Eco CornerBy Jacob Reiner
Many health and cosmetic companies claim to be environmentally friendly, but Weleda is one company whose green roots run deep. Founded by Rudolph Steiner (Waldorf School founder and Biodynamic farming originator) in 1921, Weleda uses organic herbs from fair-trade partners and all-natural fruit and flower extracts, clays and roots.
In addition to skin and baby care products, they produce thousands of natural medicines, creams and homeopathic remedies for allergies, stomach ailments, rashes and burns, and even a mistletoe-derived cancer treatment. Weleda has five Natural Care Studios shops in Japan (ISO 14001 certified). Check out their Web site for details.
Green-wash (green’wash’, -wôsh’): verb: the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.
According to a recent report by Terra Choice Environmental Marketing, only 2% of “green” products on the market are legit in their claims to be environmentally friendly. That means 98% of eco goods are “Greenwashed” with eco phrases and brown paper packaging to make them appear more ecologically safe than they are.
There are plenty of good companies out there who need our support, so examine the eco packaging and read the fine print. Look for certified organic, sustainable harvest and fair-trade marks. Also, read the ingredients—If you can’t pronounce it, think twice.
Stop complaining there are no organics in Japan and start having them delivered straight to your front door. Pal System provides free delivery of seasonal veggies, fish, kitchen goods, cleaning fluids and more. They have a decent selection of organic and yuki-sabai (low chemical) produce. Unfortunately, the Web site is only in Japanese so, if you don’t have a partner to help you, it is the perfect excuse for an online shopping date with someone who can translate.
Back in 2005 when we started the Eco Corner, it was difficult to track down investment opportunities in sustainable business and renewable energies. Now there are so many it is hard to know which to choose, and the numbers look good. According to Business Week, in 2009 certain green mutual funds outperformed the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index by three to one.
With press like that, investors will flock, but investments may become over-valued and create a green bubble. If you are thinking of putting your savings somewhere “sustainable,” now is still a good time to get in as the bubble rises, but plan to pull out in a year or so if things start getting too close to boiling. Check out the Green Chopsticks link, start researching and get in the green.
Green Your Classroom
This great Web site offers eco-oriented ESL lessons for kids and adults. A variety of lesson plans and resources are downloadable free, such as Earth Day flash cards, Ecological Food Choice worksheets, 3R recycling activities, red and “green” Christmas crafts, songs and more. Check it out. Your students will thank you. The birds and bees will too.