Friday, February 29, 2008

New Yorkers - Recycling Magazines is Excellent!

I was in New York today, and I saw in one of the subway stations a big ad for a recycling initiative for magazines and catalogs that was recently launched in New York by Mayor Bloomberg. It is called: ReMix- Recycling Magazines is Excellent.

ReMix is a national public education campaign aimed at increasing residential recycling of magazines and catalogs. The campaign conducted pilot programs in Boston, Milwaukee, and Portland. Now the campaign is bringing the need to recycle magazines and catalogs to the attention of the New Yorkers with promotions on buses, taxis, subc\ways, in movie theatres, on cable television, on billboards and in full-page public service advertisements in consumer magazines. The total budget of the campaign in NY is above $3 million.

According to the Environment News Service (ENN), The ReMix campaign began when a study by Time Inc. and Verso Paper found that while 95 percent of all unsold newsstand magazines are recycled by newsstands and publishers, only about 17 percent of sold magazines are recycled. Just for comparison - Verso CEO, Mike Jackson mentioned on the ENN report that today, 53.4 percent - of all paper consumed in the United States is recovered for reuse.

ENN points out correctly that the there's no problem nowadays to recycle glossy paper used from magazines and catalogs. Currently, all community recycling programs accept magazines and catalogs for recycling.

This is great initiative and I hope it will motivate people to take action and significantly increase the magazines and catalogs they recycle. It's relatively easy and it's doing good twice, by keeping this paper out of landfills and by letting companies resuse it instead of virgin paper to make new paper products.

Here's the 2008 ReMix TV spot (from YouTube):

This is also a good opportunity to remind you on a (relatively) new initiative to eliminate in advance the unwanted catalogs you receive on your mail - Catalog Choice, which I wrote about here in the past (and it's a free service!)

Enjoy recycling!
Raz @ Eco-Libris

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

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

A great offer from Kedzie Press

I wrote here two weeks ago about our new partnership with Kedzie Press, an independent publishing house based in Seattle, Washington in a new initiative called Million Tree-A-Thon.

Now you can support this imitative and make some money on the way by joining the Kedzie Press Affiliate Program.

It's fairly simple - join their affiliate program (here's the link:, place a Million Tree-A-Thon banner on your website, earn a 5% commission on click through sales, and help Kedzie Press reach the goal of planting one million trees with Eco-Libris by December 2009.

Kedzie Press has teamed up with
ShareASale to offer a simple affiliate sign up process. Click here to start the simple and FREE process and start making money while promoting a good cause. Who can say no that?

If you have any questions or would like to put a banner on your site or blog and do not want to go though the Shareasale commission sign up process, please email Kedzie Press at:

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Green Options - From My Bookshelf - Part 1

Eco-Libris is a proud content partner of Green Options. Today we bring you a post on the green bookshelf of Lee Welles, the author of the great Gaia Girls series. The post was originally published on Tuesday, February 18.
As a writer of fiction, I constantly get the question, "Where do you get your ideas?" The answer is, two places: I get out and play in the world a lot and I read a LOT! I wanted to share some of the books on my shelf, so that you too...can get inspired.

Food and food production was the first topic I tackled. I haven't read it yet, but
Michael Pollan's new book, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, sounds excellent. I enjoyed listening to a recent interview with him on Talk of the Nation and have it on hold at my local library. Michael Pollan also did a fantastic job with An Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. Many people are familiar with Pollan's writing, but I wanted to make you aware of some titles you may have missed.

I believe I stumbled up
Fat Land by Greg Critser first. Being a health and wellness consultant, the subtitle, "How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World," is what caught my eye. Critser tracks the rise of High Fructose Corn Syrup from the political motivations behinds its creation to the way it has influenced food pricing and "supersizing."

I then moved on to Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. If you haven't kicked your Mickey D's habit will after reading this book!

With my interest in food production now piqued, The Meat You Eat: How Corporate Farming Has Endangered America's Food Supply, leapt off the shelf and into my eager hands. Ken Midkiff, former Director of
Sierra Club's Clean Water Campaign, takes the reader on a journey. You learn the driving forces behind the demise of the family farm (sustainable) and the rise of industrial meat production.

By the time I move on to Diet for a Dead Planet: How the Food Industry is Killing Us, I had overhauled my own food buying habits. However, author
Christopher D. Cook, really brought home the way government subsidies drive agri-corporations to pursue these destructive methods of farming. In an election year, it is relevant to understand how the Farm Bill touches every aspect of our lives.

This is valuable information and one every parent should be aware of. Industrial meat production threatens our
waterways, lakes and oceans. Factory farming of threatens our health through fertilizer and pesticide use, antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, air and water quality and what nutrition is made available in our grocery stores and schools.

Sustainable Table has a wonderful round-up of the issues.

And...I haven't even mentioned the
humane treatment of animals angle. Suffice it to say, it can--and will--move you to tears. If you prefer a bit of laughter while still understanding the issues, The Meatrix won a lot of awards for a reason!

This may sound more depressing than inspiring. Watch for From My Bookshelf-Part 2. I will deliver the books behind hopeful flip-side!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday's green books series: Green to Gold

Today the Social Enterprise Association (SEA), NYU Stern School of Business’ chapter of Net Impact, is having a lecture of Prof. Daneil Esty, the co-author of 'Green to Gold'. I thought this is a good opportunity to present this interesting book on our green books series. It's not a new book (it was published on 2006), but this award-winning book is still one of the best green business books written to date.

The lecture will be held today between 6-7:30 PM at Cantor Boardroom, 44 West 4th Street. RSVP Required - please check SEA's website for further information.

