Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cody's Books

To anyone who's from the San Francisco Bay Area, there's no need to introduce Cody's Books. This famous Berkeley independent bookstore has been around since 1956, when it was founded by Pat and Fred Cody as a small storefront, and even played a part in (The People's Republic of) Berkley's interesting political history in the 60's and 70's. In fact, Pat Cody wrote a book about it in Cody's Books: the Life and Times of a Berkeley Bookstore, which I heard is quite worth hunting down.

So today's announcement is that Eco-Libris finally plays a small part in the current chapter of Cody's history book. As of last week, our “One tree planted for this book” eco-friendly stickers are on sale for $1 at the book counter, and the Berkeley literati can now plant a tree for every book they buy at Cody's.

In a recent SF Gate article, journalist John King outlined Cody's somewhat iconic saga, which illustrates the exciting yet treacherous road of independent book retail these days. Pat and Fred Cody's little storefront endeavor grew over the decades to include two Berkeley stores, the flagship being a big storefront on Telegraph Avenue, and an additional third shop opened in downtown San Francisco in 2005.

However, the times being what they are, the Cody's of today is back to basics. After a recent move, the former chain is back to being a single store in Berkeley on Shattuck and Allston. That's good news to all book lovers in the area, because it hopefully means that this great resource is going to be available for yet another generation.

So definitely check out Cody's at their new location, when you are around. Meet an author, buy a book, and of course, plant a tree. For a complete list of upcoming event please check out their events calendar


Eylon @ Eco-Libris

Plant a Tree for Every Book You Read!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Green Options - Minnesota Cooks Rock: New Book Showcases Tasty Local Fare

As part of Eco-Libris' ongoing content partnership with Green Options Media, we feature a post that was originally published by Lisa Kvirist on April 22nd on Eat. Drink. Better. Today's post is about a new book that is a love song for local food of Minnesota, and don't miss the recepie at the end!

We northern Midwesterners tend to be humble cooks. Too often we don't view our everyday fare as anything special. As a born and bred Midwestern gal, I sometimes fall in line with my peers and lust over hip California cuisine, Big Apple restaurant trends or Food Network designer chefs. The greens may seem greener over the border, which unfortunately results in us under-appreciating how good we have it in the land of cheese, wild rice and rhubarb.

But I'm forever reformed and now proudly flaunt my Midwest roots after bonding with
The Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook: Local Food, Local Restaurants, Local Recipes. A new release from Renewing the Countryside, a Minnesota-based non-profit organization that champions the positive stories of rural revitalization, this photography rich book is a love song for local food. Through narrating the stories of 31 of Minnesota's chefs and restaurants, the Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook offers 100 recipes that celebrate locally grown, organic and sustainable cookery.

The passion these chefs - and the farmers they work with - sings throughout the pages of this book. I want to hang out with these people, share some Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler over a lingering pot of coffee. We're part of the same tribe, share the same love for fresh food and go nuts over the first greens of spring. There's no celebrity aura of cheekiness in these pages, just smiling faces next to fresh food prepared with real ingredients by people who love what they do.

"The chefs and growers featured in the Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook support local agriculture because its the right thing to do for both flavor and future generations, " explains Jan Joannides, founder and executive director of
Renewing the Countryside and one of the visionaries behind this book. "They're not jumping on some hip, green marketing bandwagon. These are the principles and values by which they have always led their lives and businesses. We hope these stories, along with the delicious recipes, help inspire others to follow these Minnesota culinary leaders."

The leaders portrayed in the Minnesota Homegrown Cookbook may span the state geographically, yet they share common values that can serve as mantras in our own kitchens and approach to food:

• Don't be fanatical -- explore your options.

No one is suggesting you give up your morning coffee or daily chocolate fix and go hardcore local. But as lauded in the book's introduction, do "protest a little when someone tries to sell you an apple from New Zealand in October. French and California wines are great, but try one of the new Minnesota wines . . . this isn't about being fanatical but rather about using common sense - the sense that tells you when something tastes good and is good for you and your community."

• Embrace authentic specials

In our 24/7 world where we can eat just about anything anytime, too often we give up flavor and taste for bland, average food. In reality, the food chain runs on its own schedule, not ours. When foods are in season and available, relish and savor the experience. The owners of the
Angry Trout Cafe in Grand Marais, Minnesota, dedicate the restaurant to sustainable operations, while showcasing local fish, produce and even microbrews. Fresh whitefish only comes from members of the Grand Portage Band of Ojibwe, the only commercial fishermen who can fish for whitefish in Lake Superior. "If you ever see fresh whitefish on the specials board, order it right away because it won't be there very long," owner George Wilkes advises.

• Share the local love

Passionate about food, these chefs want customers to cook with local ingredients in their own homes. If a customer likes a certain menu item, the restaurants can help direct them to finding their own local products. This happens all the time at
Chez Jude, a restaurant also in Grand Marais. "Last week I made a pumpkin and apple soup that used maple syrup," writes chef Judi Barsness in the book. "I was able to tell people where to find the sugar pumpkins, Haralson apples and Caribou Cream maple syrup."

