Friday, February 27, 2009

Celebrating RIPPLE Africa's planting season - last photo

Today we have the last beautiful photo from Malawi, Africa, where our planting partner RIPPLE Africa has finished another successful planting season. About 1.5 million trees being planted on December and January.

In the photo you can see Agnes Nyakayira of the Chigwiti Afforestation club, and I hope you recognize the logo in the sign :)

We hope you enjoyed all the photos we published here on our blog as part of our celebration of the end of another successful planting season in Malawi. All of the photos will be available very soon on our planting gallery, together with many other beautiful photos from our planting partners.

Once again, thank you to RIPPLE Africa for their dedicated work in Malawi. We're proud to be part of it!

Raz @ Eco-Libris

And the winner in one of Justin Locke's books is...

We had a very interesting discussion here following Justin Locke's guest column "A New Business Model for the Book Publishing Business".

We got great feedbacks and we thank all the readers who added their comments on this blog, as well as other places on the web where this article was mentioned. And we have a winner!

The winner who was chosen by Justine Locke is Brooke, who wrote the following:

"The art world has a similar issue when it comes to resales at auctions. Europe resolved it by giving a portion of the profits to the artists, but ONLY at auctions, not private resales."

Congrats to Brooke, who won one of Justin Locke's books! She will be able to choose between Real Men Don't Rehearse, his very popular and laugh-out-loud musical memoir of his playing days with the Boston Pops (see the writeup in this month's International Musician Magazine) , and his new book, Principles of Applied Stupidity (How to get and Do More by Thinking and Knowing Less). Find out more about each book and his other publications and his professional speaking at

We thank Justine Locke again for bringing up this important issue and we will keep you updated in the future in his efforts to establish a new model for the book business.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Trees of soft toilet paper - what do you choose?

How green is your toilet paper? not sure? here's the guide that will give you the answers: Greenpeace has just released on Monday its latest Recycled Tissue and Toilet Paper Guide.

The report is providing customers with important information about tissue products and toilet paper using 3 criteria: usage of 100% recycled paper, at least 50% post consumer recycled paper and bleached without toxic chlorine compounds.

Each category includes ranking of brands, where products that meet 3 criteria are recommended, products that meet 2 criteria are defined as "can do better" and products that meet only one or no criteria at all are "to be avoided".

Let's focus for a minute on toilet paper, the most popular product among the ones reviewed in this report. The brand in the first place is Green Forest, which uses 100 percent recycled and 90 percent post-consumer content, as well as chlorine-free manufacturing processes. Other brands that are also recommended are: 365, Natural Value and Seventh Generation.

And who's to be avoided? well, when it comes to toilet paper you will find there few familiar names: Scott, Target, Wal-Mart, Kleenex Cottonelle, Chramin, Quilted Northern and Angel Soft. According to the report they all use zero recycled paper (and of course zero post consumer content) and are bleached with chlorine compounds [just take into consideration the follwoing comment from Greenpeace: In the few cases where companies did not respond to our request for verification of recycled content percentages and whitening processes used, we assumed 0% overall recycled, 0% post-consumer recycled and ECF bleaching.]

The report is followed by a very interesting article in the New York Times ("Mr. Whipple Left It Out: Soft Is Rough on Forests" by Leslie Kaufman), where I learned the astonishing fact that "tissue from 100 percent recycled fibers makes up less than 2 percent of sales for at-home use among conventional and premium brands."

Why? well, according the article the main reason that toilet paper made of recycled paper is not as soft as toilet paper that is made of trees. Actually the article explains "it is the fiber taken from standing trees that help give it that plush feel, and most large manufacturers rely on them."

In other places around the globe the situation is in some way better and in Europe and Latin America, products with recycled content make up about on average 20 percent of the at-home market.

The price for the American's love for softness is very high - the article brings another devastating fact: "25 percent to 50 percent of the pulp used to make toilet paper in this country comes from tree farms in South America and the United States. The rest, environmental groups say, comes mostly from old, second-growth forests that serve as important absorbers of carbon dioxide...In addition, some of the pulp comes from the last virgin North American forests, which are an irreplaceable habitat for a variety of endangered species, environmental groups say."

And it doesn't end with trees - there are the water and energy required in the process of turning a tree into rolls of toilet paper, and there's also the polluting chlorine-based bleach process used to achieve greater whiteness.

