Friday, November 23, 2012

Friday green book review: On the Dark Side of the Moon by Mike Medberry

It's (Black) Friday and we're back with our weekly green book review. Today we're reviewing On the Dark Side of the Moon: A Journey to Recovery by Mike Medberry (published by Caxton Press).

What this book is about?

In the spring of 2000, Mike Medberry, a longtime advocate of conservation with American Lands, the Wilderness Society, and the Idaho Conservation League, suffered a stroke in the remote wilderness of the Craters of the Moon in Idaho. He was rescued after nearly a full day lying alone and contemplating death in one of the harshest yet most beautiful landscapes in the lower forty-eight states.

Medberry was flown to a nearby hospital about the same time that Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, on behalf of President Clinton, came to the Craters of the Moon to support protecting three-quarters of a million acres as a unique national monument, a conservation effort in which Medberry himself had already been personally involved.  This story interweaves Medberry’s own struggle to speak, walk, and think with the struggle to protect this brutal, lava-bound, but for him gentle landscape. Medberry’s recovery from the stroke and his struggle to protect the Craters of the Moon is a story of renewal, restoration, accommodation, and, ultimately, of finding workable compromises to some of life’s most difficult problems.

Our review:

The basic premise of this book is this: Mike Medberry, the author and an advocate of conservation with American Lands, the Wilderness Society, and the Idaho Conservation League, suffered a debilitating stroke while out in the wilderness of Idaho, at the Craters of the Moon. He was rescued after lying alone in the elements for almost a day. Although he lived, he was changed in a very real and almost overwhelming way. 

However, the book is not just about Medberry’s recovery as he re-learns how to speak and walk and to even think in general. It is also about protecting the Craters of the Moon. At the time of Medberry’s stroke, a Mr. Bruce Babbitt, was sent by President Clinton to the Craters of the Moon in order to support the protection of three-quarters of a million acres as a national monument. This was very real and hard fought battle for conservation. This was why Medberry was on the Craters that day. 

This book was two elements. The first is the author’s struggle to find a way to live and work and be productive after his life-altering stroke. The frustration and the despondency felt through his journey were written in a way that I as the reader could follow along and feel and sympathize with him. I cheered him on as he made progress with his body and his mind, as well as his life, both socially and economically.

The second is the conservation effort with regard to the Craters of the Moon. I understand this was a very important part of his life and maybe it helped in his journey through his recovery. It was also great information and the efforts are very important to our world today. However, as to this book, I found it intrusive to the story. It didn’t add anything, and in fact it jerked you out of his life and his struggle and shoved you into “the cause”.

However, this book is very worthwhile and is one that I am happy to have read. All in all, I enjoyed the read.

You can purchase the on Caxton Press website.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Thursday, November 22, 2012

What to do on Black Friday? 10 tips for the responsible shopper!

If you're wondering what you can do on Black Friday as a responsible shopper other than buying nothing, take a look at the guide I published earlier this week on Triple Pundit with 10 tips for the responsible shopper (and yes, buy nothing is still one of the options!).

Here's the first tip:

Buy only what you meant to buy anyway. Make a list of the things you wanted to buy anyway and stick with it. If you have planned for some time to buy a TV and you know exactly what you want, then it doesn’t make sense not to buy it on Black Friday if you can get it for a better price. So go for it, but don’t forget to use some of the other tips when doing so.

You can read the rest of the tips at

Happy Thanksgiving!

Raz  @ Eco-Libris

Image credit: laurieofindy, Flickr Creative Commons]

Friday, November 16, 2012

Book review: Sustainable Wellness: An Integrative Approach to Transform Your Mind, Body, and Spirit

We're getting back to reviewing great green books and publish a weekly review every Friday. Today we have a great book to present you with:

Sustainable Wellness: An Integrative Approach to Transform Your Mind, Body, and Spirit
by Matt Mumber, MD and Heather Reed.

What this book is about?

For nearly a decade, award-winning radiation oncologist Dr. Matt Mumber and yoga instructor Heather Reed have led retreats for people facing health challenges of all kinds. Through their eight-week Sustainable Wellness program, participants have found that using simple tools consistently creates remarkable health benefits.

Whether you're looking for improved physical health, better ways to manage stress, or just a greater sense of inner peace and wellness, Sustainable Wellness offers a simple but powerfully effective plan for transformation.

You will learn how to:

  • Empower yourself to reclaim your health and play a more active role in shaping it
  • Become aware of the daily choices that affect your health and how you can transform them in a positive way
  • Let go of destructive habits and embrace new ones that enhance wellness

    Sustainable Wellness: An Integrative Approach to Transform Your Mind, Body, and Spirit combines modern scientific research with ancient methods that benefit the individual on all levels. The authors share tested techniques, personal stories of triumph, and daily exercises that will guide you on the path to sustainable wellness.