In celebration of spring fruits, here's a tasty treat that's a menu favorite at the
Birchwood Cafe in Minneapolis, showcasing the flavors of local strawberries, rhubarb, cornmeal and butter:

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler


3 pints strawberries, quartered

2 1/4 lb. rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 big pinch nutmeg

Toss fruit into cornstarch, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pout into 9x13-inch greased pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes, or until fruit is bubbly around the edges and juices are thickened and clear. Prepare topping while fruit is baking.


1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup yellow ground cornmeal

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3/4 cup heavy cream

Combine dry ingredients. Add butter and cut in until the mixture has the consistency of coarse sand. Gradually add cream until dough pulls together. Break off pieces and spread evenly over fruit. Return to oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.

Serves 8 - 10

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday's green books series: Climate Change: What's Your Business Strategy?

Today on our Monday's green books series, we're talking business and covering a new book which is actually a memo to the CEO. Maybe one of the most important ones that should be put on their table.

Our book for today is:

Climate Change: What's Your Business Strategy?

Authors: Andrew J. Hoffman and John G. Woody

Andrew (Andy) Hoffman is the Holcim (US) Professor of Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, a position that holds joint appointments at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the School of Natural Resources and Environment. Within this role, he also serves as associate director of the Frederick A. and Barbara M. Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise.

John Woody is a Deal Associate at MMA Renewable Ventures in San Francisco, where he works on the development and financing of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.

Harvard Business School Press

Publication day: May 1, 2008

What it is about (from the
publisher's website): Believe or not - climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing the world today. Most of all, it is quickly becoming a crucial business issue. But how will you and your company respond? You need fast and reliable advice from the world's foremost experts. Climate Change delivers just that: four strategies from two MBA professors with broad and deep experience with environmental issues.

Written in a concise, actionable style, authors Andrew Hoffman and John Woody explain how to: measure your organization's carbon footprint; set a climate target that meets environmental needs--and your own; actively engage your operations in climate change initiatives; and help shape future regulations by gaining a seat at the policy development table. Climate Change gives you a first-hand look at how world-class thinkers would react to this pressing issue if they were in your shoes.

Why you should get it:
I like very much the authors' business approach to climate change (you can read more about it here - They see climate change as an important element in the business grid that CEOs and managements shouldn't and can't ignore not because they're green and care about the environment (which is a good thing, don't get me wrong here..), but because of strategic reasons.

Climate change is already they say and you can decide if it will become a risk to your business or an opportunity. It all the depends on the way you choose to respond to climate change and this book is meant to help managements to do the right thing.

These times are full with confusion of businesses that do not really know or sure how to digest global warming and other environmental issues. Many of them see processes such as assessing and reducing their carbon footprint as an expense that is a burden on the bottom line and really not that pressing. Hoffman and Woody show how this is exactly the opposite and how you should react if you want to become a winner and not a loser in the business world.

Some may not like the
authors' point of view that the environmental language and the moral language should be taken out of the discussion, when it comes to businesses and only see it as solely business issues, but whether we like it or not, for many businesses - that's the only language they know.

This book is part of HBS Press' new Memo to the CEO series, and it definitely looks like a memo that CEOs should receive and urgently I would add (and not only for the sake of the environment, but for the sake of their businesses as the authors might add..).

One last thing - I liked the fact that there's an option to
buy and download the book as a PDF file (it's a relatively short book - 'only' 97 pages).

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, April 27, 2008

Muhammad Yunus is launching his new book in Sweden

Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, came to Sweden for a launch event of the Swedish edition of his new book 'Creating a World Without Poverty: Social Business and the Future of Capitalism'.

As I mentioned here earlier, More than 5,000 trees will be planted with Eco-Libris in Malawi, Africa by our planting partner, RIPPLE Africa, on behalf of BookHouse Publishing to balance out this edition. Inside the book you can find our logo ('one tree planted for this book') with details on our vision and operations.

You can see below Prof. Yunus at the event that took place on April 19th and together with the Swedish Publisher Jan Lapidoth .

Foto: Mattias Gregor Ridung

Foto: Mattias Gregor Ridung

If you want to learn more about Prof. Yunus' vision and work, you are welcome to watch an interview that was made with him on the Swedish TV4 (the video clip below is part 1. For part 2, you can click later on

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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

Saturday, April 26, 2008

An interview with Jenn Savedge, the author of 'The Green Parent'

Three weeks ago I reviewed here the new book 'The Green Parent: A Kid-Friendly Guide to Earth-Friendly Living' by Jenn Savedge, which is also the first book to be published under the Kedzie Press' Million Tree-A-Thon initiative.

Since I'm going to become a parent myself in few weeks, I wanted to learn more about green parenting and the book. Luckily, Jenn Savedge agreed to answer my questions and I enjoyed learning how green parenting is so much cooler now than it used to be and how being a green parent actually helps you saving money.

How did you come up with the idea of writing a green guide for parents?

Before my daughters were born, I was living a pretty eco-friendly lifestyle. I have always been interested in taking care of the environment, and I had the time, money, and energy to devote to this interest. So I was kind of thrown for a loop after my children were born and I was thrown into a world of disposable, plastic, battery-operated, planet-trashing stuff. And on top of all that, I suddenly had no time, no energy, and a whole lot less money than I had before to devote to making sure I made the most environmentally responsible choices. I went to the bookstore looking for a book that would show me how to raise my kids without trashing the planet and how to get them involved in taking care of the environment. When I couldn't find it…I wrote it.