So now that you know where you can listen to Prof. Esty tonight, it's time to introduce the book:

Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage

Authors: Daniel C. Esty and Andrew S. Winston (their website -

Daniel Esty is the Hillhouse Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at Yale University. He holds faculty appointments in both Yale’s Environment and Law Schools. He is the Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy as well as the Yale World Fellows Program.

Professor Esty is the author or editor of eight books and numerous articles on environmental policy issues and the relationships between the environment and trade, globalization, security, competitiveness, international institutions, and development. His current research agenda includes projects on environmental protection in the Information Age, a rethinking for corporate environmental strategy, global environmental governance, and “next generation” approaches to pollution control and natural resource management.

Prior to taking up his current position at Yale, Professor Esty was a Senior Fellow at the Institute for International Economics (1993-94), served in a variety of senior positions on the US Environmental Protection Agency (1989-93), and practiced law in Washington, DC (1986-89).

Prof. Esty has advised companies across the world on energy, environment, and sustainability issues and serves as the Chairman of Esty Environmental Partners, a corporate environmental strategy group based in New Haven, CT. He sits on the Board of Directors of Resources for the Future and the Connecticut Fund for the Environment.

Andrew Winston is founder of Winston Eco-Strategies and works with leading companies to use environmental thinking to drive growth. He has consulted with start-ups and Fortune 500 companies such as Bank of America, Reuters, Coca-Cola, and IKEA.

Andrew is a nationally recognized expert on green business, and has written for or appeared in Time, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, Forbes, The New York Times, The Washington Post, ABC News, National Public Radio, and CNBC. He is a sought-after and engaging speaker, providing audiences with a timely and dynamic view on how companies turn green to gold. Andrew gives keynote addresses and also moderates "Q&A" and panel discussions at events of all sizes and venues -- from small meetings to large conferences, from world-class universities to corporate campuses.

Andrew sits on the Antron Sustainability Advisory Council for the $6 billion industrial manufacturer Invista. He also served as the Director of the Corporate Environmental Strategy Project at Yale’s renowned School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and is a Fellow of the Center for Environment and Business at Yale. Andrew received his BA in Economics from Princeton, an MBA from Columbia, and a Masters of Environmental Management from Yale.

Publisher: Yale University Press

Published in: October 2006

What it is about (from
the publisher's website): The essential guide for forward-thinking business leaders who see the Green Wave coming and want to profit from it. This book explores what every executive must know to manage the environmental challenges facing society and business.

Based on the authors' years of experience and hundreds of interviews with corporate leaders around the world, 'Green to Gold' shows how companies generate lasting value, cutting costs, reducing risk, increasing revenues, and creating strong brands, by building environmental thinking into their business strategies.

Daniel C. Esty and Andrew S. Winston provide clear how-to advice and concrete examples from companies like BP, Toyota, IKEA, GE, and Nike that are achieving both environmental and business success. The authors show how these cutting-edge companies are establishing an “eco-advantage” in the marketplace as traditional elements of competitive differentiation fade in importance. Esty and Winston not only highlight successful strategies but also make plain what does not work by describing why environmental initiatives sometimes fail despite the best intentions.

Green to Gold is written for executives at every level and for businesses of all kinds and sizes. Esty and Winston guide leaders through a complex new world of resource shortfalls, regulatory restrictions, and growing pressure from customers and other stakeholders to strive for sustainability. With a sharp focus on execution, Esty and Winston offer a thoughtful, pragmatic, and inspiring road map that companies can use to cope with environmental pressures and responsibilities while sparking innovation that will drive long-term growth.

Why you should get it:

This book is not new, but still essential to anyone who wants to get better understanding what it means to integrate environment into the corporate/business thinking. You can find in this book analysis based on the experiences of leading companies, which is extracted to strategies and tools businesses can an should use to make environmental challenges their completive advantage. Definitely a book that is worth gold :-)

What others say about it:
"Green to Gold provides the definitive thinking on how business leaders can address environmental issues in the new economy, a world where companies win by integrating company strategies with social challenges, rather than treating economic and social as separate and different." - Michael E. Porter, Professor, Harvard Business School

"No executive can afford to ignore the green wave sweeping the business world. Esty and Winston show how to make sustainability a core element of strategy—and profit from it." - Chad Holliday, CEO, DuPont

"Green to Gold is a must-read for the twenty-first century CEO. Esty and Winston provide convincing examples of how companies out-compete their peers by tackling sustainability head on, engaging stakeholders, developing NGO partnerships, and folding environmental stewardship into their corporate culture." -Tensie Whelan, Executive Director, Rainforest Alliance

Enjoy the book, and if you're looking for other interesting green books, you are invited to check out our
green books page on our website's green resources section.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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

Sunday, February 24, 2008

See Ed Begley Jr.'s talk at Strand Book Store

If you didn't have the chance to come to Strand Book Store last Wednesday to hear Ed Begley, Jr. speaking about his new book 'Living Like Ed' and his 30-year green experience, and maybe also to grab a signed copy of the book, you are welcome to see the video of the event on the Strand TV (and thank you to Strand Book Store for broadcasting it live!).

As you can see, Ed Begley, Jr. was the star of this evening, but another happy occasion on that evening was the announcement on the collaboration between Eco-Libris and Strand Book Store. The store is offering now its customers, in both of its stores on 828 Broadway and 95 Fulton Street, the option to pay to plant a tree to balance out the books they buy in the store.

Customers of Strand Book Store (in both locations - on 828 Broadway and 95 Fulton Street) will have the opportunity to pay to plant a tree to balance each book they purchase in the store. They will also receive an Eco-Libris sticker at the store for each book they balance out, saying 'One tree planted for this book'.

