Sunday, May 31, 2009

The latest alternative to printed books is announced in Japan

No, we're not talking about a new technology or a new book reading device. This time we're talking about a story printed on toilet paper.

Each roll carries several copies of a new nine-chapter novella written by Koji Suzuki, the Japanese author of the horror story "Ring". "Drop," set in a public restroom, takes up about three feet (90 centimeters) of a roll and can be read in just a few minutes, according to the manufacturer.

I wonder if "Drop" will be available on or other online stores. In any event, I hope this toilet paper, promoted as "a horror experience" is made of recycled paper, so it won't become an environmental horror story..

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Saturday, May 30, 2009

You can still win a copy of 'The Adventures of an Aluminum Can'

Just a reminder: our giveaway of 'The Adventures of an Aluminum Can: A Story About Recycling' is still on!

If you want to win a copy of this great book, go to our review of the book (right HERE) a
nd add a comment with your reply to the following question:

what is the material or item you or your kids really really like to recycle?

Submissions are accepted until Monday, June 1, 12PM EST. The winner will be announced the following day.

So don't miss your chance to win this great children's book, which was just released as part of the Little Green Books series of Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Thursday, May 28, 2009

BookExpo America, here we come!

Today is a very busy day as I'm preparing for BookExpo America, which I'm going to attend tomorrow and on Saturday.

As we mentioned here, BookExpo America (BEA)
is the largest book industry event in North America with over 1,500 exhibitors from 37 countries, and one of the largest gatherings of English language publishers in the world.

I will bring you reports from this important event, including a coverage of the panel on Publishing Green: A Recipe for Success in Tough Times. This panel will be held on Saturday, May 30 between 9:30-10:30. The participants will be Todd Pollak, Program Manager, Green Press Initiative (moderator), Steve Geck, Exec Editor, Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, Charles Melcher, founder, Melcher Media and Pete Datos, Vice President, Strategic Planning & Publishing Operations, Hachette Book Group.

If you're also attending the BEA and would like to meet me there please get in touch via email - raz[at]ecolibris[dot]net

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Eco-Libris reached the milestone of 100,000 new trees!

In his interesting manifesto that was published last Sunday on the New York Time Magazine ("The Case for Working with Your Hands"), Matthew Crawford writes: "Working in an office, you often find it difficult to see any tangible result from your efforts. What exactly have you accomplished at the end of any given day?"

Well, he's definitely right and we're happy that although we do sit in an office, we have successfully created what Crawford calls a chain of cause and effect - connecting between the willingness of our customers and business partners (publishers, authors, bookstores and so on) to green up their books (cause) and the new trees planted on their behalf with our planting partners (effect).

Our accomplishments are measured in various ways, but one of the main measurements we have by the end of any given day is the number of new trees planted, and we're very happy to announce that we have reached the milestone of the 100,000th new tree that is being planted on behalf of our customers and business partners!

This is a very exciting moment for us, as we look back and see all the work done so far to follow our vision, making reading more sustainable. We're also very proud of our planting partners that are doing a wonderful job, not only by planting these trees, but also by ensuring that these trees are planted in high ecological and sustainable standards and their ongoing benefits both to the environment and to the local communities living in the planting areas.

So kudos to all the avid readers, publishers, authors, bookstores and others who care about the environment and work with us to green up their books, to AIR, RIPPLE Africa and SHI and last but not least to the wonderful team of Eco-Libris who made it all possible! Thank you all!

We will continue our efforts and work even harder to make sure the next celebration of the 200,000th new tree will take place as soon as possible.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

* The photos above are courtesy of
The Alliance for International Reforestation (AIR) and RIPPLE Africa respectively

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More on "Gardening Eden" - an interview with author Michael Abbate

Is faith and environmentalism make a good fit together? I think this is a fascinating question and I think about it even more after reading and reviewing "Gardening Eden" by Michael Abbate.

So is there anyone better to figure it out with than the author itself? I got in touch with Michael Abbate and conducted an interview with him about faith, environmentalism, hope and of course guilt..

Since Michael knows this issue better than anyone else I know, I decided it's time for an interview to learn more from him and interviewed him over the mail. Here's the interview:

Firstly I'm curious what feedback you get so far on the book, especially from the faith community?
The reaction has been great. There seem to be two groups of people from the faith community that I have spoken with. The first are those who have previously had their interest piqued in the topic of ecological stewardship and conservation. These folks seem to appreciate the biblical background and personal stories included in Gardening Eden.

The other group are those who happen to be gathered when I am speaking, but don’t come with any particular interest in the subject of Creation Care. I spoke at a group like this a few weeks ago at Praise Assembly in
Springfield, MO. There, most people came because it was Wednesday night service, not necessarily to hear me.

They were initially skeptical, but after I discussed the primary themes in Gardening Eden, many seemed to come to a new understanding and willingness to make personal lifestyle changes to protect the environment. A frequent comment I hear is that “this seems not much different than practicing faithful stewardship of my money or my time – it all belongs to God; my time, my money and the planet.”