Who's to blame? well, Kimberly-Clark, which says it's the American consumer who "like the softness and strength that virgin fibres provides". I wounder if these consumers would make the same choice if they knew that for example 14 percent of the wood pulp used by Kimberly-Clark came from the Boreal forest in Canada.

The answer unfortunately is that in this case we cannot count on the consumer nor on the companies who make huge profits out of these soft papers (An article in the Guardian states that "paper manufacturers such as Kimberly-Clark have identified luxury brands such as three-ply tissues or tissues infused with hand lotion as the fastest-growing market share in a highly competitive industry.").

Even if consumers in the U.S. will become more aware of their toilet paper's footprint and choose to buy more recycled paper, my guestimation is that recycled paper usage will be no higher than in Europe (20%). And that's the optimistic scenario.

So what's the solution? in one word: regulation. We need global and local regulation that will ban first and foremost the use of ancient forests for manufacturing tissue products. We also need regulation that will put a price tag on the environmental damages made here, so when you buy toilet paper, you will pay their real price and not a price that ignores the environmental costs. Only this way a real change can be achieved. It's the same with plastic bags and with many other bad habits we have. Voluntary steps just don't do enough or do too little and we can't afford too many years of this softness obsession to keep going on. We just can't.

I'll be happy to hear more ideas and thoughts how to end American's obsession to soft toilet paper. Please add your comment!

Link to Greenpeace's guide:

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Celebrating RIPPLE Africa's planting season

Today we have another beautiful photo from Malawi, Africa, where our planting partner RIPPLE Africa has finished another successful planting season. About 1.5 million trees being planted on December and January.

In the photo you can see Walter and Milika with a 3 year old Senderella tree.

Tomorrow we have the last photo so don't forget to check it out.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Webcast alret: Successful “Green” Publishing: Production Marketing and Beyond.

Interested in green publishing? Tomorrow, February 26, 2 pm EST, Publishers Weekly and Green Press initiative will co-host a webcast titled Successful “Green” Publishing: Production Marketing and Beyond."

What's it's going to be about? Here's the description from the event's website:

Even in today’s economy, it is possible and advantageous to be an environmentally responsible publisher. There are savings to be found in everything from reducing energy costs to basis weights. This free and informative webcast discussion will feature publishers who have made the commitment to be environmental leaders in publishing and have benefited. Attendees will learn how to be proactive about environmental initiatives that can help build recognition for one title or an entire program and will also discover the many ways that green practices can both support all areas of their publishing program as well as the environment.

Panelists include Mary Choteborsky, associate publishing manager and associate editor at Crown, Judy Galbraith, founder and president of Free Spirit Publishing, Tona Pearce-Myers, Production Director at New World Library. The webcast will be moderated by Tyson Miller, Founder and Director, Green Press Initiative.

The inaugural showing of SUCCESSFUL “GREEN” PUBLISHING: Production, Marketing, and Beyond is on February 26, 2009 at 2:00 PM EST, and will be available from the webcast archive for one year following the initial webcast. You can listen to it at no cost - you just need to register.

This should be a very interesting webcast and we recommend anyone involved or interested in the green publishing to listen to it. We will cover it on our blog in a couple of days so stay tuned.

For more details and to listen to the webcast click HERE

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Daily photo from the planting season in Malawi, Africa

We continue to present you with photos from Malawi, Africa, where our planting partner RIPPLE Africa has finished another successful planting season. About 1.5 million trees being planted on December and January.

Today we have a beautiful photo of tree seedlings at Chgwiti tree nursery.

We have two more photos to show you (on Wednesday and Thursday) so stay tuned!

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Our plating partner AIR won U.N. grant for service in Guatemala

Last week we had news from two of our plating partners, SHI and RIPPLE Africa, and today we're happy to update you with news from our third planting partner - The Alliance for International Reforestation (AIR).

headquartered at Stetson University, has received a grant for $8,200 from the U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to build brick stoves in Maya communities in Sololá, Guatemala.

“It is a small grant, but for AIR to be recognized by the United Nations in an extraordinarily competitive area, is very exciting,” said Dr. Anne Hallum, Stetson professor of Political Science and U.S. chair of the reforestation program. “AIR has always worked closely with Maya leaders in dozens of communities, so it is appropriate to have a grant from this particular U.N. Forum.”

