By Sara Bliss | October 13, 2008 | Lifestyle
1. SLOAN RANGER
We’re slipping Sloan Barnett’s life-changing book Green Goes with Everything: Simple Steps to a Healthier Life and a Cleaner Planet (Atria) into everyone’s stocking this year. Barnett provides fact-filled motivation for greening every aspect of your life, from lipstick (it may contain lead, a known neurotoxin) to floor cleaner (the government does not require most chemicals to be listed on cleaning products, and the majority have never been safety-tested). Barnett goes a bit overboard in her love for Shaklee, her husband’s company, but does a great job of highlighting toxic substances to avoid while providing simple eco-alternatives. Available at bookstores citywide.
2. A COMPLETE ECO TRIP
Want to give only green this season? Two online retailers make it effortless with eco-chic gift baskets for each person on your list. For everyone from the gourmand to the golfer, Fresh Unlimited offers an array of luxe organic and free-trade greentheme baskets. Visit freshunlimited.com.
And holistic health counselor and nutritionist Randi Luckman’s Health Gifts features gift baskets filled with herbal remedies, organic teas, antioxidant-boosting sweets and snacks, and ultrapure balms and lotions. Visit healthgifts.com.
3. TREE HUGGER
Planting a tree is the ultimate gift for that ecoconscious friend (and the environment, too). So contribute to Million Trees NYC—the city’s bold initiative to plant a million new trees by 2017. For a $100 donation, the group will plant a sapling in one of the five boroughs. Up your gift to $1,250 and they’ll plant a flowering tree in a community garden and include a personalized plaque. Visit milliontreesnyc.org.
For a more international arboreal outreach, just $30 to Oxfam will put 50 young, often fruit-bearing trees in the ground in countries like China and Ethiopia. Or, for $500, Oxfam will plant a forest, or 1,000 trees. Sure beats a scarf. Oxfam, 800-850-7608; oxfamamericaunwrapped.com.
When you’re not sipping cocktails made with organic alcohol and freshly squeezed juice at Greenhouse, Manhattan’s first eco-friendly nightclub, you can be getting down to Kanye on sustainable bamboo floors beneath ultra-energysaving LED lights. The just-opened Soho hot spot also boasts green fabrics, recycled-glass cocktail tables, and low-flow loos. So while you may still have a raging hangover and multiple blisters the next morning, at least you did right by the planet. Greenhouse, 150 Varick Street, 212-807-7000.
PARTY ON, EARTH!
Event-planner extraordinaire David Stark, known for his inventive green galas for clients like the Cooper-Hewitt, shares seven ideas for throwing a sustainable shindig.
1. Patronize vendors who sell locally grown flowers—why use buds shipped from Hawaii when you have local seasonal options?
2. Consider choosing decorating materials or items that can be donated to someone in need after the event.
3. Be creative with décor—I’ve made Versailles-style topiaries out of shredded paper.
4. Although it’s tempting, don’t go disposable—pick inexpensive boxes of stemware that can be reused.
5. My rule of thumb is that if it can hold liquid, it’s a vase—I’ve used everything from painted Poland Spring water bottles to empty tomato cans.
6. Have your centerpiece do double duty as dessert—hide a cake beneath what looks like a beautifully wrapped gift.
7. You can also create a centerpiece out of edibles: A dozen pristine eggs make beautiful “jewelry” for the table—and then become the next morning’s breakfast. Visit davidstarkdesign.com.
photograph by Gustavo Campos (STARK)