So check out the video of the event, which was recorded by Strand Book Store and is available on the store's online TV.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Reading books chapter by chapter

I read few days ago in Springwise (a great source to new interesting ideas) about a new initiative of Random House: Selling books by the chapter.

Random House explains the logic behind the new initiative: "Sometimes what you want is a slice instead of the whole pie. That's why we're offering a new reading experience-- the ability to purchase individual chapters. Imagine that! Downloading and reading exactly the part of a book that meets your needs".

The first book to be offered by them is
'Made to Stick', written by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. This book actually looks like a very interesting book. Here's the book description on its website:

Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that “stick” and explain sure-fire methods for making ideas stickier, such as violating schemas, using the Velcro Theory of Memory, and creating “curiosity gaps.”

The process is very simple - on the book's website you can find a short description of each one of the six chapters of the book and its epilogue. You can choose the chapter that's right for you and download it as an Adobe Digital Editions file for $2.99. The introduction and index are available for free with the purchase of any chapter.

If you want to purchase the paper version of the book, you can still do it for $24.95 (or the audio CD for $29.95).

I like this idea as it generates more incentives for customers to download the book (or the chapters they are interested at in this case) instead of buying the paper version.

As Springwise writes, this idea won't work for every book, as most books you want to read from page one to the last page, but it can definitely work for guide books, such as 'Made to Stick'.

Random House is already involved for almost two years in a green initiative that is aimed to increase its usage of recycled paper to 30% by 2010. I'm not sure if Random House had the goal of reducing the usage of virgin paper when they came up with their chapters initiative, but it's definitely goes a welcomed by product.

Now we should only see if this initiative will really work. I guess other publishers will wait as well before jumping into the water with similar initiatives. We'll keep you posted as always.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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

Friday, February 22, 2008

An interview with Diane MacEachern, the author of 'Big Green Purse'

Can women make the world a greener and a better place with their purses? Diane MacEachern believes they do and she wrote a great book 'Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power To Create a Cleaner, Greener World', which is a call-to-action for women to use their power as buyers (women spend 85 percent of every dollar in the marketplace) to make a difference.

MacEachern's message is simple but revolutionary: if women harness the "power of their purse" and intentionally shift their spending money to commodities that have the greatest environmental benefit, they can create a cleaner, greener world.

We covered the book few weeks ago, and since I was fascinated with the simple but yet powerful message of the book, I wanted to learn a little bit more about it from the author itself and interviewed Diane MacEachern. I know that not all of you see green consumerism as the best way to fight global warming and achieve sustainability, but Diane makes a very good case here in explaining how realistic and powerful option it is. you are welcome to read and judge for yourself. The book, by the way, will be published next Thursday (2/28).

To those of you who don't know her, Diane is a bestselling environmental writer, sought-after public speaker, and founder of She has advised the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, World Bank, World Wildlife Fund, and many other agencies and nonprofit organizations focused on protecting the planet. The author of the bestselling Save Our Planet: 750 Everyday Ways You Can Help Clean Up the Earth, she lives in the Washington, D.C., suburbs in the energy-efficient home that she helped design and build more than twenty years ago.

What brought you to write the 'Big Green Purse'?

Environmentalists were trying to protect the planet by passing new legislation and enforcing existing laws and regulations. But especially under the current administration, we were getting nowhere. On the other hand, the marketplace - which we were trying to regulate through policy - was responding at breakneck speed to what consumers were demanding. It seemed to make sense to focus on increasing consumer demand for responsibly made products and services as a way to force manufacturers to be more responsible.

Also, getting consumers to demand products that are certified sustainable seemed like the fastest way to get manufacturers to pursue sustainable production processes. It was a way of beating the "greenwashing" that otherwise dupes consumers and lets manufacturers profit from green marketing without being truly green themselves.

The book tries to show how women can change the world through smart and green shopping. Shouldn't we focus on trying to influence decision makers and companies? isn't political activism a better way to achieve results?

It's not either or. Sure, let's pass strong laws whenever we can. Let's enforce the laws and regulations already on the books. But let's empower consumers, too, especially in areas like personal care products where the laws already on the books just don't do enough to protect people. Besides, look at the track record. Under the current administration, no major environmental legislation has passed. Some wilderness has been protected, but no where near what's under siege. The new fuel efficiency standards that Congress approved don't go nearly far enough in helping Americans achieve energy independence.

On the other hand, during the same time period, green manufacturing has taken off. Thanks to choices consumers are making in the marketplace, companies are producing packages in bulk to save energy and reduce waste. They're innovating to develop more fuel efficient appliances. They creating toxin-free cosmetics. None of these developments would have occurred without consumer demand.

Just in the area of personal care products like shampoo and make-up, consider this. The Toxic Substances Control Act actually permits companies to use over 65,000 chemicals that could create health and environmental hazards. Even with new laws, all those chemicals will be allowed to continue to exist. You and I can protect ourselves from those dangers based on how we shop. And if all shoppers avoid them, companies will be less likely to use them. That makes sense to me.

We see that markets for green products such as organic food or hybrid cars are growing fast, but their market share is still very small. How much green consumerism can really make a difference?

The tipping point in the marketplace is actually pretty small. At some point, and some point soon, companies will decide it just doesn't make sense any more to squander their capital - and their company's good name -- on products that are bad for the planet. Plus, look at how much innovation is happening in the marketplace simply because consumers have created demand for green products. That innovation will have an enormous ripple effect throughout manufacturing.