When I spoke last week at Flourish 09, the first national conference on Creation Care for pastors and church leaders in
Atlanta (, the audience was much more in tune with the spiritual mandate to protect the planet. There, I was invited to discuss steps churches could take to model this conservation ethic. Overall, there has been a lot of interest and enthusiasm on the topic.

However, it is not just those in the faith community who have explored Gardening Eden. In fact, since the book has come out, I have been honored to have many deep spiritual conversations with people who would not identify themselves with any type of organized faith community.

These discussions have been rich, meaningful and profound. I believe that these discussions have encouraged many of these folks to reevaluate their personal world-view and spiritual beliefs. If nothing more, it has shown to them that not all evangelical Christians are right-wing hate-mongers, just like I tell my faith-filled friends that not all environmentalists are left-wing human-haters!

What brought you to write this book?
I have tried to use words to reconcile the discordant voices in my head. For nearly 25 years, I have felt like I have had my feet in two different worlds. My professional world is filled with good people who are concerned about environmental degradation, but are much less interested in (or willing to talk about) a spiritual life. On the other hand, when I have talked to friends in my church, very few of them seem to care much about environmental stewardship. I believe that the two are not mutually exclusive, and in fact, the person of faith has a more clear and rational mandate to protect nature than the secularist.

The more I thought, the more I studied, and the more I prayed, the more I was convinced that these are not mutually exclusive points of view. In fact, they are fully compatible, and I contend, both necessary to fulfill the other.

What you find as the main obstacles of believers to go green and combine environmentalism with their faith?
Here’s a common refrain I have heard: “Mike, I don’t know WHO to believe or WHAT to do.” Many people are “eco-curious”, that is, they have a vague feeling that they should care about the environment, but they don’t know how to make the first step. They also wonder if they have to buy in to a political agenda to live green.

Sometimes, we have allowed politics to blind us to the commonalities between us. If I can label an idea or person as right-wing or left wing, it allows me to dismiss their ideas without giving them any real intellectual consideration. Many believers have done this with the issue of environmental stewardship. But environmental conservation is not fundamentally a political issue, it’s a spiritual one. At what point did conservation cease being a conservative issue? And isn’t living conservatively a good thing, a sustainable thing, an admirable thing?

Gardening Eden helps people to sort out the fact from opinion, theology from scientific theory, and provides some very practical ways we can all live to be called “good and faithful stewards.”

You say that "conservation is a conservative issue" - why is that and if so, how come it became so identified with liberals?
Conservatives are people who think that it is wise to be careful how we expend resources, whether financial or environmental. They tend to want to be careful, to ensure that there are enough resources for future needs. Therefore, conservation of our planet with its remarkable resources and wildlife is a wise and conservative way to live.

In fact, in 1989 the United Nations Brundtland Commission came up with this definition of “sustainability”, which has continued to this day: "The ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." Doesn’t that sound like an idea rooted in the concept of conservation?

During the Reagan Administration, a few notable strides were made on behalf of the environment. However, the greatest impact was probably made by James Watt, the Secretary of the Interior. His combative, attacking style tended to polarize the discussion. With Watt, individual property rights were seen as trumping the needs of the collective. In 1968, Hardin had described the results of this mindset as the "Tragedy of the Commons". When the environment and personal property rights were linked with abortion and other socially conservative issues, it became almost exclusively partisan, and impossible to discuss the alliance between "conservative" and "conservation".

Because the church did not step forward in the 1960s and 1970s and provide leadership in insisting that environmental protection was critical for both people and the planet, other champions stepped forward. Organizations such as the Sierra Club, The Nature Conservancy and Defenders of Wildlife stepped into the breach and began to organize and lobby for environmental protection. This is not a bad thing at all. I just wish the church could have been in the vanguard of the movement, and doing it for the best possible reasons – out of love and adoration for the Creator of it all.

I believe that religion can have a significant role in unifying humanity under the green flag and pushing the green movement into mainstream. Do you think it's possible? will it ever happen?
Not only do I believe it is possible, but I think it is likely. As people grasp the spiritual implications of environmental stewardship, a new personal motivation will come into play. Spiritual faith has a profound ability to inspire people to do right, to deny oneself, and to make sacrifices for others. When this is practiced in the nation’s churches, cathedrals, synagogues, mosques, and other faith communities, tremendous environmental successes will be inevitable. More important than that, I believe the Creator of all will be pleased.

How do you explain the fact that the Pope and the Vatican are going green so fast while the Christian leadership in the U.S. is lagging behind?
There are many pastors from around the country who are leading the effort to reestablish the church's responsibility to protect the planet. Tri Robinson of Boise Vineyard, Bill Hybels of Willow Creek in
Chicago and Joel Hunter of Northland Church in Orlando have been incredibly effective and courageous Christian leaders in the movement.

Two new organizations have sprouted to help carry the message across the pews: Flourish, is a national network that inspires and equips churches to better love God by reviving human lives and the landscapes on which they depend ( Another group is Creation Care for Pastors, an organization committed to “serving pastors who are interested in a growing emphasis within the Christian community called Creation Care.” ( One of the first and foremost organizations is the Evangelical Environmental Network, led by Rev. Jim Ball (

However, having said this, I would agree that the church is just in its infancy of being involved in this issue. As I talk to people around the country, particularly committed Christians 20- 40 years of age, I have become convinced that it is inevitable that creation care will transform faith communities: Evangelical, mainline Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish. It is a movement that will be from the bottom up – truly grass roots, if you’ll forgive the pun. Younger believers are not willing to let some of the polarized politics of the past prevent a thorough discussion and action on this issue.

