These 7 gifts are perfect for nature lovers

Give back to nature by helping restore forests, oceans and wildlife. Your contribution will boomerang back in countless ways, curbing climate change, teaching kids about the outdoors, feeding endangered monarch butterflies, making space for whales and even helping tree farmers. All you’ll get is that lousy T-shirt. (But this year, they’re actually pretty cool.)

The gift of cell phones may radiate more than love

ell phones and tablet computers may be coveted holiday gifts, but parents should consider the potential health effects of these devices before giving them to children, according to the Environmental Health Trust (EHT) and Healthy Child Healthy World (HCHW) , two educational groups focused on environmental health…. Manufacturer safety warnings, the groups note, are simply not sufficient to protect children because they were designed to meet a test for a “typical user” who never was typical:

Ready to gobble? Heritage turkeys can provide a healthful main course for Thanksgiving

People who do not want to support the cruel and dangerous conditions of industrial meat production, but aren’t necessarily looking to slice meat out of their diet, can find many sources for a better-raised turkey — or ham — this holiday.

Bronze breasted Organic, pastured, heritage turkey from the Elmwood Stock Farm in Kentucky.

Farmer’s Markets and the online seller Local Harvest feature dozens of producers with home-grown flocks that were raised on pasture and treated humanely. These smaller-scale farms can verify that they have not packed turkeys into giant sheds where they were deprived of sunlight and space to move around, as has become the norm in industrial production. (See our story on CAFO: The tragedy of industrial animal factories.)

Don’t let Halloween mask unfair labor practices

If you want to act on your concern for the environment and human rights this Halloween, give treats that come from reputable local or Fair Trade vendors.

That could mean foregoing some familiar brands.

Hershey’s, under fire for some time over allegations that it fails to ensure its cocoa sources treat labor fairly, came out dead last this week on the “Get Child Labor Out of Your Chocolates Scorecard” by Green America.

Swap Halloween costumes: A frighteningly sensible green idea

Imagine Halloween without the costumes. What a charmless, dull and possibly dangerous event it would be. Kids Openly Begging for Treats Day could lead inter-generational strife. Marauding Tots Pressing For Candy would be a PR nightmare, and a clunky acronym. You can see how it could get out of hand.

And yet, Tinkerbell, this Halloween costume business sure could use some re-tinkering.

Too many Halloween costumes, not to mention those buckets of plastic spiders, bats and eyeballs, turn out to be single-use items. Those plastic gee-gaws create about 10 seconds of amusement. A costume is good for a night or two.

Nine ideas for a green Halloween

Skip the plastic pumpkin -- eco-friendly bags are he way to go.


Planning a low-impact, money-saving Halloween is so much more rewarding than trying to turn some other holidays green. You don’t have to argue with relatives about whether or not to have a turkey, or disappoint the kids with gifts to humanitarian causes in their names at Christmas. All you really need to do is think creatively, get holistic about your pumpkin, maybe dust off the sewing machine and take it easy at the store. Here are our best nine ideas to help you get started.

Travelocity: Green hotels get better reviews

Travelocity reports that consumers are rating green hotels higher, on average, than their non-green counterparts. When it recently examined the five-smiley face ratings its users apply to review the hotels they’ve stayed at, it found that overall, consumers were smiling more about the hotels listed as green. Consumers gave 83 percent of “non-green” hotels three or more smiley faces, but they gave “a whopping 94 percent of green hotels three smiley faces or more,” according to a Travelocity news release.

Really green Christmas gifts for 2008

By Barbara Kessler and Julie Bonnin
Green Right Now

Tis’ the season to be…conservative? Afraid so. As the economic downturn and the need to better care for our planet converge into a new aesthetic, we are facing an unusual holiday season. We can show we care with holiday gifts that help us all to consume less.

This might seem the antithesis of consumerism, too bah humbug to be any fun. But we think you’ll see that we’re talking about smarter consuming; buying durable goods that cut out the disposables, forsaking chemical-laden items and making some of your own stuff, whether its soda or energy. Read on:

Don’t run afoul on Thanksgiving, buy humanely raised, veg-fed turkeys

By Barbara Kessler
If you’re planning a traditional Thanksgiving, you’ll be needing a bird. This year, organic and pastured turkeys are more available than ever. Check your local grocery now, and get on a list if need be.

Here are some places to look for a turkey that’s been raised on organic feed, and allowed a more humane existence.

  • Local Harvest — If you’re into local heirloom turkeys or other pedigree varieties you may already be too late! But don’t beat yourself up over it, local farmers in Texas have told us that many connoisseurs place their orders months ahead of time. Still, there’s a flock of healthier birds waiting.