Your book is full with information that will make anyone who reads it very concerned about the environmental and health impacts of almost everything we do on daily basis. Yet, I also find it optimistic - where is this optimism coming from?

can you share with us a specific experience that helped to generate your optimism? I'm generally a "cup is half-full" kind of person! But also, I'm really thrilled with how much innovation is happening in the marketplace, how short the turnaround time is between increased consumer demand and manufacturer response, and by how many millions of people have taken the environmental crisis to heart and vowed to do something, anything, to help protect the planet.

There are critics who see in green consumerism no more than just a way for consumers to feel better about themselves with no real added-value, as they see consumerism in itself as the problem. What do you think of it?

I talk to thousands of consumers every year. Many people are actually tormented by the dilemmas shopping poses. They need to feed and clothe their families, they need to drive to work every day, and they understand that all of these actions have an environmental impact. It does make them feel great when they can buy the product with the least impact - and there's nothing wrong with people feeling good for doing the right thing!

I've never come across anyone who says, "I just can't wait to spend more money." Most people are trying to economize. But they still need to live. The critics should be encouraging responsible green consumerism. They should also realize that, at least until the political reality changes, green consumers are going to be the most powerful force for change, especially change aimed at manufacturing.

The book is full of great tips in many areas, from clothing and cosmetics to furniture and transportation - if someone who wants to start their journey towards sustainable living is reading your book - would you recommend her to focus on one or two areas or try to make changes in each and every one of these areas?

Most people start with a single step. What makes sense for someone depends on their lifestyle, their means, and their comfort level. Probably the most important step to take is to figure out when you can reduce energy. Can you install a programmable thermostat to use less energy to heat and cool your home? Can you plug your computer and other office equipment into a powerstrip to avoid wasting energy when electronics aren't even being used? Can you drive a more fuel efficient vehicle, and drive it to save gas? Alternatively, can you carpool or take mass transit a couple days a week? Start with one step; it will lead you to others.

What's the most interesting thing you have learned through the work on the book?

There is green innovation happening in every sector of society, and in every industry. We face tremendous opportunities to make our money matter by taking advantage of what's before our very eyes. And the more we do so, the more opportunities we'll create.

How about men? aren't we expected to take part in the creation of a greener world?

Absolutely! Every man, woman and child can and should participate in creating a greener world. No one has the corner on the market when it comes to using whatever skills, knowledge and resources they have to protect the planet -- and themselves.

Can you tell us about the 'One in a million' pledge?

The One in a Million campaign urges consumers to pledge to shift $1,000 of money they're already spending on products and services that offer the greatest environmental benefit. If you're already spending $1,000 a year, you can join, too. The idea is to continue to give momentum to the creation of a truly green marketplace, as well as making it easy for consumers to participate in that marketplace by shifting money they'd be spending anyway on household products. Consumers can shift money in any category, but the campaign recommends some specifics for consideration, like food, coffee, appliances, and so on.

The green markets are evolving very fast. How you intend to keep the information in the book updated?

The website will be an invaluable tool for keeping information updated. I hear constantly from readers and companies about new developments, which enhances the research I do myself. I welcome feedback, suggestions, ideas, and input.

What's next? What your next book will be about?

I'm very interested in the impact China is having, not just on our own environment (through the China-made products we buy), but globally. If we really are a small planet, we have to help China clean up its "neighborhood" just as much as we focus on our own.

Thank you Diane! As I mentioned, the book will be published next week (2/28/08). One more thing I would like to note: the book is printed on acid-free recycled paper. For further and updated information, please visit

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Eco-Libris is now available in two bookstores in New York

Eco-Libris is coming to the Big Apple! I am happy to announce on two new bookstores in NYC that will be offering their customers to balance out books they buy with Eco-Libris at the store: The Hue-Man Bookstore and Strand Book Store.

Customers at these stores will have the opportunity to pay to plant a tree to balance each book they purchase in the store. They will also receive an Eco-Libris sticker at the store for each book they balance out, saying 'One tree planted for this book'.

Here are few details on these bookstores:

Hue-Man Bookstore and Cafe

Located in Harlem's main business district, Hue-Man Bookstore is the largest and best-known African-American bookstore in the country.

Address: 2319 Frederick Douglass Blvd (between 124th and 125th Streets), New York, NY 10027

(picture above is from a signing event of Fonzworth Bentley's new book Advance Your Swagger: How to Use Manners, Confidence, and Style to Get Ahead at the bookstore)

Strand Book Store

New York's independent landmark book store for over 80 years, featuring a tremendous selection of more than 2.5 million used, new and rare books.

Address (main store): 828 Broadway (at 12th St.) New York, NY 10003

Tonight, between 7:00-8:30PM Strand Bookstore is hosting an event of Environmental Defense with Ed Begley, Jr. whose new book 'Living Like Ed' was published yesterday. Begley, Jr. will share in the event some of his ideas on how we can live green in NYC. And Eco-Libris stickers will be there as well! So if you're around, come to Strand Bookstore tonight.

These bookstores join other bookstores in the U.S., where you can already find our stickers and balance out the books you buy on spot, which will result in one new tree planted for every book you buy. The full list of bookstores can be found on our bookstores page.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Green Options - Book & DVD Review: Building with Awareness

Eco-Libris started last week a content partnership with Green Options. Today we bring you a post from Green Options that was written by Philip Proefrock and was published on Saturday, February 16, covering a new green building book & DVD.

Building with Awareness is an interesting package loaded with information. It is a DVD with an accompanying book (or a book that comes with a DVD included, depending upon how you look at it). The two nicely complement one another in a fairly unique way. The story contained in the DVD documents the construction of the author’s own small (800 sq. ft.) home built in Albuquerque, NM. The book goes into more detail about the solutions and approaches that are taken in the construction of this home. Together, it is a very instructive combination which showcases a number of sustainable construction methods used in this project.