Do you feel that it will be easier now for liberals and conservatives to work together with the leadership of President Obama?
The election of President Obama also points to a potential shift in the public's desire to see some real environmental leadership by the federal government. Whether or not conservatives and liberals work together for environmental legislation remains to be seen, but if the past is any indicator, I am doubtful. But to be honest, I am more interested in how my countrymen and women will respond, rather than our political leaders.

In particular, I am more interested in talking to some of the folks who did not vote Obama, are suspicious of environmentalists and dismiss the issue as driven by left-wing secular humanists.

Some things are right for an individual to do, regardless of politics. Helping your neighbor, feeding the hungry, loving your enemy, nurturing a child, stewarding creation. These are good and right for an individual to do, and must be driven by an inner conviction that is more profoundly personal than a party platform. Too often, I believe that good, loving and sacrificial people have lumped all environmental issues and programs together, then dismissed them as politically untenable. I have been told by many readers of Gardening Eden that reading it has caused them to rethink their personal beliefs and to implement different lifestyles and behaviors. This is not because of a political awakening, but rather a spiritual one.

Is it only the faith community that should take a step forward, or the green movement need also to do something to gain their trust?
I think this is already beginning to happen, and will likely continue. The Sierra Club, in particular, has reached out to people of faith in meaningful ways. I think everyone understand that faith is a tremendous force for good, and should no longer be discounted or seen as irrelevant in our “sophisticated” age.

As a Jew I find the concept of guilt connecting between my religious identity (we always feel guilty about something) and my green values. Can it also work for Christians?
Ah…guilt, the “feel-bad” motivator! With no disrespect to Judaism, Catholicism, Islam, or Evangelical Christianity, I am not a fan of guilt as a motivator. The most effective motivator I know of is love, not guilt.

The entire bible and certainly the gospel of Jesus was paradigm-shattering in this regard. Jesus was not impressed with those whose outward appearances were beautiful, but inside, they were something else entirely. Likewise, God will not be impressed if we live according to some green check-list, but do so with the wrong motives. He doesn’t allow us to have an attitude of self-righteousness. Rather, he wants us to do the right things for the right reason.

He is as concerned with our heart as he is with our actions. He doesn’t use guilt to motivate us; rather he demonstrates love and hopes this will turn our hearts toward him. I have come to believe that we must “go green, guilt-free.”

Just like I can’t tell you how to best steward your financial or time resources, I can’t tell you how to live. You must seek direction from the God you serve. It is He, through his Holy Spirit that will call you to make sacrifices, not other mortals. I can give you ideas on what is effective, but I can’t tell you what is your responsibility.

What are your plans now? Will the book lead you to become more involved with the dialogue between the faith and the environmental community?
I certainly hope so! I thoroughly enjoy discussing these issues with people both inside and outside faith communities. I have been honored to speak for audiences in many parts of the country and I very much hope to continue doing this, along with media interviews of various types.

In addition, I am learning the power of the internet and social networking. People can now follow me through my GardeningEden Twitter feed, Gardening Eden blog (, or my website

I am inspired by hearing stories about how others have made decisions to better the environmental condition of the planet. I also love to dialogue back and forth on questions of both faith and creation care. I believe that our efforts will make the planet a better place, to be sure, but even more importantly, we will be drawn into a closer relationship with the God who created it all.

Thank you Michael!

Raz @ Godelnik

Monday, May 25, 2009

Monday's green books series: The Adventures of an Aluminum Can (and a giveaway!)

Last week we thought we have a special diary we never seen before, but this week we have it again!

This time this diary is really special as it's written by "
a laid-back aluminum can", describing its very unique journey.

Our book today is:

The Adventures of an Aluminum Can: A Story About Recycling

Author: Alison Inches

Over a period of eight years, Alison Inches was an editor at Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Putnam as well as a Senior Editor and Writer for The Jim Henson Company.

An author since 1994, she has written over 30 books for children, including a bestseller entitled Go to Bed Fred! for Workman Publishing. She is also the author of three adult trade books: In the Kitchen With Miss Piggy (Time-Life), The Candy Bar Cookbook: Baking with America’s Favorite Candy and a biography about Jim Henson entitled, Designs and Doodles: A muppet Sketchbook for Harry Abrams Publishers. Currently, she is writing children's books for Viking, Simon & Schuster and Hartcourt.

Illustrator: Mark Chambers

Ages: 4 - 6

Publisher: Little Simon (an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division)

Published on:
May 2009

What this book is about? (from Little Green Book's website)
Peek into this diary of an aluminum can as it goes on a journey from inside a bauxite rock under the beaches of Jamaica, to the manufacturing line, to the store shelf, to a garbage can, and finally to a recycling plant where it emerges into its new a baseball bat!

