Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Green Books Campaign: Ecoholic

This review is part of the Green Books campaign. Today 100 bloggers are reviewing 100 great books printed in an environmentally friendly way. Our goal is to encourage publishers to get greener and readers to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books. This campaign is organized by Eco-Libris, a company working to green up the book industry by promoting the adoption of green practices, balancing out books by planting trees, and supporting green books. A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on Eco-Libris website. The above logo was created by Susan Newman.

Be careful what you wish for.

In recent years I've yearned for one place that would inform me about which products were good, bad or indifferent for the environment and my body. Not just a list of toxic ingredients to scan for on every bottle of sunscreen or shampoo--a list of safe products to make or buy. I know that certain cleansers are extremely toxic, but if a product says Clorox and "green" on the same label, is it truly green? And what about water bottles? The disposable ones are out, for so many reasons, but what to use instead?

Adria Vasil's Ecoholic has all this and more, in 370 readable pages. So readable that I started out reading it cover to cover, until I realized this method would kill me.

It's so comprehensive that unless you're a die-hard environmentalist of the no-deodorant-or-packaged-toothpaste variety, you run the risk of realizing that you're doing more things wrong than right. Between your polyurethane-filled mattress, the formaldehyde in your sheets and pillow, and the toxins you've slathered onto your body in the interest of being clean, you should maybe avoid breathing at night, just in case. And yet, last I checked, breathing is still necessary for survival.

This is where baby steps come in. Because, there are solutions to most of these issues, but a person can't tackle them all at once. I can't run out and buy a new mattress right now, but when I do, I'll be glad to have Ecoholic at hand to help me through the process. And in the meantime, I can start looking through my medicine cabinet and under my kitchen sink, and at least switch to an aluminum-free deodorant, right? Ecoholic also provides the motivation for paying that little bit more for biodegradable detergents and so on.

I highly recommend buying Ecoholic as a first step towards better health for yourself and the earth. It's one purchase you won't feel guilty about! It was printed using eco-friendly ink using a low-emissions process, on 100% recycled paper; this saved 212 trees in its first printing as well as over 13 thousand pounds of solid waste, 127 thousand gallons of water, and thirty thousand cubic feet of natural gas.


  1. It sounds like a book that would stress me out- because it would make me want to change everything I use and that's impossible. Maybe a few are practical, though.

  2. I'd like to have a book like this for reference!

  3. This sounds right up my alley! Thanks for the review.

    Deodorant -- I've been using plain ole Arm & Hammer baking soda on my pits for a year and a half now. It blocks odor more effectively than any commercial deodorant -- in fact, the few times I opt to use commercial deodorant, *that* is when my pits smell funky by days' end! I just pat a bit on my pits after I dry off after my shower. Please note it does *not* block wetness -- I live in a climate with 100+ temps all summer long and I definitely perspire and I'm just fine using the baking soda 99% of the time (ie, the wetness is not an issue). One word of caution: I used a generic brand of baking soda at one point, and it was like having sandpaper under my pits. Spring for the "fancy" stuff!