The book does not try to be all things to all people. It documents a specific project and shows how specific procedures were used in it. Everything, from preparing the subgrade and the foundations, to installing the roofing and finishing the walls, is covered. The extensive nature of the coverage is useful not only in demonstrating how to execute the various parts of the construction, but also how the parts work together and complement one another.

However, while it shows how these methods and materials were used, it does not go into such sufficient detail that it should be taken as a how-to or a do-it-yourself guide, at least, not without some additional information. The book does contain reference points that show where in the DVD they are discussing a particular material, technique or decision. This allows the reader to readily turn to the video presentation and match it with the information presented in the book. Reading about a type of construction and then seeing how it is demonstrated is a useful conjunction of two different forms of presentation.

A number of materials were used in the project, including straw bale and adobe construction, as well as a small amount of conventional framing. There is some discussion as to why the author made the choices he did, but if you are looking for how-to direction about an alternative method, this can only be regarded as a starting point. In a way, it acts like an alternative,construction version of This Old House.

I watched the DVD with my son, who is 7 years old, but who is very interested in construction (and likes to help his dad with projects around the house). He kept asking me questions about what was going on, and why things were being done. Interestingly, in most cases, the question he posed was answered afterward in the DVD. So, for inexperienced do-it-yourselfers, there is a good amount of explanation of why things are being done, as well as showing how they are done.

Like any home improvement or home building program, the time compression that occurs between the actual construction and the editing down of footage to a reasonable amount of content for a video program can be misleading, making it seem that things go much more quickly and easily than they do on an actual construction site. Unlike many of those programs, though, they do try to suggest that this is a drawn-out process, and that construction does take time and effort. The DVD also shows some mistakes and missteps, such as when the roofing material does not line up precisely square from one side to the other. This is useful, as well, in keeping the project grounded, while showing both that difficulties crop up on any construction project and that problems can be overcome without compromising the final project.

I think this is a very good collection of information, particularly for people interested in building completely off-the-grid homes. Additionally, those who are contemplating building, especially straw bale and adobe construction, will find these techniques useful. This information will provide a sense of what is involved and how the work is done.

Building With Awareness website
Building With Awareness: The Construction of a Hybrid Home DVD and Guidebook [Amazon]

Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday's green book series: Living Like Ed

Today on our green books series we present a new book of Ed Begley, Jr., who was dubbed "the star of climate change" by Newsweek magazine . The book will be published tomorrow (Tuesday, February 19), so it's fresh from the oven (you can already pre-order a signed copy from Strand Bookstore).

Before we get to introducing the book, I would like to say that if you would like to meet Begley Jr. himself and you live in the New York area, you are welcome to an event with him at
Strand Bookstore in NYC (828 Broadway on the corner of 12th st.) on Wednesday, February 20, 07:00PM - 08:30PM. Begley, Jr. will share in the event some of his ideas on how we can live green in NYC. This event is free and open to the public, and you will also be able to find there Eco-Libris stickers, as part of a new collaboration we start with Strand Bookstore.

So now that you know where you can meet Ed, it's time to introduce his new book:

Living Like Ed: A Guide to the Eco-Friendly Life

Ed Begley, Jr.

Ed Begley, Jr., became a star for his convincing portrayal of the obsequious, socially awkward Dr. Erlich on the acclaimed television series "St. Elsewhere," a performance which earned him an Emmy nomination. The son of distinguished radio, television, and screen actor Ed Begley, the younger Begley made his acting debut at age 17 in an episode of "My Three Sons."

Later, he worked on the college and nightclub circuit as a standup comedian and then was a TV cameraman for a short while. During the '70s, Begley returned to acting and guest starred on several series, including "Happy Days" and "Starsky and Hutch." In film, he made his debut in the Disney comedy "Now You See Him, Now You Don't," and went on to play small roles in a couple more Walt Disney comedies.

Steadily employed in Hollywood as a supporting actor and occasional lead in television and feature films, Begley has displayed a broad range of talent that has allowed him to play anything from hippies to deadly villains in a variety of genres.

When not acting, Begley is a tireless promoter of environmental causes. He has also served as the Environmental Affairs Commissioner for the City of Los Angeles and on the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the Environmental Research Foundation, The Coalition for Clean Air, and the American Oceans Campaign. Begley's environmental efforts have earned him awards from the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Coalition for Clean Air.

As of 2007, Begley and his wife Rachelle Carson star in their own reality television series,
Living With Ed, on the Home & Garden Television, focusing on their pursuits of sustainable living.

Furthering Begley’s pursuit of sustainability is his line of natural home cleaning products,
Begley’s Best, "a terrific all-purpose cleaner designed to replace all other household cleaning products...made from extracts of pine, palm extract, de-acified citrus, maize, fermented sugar cane roots, and olive seeds. The ingredients are all natural, non-toxic and totally biodegradable in just 3 to 7 days."

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Published in: February 2008

What it is about: Begley Jr., an actor and a committed environmentalist, presents a do-it-yourself guide to green living that explains how to incorporate eco-friendly products and practices into one's everyday life. The book is covering areas such as the home, transportation, recycling, energy, food, gardening, clothing and furnishing. Begley shares his experiences on what works, what doesn't, and what will save you money!

From the
book description: "And if you think living green has to mean compromising on aesthetics or comfort, fear not; Ed's wife, Rachelle, insists on style - with a conscience. In Living Like Ed, his environmentalism and her design savvy combine to create a guide to going green that keeps the chic in eco-chic. From recycling more materials than you ever thought possible to composting without raising a stink to buying an electric car, Living Like Ed is packed with ideas - from obvious to ingenious–that will help you live green, live responsibly, live well. Like Ed."