This 8x8 papergback storybook is told from the point of view of a laid-back aluminum can, kids can share in his daily experiences and inner thoughts through his personal journal. The laid-back little can goes from being a small speck of alumina inside a bauxite rock under the beaches of Jamaica to an aluminum soda can to a baseball bat. The diary entries will be fun and humorous yet point out the ecological significance behind each product and the resources used to make it.

Why you should get it?
This is a new book in the Little Green Books series of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. If you follow our blog for a while, you already know we are partnering with the S&S, following the release of this new green series last year, to help educating children about green issues. This series is doing it really well, in a way that is both fun and educating, and this book is no exception.

Alison Inches, who is the the author of another great book in this series 'I Can Save the Earth!' does it again. She creates a great story that is focused on a journey of an aluminum can that starts as a raw material, becomes a can and eventually gets recycled into a baseball bat. The story gives children a clear demonstration of what actually happens when we recycle things and gets them to know the real story of stuff.

I like the journal style of the story which makes it more interesting and easy to follow. Inches' writing with the beautiful illustrations of Mark Chambers also make sure the fun component is not to be forgotten, which is definitely important when it comes to books for this age (4-6).

Like many green children's books, this book's creativity is very impressive, but it has also a very clear added-value to offer to young children which makes it a great book and a recommended one!

It's also important to remind that the book, as all of the other Little Green Books, walks the talk as it is printed on recycled paper with 100% vegetable based ink.

You can get more information about the Little Green Books at site includes information about the books in the series, a family-friendly blog, interactive games, earth-friendly downloadable activities, green tips (including tips of Eco-Libris), a green glossary, partners page and more! We'll cover this new website more thoroughly very soon so stay tuned!


We're giving away one copy of the book, courtesy of the book's publicist, and of course a tree will be planted for the copy!

How you can win? please add a comment below with an answer the following question: what is the material or item you or your kids really really like to recycle? Submissions are accepted until Monday, June 1, 12PM EST. The winner will be announced the following day.

More relevant links:

An interview with Alison Inches on Eco-Libris blog

Review of 'Little Monkey' and 'Little Panda':

If you're looking for other interesting green-themed books, you are invited to check out our
green books page on our website's green resources section.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Looking for an affordable and unique green birthday gift?

What's the connection between singer Lauryn Hill, actress Anne Heche, comedian and actor Mike Myers and the author Robert Ludlum?

They were all born on May 25! If you're also celebrating your birthday today - happy birthday to you too!

We love birthdays and therefore we're happy to remind you of the option to celebrate a birthday of friends, family members, colleagues and anyone you care about with Eco-Libris!

Eco-Libris is offering you now to plant trees to balance out the books of your loved ones who celebrate their birthday. Not only that new trees will be planted to balance out their books, but they will also receive our stickers with a beautiful birthday card made of recycled paper. And we also try to keep it affordable - the added charge for the birthday card is only $1.5.

All you need to do is to choose how many of the birthday person's books you want to balance out on our
special birthday gift page, change the shipping address on the payment page to the address of the gift receiver and we will take care of the rest!

This is also a great green add-on if you're buying a book as a gift for the birthday person, especially if you're buying her or him a green book.

The birthday cards we send are made by
Doodle Greetings (see picture above of one of their cards). Not only these cards come with a beautiful design, but they are also eco-friendly - printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper and are made chlorine-free and acid free. Sounds like a good fit with Eco-Libris stickers!

And of course, if it's your birthday and you want to give yourself a green present - get yourself a nice green book and plant a tree for it with us!

Happy Birthday,
Raz @ Eco-Libris

Sunday, May 24, 2009

And we have a winner on the giveaway of 'The Carbon Diaries: 2015'

The last giveaway of our green book reviews week is over! This is the giveaway of "The Carbon Diaries: 2015", where we ask you to share with us your favorite diary book or movie.

And we have a winner!

Our winner is Marion G. who chose the unforgettable and maybe the most known of all -
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl . Marion wrote the following:

Hi My favorite diary book is The Diary of Anne Frank. That is an awesome book. I however like the teaser you've written on The Carbon Diaries. I am very interested in reading this book as is my daughter. Merci. MarionG.

Congrats Marion! You won a copy of The Carbon Diaries: 2015 and we will also plant with our planting partners one tree for this book. We also wish to thank all the other participants.

We'll continue now as usual with a green book review every Monday and with more giveaways of great green books to come.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The censor's dilemma?

Yes, censorship is still here and it even can be used against one of the most interesting and successful green books - The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

Thanks to Tom Laskawy of Grist I learned that it seems like The Omnivore's Dilemma is being censored at Washington State University (WSU). The story is that WSU officials decided to cancel Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma as the common reading assignment for freshman orientation next year, with hints that pressure from Washington agribusiness interests may have been behind the cancellation.

As reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education, "an explanation on the university's Web site is vague and implies the withdrawal of the book was due to budget constraints. But some people on the campus say that the university, which has a prominent agriculture college, bowed to pressure from agribusiness interests. They also question the budget argument, noting that the university has already purchased more than 4,000 copies of the book."

But is it really about money? The Chronicle also reports that "In an e-mail message to The Chronicle, Patricia Freitag Ericsson, an assistant professor of rhetoric and professional writing who also sits on the implementation committee, said that in a meeting on May 4, an administrator told panel members that the common-reading program would be canceled, in large part because of political pressure arising from this year's book choice."