What was the most interesting part of the work on the book?

I thoroughly enjoyed researching and writing this book. This was exactly the information that I had been searching for, and I was thrilled to finally have it all together in one place and in a format that would be useful and accessible to other parents. My favorite aspect of the research was conducting interviews with green parents around the country. Bill McKibben, my long-time hero, was gracious enough to allow me to interview him, as were other green leaders such as Alan Durning, Timberly Whitfield, Leslie Garrett, and Colin Beavan. It was fascinating to talk with these folks and hear their anecdotes and advice from a green parent’s perspective.

If it makes so much sense to go green and be green parents, how come we don't see more green parents around? is it awareness, time, money or people just don't care enough?

I think there’s a misconception that green parenting is difficult to put into practice, and let’s face it, most parents are not really interested in adding extra work to their already busy schedules. The great news is that most parents I meet really want to go green; they just aren’t sure how to fit it in. So once they realize how simple it is, they are excited to get started.

What's the ability of parents to influence their children green attitudes, when the kids get different signals from their school, community, and other social circles that are probably still far behind?

The kids growing up today hear more about environmental issues, in their music, movies, and even in their video games, than any generation before them. And while not all kids are interested in going green, parents can help their own kids make eco-friendly choices by listening to their kids’ ideas and empowering them to protect their planet. In that sense, green living is not just something that children are being told to do; it is a pathway they are carving for themselves.

Have you noticed any change in green parenting in the last couple of years? are there any specific areas in particular?

Green parenting is so much cooler now than it used to be! When my first daughter was born, I could barely find any information about cloth diapering, and people thought I was a lunatic for wanting to make my own baby food. Now that information is everywhere as green parenting has hit the mainstream. I would say that organic foods and eco-friendly cleaning products have seen the biggest boom in sales because they address parents’ concerns about the health of their families and their planet.

How common is the myth that going green, and especially when it comes to children, is only for wealthy people? do you hope that your book will contribute to change that perception?

I think a lot of parents feel that if they can’t afford to put solar panels on their home or buy the latest model hybrid car, they shouldn’t bother going green. But the beauty of green parenting is that it essentially means using less stuff and being more particular about the stuff we do use. More often than not, that translates into spending less money. Green parenting can save parents a ton of cash on their energy, water, trash and shopping bills each month. And my hope is that parents who are on a budget will read The Green Parent and realize that going green is a very simple way to save money.

What's the most difficult practice to implement as a green parent? what's the easiest one?
That answer will be different for every parent. For instance, I have the hardest time remembering to turn off the water when I’m brushing my teeth. I was never taught to do that growing up and so it wasn’t until I was an adult that it even dawned on me how much water I was wasting. Now, even though it is an incredibly simple thing to do, I still forget sometimes because I am distracted or exhausted. So I have to leave myself a little note in the bathroom! What’s easy for one parent may be difficult for another…and vice versa.

I enjoyed very much the interviews in the book, many with known figures whom we know less about their green side as parents (at least I didn't..). Is there any story you've heard during these interviews that made a special impression on you?

Each of the green parents I interviewed for the book made a lasting impression on me and inspired me to be a deeper shade of green. But I think the story that inspired me the most was Alan Durning’s year of living “car-lessly” with his wife and three children. The level of commitment that his whole family showed to the project was outstanding and his honesty and optimism about his car-less way of life was both refreshing and encouraging.

What's the feedback you receive from your daughters on your personal efforts to practice green parenting?

My daughters are still young (they are 5 and 2 years old) so I am fortunate in that they are learning about going green and caring for the planet at a very young age. It’s great because they are very accustomed to things like recycling, turning off the lights, and walking instead of driving whenever possible. In fact, they remind me to do things like grab my cloth tote bag or fill up a reusable water bottle before I leave the house!

But in all honesty, they are still very normal little girls who love all things pink and sparkly and sometimes fawn over these types of products in the stores. Still, they listen when I tell them that these products are not good for them, nor are the good for the birds, bears, squirrels, and dolphins with whom we share the planet. They not always thrilled about it, but they know that if they can’t convince me it’s good for the environment, it’s not coming home with us!

The green world is changing very quickly with new developments coming every day - what would you recommend parents who read the book and would like to stay updated?

My website ( is a good start. The book gives parents all the information they need to go green and get their kids involved, and the website complements that by providing up-to-date news and information on green living. Another good way to stay informed about environmental issues is to keep track of what is going on in your locally community in regards to things like recycling, public transportation, and pollution.

Thank you, Jenn! The book is definitely recommended to all the parents out who wish to go green, or those who already taken steps in the green direction and want to learn more about green parenting.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Friday, April 25, 2008

It's Arbor Day - Hip Hip Hooray!

Today is Arbor Day in the U.S. and we are very excited as this is the day of the trees. For us, who are involved in tree planting operations and in efforts to reduce the number of trees cut down for printing books, every day is about trees and sustainable reading, but when everyone joins to celebrate and honor the trees, even for one day, it really feels great!

So what's Arbor day anyway? It is the nation's oldest environmental holiday, a nationally-celebrated observance that encourages tree planting and care. Founded by J. Sterling Morton in Nebraska in 1872, National Arbor Day is celebrated each year on the last Friday in April (in the U.S., in other countries it is celebrated on different dates).