    Our review:
  • I highly enjoyed this book. The idea behind treating the cause not the symptom is one that I highly advocate for and I was so glad to see that very approach discussed in this book.  Even more so, it discusses in detail that there is more than just one fix for all problems.  The idea that you have to figure out what works best for you and your body and your health makes more sense than the one size fits all mode of operation we see in the world today. 

    This book talks about balancing all the sides of our lives in order to be healthy: Exercise, spiritual health, nutrition, stress, its all in there in easy to read and understand words. This book was wonderful in that it breaks it down into simple to digest steps. It’s not just an information dump of stuff. These authors appear to really want to provide you with real and useful ways to a better and healthier way of living. 

    It’s a short read at only 230ish pages, but it is filled with loads of information. Plus there is an interactive website and on-line group you can join to really get into the steps and the process.  I only browsed around so far through the online information but so far it looks easy to use and appears to be a great addition to an already useful product.  I truly recommend this book.  

    You can purchase the book on Amazon (it is also available in an electronic format).

    Raz @ Eco-Libris

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

    Catalog Choice Partners with Keep America Beautiful to Help Americans “Reduce” During America Recycles Day

    Today is Keep America Beautiful’s America Recycles Day, the only nationally recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling programs in the U.S.

    In an effort cut down on paper waste and the need for paper recycling our friends at Catalog Choice have partnered with Keep America Beautiful to provide free junk mail opt-outs through a special website,

    Here are some more details we received from Catalog Choice about this partnership:

    Catalog Choice – a TrustedID company and the nation’s leading mail preference service – has announced partnership with Keep America Beautiful’s America Recycles Day (ARD). Held annually on November 15, ARD is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling programs in the United States. As part of ARD’s efforts to encourage Americans to reduce, reuse and recycle throughout the year, Catalog Choice is offering free opt-outs of unwanted junk mail at a special website,

    Catalog Choice will track participation and the resulting environmental benefits including trees, greenhouse gases, water and solid waste saved. “Protecting your privacy by stopping unwanted mail is one of the easiest things we can do to save energy and conserve natural resources,” said Scott Mitic, Chief Executive Officer, TrustedID. “We are excited to join forces with Keep America Beautiful and America Recycles Day to help Americans ‘reduce’ by opting out of unwanted mail before it arrives, reducing the need for recycling junk mail.”

    Every year, U.S. households receive over 83 billion pieces of advertising mail, 46% of which is never read and 38% of which is not recycled. Catalog Choice allows consumers to opt-out of the direct mail they no longer wish to receive. To date, Catalog Choice has connected over 1.6 million consumers nationwide who want to manage their privacy with more than 8,000 direct-mail companies to reduce the amount of unwanted mail and minimize its environmental impact. Consumer opt-outs have resulted in saving approximately 798,000 trees, 332,430,000 pounds of greenhouse gas, 117,842,000 pounds of solid waste, and 800,607,000 gallons of water.

    For more information about Catalog Choice, visit For more information on
    ayahuasca retreats visit ayahuasca retreats.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    The Importance of BPA-Free Receipt Paper

    This guest post is brought to you by Receipt Rolls- a distributor or Thermal Receipt Paper Rolls

    It has been argued that thermal receipt paper is the best choice because it’s faster and creates less waste than traditional printing methods. However, in order for thermal receipt paper to work, the paper itself must react when heat is placed onto it. After all, heat is what produces the image. For the paper to react to heat it has to have a special coating. In the past, some of the special coatings that help receipt paper react are chemicals called BPA (Bisphenol A) and BPS (Bisphenol S). Recently it has been found that these chemicals may be harmful to humans and the environment. 

    When recently researched BPA was found to cause several harmful effects in humans. These consequences were neurological problems, obesity and increased thyroid levels. The most commonly affected people were women and children. This is because BPA contains high levels of an estrogen-like compound.

    There are some times when you just can’t avoid taking a receipt. There are some items you need to have proof of purchase for, so to stop taking receipts to avoid BPA exposure simply isn’t an option. Congress is considering putting a federal ban on receipt paper that contains BPA, but then how will we be able to continue thermal printing?

    Some receipt printers thought BPS was the solution. It is similar enough to BPA to be able to still react to heat to imprint images. However, even more recently scientists have found not only does BPS contain some of the same side effects as BPA, but we also already contain high levels of this chemical.

    When researching BPS, scientists found that they knew less about BPS than they originally thought. When coming in contact with thermal receipt paper humans absorb much more BPS than they did BPA. This was disconcerting because 90% of women tested already had BPS detected in their urine. This makes humans much more likely to suffer the negative consequences of the BPS chemical.

