materials you can find at your home and your closet, including how to organize swishing (clothes swapping) parties.

I was recently honored with the opportunity to speak with Tamsin Blanchard for an article I made for the web-edition of Maariv, Israel's second-largest newspaper on her book. You are welcome to read on her thoughts on green living and which of her green tips is her favorite.

What brought you to write this book? to whom it is written?

As a fashion journalist, I have seen the high street begin to take note of the issues surrounding eco and fair trade fashion. The consumer is beginning to ask questions and I felt it was the right time to supply them with the information - written in an accessible and unworthy way. The book is aimed at anyone interested in fashion who also has a conscience.

What's the most interesting stuff you have learned about eco-living while working on the book?

That there are so many great alternatives, from fantastic fair trade jewellery (made on the slums of Kibera by the ethical jewellery company Made) to fantastically cool chrome free leather shoes by Terra Plana.

You are described as someone who is bringing eco-living to the masses - do you think the masses really care about eco-living? isn't it still something that only people with financial capabilities can afford?

Even if only 5 % are interested in making a change, then they are worth communicating and engaging with, and hopefully, the message will spread to everyone. We now all have to recycle our rubbish or we get fined so nobody can ignore eco-living completely. 10 years ago, fairtrade bananas and coffee were a niche product bought by a committed few. Now they have become totally mainstream. Change happens quickly.

What's your reply to the critics of green consumerism, like George Monbiot for example, who believe it causes more damage than good by giving us an illusion that we can fix the world with a couple of efficient bulbs and a pair of organic cotton jeans?

Nobody is going to stop buying jeans. Why should we? We are not living in the dark ages and whether we like it or not, we are a society of consumers. Shopping has become one of the most popular forms of entertainment. If we can get people to direct their spending power in the right direction, then perhaps more people will be paid a fair wage.

Sure, we need to cut down on how much and how quickly we are consuming, particularly in fashion. I do think we need to slow down, buy fewer, better quality items, and respect the things we buy - looking after them, mending them, making them last as long as possible - so that we stop throwing things away so readily. Cheap, fast fashion, in particular, is a false economy as it falls apart after a couple of washes.

It seems that the options for men are relatively limited when it comes to eco-fashion. What's your advice for those of us who happen to be men, but still want to be fashionable, cool and green?

There are plenty of organic jeans around now, (including Levi's) and there are labels like Katharine E Hamnett, Loomstate, and Howies that cater for men who want to be green and fashionable. Support those labels and other companies will follow.

How many of the tips you provide in your book you implement in your daily life?

what's the one you like mostly? Washing your clothes at 30 degrees. They still come out just as clean!

What you see as the hottest trends in green living in the next couple of years? is there any area that we should follow in particular?

We will be seeing more alternatives to cotton (even organic cotton - it's so water intensive that it is not sustainable). Fabrics like bamboo, soya, interesting mixes with hemp, washi etc will be more widely available and will filter into designer lines as well as the high street.

What's the most important advice you can give to someone who really wants to change the world and make it greener, but with style?

Don't compromise on style. Be confident in your own style and don't follow trends. Ask questions about where your clothes were made. Slow down.

Your book is about green living. Does it also 'walk the walk', i.e., printed in an environmentally manner (using recycled paper for example)?

The book is made from wood grown in sustainable forests. The hard coverboard is recycled. And I encourage anyone who has a copy to pass it on to a friend once they have finished with it!

The book 'Green is the New Black: Changing the World with Style' can be found on You can also check out Tamsin Blanchard's blog.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read!