Many people, families, schools, communities and local organizations will celebrate the day in special events and in planting new trees, like RE-TREE WNY (Western New York), a group that was established to reforest the area following the heavy wet snows of October 2006 in Buffalo. RE-TREE WNY will plant today an oak tree in front of a West Side church in Buffalo. More information on events can be found on the Arbor Day Foundation website.

Many businesses and organizations are celebrating Arbor Day with special initiatives as well:

Washington Mutual announced yesterday that it will be making a donation to the The National Arbor Day Foundation to plant a tree in a national forest every customer who chooses to receive their account statements online rather than being mailed a paper statement.

Doubletree Hotels stats an educational initiative - 10,000 students in more than 150 communities will take part in a month-long initiative to raise awareness about the importance of trees through Doubletree Hotels' Teaching Kids to CARE environmental education program. This spring initiative, created in collaboration with the Arbor Day Foundation is taking root in Nebraska, the home state where Arbor Day began. The Teaching Kids to CARE spring initiative will help educate 10,000 elementary school students across the U.S. and Canada during the months of April and May about the important role trees play in our everyday lives and the many benefits they provide.

MillionTreesNYC, a public-private partnership between the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and New York Restoration Project to plant and care for one million new trees in New York City by 2017 announced today on Toyota as a new supporter in its mission to improve New York City's environment. Yahoo! News reports that Toyota has signed a three-year $1.4 million sponsorship with MillionTreesNYC that will support tree planting, public education and community outreach activities - all aimed at getting every New Yorker involved in tree planting and stewardship activities.

The Nature Conservancy launched the “Plant a Billion Trees Campaign” at to restore and plant one billion trees by 2015 in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, one of the greatest repositories of biodiversity on Earth. It is sponsored by few companies, including Sponsored Planet Green and Penguin classics. On the campaign’s website, visitors can learn more about the project, explore the Atlantic Forest through an interactive map highlighting the people, plants and animals of this spectacular region, and of course plant a tree by donating to the campaign – one dollar for a tree.

Toyota has also something for Facebook users - the company partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to create a Facebook application called Tree Planter. According to Environmental Leader, users can send gift trees to their Facebook friends in a cost of $1 and for every gift that is sent, the Arbor Day Foundation plants a tree in one of eleven forests. Toyota is supporting the effort by purchasing $50,000 worth of trees, so the first 50,000 users can send one tree to a friend for free.

And of course, you are welcome to check out our website or go to one of the bookstores we work with, and plant a tree for every book you buy.

Whatever you choose to do in this beautiful day, have fun and remember that trees deserve to appreciated and conserved not only today, but each and every day.

Happy Arbor Day,
Raz @ Eco-Libris

* Picture Courtesy of Sustainable Harvest international

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Interview with James “Surendra” Conti, Manager of East West Bookstore

Located at the heart of Silicon Valley in Mountain View, California, East West is a big and beautiful space full of books, and with a quiet & peaceful atmosphere. It is one of the biggest, if not The biggest spiritual/metaphysical bookstores in the United States, and it is also one of the first bookstores that joined our program, letting it's customer plant a tree for every book they buy.

I met James “Surendra” Conti, the store's manager, for a chat at the huge back room of the store. It doubles as inventory space by day, and a beautiful workshops and event space by night.

This interview begins a series of articles about the many wonderful bookstores and booksellers around the country, which we have the pleasure of working with.

Q: So tell me a bit about East West?

A: East West is a metaphysical bookstore. It has been in business since 1980, and has moved to this location in 1996. We've been previously in El Camino Real, and since moving here expanded, so now, while books are still the biggest category of products, they provide only 30% of our business. Still it's way more than any other single category. It's hard to be a bookstore these days, just with books.

Q: What are the other 70%?

A: We have crystals, cards, candles, music, videos, yoga and meditation supplies, jewelry, feng-shui, journals, and a lot of children things. Beauty is important to us. We look for things that work together in term of who we are. Metaphysical, spiritual. Self-help is also a big part of that.

Q: What's a “Metaphysical” bookstore?

A: We're owned by a church. It's The Ananda Church of Self Realization, and it's a synthesis of east and west. It was founded by Swami Kryiananda, who is a direct disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda. There is a lot of eastern, as well as western in it, hence the name “East West”. We support all spiritual paths, and our mission is to guide people to whatever path they resonate with, rather than proselytize for our organization. Having said that, you may also notice that at the front of the store there is a bust of Yogananda, a book section dedicated to him, as well as to Kryianada, and a section about the teaching of our various sages and saints of India in particular. We also have a huge Buddhist section, and really all spiritual paths are represented here. Not only on the bookshelf, but also in the term of the programs we present.

We are more than a bookstore, we are a resource place for a community; a gathering place. People come here for many reasons, as a resource or for enlightening ideas, or for sharing it with others. That is really our purpose more than anything else.

As for future plans, we intend to be here, no matter what happens to the book business, and continue to have available for people the teachings that they are looking for.

Q: Are you part of the Ananda Church?