    In addition to harming humans, BPA also has many negative effects on the environment. A 2010 EPA study indicated that more than one million pounds of BPA are released into the environment each year. In addition to this, BPA is harmful to aquatic animals. The chemical negatively affects the life cycle of these organisms by harming reproduction and natural development.

    Take a second to think about how many receipts you have received and disposed of in your lifetime. Multiply this by the number of people in the world regularly receiving receipt paper and you come to understand how widespread the harmful affects of BPA are in the world. The technology now exists to produce receipt paper without these harmful chemicals. Be sure to advocate for BPA-Free receipt paper whenever possible to reduce the harm to humans and the environment.

    Monday, November 12, 2012

    Five tips for making your family holiday a little bit greener

    This guest post is published in association with, an eco-friendly family holiday and camping specialist.

    In many ways a family holiday is an indulgence, a time you spend more, do more, consume more, but it needn’t have a massive impact on the environment. There are lots of ways you can try to reduce the environmental cost of your holiday and it just so happens that many of these methods lower the financial cost of family holidays too.

    1) Choose a greener travel method
    Air travel is often the first choice for tourists because it’s the quickest way to complete a journey, but this can bypass one of the most interesting – and sometimes educational – aspects of the trip. Traveling overland by train, bus or car will reduce your holiday’s carbon footprint and thanks to ferries and cross country train services you don’t need to limit your holidays to your home country. These travel options are also likely to cost less and give you plenty of opportunities to take in the countryside en route.

    2) Choose a greener holiday provider
    There are a number of holiday providers that have their green credentials rated by independent bodies such as AITO so it is possible to check out holiday providers in advance of bookings. You can also think about the type of holiday you take, holidays on campsites in France are likely to impact the environment less than a high-spec hotel. By their nature campsites also have fewer fixed buildings, larger green spaces and shared facilities, which promote conscientious behavior.

    3) Consider what you take It’s easy to get carried away when going on holiday
    This can mean everything from buying an entire new wardrobe for the event, to purchasing the latest quirky camping gadgetry. Limiting what you buy and take will lower your footprint and spend. Think ahead and check what is available at your destination, you might be surprised at the home comforts available at even the most basic of campsites.

    4) Treat your home away from home just like home
    If you are staying in a mobile home, apartment or chalet that comes complete with these home comforts, don’t forget to take the same energy saving steps you would in your own property and get the little ones to do the same. That means turning off lights, avoiding the standby button and watching your water use.

    5) Be careful what you leave behind
    It goes without saying that you shouldn’t litter a campsite but you may not have pondered the impact of using non eco-friendly washing products while on site – which could affect the grass - as could your brood all trampling on a particular area. Think about the little things to ensure you leave your holiday site just as you found it.

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

    Brooklyn Public Library operates bookmobiles to impacted neighborhoods

    My public library, Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) is one of the public organizations in NY offering help and support to neighborhoods in the city that have been effected by Hurricane Sandy.

    These efforts include the operation of bookmobiles in sites that need help most.  Each bookmobile has charging stations, free books for children (over 1,200 books to date) and The Great Storm and Flood Recovery (children’s Story and Activity Book in Spanish and English.

    The Bookmobiles according to the BPL website will be in the following locations:

    Coney Island
    1901 Mermaid Ave. (in front of the Coney Island Branch)
    Wednesday, November 7, from 11:00 - 4

    Red Hook
    7 Wolcott Street (in front of the Red Hook Library), Brooklyn, NY
    Since the Red Hook branch is opening as a warming station (see below), the Bookmobile will be dropping off supplies for use and distribution from within the branch.

    You can find more details on the BPL's efforts at

    Raz @ Eco-Libris

    Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

    Everything you wanted to know about bookstores in America

    What do we really know about bookstores? While we follow bookstores and trends in the industry for a long time, we're still surprised to see how little we know.  The latest information comes from Online Education Database (OEDb) that collected some of the most interesting facts about bookstores and gathered them in a piece entitled '12 Stats on the State of Bookstores in America Today.'

    Did you know for example that currently we have 10.800 bookstores in total in the U.S., a 12.2 percent drop in comparison to 1997? And what about Amazon - what's their share in the market? Well, apparently it's around 22.6% of the books in the U.S.(2011 figures).

    An interesting fact that I've learned about in this article was that the average book buyer is 45 to 64, white, has a high income, is married, lives in the west, and is a college graduate. I guess it shouldn't be a surprise then to see the increase in Amazon's market share and the decrease in the total number of stores - the younger generations are just looking for other places to buy their books and e-books. 

    Yet, the list ends with an optimistic forecast - independent bookstores may be making a comeback. It might be too soon to know if it's true, but it's certainly an optimistic way to close this great list of facts and we definitely hope it will come true!

    You can find more resources on the future of bookstores on our website at

    Raz @ Eco-Libris

    Eco-Libris: Promoting sustainable reading!