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August 2009
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Kicking Off our Third Year!
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Amazingly, it's been two years since we first opened our doors here on the Commons. It is due to your support that we've been able to reach this important milestone in the midst of a very challenging economic period. What we really need going forward is to hear your feedback on what we're doing well or not so well, and what new products or services you'd like to see from us. At some point I'll get a real survey together, but meanwhile, please email me with any thought. Thanks so much for your continued support! See below for a small token of our gratitude...
Green is Cool 4 Back 2 School

peace girl lunch bagThis year's crop of green school/office supplies has a lot more color and design sense than in years past - more small companies are jumping into the game with fresh ideas and graphics. No longer do green supplies come only in brown or beige...
From recycled paper notebooks, agendas, sketchbooks and binders to pencils and CD sleeves, we're ready to reduce, reuse and recycle your reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic.

Lunchware has emerged as a strong niche for us, as we seem to be getting known as a resource with cool gear for packing school/office lunches or picnics with less trash and more eco-chic style. New this year are reusable sandwich and snack pouches, food-grade stainless steel water bottles with beautiful designs, several new styles of lunch bags in sustainable fabrics (see "peace girl" design above), organic napkins, and more. Over the next several weeks we expect a few new additions to arrive, so check in to see what is hot for lunch.
Just Say No to False Dilemmas!
Green Philosophy Dept.
plato painting detail

I've been noticing a lot of these (also known as false dichotomies) recently in writings on sustainability and climate change. They are of the form, "Pursuing solution or change X is pointless (or a distraction) because it would be more effective to pursue Y". It seems to be a natural human tendency to oversimplify a situation and reduce the solutions we will pursue down to one or two. This is presumably because it can be overwhelming to consider or "wrap one's mind around" a diverse set of responses. For example, one blogger may argue that personal changes to reduce one's individual eco-footprint are a useless distraction from the much more important task of political activism (or vice versa!). Other writers may spend a lot of energy "debunking" green solutions, e.g. by finding imperfections in CFL bulbs or hybrid cars, and thus making the perfect the enemy of the good.
   It seems to me that there will be no one (or several) silver bullet solutions to problems like climate change, and we therefore need to collectively steer our "Titanic" culture to safety by degrees, through millions of small actions. Each person will have her own talents to contribute - some may be effective at lobbying Congress, while others will quietly implement recycling in their workplace or composting in their school. IMHO, we need to recognize this typical either-or mentality when we see it, and remind each other that as a society we need to do X and Y and Z (and fast), each in accordance with our abilities, in order to collectively ensure a livable world for our descendants.
-- Joe
Annie B. Bond at TCPL 8/27
Green Home Expert & Author
annie bond book photo

The Tompkins County Public Library will host nationally-recognized green living expert and best-selling author Annie Bond for the presentation "The Ten Chemicals to Keep out of Your Home," Thursday, August 27 at 6:00 PM in the BorgWarner Community Room.

Bond used her own experience with chemical poisoning to launch a campaign against hidden pollutants. Her first book, Clean and Green, was a national bestseller and helped meet the needs of thousands of families searching for healthy, non-toxic alternatives to everyday products.

We sell several of Annie's books and especially like her recipes for DIY natural home maintenance supplies. Attend Annie's presentation, then head over to HGH (use the convenient new stoplight across from Cinemapolis!) for a signed copy of one of her books (we're working to get more copies in on time);
marlon photo
Spotlight: White Lotus Home

This past weekend Michelle and I were able to visit White Lotus in northern New Jersey. The small White Lotus crew makes futons, mattresses, pillows, comforters and more for us, all handcrafted in a workshop about 200 miles from Ithaca. We toured the facility, including the clean room where the mattresses are assembled, and met their small crew of dedicated artisans. This is clearly no sweatshop - one of the seamstresses is the mother of owner Marlon Pando! Marlon is committed to sustainable business practices and moving all materials in the direction of organic, domestic, and fair trade. Because organic cotton is fairly expensive, Marlon provides a "green" cotton alternative (minimal processing, and without chemical treatments to the raw cotton or fabric). This makes it possible for us to offer an all-natural and chemical free twin bed starting at $259 (tell your favorite college freshman!). How many products do we come across these days that are handmade in the USA of domestic materials? And affordable?! Working with small, ethical companies like White Lotus is a big piece of what makes running our business rewarding and worthwhile.
Thanks for reading. Hope the rest of your summer is sublime. If you haven't had a chance to stop in and see our new smaller space and the changing character of the store, please stop in soon.
Save 20%
Second Birthday Special

As a thank you for helping us reach this milestone, this coupon is good for 20% off your next purchase. Applies to any non-sale items under $500. Stock up on back to school supplies, or shop early for that green holiday gift...
Offer Expires: August 31, 2009