Why you should get it:
1. I always in favor of such guides that give you advice how to go green from first-hand experience.

2. I like the book's approach that as far as I understand is led by Rachelle, Ed's wife, which is that going green does not mean you have to compromise on quality, comfort, style, etc. Many people afraid that going green means trade-offs and this book means to show them it ain't necessarily so.

3. Ed Begley became green many years before being green became popular or even understandable. As described on, Begley has been recycling since before many other eco-celebs were born and has owned a wind turbine since the ’80s. Even in the '90s many saw him, as his wife explains, some kind of green freak, which then may also even cost him a little bit in his career.

I think it's kind of historical justice that Begley Jr. enjoys now the fruits of being loyal all of these years to his green beliefs. I also believe that this is the exact kind of person you would like to receive advice from about how to green up your life.

What others say about it:
“Filled with sound advice and first-hand experience from someone who has been walking the walk for more than 38 years, Living Like Ed provides a wide array of practical options for anyone who wants to make his life a little-or a lot-greener. Ed Begley is more than a beloved Hollywood figure; he¹s an all-American hero, and Living Like Ed is a comprehensive yet accessible guide to becoming more environmentally savvy that light greens and bright greens alike will find themselves dog-earing for years to come.” -

Enjoy the book, and if you're looking for other interesting green books, you are invited to check out our
green books page on our website's green resources section.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Dorling Kindersley's new green initiative

Bonnie Alter reports today in TreeHugger about Dorling Kindersley (DK), an illustrated publisher from the UK ("famous for its travel books, Eyewitness series and children's books"), that goes green with a new range of illustrated books, 'Made with Care'.

Four titles will be printed in this series and DK plans to take the following measures in their production:

1. The books will have no jackets, but instead they'll have featuring unbleached covers made of 100% recycled board

2. The books will be printed on FSC-certified paper.

3. Usage of vegetable inks and environmentally friendly glues.

4. reports that printing will be by Mohn Media in Germany, which DK describes as "one of the country's pioneers of environmental awareness". The German location will minimise distribution distances.

The marketing of the books will also go green - it will be mainly electronic and any paper used will be either FSC-certified or recycled.

These efforts are great and kudos to DK for their efforts to make these books in a greener manner. It started, as I understand from the, from DK's willingness to avoid accusations of "greenwashing", as all of the four new books are on green subjects ('Grow Organic' - a gardening book, 'Green Babycare', 'Earth Matters' - an encyclopedia of the environment, and Make It!, which shows children how to turn old rubbish into something creative).

I hope that DK will broaden their green efforts to other books they publish as well. reports that "The Made with Care initiative is the pilot scheme of a broad push towards green and ethical standards at DK. By the end of this year, the publisher will be using purely PREPS Grade 3 paper (a traceable grade), and will require that all its printers meet the ISO 14001 waste management standards and are FSC chain of custody approved."

I also hope that DK will also include in their future green plans the usage of recycled paper for the books themselves and not only for the cover. This is a significant part of any environmental initiative and paper policy in the book publishing industry, as we can see from other green initiatives in the book industry, from The Green Press Initiative's Book Industry Treatise to initiatives taken by big publishers such as Random House, Simon & Schuster and Scholastic. Another example to look at is Kedzie Press, that initiated with us the Million Tree-A-Thon initiative, which prints all its titles of our titles are printed on 100% recycled, 100% post-consumer waste paper (FSC certified), and processed chlorine free.

In any case, DK wants to stimulate a debate and open new routes for the whole book industry to find green suppliers, which I find very encouraging. All in all, it looks that Dorling Kindersley is committed to going green and we'll follow its journey towards sustainable reading and we'll report on updates from the road. We'll of course bring you also coverage of all the books on the series when they will be published.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Happy Birthday with Eco-Libris

What's the connection between Sonny Bono (entertainer & politician), Richard Ford (novelist), LeVar Burton (actor), John McEnroe (my favorite tennis player of all times) and Ice-T (rapper & actor)?

They were all born on February 16! If you're also celebrating your birthday today - happy birthday to you too!

We love birthdays and therefore we're happy to announce a new 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.

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 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 - you're welcome to balance out books with us as well!

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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

Friday, February 15, 2008

Torpedo is taking Eco-Libris Down Under

Australia is one of my favorite places around the world ever since I visited this beautiful country 14 years ago. That's why I was happy few weeks ago to get interviewed by Daz Chandler on Radio 2SER, a local radio sation in Sydney, and I'm even happier now on a new collaboration of Eco-Libris with a Melbourne-based publisher with the great name 'Falcon vs. Monkey, Falcon Wins'.

Falcon vs. Monkey, Falcon Wins is an independent publishing company, dedicated to supporting emerging writers and illustrators. It publishes Torpedo, a printed fiction quarterly, which is available exclusively through its site (that way the publisher can give 50% of the very modest cover price to the contributors, who thus earn royalties for their work every quarter).

Volume One of Torpedo is already available
on the website and now Falcon vs. Monkey, Falcon Wins is collaborating with Eco-Libris to balance out each one of the copies sold on its website. Hence, for every copy of Torpedo that to be purchased, a new tree will be planted and the buyer will also receive Eco-Libris sticker.

Volume One features fiction from Jim Shepard, Aniruddha Bahal, Clancy Martin, Josephine Rowe, Jon Bauer, Amelia Walker, Ronnie Scott, Chris Flynn, Ruby Murray, Luke May, Neil Boyack and Bryce Wolfgang Joiner. Illustrations by Eirian Chapman, Pat Dalton & Tim Molloy. A wraparound cover by Chris Ede!

