Eco CornerBy Jake Reiner
Worldwide Farm Volunteers
Looking for an affordable eco adventure on your next vacation? Try WWOOF-ing! No, you don’t need to get down on all fours and bark like a dog. WWOOF is the worldwide network of Willing Workers on Organic Farms. Members pay about $40 and receive a membership card and a list of farms and organic businesses all over the world that accept volunteers and provide room and board.
Milk cows in Niigata, pick wine grapes in Tuscany, shear sheep in New South Wales or make strawberry jam in China. Work four-to-six hours a day, eat great food, learn a lot and make friends with all kinds of like-minded people.
Begun in 1971, WWOOF is well organized and has an amazing variety of destinations from which to choose. Detailed descriptions are on line to help you pick the right place.
Adidas Bamboo Clothing
Bamboo is one of the most versatile and eco-friendly materials available. Traditionally grown on family-run, sustainable farms, it is a fast-growing, renewable resource with amazing strength and durability. In addition to being used in flooring, furniture and car dashboards, bamboo is now being used to make naturally anti-microbial fabrics and clothing.
Bamboo fiber is reportedly softer than cotton and has a natural sheen and feel similar to silk or cashmere. Check out Vickerey’s bamboo, soy and organic cotton line and Adidas’ line of bamboo warm-up and maternity wear.
Bring Your Own Chopsticks
With rising seas and epic storms, worrying about disposable chopsticks may seem trivial but, here in Asia, we use once and throw out billions of hashi every year. Some Chinese companies require their employees to bring a set every day—three strikes and you’re fired!
Simply remembering to put a set in your bag when you leave the house helps save thousands of acres of forest and prevents huge piles of trash. Equally important is the impact you have on restaurant staff and your dining companions when you decline to use disposable sticks and proudly pull out your own custom set.
You open people’s minds to the problem and empower them to believe that each individual can make a difference. It also makes a great gift with a nice case. Encourage your friends to do their bit.
Chemical Free living
True or false? Your home and office are full of toxic vapors. True! That “new car” smell we all love so much is actually formaldehyde and a host of other carcinogens given off by new carpets, furniture and paints. Asthma and skin ailments are often caused and exacerbated by these man-made materials, but there are now many healthy alternatives.
A quick Internet search will uncover organic cotton couches and bedding, pure wool carpets, hemp wall coverings, bamboo flooring, non-toxic paints and much more. Online ordering is easy and shipping rates are reasonable.
Start with a throw rug, or go for the whole eco-makeover. Spending a little more now will save you thousands in health care costs down the road.
Crayon House Omotesando
If you haven’t already visited the Crayon House organic shopping complex, put it on the top of your list. Just a three-minute walk from Omotesando Station, this health oriented mother-and-child book shop and toy store also carries many environment-friendly health, beauty and cleaning products.
Surrounding a lush courtyard, the basement of Crayon House has an organic vegetable shop and two separate natural-food restaurants; one cooking traditional Japanese dishes and the other a French-style menu.
Open daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Tel: (03) 3406-6371