AIR plants trees, establishes tree nurseries and provides environmental education in Central America. Stetson students volunteer with the organization during six-week programs, working side-by-side with local AIR staff in Guatemala. Since 1993, AIR has trained more than 1,500 Guatemalan farmers, provided materials for more than 700 fuel-efficient stoves and planted more than 3 million trees. In 2004, AIR was recognized by the Guatemalan government’s forestry institute as the most effective nongovernmental environmental organization.

The U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is described on its Web site as “an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council, with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.”

AIR is working with Eco-Libris since 2007 and you can read more on our collaboration on AIR first year's assessment, which is available at

Congrats to AIR and to Dr. Hallum for this grant and the recognition of their important work in Guatemala by the U.N.! You can read more about AIR at

Raz @ Eco-Libris

PHOTO: A recipient of an AIR stove helps in its construction in Guatemala. (Photo courtesy Stetson University senior Jesse L. Paquin.)

Monday, February 23, 2009

The daily photo from Malawi, Africa

We hope you're enjoying our daily presentations of photos from Malawi, Africa, where our planting partner RIPPLE Africa has finished another successful planting season. About 1.5 million trees being planted on December and January!

Today we have another photo that combines hope on one side and the devestating reality on the other side. The photo is of Chiefs Forest guards that RIPPLE Africa organized to visit recently destroyed forests.

We'll continue our celebration this upcoming week with new photos from RIPPLE Africa.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Monday's green books series: 'Ecological Debt' by Andrew Simms

We see these days what happens to the economy and to us as a whole when many individuals and companies don't operate within their financial means.

Can we imagine what will happen if we don't live within your environmental means? is it already happening and we're in environmental debt? our green book for this week is seeking the answers.

Our book for today is:

Ecological Debt: The Health of the Planet and the Wealth of Nations (second edition)

Author: Andrew Simms

Andrew Simms is the new economics foundation's (nef) Policy Director and head of nef's Climate Change programme. He is the author of numerous other publications about human development and the environment. He is co-editor of, Do Good Lives Have to Cost the Earth? (2008), and author of Tescopoly: How one shop came out on top and why it matters (2007).

Andrew studied at the LSE and has worked for a variety of development and environmental organisations, including Oxfam and the International Institute for Environment and Development and has been a regular contributor to the International Red Cross’s annual World Disasters Report. Andrew is a board member of Greenpeace UK and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) Europe. Previously, Andrew led campaigns for the development agency Christian Aid which included being one of the original organisers and leading advocates for the Jubilee 2000 Coalition debt relief campaign, the precursor to the Make Poverty History campaign.

Publisher: Pluto Press

Published on: February 17, 2009 (first edition was published on May2005)

What it is about (from
Borders website):
This is the second edition of Andrew Simm's highly regarded guide to ecological debt. Simms shows how millions of us in the West are running up huge ecological debts: from the amount of oil and coal that we burn to heat our houses and run our cars, to what we consume and the waste that we create, the impact of our lifestyles is felt worldwide. Whilst these debts go unpaid, millions more living in poverty in the majority world suffer the burden of paying dubious foreign financial debts.

The book explores a great paradox of our age: how the global wealth gap was built on ecological debts, which the world's poorest are now having to pay for. Highlighting how and why this has happened, he also shows what can be done differently in the future. Now updated throughout, this is a clear and passionate account of the steps we can take to stop pushing the planet to the point of environmental bankruptcy.

Why you should get it:
Nowadays when everyone is worried about the economy it seems that our usage of the planet's resources is getting pushed a little bit to the side, but it shouldn't be this way. This is not the 'real' world. This is a kind of a bubble. And we all see now what happens when one day reality knocks on the door. And you cannot nationalize planet earth, with or without calling it nationalization, until things will get better. It just doesn't work this way.

The recession might be actually a good timing to read the second edition of this book that looks even more relevant and more urgent in its call for action. Simms believes that
our economy, resource base and biosphere are interdependent and hence the solution is integrative and include social, environmental and economic dimensions that enforce each other and can actually make it work. How developing countries should exactly reboot themselves to live within their economic and environmental means? and is sustainability the answer? the book is definitely a good place to start understanding these questions and figuring out the replies.

What others say about the book (its first edition):
"Creative and compelling."

"Essential reading." Head of the IPCC

"A new phrase has entered the language." Anita Roddick

Want to learn more about the ideas an concepts Simms presents in the book? check out this video of Resist Network:

More videos with Simms can be found at

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

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Plant a tree for every book you read!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Another photo from Malawi, Africa

We continue our daily presentation here of photos from Malawi, Africa, where our planting partner RIPPLE Africa has finished another successful planting season. About 1.5 million trees being planted on December and January!