A: Yes, I am. It's a synthesis of Yoga and Christianity. There are five gurus, or masters, if you will. The story is that Jesus appeared to Babaji 400 years ago, and essentially commissioned him to bring the teachings of Kryia Yoga back into the world; and so the lineage started. Yogananda came to the west in 1920. He is the first Indian master who actually made his home in united states, until he passed away in 1952. He established the self-realization fellowship. Those teachings are are a union of all religions.

Q: And how did you get here to this bookstore?

A: My wife, who is a co-manager here, and I were living in Seattle, and were asked to come here to manage the store after the dot com bust of 2001. The store fell on some hard times, in terms of having too much inventory than was moving quickly. People lost their jobs here and were spending much less money. And to some extent there is a similar downward trend right now that is having an effect on the store, but not nearly as marked as in that time. The store needed new management to pull it out of that more difficult period.

I had a medical supplies business, so I had some of the required skills, but had no retail experience at the time. Nor did my wife. We had a good staff in place and they essentially trained us.

Q: Can you tell me a bit about the events in the store?

A: Author events, but not only. We have teachers, psychic readings, workshop leaders, and so on. We tend to have an event almost every evening, and it is a big part of our community appeal.

Q: What do people like most about the store?

A: The environment. For a lot of people this is almost their church. We have a fountain where they come to meditate. We do have meditation sessions throughout the week. It is a very soothing space to be, especially given the hectic pace in this Silicon Valley. People come and tell me that. We also have a lot of things that people will not find anywhere else, or at least not all together in one place.

Q: What is the best selling book right now?

A: Well, right now probably Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth. The book been out for a while, but with the help of Oprah, it is the best selling book. But there are many others. Marianne Williamson has a new book out, Swami Kryiananda's and Yogananda's books always sell extremely well.

Q: What is the all times best selling book here?

A: Probably The Power of Now. Also by Eckhart Tolle, it's been out for 7-8 years now and it still shows up on our bestselling list of 20 books almost every quarter. The other one would be The Autobiography of a Yogi by Yogananda.

Q: What would be your favorite book? It's a tough question, I know.

A: Probably for me it would be Kryiananda's Essence of the Bhagavad Gita. This book is over 500 pages long, and a very readable commentary with a translation of the text. The Gita is one of the two probably greatest scriptures that are available. The teachings are, I don't know even how to say it... the truths are obvious. It's a fabulous story, and it combines story telling with an allegorical way of bringing all the teachings humankind has to know.


Eylon @ Eco-Libris

Plant Trees with Eco-Libris

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Getting to Scale: Growing Your Business Without Selling Out – An Interview with Jill Bamburg

Getting to Scale is the second book so far that Swedish publisher Bookhouse Publishing translated and balanced out with tree plantings by Eco-Libris. They are doing great work over there and we encourage all our Swedish speaking readers to check them out.

How to structure your green or mission-driven business, so that you can grow and even possibly sell it one day, without compromising your ideals, beliefs and mission? How to fund your growth without finding out too late that your new investors are not at all interested in what you are doing for the environment or society, but only at the financial bottom line? While Getting to Scale is not a “how to” guide, it describes a wide variety of case studies that illustrates key findings. It is based on extensive in-depth interviewes with dozens of CEOs and founders of mission driven businesses such Ben & Jerry's Stonypoint, American Apparel, and many others.

As a co-founder of Eco-Libris, and someone who spends a sizable proportion of his day involved in the operation of a mission driven green business, I found this book useful and right on. Although it deals with “rich” problems, which I can only dream about having, it did give me food for thought, and also validated some of the things already in place. Will it help us get the millionth tree planted? Time will tell...

However I was thrilled to be able to present author Jill Bamburg, who is also the dean of the MBA program at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, with questions on this fascinating topic.

Q: “Getting to Scale” was published in 2006, while 2007 was the year that, at least according to some parts of the media, brought the environmental movement to the folds of the mainstream, even if only temporarily (crossing fingers). Do you think there was any fundamental shift in the world of mission driven businesses since the book came out?

A: Great question. There has definitely been a huge upsurge of interest in green business, sustainability, and climate change since the book was published. As you say, these issues have definitely gone “mainstream” – which is to say that they have now been taken up by major corporations around the globe (or at least their PR departments!).

These businesses are now embracing the “business case” for undertaking environmental actions: cost savings, risk management, and revenue opportunities.

At the same time, there is also increased interest in the kinds of businesses I was writing about – that is, those that are fundamentally mission-driven, as opposed to profit-driven – on the part of two important demographic groups: young people who are just beginning their careers in business and mid-career or retiring baby boomers who are looking for ways align their work with their values.

So yes, I do think there has been a shift in the business world since the book came out.

Q: Your book is about the issues mission driven businesses have to deal with when they need to grow, sustain growth and/or sell their business, and you give many examples. Since then there were several high profile business deals that I assume would have made it into the book had they been done previously. For example the sale of Burt's Bees to Clorox, Coca Cola's investment in Recyclebank and JP Morgan acquisition Climate Care, the UK based carbon offset company. Do these recent cases validate your past conclusions, or did things change?

A: Another good question. In this case, I don’t think things have changed much -- with one exception, which I’ll talk about in a minute.

