Eco CornerBy Jake Reiner
Choices for Sustainable Lifestyles
Solar Light Cap
We all love those little Petzl lights but, admit it, carrying extra batteries and carrying out spent ones to recycle is extra weight that could be used for chocolate. And finding a place to recycle the toxic batteries is an expedition in itself. The solution: Solar Powered Light Cap by the 2C Light Company. This lightweight hat has two LEDs subtly fitted under the brim and sacrifices nothing in style or comfort. The waterproof solar cell is integrated into the brim and provides three hours of light after a full day of sun. Available online for ¥4,980 in a variety of styles such as baseball, cyclist, army and tennis visor.
Icon Personal Aircraft
What will eco tourism look like in 20 years? Will burning all that fossil fuel flying to Hawaii in a jumbo jet and driving an SUV into the mountains for an afternoon of bird watching still make you an eco warrior? Small personal aircraft have been a dream since flight began, and the Icon A5 may finally be making that dream a reality. Able to fold down to be towed on a trailer, this lightweight flyer is happy on land and sea as well as in the air and will get you into pristine environments no cruise ship will go. We are hoping to see the solar powered electric version soon but, in the meantime, it is never too early to start working on your pilot’s license.
Vinegar has been around for 10,000 years and was commercially produced nearly 2,000 years before Christ. Far more than a flavor for your salad, vinegar is one of the world’s best natural cleaners. It reportedly kills 95 percent of mold and bacteria, whitens laundry, disinfects toys and countertops, cleans wounds, polishes chrome and even removes mud stains. Best of all, using it instead of anti-bacterial soaps keeps those harsh chemicals from our waterways and may help stave off the evolution of the antibiotic resistant super bug we keep hearing about.
Verified Eco Friendly
A few short years ago we were dying to find any organic products on store shelves, but suddenly there are so many “eco” goods it’s hard to know what's really produced green. The “Eco-Cert” label is an internationally recognized standards organization from Europe whose oval logo is common in Japan, and this seal on a product means it meets high standards of health, safety and environmental responsibility. While no brand is perfect, the Eco-Cert endorsement is proof a company is making an effort to be more sustainable and ethical. From food to cosmetics to textiles, keep an eye out for the mark. If you have a product, contact them to see about getting yours labeled too.
One of the pioneers of the macrobiotic movement in Japan, Deco Nakajima, and her husband, Everett Brown, have been running a delightful little farm and café in Chiba since 1999. They regularly run farming events using heirloom seeds, natural cooking classes, bodywork seminars, children’s events and more. The café sits in a delightfully reformed antique farm building, and the menu is well worth a day trip from Tokyo or, better yet, book one of their tree houses and stay for a night. It is a little oasis away from home, and the yard is like a mini-petting zoo, with a big family of dogs, cats, goats and ducks co-existing and happy to make new friends. See their Website for open hours and details on their internship and “woofing” programs.