I asked Chris Flynn, who founded Falcon vs. Monkey, Falcon Wins last December what feedbacks he get on the new collaboration and here's his reply:

"The feedback has been good, ranging from disbelief to excitement. In fact we have sold quite a few copies based upon the Eco-Libris factor alone, particularly at the Artist's Market here where we have a stall. It's definitely added a dimension to Torpedo that pleases readers and I think the Eco-Libris star will definitely be in the ascendancy this year."

Thanks, Chris! And good luck with Torpedo. We're already waiting for Volume Two and for the other upcoming publications of Falcon vs. Monkey, Falcon Wins (is this a cool name or what?) - novels, short story collections, graphic novels & novella collections, all coming up in 2008 & 2009.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Free books on HarperCollins website

Free stuff is always great and free books online is even greater. The New York Times reported earlier this week that HarperCollins Publishers will be offering on their website free electronic editions of some of its books on its website, including books of Paulo Coelho, Neil Gaiman and Erin Hunter.

The idea, explains Motoko Rich in the NYT, is "to give readers the opportunity to sample the books online in the same way that prospective buyers can flip through books in a bookstore".

This step is part of a variety of online promotions that HarperCollins Publishers announced on in
a news release last Monday. Two options will be offered to readers on their website - in the “Full Access” Program, a select number of titles can be seen in their entirety for a limited time, and in the “Sneak Peek” Program, readers will be able to view 20% of many new titles two weeks before their on sale date.

According to HarperCollins news release, a key component of this program is the launch of a year-long promotion of bestselling author
Paulo Coelho’s books. Each month an entire book will be available for free. The first book, currently accessible, is The Witch of Portobello.

“I believe that online reading helps increase book sales,” said Paulo Coelho. “I am very pleased that HarperCollins is able to make my titles available online for my fans to read.”

Besides Coelho's book, you can all find now on
HarperCollins website the following free books:

Mission: Cook! My Life, My Recipes and Making the Impossible Easy" by Mr. Irvine

I Dream in Blue: Life, Death and the New York Giants" by Roger Director

The Undecided Voter's Guide to the Next President: Who the Candidates Are, Where They Come from and How You Can Choose" by Mark Halperin

Warriors: Into the Wild" the first volume in a children's series by Erin Hunter

Another writer that will also have one of his books posted in the 'Full Access' progam is Neil Gaiman, the fantasy novelist, short story and comics writer. Gaiman invites readers of
his blog to help him choosing the book that will take part in the program. You can do it on Gaiman's blog (go to the post from February 9 and click on your favorite book). The updated results can be seen on this page.

I liked what Gaiman had to say to the NYT about his participation in the program and the concept behind it: "“I didn’t grow up buying every book I read,” said the English born Mr. Gaiman, 47. “I read books at libraries, I read books at friend’s houses, I read books that I found on people’s window sills.” Eventually, he said, he bought his own books and he believes other readers will, too."

Gaiman gave a further explanation to the point he tried to made on his blog: "I think the point I was making wasn't so much that eventually you buy your own books, as that there's not and there has never been a simple one-to-one relationship between the books you read and way you find authors and the books you buy. It's more complicated than that, and more interesting. It's about the way that it's assumed that books have a pass-along rate, that a book will be read by more than one person. If the people who read the book like it, they might buy their own copy, or, more likely, just put the author in that place in their heads of Authors I Like. And that's a good place for an author to be."

The free electronic editions would be available only for one month and readers won't be able to download or print the books, but nevertheless it's still a good opportunity to explore some great books at no charge. If you like any of the books there, but hate to read on your computer screen, try to see if there's any
bookmoocher out there who is offering this book. It's also free!

In any case, it would be interesting to see if free content will actually result in increased sales as HarperCollins is hoping to be the case here. I promise to keep you posted as soon as HarperCollins will report on the results of this new initiative.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Green Options - Great Children’s Literature: What’s This? A Seed’s Story

Eco-Libris starts this week a content partnership with Green Options. Green Options Media’s growing network of environmentally-focused blogs provides users with a broad spectrum of information on and direction for making more sustainable choices in their lives.

Launched in February, 2007, Green Options Media has grown into a leader among “green” web portals by combining news, guidance and community features for a wide audience. Both treehuggers and the “green curious” will find information they can use and people with whom they can share their journeys towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

I'm following
Green Options since day one and it's very exciting for me to have this opportunity to partner and share content with one of the best green news portals on the web.

Green Options started yesterday by publishing this week's Monday green book on
sustainablog. Today we're happy to bring you a post from Green Options that was written by Jennifer Lance and was published on Thursday, February 7, covering a new green children book.

There’s a plethora of
wonderful children’s books on gardening, but there is always room for more! What’s This? A Seed’s Story by Caroline Mockford is a charming story about a child’s discovery of a seed and the cycle of plant life. I was lucky enough to have my six-year-old daughter read this book to me for her homework.

What’s This? A Seed’s Story begins with a bird discovering a seed one winter morning. I anticipated the bird would eat the seed, then deposit its droppings somewhere and begin the plant’s life; however, my prediction was wrong. Instead, a little girl, along with her marmalade cat, discovered it and “planted the seed carefully in a corner of her garden.” My daughter has her own garden, as I believe every child should, so I was happy to see the main character in this book also has her own garden bed. (Fellow writer Beth recently wrote about her child’s birthday garden, but back to our story…)

The girl tends to her seed, and then one day, it starts to grow. At this point during our reading, I asked my daughter what kind of plant she thought it would be. She guessed a flower, and I guessed a pea. As the plant grew taller and taller, I changed my prediction to a bean, and noticing the pole used to support the plant, my daughter thought it must be clematis.

