On Monday I posted up the first part of my green gift guide of things to buy after the holidays when prices are cheap and sales are plentiful. Here's the second part. Enjoy!
Tupperware? What!? Yup, Tupperware is actually kind of green. Yes — I'll give you that it's made from plastic made from oil, but when used right, Tupperware can cut down on a lot of waste. I attended an event for green bloggers this summer and was given a couple pieces of Tupperware to take home with me to test out. Skeptical at first — me not being the most kitchen-inclined guy around — I was pleasantly surprised to find myself getting hooked on using the few pieces I brought home. One of my favorite pieces is a single sandwich holder that let me stop using the aluminum foil I was previously using to wrap my kids' school lunch sandwiches while another piece is perfect for packing away dinner leftovers for tomorrow's lunch (one of the benefits of working from home is having access to the kitchen).
At that same green blogger event, I also sampled organic wine packed in eco-friendly packaging powered by wind made by Yellow+Blue. All of their wines are certified organic throughout their entire lifecycle — from growing to winemaking to processing. Y+B wine comes packaged in innovate boxes called Tetra Paks that are light, efficient and biodegradable. Sadly you can't buy Y+B wine over the interwebs, but you can find it in your local booze shop. I found three places within a 10-minute walk from me here in Portland, Maine. Sure, I probably won't be able to find this on sale post-Christmas, but I can apply some of the scratch I'm saving on other purchases to fund a little night time vino cheer. Salut!
The Elenco Snap Circuits Alternative Energy Kit is a perfect post-holiday gift for the kids, both young and old, in your life. The kit comes with pieces and components that can be assembled into various gadgets, machines, and other projects. Using the kit, kids can build their own radio, wind turbine, solar panel or hybrid battery system. The kit comes with well-illustrated instructions that describe both how to build it as well as the principles that make it work. The Alternative Energy Kit is compatible with Elenco's other electric kits like the SC-300. The world needs more green engineers, and it's toys like the Snap Kit that are going to inspire tomorrow's crop.
Finally, there are the books. I love books in a big way — always have. One of the nice perks of being a green blogger is that I get to read a lot of environmentally themed books. Here are a few of the best ones I've read this year.
I'll start with two great books by my friend and pro green blogger Brian Clark Howard of the Daily Green: "Green Lighting" and "Geothermal HVAC: Green Heating and Cooling." Brian teamed up with engineer and entrepreneur Jay Egg to write "Geothermal HVAC," which goes into great depth on the ins and outs of building a geothermal heating and cooling system. Brian is a great writer and he and Jay did a great job on selecting supporting graphics and images. Modern geothermal systems are complex, and it's nice to have pros like Brian and Jay out there to make it easier to understand.
For "Green Lighting," Brian worked with engineer Bill Brinksy and green lighting and energy expert Seth Leitman to craft another well-illustrated and written book on greener lighting choices. It's pretty important that we figure out, as a society, how to light the night without completely melting the polar ice caps, and a vital step is to inform people of their greener options. This book does a great job of doing just that. Buy these two books.
Green foodie and and self described "forest-dwelling, jam-making, chicken-tendering, butter-churning, bee-keeping author" Ashley English is one of my favorite green writers and wrote two great books about living a life closer to nature, "Keeping Chickens" and "Canning & Preserving." Both are beautifully designed and laid out with lush, full-color photographs and illustrations. Ashley knows her stuff and you will too after reading her books. You can follow Ashley online on Twitter or on her blog, Small Measure.
"Merchants of Doubt" is a fantastic read that outlines the machinations behind the professional denial-creation industry that is funded to cast doubt on the solid science behind things like global warming and tobacco use. Authors Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway do a great job of pulling together all the threads to show how professional doubt-mongers sow lies and misrepresentations at the financial behest of giant industries like Big Tobacco, Big Oil and Big Coal.
"Who Owns the World" is a good read because it gets you thinking about something you've probably never given any time to ponder. Who really owns the world? The answers may surprise you. (Did you know that Queen Elizabeth owns one-sixth of the land surface of the Earth?)
"Post Carbon Reader" is a collection of essays by prominent authors and green thinkers like Bill McKibben and David Orr edited by Richard Heinberg and Daniel Lerch. I'm still making my way through all the essays, but so far I've found a lot of great work that has pushed and challenged my thinking in regards to how we're going to respond to climate change.
Have a great Christmas and a happy New Year and happy post-holiday deal hunting! May the force be with you.
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