Category: Resources & Tools

Green America: Guide to Ending SweatshopsToday’s post comes from Green America, a U.S.-based non-profit dedicated to creating a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. I wanted to highlight the list they’ve compiled on the sweatshop labor that makes the shoes you most likely wear:

Footwear can be one of the trickiest parts of building a
sweatshop-free wardrobe. Hundreds of shoe companies have shifted their operations overseas in recent years, and many have little or no oversight for their supply chains.

We used two of Green America’s online tools ( and
to build this list of “leaders and laggards” in the athletic-shoe industry. Click the links on the company names [t]o learn more about the conventional companies at Responsible Shopper, or to find the green
businesses’ listings in the Green Pages.

See the list at Green America: Sweatshops: Sneakers, Leaders and Laggards (Summer 2008).


TerraCycle Zero Waste boxes allows you to collect waste and recycle it into new products.

TerraCycle Zero Waste boxes allows you to collect waste and recycle it into new products.

Mainstream conversations about “living green” or being sustainable usually revolve around reducing our footprint on the environment. (The idea that humans need to minimize our presence, as though we’re some kind of disease, separate from our environment, is another blog post for another day). I find it problematic because that way of thinking is inherently antithetical to sustainability: reducing the devastating impact of our current consumption simply means accepting the status quo and prolonging the inevitable. True sustainability means transforming our footprint so that it is not a burden to our environment. Continue reading

Golden flax seeds

One of my favorite handcrafted, organic hair and body product businesses (Brendita’s BodyWorks) seems to have gone under. She used to make hair gel that I really liked and I recently needed more of. I like supporting small businesses like Brendita’s, but so often their products contain ingredients from animals or leave lots of buildup in my locs (despite smelling delicious), so I tend to make my own stuff.

I’ve heard great things about flax seed as a hair gel, and found this recipe from Crunchy Betty: Homemade Hair Care: Flax Seed Hair Gel . This particular recipe suggests adding aloe vera gel, which I have growing in abundance, so I’ll have to try blending that in. Commenters suggested using brown flax seed for a larger gel yield, and cooking the seeds until they form a thick, but not (yet) gel consistency: it thickens as it cools.

Source: Sweet Earth Chocolates

Source: Sweet Earth Chocolates

The issue of slavery in cocoa production has gained lots of awareness in recent years, but some people are still are not aware (or don’t care) that children and slaves in West Africa are forced to harvest and process cocoa. You just might be giving your loved one a gift of slavery.

Below are a bunch of old posts of mine on chocolate and slavery—perfect for one of the biggest chocolate holidays. Check out the gift-giving guide for some last-minute Valentine’s Day gifts that doesn’t support slavery.

HappyCow: the healthy eating guideYou must forgive my sporadic posting…I’ve been travelling all over the place and working and hardly have time to catch my breath, let alone post something thoughtful here. But, as I’m sitting at the computer searching for a good place to buy food and groceries, it dawned on me that I should share what I’ve been using for the past few weeks. Introducing HappyCow, a site which bills itself as “The most trusted vegetarian and vegan restaurant guide since 1999″. Basically, it’s like Yelp but without meat—it’s directory of restaurants and health food stores spans the globe. But it’s only as good as its users make it, so if you know of good veg-friendly restaurants, cafés, and stores near you, head over there and start posting. I’ve found some great places to eat while abroad thanks to HappyCow.

Source: Sweet Earth Chocolates

I know Fair Trade USA is kind of suspect, but I thought their gift guide might still be useful for folks looking for last-minute Valenine’s Day gifts and somewhat new to the concept of ethical goods. Take a look at it to learn where you can find ethically-sourced roses, chocolate, wine, and clothing, among other things: Fair Trade Certified Valentines Day Gift Guide.

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