Every day when she woke up, the little girl ran straight out to the garden to look at the plant that was growing from the seed. And one morning, when she ran outside, there, turning its head to the sun, was a magnificent sunflower.

At this point in the story, I was reminded of Melanie Eclare’s
A Handful of Sunshine. Like Tilda in A Handful of Sunshine, the little girl saved her sunflower head in the fall. In What’s This? A Seed’s Story, the little girl takes her sunflower head to school, where the teacher helps her shake the seeds out gently. Too bad the teacher didn’t take the opportunity to teach the children about Fibonacci and flowers. When spring returns, all of the children in the class plant the sunflower seeds, “and when the next summer came, every child had a beautiful, smiling sunflower!”

Organic gardening with children is challenging at times, but it is also very rewarding. The fact that my daughter would guess that a plant in a book illustration is clematis shows that her plant knowledge is far superior to my own at six years of age. As spring time approaches, you can look forward to many posts on Eco Child’s Play about gardening with children.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Kedzie Press' Million Tree-A-Thon: planting one million trees for one million books with Eco-Libris

We're very happy to update you with a new partnership - Kedzie Press, an independent publishing house based in Seattle, Washington is collaborating with Eco-Libris in a new initiative called Million Tree-A-Thon.

The goal: planting one million trees for one million books to be sold by Kedzie Press until the end of 2009.

Kedzie Press is already a green publisher - it publishes books with socially conscious and or environmentally friendly messages, as well as the occasional work of fiction. It strives to help its readers lead better lives and all of our titles are printed on 100% recycled, 100% post-consumer waste paper (FSC certified), and processed chlorine free. It means that by pledging to plant one tree for every book sold, Kedzie Press actually maximize the positive impact it already has on the environment.

Million Tree-A-Thon will start with a new book, The Green Parent: A Kid-Friendly Guide to Earth-Friendly Living by Jenn Savedge, which is jam packed with information, interviews, and inspiration to help parents become Green Parents. Eco-Libris logo will appear on every printed copy of the book, signifying that one tree is being planted for each and one of these copies. The book will be available at local and online booksellers nationwide on April, 2008 and and can be pre-ordered already from the Kedzie Press website.

Kedzie Press is looking to make a difference in their conservation efforts and inspire others to do the same. We are very excited and proud to be part of these efforts and look forward to meeting the goal: planting one million trees for one million Kedzie Press books. I'm positive that with the support of all the eco-conscious readers out there we can do it!

So buy any Kedzie Press title from
Kedzie Press website (check it out, they've got really interesting green books..) and join the Kedzie Million Tree-A-Thon.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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

Monday, February 11, 2008

Monday's green books series: The Enemy of Nature

Today on our green books series, we're talking radical. "Something has gone terribly wrong in the relations between humanity and nature." Joel Kovel believes he knows what's the reason for that. Hint? it starts with a Capital C.

Our book for today is:

The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World? , Second Edition.

Author: Joel Kovel

Joel Kovel is Distinguished Professor of Social Studies at Bard College. He has written ten books, including the first edition of The Enemy of Nature which appeared in 2002, and Overcoming Zionism (2007). He has edited the journal of radical ecology, Capitalism Nature Socialism, since 2003 and has been active in Green politics, running for the US Senate in 1998, and seeking the party's presidential nomination in 2000.

Zed Books

Published in: December 2007 (second edition)

What it is about (from the
publisher's website): We live in and from nature, but the way we have evolved of doing this is about to destroy us. Capitalism and its by-products - imperialism, war, neoliberal globalization, racism, poverty and the destruction of community - are all playing a part in the destruction of our ecosystem.

Only now are we beginning to realise the depth of the crisis and the kind of transformation which will have to occur to ensure our survival. This second, thoroughly updated, edition of The Enemy of Nature speaks to this new environmental awareness. Joel Kovel argues against claims that we can achieve a better environment through the current Western 'way of being'.

By suggesting a radical new way forward, a new kind of 'ecosocialism', Joel Kovel offers real hope and vision for a more sustainable future.

The Enemy of Nature: The End of Capitalism or the End of the World? was originally published in 2002. This is and updated and expanded edition, which bring Kovel's arguments up to date.

Why you should get it:
Even if you don't agree with Kovel's radical ideas and thoughts, I think it's always interesting to get to know better another way of thinking, especially when it challenges the capitalistic system which most of humanity had embraced in this stage or another.

The connection between economy and environment is always intriguing and Kovel's thoughts, such as "however capital may restructure and reform itself to secure accumulation, it is incapable of mending the ecological crisis it provokes" definitely contribute to the debate on what the right way to reach sustainability is.

What others say about it:
"Joel Kovel has brought us a persuasive, passionate and hopeful ecosocialist manifesto. He shows how problems from toxic pollution to globalized poverty reflect the inner logic of capitalism, and extends the lessons of Marxism and other radical traditions to illuminate a path toward an ethical and ecological revolution. This book offers much food for thought to all who seek a systemic understanding of today‘s social and ecological crises." (Brian Tokar, activist and author of Redesigning Life? and Earth for Sale)

"Among the many benefits that have resulted from cessation of the Cold War is our freedom to criticize capitalism, openly and forcefully, without being labelled "communists," or worse. Joel Kovel takes strategic advantage of this development by indicting capital‘s dismal ecological record in a book that is sure to spawn lively and sensible debate." (Mark Dowie, author and former editor of Mother Jones)

Enjoy the book, and if you're looking for other interesting green books, you are invited to check out our
green books page on our website's green resources section.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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