Today we have a photo of the Makuzi Afforestation club.

We'll continue our celebration this upcoming week with new photos from RIPPLE Africa.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

New study shows: tropical forests are soaking up more carbon dioxide pollution that anybody realised!

Speaking of the planting season in Malawi, Africa, I have just read in the guardian (thanks to Grist for the link!) on a laborious study of the girth of 70,000 trees across Africa. The study is showing that tropical forests are soaking up more carbon dioxide pollution that anybody realised.

The guardian reports that "Simon Lewis, a climate expert at the University of Leeds, who led the study, said: "We are receiving a free subsidy from nature. Tropical forest trees are absorbing about 18% of the carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere each year from burning fossil fuels, substantially buffering the rate of change.""

Lewis adds that another conclusion from the study is that on average the trees are getting bigger - compared to the 1960s, each hectare of intact African forest has trapped an extra 0.6 tonnes of carbon a year. And it adds up - over the world's tropical forests, this extra "carbon sink" effect adds up to 4.8bn tonnes of carbon dioxide removed each year - close to the total carbon dioxide emissions from the US.

Another interesting quote on the article is of David Ritter, senior forest campaigner at Greenpeace UK, who is quoted as follows: "This research reveals how these rainforests are providing a huge service to mankind by absorbing carbon dioxide from our factories, power stations and cars."

We definitely agree with him. Moreover, we know that trees have many other qualities that benefit both the environment and local communities in these areas (you can read more about it on our benefits page). In any event, since fighting global warming is at the top of the world's priorities it's important to establish again the important role of trees in this fight as does this new study.


Raz @ Eco-Libris

Friday, February 20, 2009

The daily photo from Malawi, Africa

Following our promise yesterday, we present here every day for a week a photo from Malawi, Africa our planting partner RIPPLE Africa has finished another successful planting season. About 1.5 million trees being planted on December and January!

Today we have a sad picture of a sad reality in Malawi: We're seeing part of 10 acres destroyed by one man in 3 months.

We'll continue our celebration tomorrow with a new photo from RIPPLE Africa.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

We have winners on our newsletter special offer!

The February issue of our newsletter was released today with a special offer that included 3 great prizes: a copy of "Of Parrots and People" by Mira Tweti, a beautiful Natural Jute Eco-Friendly Deluxe Shopping Bag Set, and a set of plantable greeting cards from

The prizes were awarded to the first three subscribers that balanced out books on our website following the release of the newspaper. And we have winners: Jim, Geoffrey and Catherine won the first, second and third prizes respectively. Congratulations!

We invite you all to subscribe to our monthly newsletter. We will continue to have special offers to our subscribers and it's very simple
- all you have to do is just to sign up, using the box on the right side of the page saying 'Join Our Email List' and that's it.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The daily photo from Malawi, Africa

Following our promise yesterday, we present here every day for a week a photo from Malawi, Africa our planting partner RIPPLE Africa has finished another successful planting season. About 1.5 million trees being planted on December and January!

Today our photo is of Fumbani Ripple Africa manager:

We'll continue our celebration tomorrow with a new beautiful photo so stay tuned!

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Photos are courtesy of RIPPLE Africa (

A New Business Model for the Book Publishing Business

Eco-Libris is happy to host guest writers that present interesting and creative ideas that goes along with our mission to make reading more sustainable. Today we are happy to host author Justin Locke who writes about an issue that has many sides, including environmental and social ones - the lack of compensation of authors for re-use of their books and how it can be fixed.

We hope that not only you will enjoy this piece, but you'll also take part in the discussion we hope to generate following this post. If you need further incentive check out
the giveaway at the bottom of the post :)

A New Business Model for the Book Publishing Business

by Justin Locke

The Internet has been viewed by many in the book business as merely a glorified sales brochure and order form, but this is "horseless carriage" thinking. The way it is being used by the major used book resellers (i.e., Amazon and has fundamentally changed the environment of the book business, in very much in the same way that television and VCR's changed the movie business, and radio and recordings changed the music business.