If the cancellation is really due to such a pressure of local powerful agribusiness this is really a shame, given the importance of the book and the fact that many members of Congress were carrying copies of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma" as recently reported on the New York Times. Maybe the agribusiness weren't acting fast enough in the Capitol..

In any event, it looks to me that like in many other cases, these efforts will eventually fail and only push more students at WSU to read this great book to learn what is this book that the university doesn't want them to read.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Friday, May 22, 2009

Why BookExpo America is not going greener? is going green only a luxury of the (relatively) good days?

BookExpo America (BEA) will begin next Thursday (May 28) in NYC. This is the largest book industry event in North America with over 1,500 exhibitors from 37 countries, and one of the largest gatherings of English language publishers in the world. We'll be there as well!

The BEA will also have special industry and author events, including some green content. But this year the green content is much more limited in comparison with last year, and we're wondering why is that? is going green only a luxury of the (relatively) good days? is no longer relevant during economic recession?

If you recall Eylon's reports from last the 2008 BEA in Los Angeles, there were several panels about green issues, including Buying, Packaging & Publishing Green Books: The Publishers' Perspective,
Environmental Trends: Where Does the U.S. Book Industry Stand Today?, Investing in a Sustainable World: How the Green Revolution will Create New Industries, Opportunities, Economies and Fortunes, and so on.

This year there's only one - Publishing Green: A Recipe for Success in Tough Times. This panel will be held on Saturday, May 30 between 9:30-10:30. The participants will be
Todd Pollak, Program Manager, Green Press Initiative (moderator), Steve Geck, Exec Editor, Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, Charles Melcher, founder, Melcher Media and Pete Datos, Vice President, Strategic Planning & Publishing Operations, Hachette Book Group.

So why we see a reduction in the number of the panels? what happened to the green spirit that we thought was ruling last year's BEA? my guestimation is that in times where the industry is struggling to keep its head above the water, discussions on green issues look a little bit less relevant or maybe even unrealistic, as going green may be associated with increased costs.

BUT, is it true?

Well I guess the participants in the panel will provide some answers from their own experience, so it would definitely be worthwhile to attend the panel. Other than that the book industry in many ways is no different than most of the industries, and therefore the basics of how going green can benefit a business apply here.

And these benefits include:

Driving revenues up

2. Enhancing intangible value

3. Cutting costs

4. Reducing risk

It actually looks like in times like these, such benefits are actually more important and more attractive. Who wouldn't like now to drive revenues up of cut costs? and if it helps the environment at the same time, creating win-win solutions that's even better! That's I guess the same logic President Obama sees in his policy to promote green solutions.

So in all, it seems like going green can be the remedy or at least a significant part of it. And with the upcoming regulation that will put price tag on carbon emissions, it looks like there will be even more economic reasoning why going green and reducing your carbon footprint is the right thing to do. Some in the industry already move forward in this direction.

But general observation is not enough and the burden of proof is still on our shoulders - can you do well by doing good? can you create shared value benefiting both your business and the environment/society? we think the answers are YES and following the BEA we intend to get more into the benefits we presented above and provide you with more specifics on how you can gain them by going green.

We will start with bringing you updates and news from the BEA and of course from the green panel we mentioned. So stay tuned and let us know what you think about this issue. We'll be happy to receive your feedback!

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A great article about our planting partner AIR, or: How to plant the seeds of sustainable future

We're very proud of our planting partners and always happy to share the news about them. Today we have an article recently released at OurWorld 2.0, a UN webzine, about our planting partner AIR.

The writer, Adam Darragh, is a recent graduate of Stetson University who majored in Religious Studi
es. He went last summer to Guatemala with four other Stetson University students, to volunteer for a month with the Alliance for International Reforestation (AIR), accompanied by AIR's founder, political science professor Dr. Anne Hallum from Stetson University.

Darragh helped with tree planting, is describing in the article the work he done with his colleauges and AIR's staff, planting trees , building four fuel-efficient stoves for community leaders, planting vegetables, and working alongside students and teachers to build improvements to schools that partner with AIR.

Here's a part where he speaks about his tree planting experience:

"We arrived in June during Guatemala’s rainy season, months after community-operated tree nurseries started by AIR had planted and raised thousands of seedlings of pine, peach, and other kinds of trees. Our average day was spent hopping into pickup trucks, heading to the tree nursery, then riding with the villagers to farmlands, deforested hillsides, or post-landslide slopes. Under the direction of AIR staff and village farmers, we planted as many trees as we could before the monsoon-like rains arrived."

Darragh not only describing the efforts of AIR to teach communities an alternative way to the slash and burn practices, but also the way AIR is working in general, collaborating with families and communities, putting an emphasis on education as well respect to the locals, to ensure the effectiveness of their programs. Darragh explains:

"My experience with AIR has shown me that the world’s reforestation issues can’t be top-down, enforced change, but rather must be the product of individuals, their families, and their communities. While much of AIR’s support comes from gracious donors, the actual work is done by a dedicated group of Guatemalans who partner with farmers, whole villages and schools in education and planting.

