Thursday, April 19, 2007

Earth Day at Arboreality: Go Green Part II



Green Products and Services

We're celebrating Earth Day at Arboreality by sharing thoughts about a greener lifestyle. Yesterday we talked about some of the (many) terms used today to inform consumers about the "green" qualities of goods and services. Today, I'd like to talk about green goods and services more specifically.

Buying green isn’t just about a fashion trend, it’s about that consumer awareness I mentioned in yesterday's segment on Green Terminology. Consumer awareness speaks to a knowledge of what you’re purchasing, where it comes from, and how it affects you and the planet Earth from conception through creation, right down to its end-use.

While some of this knowledge inevitably comes from our own legwork and desire TO KNOW, a little word-of-mouth never hurts! So in that spirit, allow me to share a few places where I like shop online for organic, green, local, socially-responsible, fair-trade, and otherwise Earth-friendly products.

I am a woman who does not like to shop. Living far from natural markets makes "green shopping" even more of a challenge. Consequently, I do as much shopping online as possible. One added benefit of online shopping is the increased availability of product information. The shops below frequently include product details such as "green" attributes, fair trade information, and artist information.


Kokopelli’s Green Market

I started shopping at Kokopelli’s several years ago. I was looking for a place to purchase natural, biodegradable household products like soaps, toilet paper, and organic oils. This is important to me because I frequently live somewhere remote and off-the-beaten path, so not only are natural products scarce, but buying in bulk helps significantly reduce repeat shops.

Kokopelli’s is one of my regular one-stop stock-shops. This is where I get earth-friendly palm wax votives, incense, coffee, tp, paper towels, oils, shampoo, and soap. This is where I buy
Bi-O-Kleen dish soap and laundry soap in bulk, and any Earth Friendly or ECOVER cleansers I need to stock up on. When I feel like spending more than I should, I can find all kinds of toiletries, hand-crafted goodies, and sweet-smelling oils to make my wallet groan in bittersweet acquiescence.

Mountain Rose Herbs

Now here’s a place that came highly recommended to me. I’ve got a list a mile long of all the good things I want from Mountain Rose Herbs! Bulk organic herbs, oils, clays, and other goodies include just about everything you need to make your potions and concoctions.

In the Garden:
Seeds of Change and Planet Natural

Seeds of Change (in case you’ve never listened to NPR) is a company offering a wide variety of organic and non-GMO products. I use Seeds of Change for my garden seed purchases. Heirloom and organic varieties provide beautiful, earth-conscious yields.

Planet Natural is my other organic gardening stop online. They offer a variety of garden products such as natural pesticides and gardening additives, as well as literature for more specific garden needs. And of course, as if I needed additional temptation, they also have a beautiful collection of seeds and beneficial insects.

Organic Bouquet

In the US we’re observing Administrative Professionals Week (or “Secretary’s Day” if you’re old school like me) this month. Mother’s Day is right around the corner, and who are we kidding anyways? We all like to get flowers! (Yes, even the bitter old Betties who think that cut flowers aren’t nearly as nice as something still alive and growing).

The floral industry, like many other agricultural industries, relies heavily on pesticides and other synthetics for maximum yields. If you want a green option to your flower-giving, I absolutely insist you check out Organic Bouquet. They have beautiful flowers, a wonderful selection, excellent customer service, and a slick, easy-to-use website to boot.

Organic Bouquet doesn’t just stop with organic flowers. If you take some time to review their site, you will learn that they work with growers whose business practices include sound, environmentally-friendly agriculture, and just as importantly: social responsibility.

Rawganique

I love natural fibers and clothing. Even better are fibers that are organic, and which have been cultivated, harvested, spun, fabricated, and sold using socially-responsible business practices.

Rawganique offers an ever-growing selection of organic, natural-fiber clothing for women, men, and children. Among my favorites are their organic cotton socks, hemp t-shirts, and hemp yoga pants. Their organic cotton and hemp towels are fantastic – I can’t tell you how much I love them. Rawganique also offers a variety of other products (and books) for home and hearth.


Gifts and Other Pretty Things: Uncommon Goods and NOVICA

Uncommon Goods offers a variety of gifts from the novelty to the fine art, which includes something for every wallet, and every taste. Usually I poke around and find that "one thing" somewhere that really grooves for gift giving. Some of the products at Uncommon Goods support fair trade, independent artists, and use a variety of recycled materials.

NOVICA is somewhere I go to look and oogle at all the many lovely things, but rarely have the budget to purchase. They have GORGEOUS, handcrafted items for sale from all around the world. You can read about individual artisans and their craft with each product.


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Yes, yes, yes… there are many others, but these include a few of the greats, the tried-and-tested, and the clearly unique.

While it’s easy to see that these products are sometimes more costly, the reason why is even more important to recognize. The additional costs are intended to support and sustain green and fair trade business. Fair wages, organic agriculture, and social responsibility all require just a little bit more from each of us to make a huge difference in the way we engage with the providers of our goods and services.

If you’re like me and working on a budget, I suggest you do as I do: buy what you can according to your budget, and prioritize what "green goods" are most important to you.

Please feel welcome to share all your favorite green, socially-responsible, and otherwise world-friendly goods and services, available online or in your local area. Shine the spotlight on your favorite green businesses, artisans, craftspeople, and growers!

I'd like to wrap up with this thought: you DO NOT have to spend money to go green. Part 3 of our series will share a small assortment of green people, projects, and ideas to help inspire you. A change in mindset can have a far greater impact on the world than shopping bag ever could.

Going green isn't about the label on your shirt, or the sticker on your banana - it's about being conscious of your relationship with the Earth. If you're not too sure where to start... go ask a tree!

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