For those of you who don't remember, when television came along, Hollywood viewed it entirely as a threat. The big movie studios nearly went broke, as up to then they only made money selling tickets in theaters. But after a while, they figured out how to do a new business model and take advantage of this new medium. Now, big Hollywood movies make most of their money, not from theatrical releases, but from television and DVD sales.

Something similar happened in the music business. Before recordings and radio, orchestras had a simple business model: if you wanted to hear a concert, you had to buy a ticket. But when recordings and radio came along, the musicians' union negotiated to put various fees in place so that musicians would get additional payments for "electronic transcriptions."

Composers of music have similar "re-use" payments structures under what is known as ASCAP. When an orchestra plays a piece that is under copyright, a payment is automatically made to the composer. Same thing if their music is played on the radio or TV. Every time you hear a golden oldie in an elevator, a little payment gets made to the owner of that original song. It might only be .2 cents, but it adds up in a hurry.

Unfortunately, the traditional book selling establishment has at its core a 19th century business model, one that is very similar to the music business before electricity. If you want to buy a book, you buy it new. That's where the money is made, period. There are no provisions for more payments down the road. Yes, Amazon's Kindle and other e-book deals are more or less doing what movies and music have done. But what is getting missed is the huge change in the used hard copy book business.

Here's the big thought: While books themselves are still made of paper, the WAY in which used books are sold and distributed has changed. Radically. It is as much of a change as television or radio.

Books are not electronic of course, but the way in which used books are now marketed on the internet has fundamentally changed, into its own new form of "electronic distribution." We need to recognize this, and change the way the business works to capture proper payments.

The used book market is different now because in the old typical traditional local used book store, the store might have a title you want and then again, they might not. So physical used books stores, while nice things to have on the block, are not a huge threat to new book sales, as they are not the place to buy "hot" or new books. You are limited to what they have in stock right now, which could be anything.

But now, virtually any book, even one that is recently published, is available "used" (at a lower price), on the internet. And when someone buys and reads a used book, the copyright owners of that book get zilch for that "re-use" of their intellectual property.

Pardon my vision here, but I think it's time that authors got the same deal as union musicians, composers, television actors, and screenwriters.

What I am proposing is a very simple system similar to the ASCAP model. If a copyrighted book is sold on line, the author (or their estates or whatever) should get some small payment for that "re-publication" (from the legal definition of the word "publish": "to make available for sale") of their work.

I don't know what that fee would be. I am hoping you, dear readers, can offer some insight and suggestions. Perhaps 15% of the sale price, or perhaps 25 cents, whichever is greater? Right now I am getting 100% of nothing, so I am open to suggestions.

In terms of execution and monitoring, I would think that ISBN numbers would make this a breeze to set up. Authors would also need to register, just like members of ASCAP. You would have to accrue a minimum of maybe $50 to get a payment (to save mailing checks for 25 cents).

All sorts of little details would need to get ironed out of course, but that's the concept. And I confess, I have no idea how one would set up a literary form of ASCAP. Federal legislation? I await your insight.

Note, I suspect that it might be a good idea to exempt non-internet on-site sales in bookstores. It's a tradition, it's too easy to cheat, and they don't make much dough anyway. Also the bookkeeping might prove onerous. Although with printed bar codes, maybe not.

Amazon charges $4 for shipping a book when most books only cost $2.50 to ship. Shouldn't some small piece of that remaining $1.50 go to the person who created the book? Composers and musicians and movie producers get re-use payments. How is it that musicians and B-movie moguls have shown themselves to be smarter than authors of books??

Also, from an environmental perspective, instead of publishers always being motivated to make past editions obsolete as much as possible, and always look for ways to sell new books and cut down more trees, authors and publishers would have economic incentive to encourage the purchase and "recycling" of used books, as it would become an added income stream. Updates to existing books could be sold on line. Not sure if this would be a meaningful carbon change, but it's worth looking into. As the cost of paper continues to go up, who knows, could be a huge paradigm shift.

I have a new page on my web site that invites people to start doing this on a voluntary basis. I call it my go-green publication partnership:

Big picture: If this added payments system were to work with books the same way it has worked with movies, added income will encourage ever more creation of new products, instead of publishers and authors being squeezed at every turn. At last, readers will not have to choose between supporting their favorite authors and a cheaper deal. Everybody wins, and furthermore, it's the right thing to do.

(c) Justin Locke


Thank you for reading. We invite and encourage your comments. And we also have a giveaway!