It’s a community-based effort, which remains effective because it tempers the goal — reforestation and community development — with respect for Guatemalan cultural heritage and area-specific needs."

In all, AIR has planted so far more than three million trees in Guatemala and Nicaragua, educated more than 1,600 families in sustainable, organic farming methods and built more than 700 fuel-efficient ovens have been built (only recently, the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues granted AIR US $8,200 to build additional brick stoves in Guatemala).

If you want to learn more about AIR and the great work they do, you're welcome to read this great article at You can also visit their website at

Raz @ Eco-Libris

* Photos are courtesy of AIR

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

And we have a winner on the Big Green Cookbook giveaway

Last week was our green books review week, where we had a new review every day and also three giveaways. The second giveaway was of a great book entitled 'Big Green Cookbook'.

We asked you to share with us no less than your favorite dish and got many great replies/dishes. And we have a winner!

The winner is Cherry Blossoms, who chose a great dish that made all of us very very hungry :)
The chosen one was:

"My favorite dish is Shrimp and Lemon Oil over Linguine with Arugula and fresh parsley! Yum!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Congrats to Cherry Blossoms, who won a copy of 'Big Green Cookbook: Hundreds of Planet-Pleasing Recipes and Tips for a Luscious, Low-Carbon Lifestyle'! We hope many great dishes will come out of it.

We will also plant one tree for this book and add our sticker saying "One tree planted for this book".

Raz @ Eco-Libris

And we have a winner on The Handbook to Buliding a Better World giveaway

Thanks to the participants in the giveaway of 'The Handbook to Building a Better World', following the review of the book last Monday.

We asked
you to share with us
what is your favorite organization and how it helps to build a better world. We got great replies and we have a winner!

The winner is Laureen, who chose
Green America (formerly Co-Op America) and wrote the following:

"I am a big fan (and member) of Green America (formerly Co-Op America). This organization concerns itself with many issues that are critical to building a better world through improving social justice and environmental sustainability.

Green America co-sponsors the Green Festival in various cities each year (love the GF!) which is open to the public and offers a wide range of well-known speakers and eco-friendly company booths.

Green America publishes the National Green Pages - a great consumer guide to making responsible purchases that help the environment and/or individuals-in-need who produce the eco-friendly goods."

Congrats to Laureen, who won a copy of '
The Handbook to Building a Better World: How to Turn Your Good Intentions into Actions that Make a Difference'!

We will also plant one tree for this book and add our sticker saying "One tree planted for this book".

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Monday, May 18, 2009

Green Beginnings - and now the film!

Avrim and Vicki Topel, the authors of "Green Beginnings: The Story of How We Built Our Green & Sustainable Home", who are partnering with Eco-Libris to plant a tree for every sold copy of the book, are offering now not just a great book, but also a very interesting film!

What this video is about? her here are some details from the authors' website:

The Green Beginnings Video is a unique, original-content eco-documentary that features the professional team who built the Green Beginnings House, an award-winning LEED Silver green and sustainable home. The team offers perspective as they explain the project and green homes in a new stand-alone educational film that can also be utilized as an adjunct teaching companion to the Green Beginnings Book that explains the project and green homes from the homeowner’s perspective.

Viewed together with the Green Beginnings book as a complete green homes educational package, viewers are offered a unique opportunity to learn about green homes from both the homeowners' point of view (consumer mindset) and the professionals' perspective.

Produced by Freeland Media in association with Amy Cornelius, LEED AP, Hugh Lofting Timber Frames, and directed by award winning cinematographer Erik Freeland, the film depicts the collaborative effort between the professional team and homeowners who designed and built the Green Beginnings house, a U.S. Green Building Council LEED Silver home. Shot on location amidst a picturesque backdrop of rolling farmlands in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, the film follows the true story of planning and building a state-of-the-art green and sustainable home.

Here's the film's trailer:

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Sunday, May 17, 2009

An interview with Rebecca Lerwill, the author of the new thriller 'The Acronym'

Rebecca Lerwill is an author and a partner of Eco-Libris, as she plants a tree with us for every sold copy of her books. She has just released her second book 'The Acronym - White Nights of St. Petersburg', which got a great praise from #1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Tami Hoag, who wrote “Rebecca Lerwill is a fresh voice with a fresh angle on suspense, destined to keep readers happily turning the pages as fast as they can.”

We agree! We thought that with the release of this new book, it is a good time to interview Rebecca and hear more about the book, her experiences as an author and her thoughts about sustainable reading and the future of the industry.

Hello Rebecca and congrats on your new book 'The Acronym'! Can you tell us what is it about?
Hi Raz, thanks so much for this interview. My latest thriller, The Acronym, just got published in April of 2009. It is a sequel to my award-winning debut, Relocating Mia, a romantic suspense. Although a sequel, The Acronym stands on its own and is a story of espionage with a romantic back drop.

It picks up where Relocating Mia left off: Our heroine, Mia Trentino now works for the Acronym, a clandestine agency consisting of former elite members of U.S government and international law enforcement institutions. Mia has to return to Russia to testify against Piotr Lagunov, an affiliation of the Russian Mafia which kidnapped Mia a year ago.