The reason I wrote the book initially was that I observed a disturbing pattern in the sale of socially responsible businesses to larger financially driven firms. I was concerned that there might be something inherently wrong with the model of socially responsible businesses that was causing these sales to happen. I set out to find out whether that was true by looking at socially responsible businesses that had grown successfully without selling out to larger players.

The most recent wave of sales is simply a continuation of what I observed in the earlier period. The one exception is that the mainstream market for “green,” organic and “alternative” products has grown, making these more attractive acquisition targets for mainstream players.

Q: Another relatively new development that we begin to see with such businesses discussed are mergers, such as the case of Zipcar and Flexcar. Do you see it as growth or more of a survival mechanism? How do mergers fit the models you present in the book?

A: I think that the Flexcar-Zipcar merger, and others like it, are both growth and survival strategies stemming from very traditional business imperatives. Both car-sharing companies needed capital to grow and expand their market coverage. Rather than seek to stay independent and fight head-to-head in the marketplace, or be acquired by larger, better capitalized firms in other businesses, they chose to join forces and develop the US market for car-sharing.

Many other businesses that seek to grow (or survive) don’t have the luxury of a merger with another like-minded company. The circumstances have to be right and the size of the final entity has to be large enough to meet the challenges of distribution and competition.

Q: These days it seems that there are more and more “green business” networking events, forums and circles. Although these places are a great place for mission driven businesses to interact and support one another, one can't help but also feel a certain buzz that sometimes looks like entrepreneurs creating green businesses with the idea of being bought out by a mainstream brand like Clorox as a goal in mind. Is your book also suitable for such entrepreneurs?

A: I think that some of the ideas in my book will apply to people who are building businesses to sell, but they are not my target audience. I wanted to help the business owners who are trying to remain independent and in control of the values of their companies.

Q: Is it now more easy or more difficult for a mission driven business, compared to the previous periods?

A: There are a couple of things that may make it a little easier than it has been in the past: 1) a shift in the mainstream market interest toward greener, healthier products and lifestyles; 2) an increase in the talent available to make these businesses successful; and 3) some new thinking in the area of hybrid corporate forms that may better support mission-driven businesses.

On the other hand, the fundamentals of business have not gotten any easier. It’s hard to build a successful business of any sort – and it’s harder still to build one that is as committed to environmental and social values as it is to financial success.

Q: Many of our readers are involved in the book industry, either as authors, booksellers or in publishing. Do you have any insight into the book business from a green or mission driven perspective? Any advice on how to navigate the market?

A: Just some great examples from the North American marketplace: Berrett-Koehler (my publisher), New Society Publishers on Gabriola Island, British Columbia, Chelsea Green in Vermont, and Raincoast Books in Vancouver, British Columbia (my Canadian distributor).

Once again, it’s hard to be successful in business. It’s even harder to be successful in the book business. And harder still to be successful in the mission-driven book business. All the companies I’ve mentioned have great lists, great values, and inspiring stories.

Q: What has been the feedback for the book so far from the business community or from Bainbridge students and graduates?

I’ve gotten good feedback on the book from a lot of people who have read it. They find the stories inspiring and the insights useful. No millionaires to report yet, however.

The same is true at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute, where I serve as Dean of the MBA Program. Our program is providing adult students with an MBA in Sustainable Business that will give them a leg up on aligning their work with their values. We’re six years into the venture. Still no millionaires, but a lot of successful change agents in business.

Title: Getting to Scale: Growing Your Business Without Selling Out


Author: Jill Bamburg

Swedish Publisher: Bookhouse Publishing

American Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers

Publication Date: August 1, 2006

Pages: 174 pages

Eylon @ Eco-Libris

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Green Options - Paper and Books: Tips from Xerox

As part of Eco-Libris' ongoing content partnership with Green Options Media, we feature a post that was originally published by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg on April 17th on Ecopreneurist. Today's post include tips from the VP of Environment, Health and Safety at Xerox on how to green your office when it comes to printing, paper use, and the energy costs.

Most of my
discussion last week with Patty Calkins, VP of Environment, Health, and Safety at Xerox, focused on her company's efforts in the realm of sustainable business... so, not necessarily "ecopreneurial" material. As "document management" is a concern for any business owner, small or large, I made sure to address entrepreneurial issues with her. Specifically, I gave her a scenario: I'm the owner of a green start-up, and want to implement as many sustainable practices as possible while watching costs. How do I balance these priorities in terms of printing, paper use, and the energy costs that come with them?

It turns out (fortuitously ... I didn't know this up front) that Xerox was planning to release a series of tips on this topic this week in anticipation of Earth Day. That information was released today:

  • Cut paper use. Make two-sided prints and copies using the “duplex” function, print multiple images per page, and print only the quantity you need at the time you need it. Saving paper also saves energy: Environmental Protection Agency estimates say it takes 10 times more energy to manufacture a piece of paper than to create another print or copy.

  • Recycle the paper you use, and use recycled paper. Install bins in several office locations to make it easy to collect paper for recycling or for reuse as notepaper. And commit to purchasing recycled paper – it can meet the same performance specifications as non-recycled paper.