Justin Locke is donating a copy of one of his books, and the the winner will get to choose between Real Men Don't Rehearse, his very popular and laugh-out-loud musical memoir of his playing days with the Boston Pops (see the writeup in this month's International Musician Magazine) , and his new book, Principles of Applied Stupidity (How to get and Do More by Thinking and Knowing Less). Find out more about each book and his other publications and his professional speaking at

How do you get a chance to win this prize? please add a comment below with anything you have to say or comment on this issue. That's it!

Submissions are accepted until Thursday, February 26, 12PM EST. The winner will be chosen by Justin Locke and will be announced the following day.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

RIPPLE Africa finished another successful planting season in Malawi, Africa

Our planting partner RIPPLE Africa has finished another successful planting season in Malawi, Africa with about 1.5 million trees being planted on December and January! Kudos to RIPPLE Africa!

RIPPLE Africa was established in 2003 by Geoff and Liz Furber from the UK. RIPPLE Africa is a non-profit organization involved with environmental projects, education and healthcare in Malawi, Africa. It works in cooperation with local chiefs - traditional authorities and the local communities, who take a major part in RIPPLE Africa’s various activities, including its planting operations.

Malawi is a poor country and 80% of its people live in rural areas. Wood is a necessary part of everyday life, and there is also tremendous pressure to clear forests for agriculture. Hence, trees in Malawi are being cut down at an alarming rate. An area of forest the size of a football pitch is cut down every 10 minutes. RIPPLE Africa’s tree planting project is centered in Nkhata Bay District, Malawi, Africa, an area of 4,000 square kilometers.

We also had a part in this planting season with 26,575 trees being planted on behalf of Eco-Libris' customers (check our first year's assessment for further details)! We hope to bring you soon an interview with Geoff Furber who will tell us more on the planting season and about RIPPLE Africa's work in Malawi.

In the meantime, we would like to celebrate this planting season with beautiful photos we received from RIPPLE Africa, and for one week we'll show you every day a new photo they've sent us. We'll have soon all the photos on our planting gallery and you can already see them all on our Facebook group (which of course you're welcome to join!)

The first photo we have here is of Catherine and team budding oranges.

You're welcome to visit RIPPLE Africa's website at

Raz @ Eco-Libris

An update from our planting partner SHI

Our planting partner Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) has released their update for February 2009 and it's a good opportunity to get updated in the wonderful work they're doing in Central America.

Founded in 1997 by Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Florence Reed, Sustainable Harvest International addresses the tropical deforestation crisis in Central America by providing farmers with sustainable alternatives to slash-and-burn agriculture. SHI facilitates long-term collaboration among trained local agricultural staff, farmers and communities to implement sustainable land-use practices that alleviate poverty by restoring ecological stability. You can find the assessment of our first year of collaboration with SHI on this link.

So what you can find on the update?

Seed Loans Make An Impact -Testimony From The Field (Nicaragua): An interesting testimony of Alejandro Gutierrez of El Asentamiento, Kukra Hill in Nicaragua about his experience with SHI.

Here's a part of it: "Sustainable Harvest is not an organization that just gives over everything, but rather they teach mutual collaboration. They give us knowledge and we must put it into practice. They lend us grain but we return it so that it can serve other producers, like the loans of seeds and beans. Thank you for helping us so that we can have a little more."

First-Hand in the Field - SHI Board Chair, Tony Barrington, visits Panama:

Tony Barriganton reports on a visit that a group of SHI board members, spouses, friends and staff made to SHI's field program in Panama on January.

You can find there also links with details on SHI's Sustainable Chocolate Tour, Annie's Homegrown collaboration with SHI supporting village schools and more.

You can find February update on this link -

You're also invited to check out SHI's website, where you can find much more information (and great photos) on their work.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

* Photo above: Some SHI Board members with Panamanian staff and program participants in January 2009 (courtesy of SHI)

Monday, February 16, 2009

And the winner of the Little Green Books' giveaway is...

Thank you for all the participants in our giveaway of Simon & Schuster's Little Green Books in our blog following our interview with Alison Inches, author of "I Can Save the Earth!".

We got many great comments about your kids' monsters, and the most popular one is no other than Elmo chosen by many of you. Our winning monster though was slightly different and very creative if I might add. So the winner in our giveaway is the reader sunflourchic, who wrote the following:

My daughter's favorite monster is the "Green Goofus." This is a monster that we made up when she was scared to sleep in her big girl bed. The Green Goofus is a funny little monster that sits by the door to make sure that only nice monsters come into play.

