Bamboo Buyer Beware: Green Decisions Aren't Always Clear-Cut

We paid a visit recently to one of my favourite toy stores in the whole world, Hot Toads.  The physical store itself isn’t all that impressive — it’s a small, concrete-floored basement room in a medical building, with sparsely-stocked wooden shelves, draped with puppets and stuffed toys hanging by clothespins from simple lines strung across the room.  The back wall features a working 10-foot long model train table made entirely out of Lego.

But it’s not about the decor — it’s what they carry that makes this place special.  Plan ToysHaPeSchylling.  Plastic toys made from recycled milk jugs.  Non-toxic wooden toys.  Toys intended to enrich the mind and body of your children, not just feed into consumerism and branding.

And for me, it is a local store, within driving distance, right here in Atlantic Canada.  Unfortunately for my American friends reading this, while they do take online orders, Hot Toads only delivers within Canada.  Sorry, eh?

One of the many cool items they have is a line of large toy cars called E-Racers, from HaPe’s Bamboo Collection.  I had a nice chat with the fellow working there, and learned that apparently these were the first toys to be made from bamboo.  I was surprised that, while bamboo has been used for clothes, cutlery and dinnerware, flooring and even wallpaper for some time, the idea of bamboo toys was still relatively new.

He also filled me in on a fact I had previously been unaware of.  Of course, bamboo is the new golden child of the eco movement: it grows easily and quickly without pesticides, and is therefore a readily renewable resource with low environmental impact.  Bamboo wood is attractive and sturdy, and bamboo cloth is soft and has natural antibacterial properties.  As worldwide consumer demand for bamboo has increased dramatically in recent years, some companies have taken to clear-cutting hardwood forests in order to make room for bamboo plantations.  And despite bamboo’s rapid growth, difficulty in seed propagation combined with over-harvesting has even threatened some species to near-extinction.

Ugh.

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Win Big for Your Eco Product Knowledge

huddler-contest.jpgHave you joined Huddler yet?

The EcoGeek calls Huddler “The Finest Green Shopping Community So Far“. What is Huddler?

Launched in March of 2008, Huddler is a network of niche product review communities. By focusing each “Huddle” on specific areas of interest, Huddler hopes to provide a home for the most knowledgeable, passionate consumers to meet one another and share what they know in an interface that even novice internet users can take advantage of. By integrating custom built discussion forums, wikis, product reviews, image hosting, and more, Huddler not only helps you decide what to buy, but how to better use what you already own. Huddle together. Shop Better.

Huddler is holding a contest to celebrate its launch. Simply join Huddler, share you knowledge of the green products you use, and win! “From hybrid vehicles to solar arrays, CFL bulbs to green cleaners, efficient appliances to geothermal heat pumps, Huddler wants to know about your experiences and help you learn from like-minded peers.” You could win a green prize pack containing: [Read more…]

Has Your Child's School Copy Machine Caught Global Warming Disease?

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Update 3-19-08: Rumors of an outbreak now spreading to schools in Florida and Maine. Visit Treehugger for the latest news on this crisis!

Recently, schools across the country have been experiencing increased absences due to a nasty strain of the flu. It appears that children and teachers aren’t the only ones falling ill, but school office equipment has succumb to a different, common disease.
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Fighting Global Warming with the Left Brain

I’ve been a a fitness and wellness professional for 18 years and I believe that tools we employ to improve personal health can also be employed for planetary health. Measuring progress through fitness assessment and “proving” that actions are producing results is huge motivator. Seeing empiricle data can help solidify new habits.

Although I am a right-brain, creative type, I enjoy measuring results as much as the next person. This past year, It seemed like everywhere I went, someone was handing me a Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb (CFL) and explaining how this 15-second change will remove CO2 from the air and fight global warming. That is why I got a kick out of One Billion Bulbs.

One Billion Bulbs Statistics

Altough there are other sites that will calculate your savings if you switch to CFLs, One Billion Bulbs lets you form a group and measure the results of making the switch. [Read more…]