Earth Day options for green readers

Happy Earth Day, everyone! This is very exciting - around the world hundreds of millions of people will take part in green celebrations and events, discussing concerns about environmental issues and making a pledge to pursue a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

And what's happening on our field of green reading? we collected some of the options offered today for all the eco-conscious readers out there:

Breeni Books - Sabrina Williams of Breeni Books ( is posting today a review and article by the author for the book 'Go Green: How to Build an Earth-Friendly Community' by Nancy H. Taylor. There's also going to be a giveaway so check it out!

Island Press - Visit Island Press’s Earth Day page: Island Press are an environmental nonprofit dedicated to bringing vital environmental issues to the public. They just launched a new website complete with podcast interviews featuring several of our authors discussing topics that include green building, climate change, animal migrations, environmental health, oceans, and animal conservation. Some of the podcasts include interviews with Bill McKibben and Jay Inslee discussing global warming, and Callum Roberts discussing the fate of the world’s oceans.

Cody's Books - Cody's books ( is the latest bookstore that joined our bookstore program, where bookstores offer their customers the option to plant a tree and get our sticker at the counter. We are very proud to partner with this great independent bookstore, which was opened in 1956 and became throughout the years a Berkeley institution.

Cody's Books will host on Thursday, April 24 at 7:00 p.m. an event with author James Howard Kunstler, who visits the future in his book WORLD MADE BY HAND.

In his previous book, The Long Emergency, celebrated social commentator James Howard Kunstler explored the age of globalization, the availability of cheap fossil fuels, the perils of climate change, and the coming trauma of our post-oil future. With WORLD MADE BY HAND, an astonishing work of speculative fiction, Kunstler makes an imaginative leap into the future, a few decades hence.

For the townspeople of Union Grove, New York, the future is not what they thought it would be. After the catastrophes converged - the end of oil, climate change, global pandemics, and resource wars - they are doing whatever they can to get by. Transportation is slow and dangerous, so food is grown locally at great expense of time and energy, and the outside world is largely unknown. There may be a president and he may be in Minneapolis now, but people aren't sure. A captivating, utterly realistic novel, WORLD MADE BY HAND takes speculative fiction beyond the apocalypse and shows what happens when life gets extremely local.

Store's address: 2201 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley CA 94704 (Phone: 510-559-9500)

Raincoast Books - our joint campaign with Raincoast books is still going on and you are welcome to check any of the 80 Canadian retailers who are participating and selling a wide range of environmentally themed books emblazoned with Eco-Libris stickers. The list of participating independent bookstores, located from cost-to-coast, is available on this page - Te bookstores have purchased over 4,500 specially stickered books and hence over 4,500 trees will be planted on behalf of Canadian readers.

Bookmooch - today is the last day of our green books promotion with BookMooch, and the book introduced today is 'Big Green Purse' of Diane MacEachern. You can find more details on the promotion and the nine green books that take part in it on bookmooch blog.
Swaptree - In honor of Earth Day this Tuesday, (, the website where you can trade the books, DVDs, CDs, and video games you have, for the ones you want, for free, will be donating $1 dollar for every trade made on Earth Day to The Sierra Club. So if getting a free book, DVD, video game or CD was not enough, now by signing up and doing a trade, you will also be donating to America’s oldest and largest environmental organization on Swaptree’s dime!

Whatever you choose to do today, have a green and wonderful Earth Day!
Raz @ Eco-Libris

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday's green books series: Michael Recycle

Today on our Monday's green books series, I'm reviewing a book about a green superhero you may never heard of before. And yes, he has a green cape.

Our book for today is:

Michael Recycle

Author: Ellie Bethel. Illustrated by Alexandra Colombo.

Ellie Bethel like Peter Pan, never really wanted to grow up. Unfortunately these things happen and in a desperate attempt to slow the process of time she immerses herself regularly in children’s books, despite not being a child anymore. She practically eats books. In this way Ellie's brain has become so jam-packed with stories that sometimes they spill over. She was eleven when her first poem was published and following that she scribbled her way through her teenage years. British born, Ellie now lives in New York where she continues to scribble in between visiting numerous coffee shops and plunging herself headfirst into the weird and wonderful world that is Greenwich Village.

Alexandra Colombo studied illustration at the Milan European Institute of Design, receiving a first-class degree in 2002. Her great passion is writing and illustrating poems, books and fairytales. She has illustrated several books for publishers around the world, including Tooth Troubles, A New School for Paul Bunyan, The Gift of Fire, and Up in the Tree.

Publisher: Worthwhile Books

Published in: March 2008

What it is about: It's a book for 3-8 year old children about a small town named Abberdoo-Rimey, where "garbage was left to grow rotten and slimy". To the help of the town's people that never smelled a fresh air because they got so lazy comes Michael Recycle, a green-caped crusader with a metal colander for a hat drops from the sky. Michael Recycle convince them that they've got to recycle "before all your trash reaches up to the moon!". The people listen to him and their lives are changed forever..

Why you should get it:

When I took the book in the first time into my hands I knew I like it even before opening the first page. With its large pages and the colorful cover with the hero's illustration on it, it reminded me the books my parents used to read me as a child. Immediately I felt at home with it.

The book itself didn't disappoint me. It's a fun book, with a witty text in rhymes and beautiful illustrations that you can't take your eyes from. I love Michael Recycle - nothing like a green-caped crusader that falls out of the skies and with charisma and enthusiasm accomplish to put some green sense into the minds of the people of Abberdoo-Rimey. I wish it could also work that well in real life!