While in Russia, preparing her self to take the stand, Mia’s fiancée and Acronym agent, Douglas Farland, suddenly disappears and is accused of treason. Trying to stay a step ahead of the long and ruthless reach of the Russian Mafia, Mia searches for the truth behind Douglas’ accusation.

#1 New York Times Bestselling Author, Tami Hoag says, “Rebecca Lerwill is a fresh voice with a fresh angle on suspense, destined to keep readers happily turning the pages as fast as they can.”

This is your second book after 'Relocating Mia'. Is the second book easier than the first one?

Like I said, The Acronym stands on its own, and I think it’s an easier read. The chapters are short and snappy and keep you on your toes. One reviewer compared reading The Acronym to a race in a luge. Great compliment! The Acronym was easier to write, as well. As an author, I definitely found my niche writing spy novels. Researching the tactics of clandestine operations is a riot. Although I might explore other genres, a great thriller of international crime is hard to beat.

You self-publish your books. Can you tell us a little bit about the process?
Today’s market makes it almost impossible to break free as an indie author (Independent author), because with over 2000 books published weekly, nobody pays attention to written art when not promoted by a traditional publisher.

There are some real gems out there, written by indie-Authors which simply get drowned in the sea of books. I only began writing seriously in 2006. Impatient by nature, I didn’t take the time to submit my manuscript to a traditional house, or hunted for an agent. I did some research and chose to self-publish; meaning I paid a self-publishing company to get my book in print.

The opinions and pro and cons on those self-publishing companies is a wide-spread discussion. I’m glad they were available when my time to publish came, but I’m beyond needing help to self-publish. Any future work – if I don’t get picked up by a traditional publisher – will be published by my own pub house, Ivy Leaf Press, LLC.

My suggestion to any new author is: Do your homework before you choose a ‘vanity press’, and do as much as you can yourself but find a professional editor. I can’t stress enough how important it is to get your manuscript edited, and I don’t just mean dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s. English is my second language, so I will always need a good editor. But that’s not the only reason; The Acronym was slashed by almost 10’000 words between editing rounds; something I had agreed to. The outcome is a brighter book without unnecessary details and without the change of my voice.

Do you do print on demand (POD)?
I don’t. Although I’m proud to be an indie-author, I like my books to stand out. My covers are embossed which isn’t possible if you Print On Demand. My books are also readily available and since the individual cost is much lower than POD books, those off-set printed books are a lot less expensive -- in production and retail.

Of course printing 1000+ copies is an investment, but my royalties are much higher than a POD author’s paycheck and I’m able to sell books directly through my website for a discounted price.

I know that you were looking to print the book on recycled paper. How did your search go and did you eventually use recycled paper?
After receiving several bits from different printers, McNaughton & Gunn did a fabulous job printing The Acronym on 50% recovered fiber and acid free paper. I believe this statement from their website says it all: “In ten years' time, while our company experienced 40% growth, we also successfully decreased our landfill waste from 1,660 cubic yards to 120 cubic yards. Our environmentally sound business practices have brought about cost savings to our company while helping reduce our carbon footprint.”

What do you think in general about the environmental footprint of books? how it can be reduced?
Although I’m old-fashioned and like the feel of a book in my hands, electronic publishing is becoming very popular and very easy to do. Of course programs like yours are an important part in preserving our environment. I made Relocating Mia, as well as The Acronym ‘Eco-Libris’ books by purchasing stickers. Every book ordered through my website generally gets a cover enhancement with one of your stickers. As of today, I have my own little forest planted somewhere.

Is your book available on Kindle? what do you think of e-books in general?
Relocating Mia is a Kindle book and The Acronym will follow as soon as I find the time re-formatting the text. I’m planning on releasing The Acronym on Kindle the end of May 2009. I don’t own a Kindle yet, but I have purchased e-books that aren’t available in print and read them on my laptop.

How do you see the future of the book industry? do you think we'll see more POD and self-published writers and less of the old-fashioned publishing houses?
Tough question. As a relatively new author, I’m not sure if I’m qualified to answer this, Raz. My feeling is that the huge wave of self-published books might cease when people finally realize that there isn’t a quick buck or even fame made by publishing a book.

Of course we love those success stories and we always root for the underdog. But those stories of a self-made, self-published millionaire are rare, and an honest writer doesn’t plot for the fame – he/she writes for him/herself and the audience. Maybe I’m too naïve, but I would like to believe that the indie-authors of the future focus more on quality writing. Traditional houses won’t go away, and they shouldn’t. Their work preserves the integrity of literature.

What are your plans for the future? are you working on a new book?
I keep telling myself that, after writing and self-publishing 2 novels within less than 2 years, I need a break. But I already started a third thriller and also am working on a non-fiction; Becoming American is my memoir and very dear to me. As a native of Germany, I have become very patriotic to this country over the last years. I have lived an interesting life here in the States since 1996. I think I’m ready to share my experiences in a memoir in essay form.