Congrats to the winner (and please send us your mailing address to! You will receive the 4 books published so far in the Little Green Books line: Little Panda, Little Monkey, I Can Save the Earth! and The Polar Bears' Home. Thanks again to all the participants who shared with us their favorite monster!

Update (3/9/09): Since we haven't heard from the original winner, the prize is going to Patricia who wrote the following: "
We have TWO favorite monsters in this house. 1. Bernard from Where the Wild Things Are. He is the one with the human feet and yes, all the monsters have names! My son always thought it was so funny that a monster had feet just like him! 2. The Typhoonagator from Mercer Mayer's Little Monster Rhymes. My daughter loves to point out when it is windy and my son will always remind her that the Typhonnagator must be around-this always makes them laugh."

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Sunday, February 15, 2009

3 reading recommendations for Presidents Day

Tomorrow is Presidents Day and it's holiday for many people who will enjoy the long weekend. This is also a great opportunity to get to read something and especially things you put aside waiting for some free time..

I just had that with three articles that waited for me and I wanted to share with you and recommend them for tomorrow (or any other given day..). We got here two articles on green issues and one about books, and all of them are really interesting, so you're welcome to check it all!

Praise the Lord and Green the Roof / Joseph Huff-Hannon (New York Times, February 1, 2009)

A story about an order of Episcopal nuns who are building what will be the first "eco-convent" in New York City. This is a great example of how religion and ecology goes hand in hand, nurturing each other. Here's a part of the article that refers to this issue:

Then, about 10 years ago, the sisters began to discuss a mission to care for the environment. They may embrace environmental concerns more tightly than do many other religious orders, but it is their religion, they say, that was their bridge to a green life.

“We began talking more deeply amongst ourselves about how spirituality and ecology are linked, how we could more fully appreciate that the universe is a creation of God,” Sister Faith Margaret said, speaking in the hallways near the front door, which is lined on both sides with ferns, philodendron and other plants. “Some days I get up in the morning when the trees are about to pop, and I think, ‘How did God decide all of this?’ ”

Original URL

If you don't have a subscription to the NYT, you can find a copy of the article on this link.

Books Gone Wild: The Digital Age Reshapes Literature / Chris Jackson/Getty (Time, January 21, 2009)

How technology is changing the book market? this interesting article (thanks to Publishing Talk for the link) is analyzing the current trends in the publishing industry and tries to envision the future of this industry, where digital content and self publishing will make it a whole lot different from what we know today.

Here's a little look at the future from the article:

Not that Old Publishing will disappear--for now, at least, it's certainly the best way for authors to get the money and status they need to survive--but it will live on in a radically altered, symbiotic form as the small, pointy peak of a mighty pyramid. If readers want to pay for the old-school premium package, they can get their literature the old-fashioned way: carefully selected and edited, and presented in a bespoke, art-directed paper package. But below that there will be a vast continuum of other options: quickie print-on-demand editions and electronic editions for digital devices, with a corresponding hierarchy of professional and amateur editorial selectiveness.

The article is available at,9171,1873122,00.html

In Beverage Industry, Sustainability Sells / Bill Roth (, February 4, 2009)

Bill Roth (who is also collaborating with Eco-Libris) writes on the green trends in the beverage industry and where you can find green entrepreneurial opportunities there. Here's one of my favorite parts in this article about green coffees, which benefits both the coffee growers and the environment:

Here's why I have such hope for the green economic revolution: The sales for these green coffees are exploding.Rainforest Alliance Certifiedcoffee had average sales growth of 106 percent each year from 2003 through 2006. In 2007, more than 91 million pounds of Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee was sold worldwide. In the U.S., these coffees are sold by Mars Drinks, Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, Pom Wonderful and Caribou Coffee, and can be found in more than 50,000 supermarkets, convenience stores, cafes, restaurants, hotels and corporate offices worldwide.

The article can be found at

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Announcing the winners of "I Can Save The Earth Sweepstakes"

We are big fans of Simon & Schuster's Little Green Books. This is a great line of eco-friendly children's books and we had the pleasure of partnering with Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing in an educational contest in celebration of the first new books in this line that were published last fall.

And now we have the WINNERS!

I Can Save The Earth Sweepstakes, asked children to tell us how you’re helping to save the environment and provided them with an opportunity to share their personal green stories and ideas. We got wonderful replies and we wish to thank all the kids who took part in the contest.