The story provides the kids with important messages about recycling and environmental awareness. I think that an important part of the messages is that greening up your life not only improve your quality of life but can be fun. At the end of the book, there's a special section of 'Go Green Tips', with simple tips for children who want to go green with Michael Recycle. I like the fact that these tips also try to involve the parents and get them also to make a difference, whether if it's asking them to buy rechargeable batteries or getting your parents to bike with you.

And the book also walks the talk and is printed on recycled paper.

What others say about it:

"Michael Recycle is a terrific book that parents will enjoy reading to their children again and again" - Debbie Levin, President, Environmental Media Association.

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, April 20, 2008

New thinking on the climate crisis: Al Gore's presentation in TED 2008

It's always interesting to hear Al Gore, especially when he shows a new presentation. This one was given at the TED 2008 conference in Monterey, California few weeks ago.

This is a short version of a presentation he was giving for the first time and I recommend you to take 27:54 minutes of your time and watch it. Gore speaks on many issues related to the climate crisis, including the need to lift the sense of urgency and what's the solution (hint: put a price on carbon). It's a disturbing presentation as was his last one, which we know from 'An Inconvenient Truth', but also an optimistic one.

Gore's presentation is followed by a brief Q&A in which he is asked for his verdict on the current political candidates' climate policies and on what role he himself might play in future.

So here it is. Enjoy!

Raz @ Eco-Libris

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

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Mooch a Green Book - More Earth Day Giveaways!

Just to remind you, Earth Day is around the corner, coming up this Tuesday, April 22! For the last few days, Eco-Libris, and several of our fabulous partners and friends in the world of books, have teamed up to give away, recycle and promote a bundle of wonderful green books.

How does that work?

very day we are publicizing and making available five (5) free copies of a new green-related book on the online book swapping community. Each of these copies will be balanced out by Eco-Libris - one tree will be planted for each copy, which will also come with our sticker (made of recycled paper) saying 'One tree planted for this book'.

These are the books given away so far:

Saturday’s book is “Growing Toward Balance: Achievable Ideas for Bringing Harmony to Your Mind, Body, and Spirit”, by Mary Kearns.

The publisher has made 5 copies available. Those will go quickly, so please put this book on your wishlist, so you can get it after someone else is done with it:

Direct links:

  • Book detail page
  • Add this book to your wishlist
  • Amazon info page

    Please leave comments on the Amazon info page for this book once you read the book. You can also buy a copy from Amazon, if you’d rather not pass the book onto someone else after mooching it.

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    Friday’s book is “Harmonious Environment: Beautify, Detoxify and Energize Your Life, Your Home and Your Planet”, by Norma Lehmeier-Hartie.

    The publisher has made 5 copies available. Those will go quickly, so please put this book on your wishlist, so you can get it after someone else is done with it:

    Direct links:

  • Book detail page
  • Add this book to your wishlist
  • Amazon info page

    Thursday has two books is “A Hot Planet Needs Cool Kids (Understanding Climate Change and What You Can Do About It)”, by Julie Hall, and “Here, There, and Everywhere” by Mira Tweti.

    The publisher has made 5 copies available of each. Those will go quickly, so please put this book on your wishlist, so you can get it after someone else is done with it:

    Direct links for “A Hot Planet…”

  • Book detail page
  • Add this book to your wishlist
  • Amazon info page

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    and for “Here, There, and Everywhere”

  • Book detail page
  • Add this book to your wishlist
  • Amazon info page
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    Wednesday’s book is “The Ovum Facto”, by Marvin L. Zimmerman.

    The publisher has made 5 copies available. Those will go quickly, so please put this book on your wishlist, so you can get it after someone else is done with it:

    Direct links:

  • Book detail page
  • Mooch this book
  • Add this book to your wishlist
  • Amazon info page

    Tuesday’s book is When “Santa Turned Green”, by Victoria Perla (Author), Mirna Kantarevic (Illustrator).

    The publisher has made 5 copies available. Those will go quickly, so please put this book on your wishlist, so you can get it after someone else is done with it:

    Direct links:

  • Book detail page
  • Mooch this book
  • Add this book to your wishlist
  • Amazon info page

    Please leave comments on the Amazon info page for this book once you read the book. You can also buy a copy from Amazon, if you’d rather not pass the book onto someone else after mooching it.

  • So what can you do to show your support for this generosity? Here are some ideas John Buckman of Bookmooch already suggested on his blog. We will also add a few of our own.

    1) Mooch the book, read it, and then pass it on to someone else by re-listing it on BookMooch. This is about reuse, and the power of book trading to lessen the number of trees felled to reach an audience.

    2) Leave your comments, reviews, ie on the BookMooch page for each book, but also on each book’s amazon page. That’ll help the publisher sell more copies, and help them see that helping book trading and being green can help their goals too

    3) Blog, blog, blog about the book, the publisher’s gift, and give your encouragement of this

    4) Mention book trading to your friends both in person, and in the online forums you participate in

    5) Mention Eco-Libris to your friends and make a point of discussing responsible use of wood, paper, and recycling this Earth Day season, and beyond.

    6) Plant trees for your books.

    Eylon @ Eco-Libris

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