Thanks Rebecca for this interview. Is there anything else you would you like to add?
I would like to invite your readers to visit my website and sign up for my newsletter. Once, sometimes twice a month, I share reviews of books I’ve read, reviews readers wrote about my books, poetry, recipes, and all kind of fun stuff. I give away 2 signed copies of Relocating Mia every month, and also hold poetry contests. Both my books, Relocating Mia and The Acronym, are offered to discounted prices, as well. Of course, they are also available at online book sellers or can be ordered in any brick and mortar store. Thanks for taking the time to conduct this interview, Raz. I hope your readers enjoyed it as much as I did.

Here's the book's trailer:

You can buy 'The Acronym' on Rebecca's website. It's also available on Amazon. We will also have a giveaway of one copy on our upcoming May newsletter this week. If you're not a subscriber yet, you're welcome to join our mailing list by adding your email on the 'Join Our Email List' box on the right column of the blog.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

3 simultaneous giveaways in one blog!

I would like to remind you of the three giveaways running simultaneously on our blog as part of our green book review week:

1. Title: The Handbook to Building a Better World: How to Turn Your Good Intentions into Actions that Make a Difference

What do you need to do to participate?
please add a comment to the book review post with an answer the following question: what is your favorite organization and how it helps to build a better world?

Monday, May 18, 12PM EST

2. Title: Big Green Cookbook: Hundreds of Planet-Pleasing Recipes and Tips for a Luscious, Low-Carbon Lifestyle

What do you need to do to participate?
please add a comment to the book review post with an answer the following question: what is your favorite dish?

Tuesday, May 19, 12PM EST

3.Title: The Carbon Diaries: 2015

What do you need to do to participate?

Friday, May 22, 12PM EST

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday's green book: The Carbon Diaries: 2015 (and a giveaway!)

Today we finish our green book reviews week with a great book that provides a documentation of 16-year old teenager to a very unique reality, where drastic measures are being taken against global warming, and it's only six years away.

Our book today is:

The Carbon Diaries: 2015

Author: Saci Lloyd

Saci Lloyd has worked as a script editor for Camouflage Films, where she was involved in several projects including a $20m Columbia Tri-Star co-production, Amy Foster. She is now head of Media at Newham Sixth Form College in London. The Carbon Diaries: 2015 is her first novel.

Publisher: Holiday House

Published on:
February 2009

What this book is about? (from the publisher's website)
Told in short diary entries filled with scrapbook clippings, this riveting ecothriller is one girl's attempt to stay grounded in a world where disaster has become the norm.

It's the year 2015, a time when global warming has begun to ravage the environment. In response, the United Kingdom becomes the first country to mandate carbon rationing—a well-intentioned plan that goes tragically awry.

When her carbon debit card arrives in the mail, sixteen-year-old Laura is just trying to pass her exams, manage her ecopunk band, and catch the attention of her gorgeous classmate Ravi. But as multiple natural disasters strike and Laura's parents head toward divorce, her world spirals out of control. A severe drought sparks fires and deadly riots; then the highest-category hurricane in recent history strikes London. With the death toll in the thousands and climbing, Laura and her family face the unimaginable as her older sister clings to life.

Why you should get it?
If you think you read already everything to be read, this is the book for you. A refreshing and unique novel, The Carbon Diaries: 2015 combines a 16 year old typical teenager with severe conditions caused by the need to stop global warming here and now. If you want, it's "White Teeth" of Zadie Smith meeting Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth.

But this book is far from being doomy and gloomy - although it's very frightening in its realistic descriptions of what can happen to us should things will continue to deteriorate, it succeeds to charm you with the struggling yet funny, rebellious, and sassy character of Laura Brown.

Here's one example from the book:

Mon., May 4 Back to school. Grr. But we had ourselves a totally hard-core band practice at Adi's. We've got a date for the gig now, it's June 7. His mum's given us extra practice time cos she's saving carbon on heating during the warm weather. We've picked so funny., messed-up world and death to capitalist scum. 15 minutes of pure venom.

death to capitalism

a new world waiting to be born

murder is capitalism

cast off the cloak of scorn

you selling us mercedes, nike, mp3

gucci, rolex, toys R us-

trying to sedate us - but the tragedy

is that in reality you are killing us

I also found the theme of the book - living under carbon rationing - intriguing, not because I like the idea so much, but because it can be more realistic than we think. Maybe if more people will read the book and get influenced by it, a carbon regime will stay a science fiction and won't become part of reality.

In all, this is a great book, enjoyable and disturbing at the same time, that will stay with you a long time after you'll finish reading.

What others think about the book?
"There’s just so much to love about this book; the amazingly resourceful Laura, who is still trying to lead a normal life, the scarily close to home nature of the imagined future and signs of human nature that are brought to the fore in times of trouble. I would highly recommend everyone to read it." - Eve at Vulpes Libris

"Deeply compulsive and urgently compulsory reading" - Booklist, starred review

We're giving away one copy of the book, courtesy of the book's publicist, and of course a tree will be planted for the copy!

How you can win? please add a comment below with an answer the following question: what is your favorite diary book (or movie)? Submissions are accepted until Friday, May 22, 12PM EST. The winner will be announced the following day.

If you're looking for other interesting green-themed books, you are invited to check out our
green books page on our website's green resources section.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Plant a tree for every book you read!