And it's not only for kids! If you look for inspiration and you want to feel a little bit more optimistic about the future, go ahead and read the letters of Lillie (age 7) of Arizona, Madison (age 7) of Connecticut, and Owen (age 6) of Florida, who are the winners of the contest. Congrats to all of you!

You can find their stories at

The winners won a selection of Little Green Books and trees will be planted in their name with Eco-Libris.

This is also a good opportunity to update you that Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing launched last month, their updated website devoted to our Little Green and Big Green Help titles. The site includes a family-friendly blog, interactive games, earth-friendly downloadable activities, green tips (including tips of Eco-Libris), a green glossary, a partner page and more!

Thanks again to
Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing and all the kids that took part in the contest. We hope many kids and especially adults will be inspired from your enthusiasm and determination to make our world a better place.

More relevant links:

An interview with Lara Bergen, the author of 'The Polar Bears' Home'

I CAN SAVE THE EARTH! contest web page

On Eco-Libris website:

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Tell us what's your favorite monster and get a chance to win four Little Green Books!

Just one more day for our Little Green Books giveaway, so if you haven't think yet of your favorite monster, you still got time :-)

Here is a reminder of the details:

Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing are giving away one package of the 4 books published so far in the Little Green Books line: Little Panda, Little Monkey, I Can Save the Earth! and The Polar Bears' Home.

This is a great prize and firstly we thank Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing for it! How do you get a chance to win this prize? please add a comment below with an answer for the following question: what's your (or your kid's) favorite monster? don't forget to share with us the story/reason for the monster you picked..

Submissions are accepted until Sunday, February 15, 12PM EST. We will pick the comment we liked best and the winner will be announced the following day.

[You can add your comment to this post or to the original post, where you can also read the interview with Alison Inches, the author of
I Can Save the Earth!]

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Friday, February 13, 2009

Ten tips from RecycleBank on how to green your Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is almost here and everywhere you look you can find tips for the perfect gift or dish (my favorite: Mark Bittman's Chocolate Souffle) for your loved one.

We want to join the rest, but from our green point of view, and with the help of our friends at RecycleBank, that sent us great tips for greening your
Valentine's Day. So here we go:

Valentine’s Day is all about flowers, chocolates and cards, but how can you spoil the special someone in your life and be eco-conscious at the same time? RecycleBank has come up with 10 tips for greening your Valentine’s Day that will help set the mood while saving the planet!

Here are RecycleBank’s 10 romantic ways to “green” your Valentine’s Day:

1. Set your morning in motion by sharing a pot of fairly traded and organically grown coffee. After all, you will want to keep the night young.

2. Since Valentine’s Day lands on Saturday, skip the power shower and enjoy a soak for two… and save water that way.

3. Get enlightened this year with his and hers, or hers and hers, or his and his (well you get the point) CFL’s. While saving tons of energy, they last up to 8 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

4. A rose is a rose is a rose…but is it fairly traded—and how far did it travel to get to your door? There is an abundance of organic, veriflora certified and fairly traded floral options, all perfect gifts.

5. Sweets for your sweetie? Organic and fairly traded cocoa options are sure to send that extra message of sincerity.

6. On this holiday, over one billion cards are sent worldwide. Translation: Save the Trees! Create your own card from recycled goods in your home. After all, it’s not the card, but the sentiment that counts.

7. Enjoy the outdoors. Make a snow-person together. Walk on the beach. Take a hike. Picnic in front of a gorgeous sunset. Or just lie on your backs and count the stars. It’s totally carbonRaz,Raz, free, healthy and romantic.

8. Make a candlelit homemade dinner for two. There is nothing greener than going local, so stop at your local farmers’ market and buy fresh and organic goodies.

9. Forget red or white; go for a bottle of “green” wine. There’s organic wine for whatever kind of mood you’re in… from Shiraz to chardonnay.

10. To end the night, choose organic cotton, bamboo and linen sheets, towels, duvets and comforters.

RecycleBank is a rewards program that motivates people to recycle by quickly and easily measuring the amount of material each home recycles and then converting that activity into RecycleBank Points that can be used at hundreds of local and national rewards partners. You can find more about RecycleBank on their website -

Thank you to our friends at RecycleBank for these great tips!

Happy (green) Valentine's Day,

Raz @ Eco-Libris