More Choice For Earth Day ’09

Shopping Green Made Easy

By Janine Theriault, Staff Writer

MONTREAL(RPRN) 02/04/09 – Since Earth Day’s inception on April 22, 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, much has changed: different leaders have come and gone, areas of concern for the environment have changed (in 1969 the New York Times ran an article on the growing concern over “Global Cooling”), and the means by which this information is distributed has most certainly been revolutionized by the prevalence of the web. This last transformation can be a boon for people wanting to bring more “green” into their lives, both in terms of keeping informed and shopping more sustainably.

The internet is awash with websites aimed at supplying the on-line earth-conscious shopper, running the gamut from recycled material doggy collars to recycled gold, from discount coupons to haute couture.

Many grass roots eco-shopping sites abound for shoppers’ satisfaction, predominately founded by concerned citizens who set their entrepreneurial skills to the vast environmental task. Sites like We Buy It Green (http://www.webuyitgreen.com), the Green Store (http://www.greenstore.com), and myEARTH360 (http://www.myearth360.com), are case-in-point examples of small sites carrying only enviro-friendly products, many of which concurrently address issues of fair trade and social justice.

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Lynn Hasselberger, a stay-at-home mom and founder of myEARTH360, says of her site, “If it doesn’t help one to reduce, reuse and/or recycle, you won’t find it on the website”. Jay Kilby, a teacher and the creator/owner of WeBuyItGreen, advocates a three-pronged approach for customers with an “eco-library, green neighborhood center, and green and fair trade directory”. The cumulative goal of this approach, according to Kilby’s website, is “to harness this (marketplace) power by giving the socially responsible consumer the communication and information tools needed to make choices that are better for all of us”. The site’s green and fair trade shopping section is quite unique in its allowing consumers to post questions for merchants before they buy. The site even has a coupon section, for those who are both eco-and-econo shoppers.

Niche green shopping sites abound, spanning some of the bigger milestones in life, from finding that perfect engagement ring (http://www.greenkarat.com), to finding green baby products (http://www.thegreenmama.com, see the green resources page).

Even high fashion wants in on the enviro-action. In a March teleconference interview between The International Herald Tribune and Stella McCartney for the Sustainable Luxury conference, McCartney shared some of her company’s strategies for greening the luxury shopper.

“We have stores, for instance, around the world and the majority of them are powered by wind power. Our headquarters is powered by wind. We have bags that are all recycled paper; we have biodegradable corn bags; we’re just very conscious — we just think like that.” McCartney offers even more for the shopper who wants to buy top of the line products and perhaps even eat them too, with an organic clothing collection and a new line of organic and ecological skincare products, replete with ECOCERT certification (http://www.stellamccartneycare.com).

All in all, there is a surplus of choice in environmentally conscious shopping – now, thanks to the internet, widely available to everyone – regardless of budget, interest, or location. This leaves little excuse to not begin a more sustainable lifestyle, for Earth Day and the other 364 days of the year spent on Earth.


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