Review: Green Building Bible (2nd edition, natch)

GreenbibleAs you've probably surmised already, this book is a directory-cum-guide for the wannabe green homeowner and brave (foolhardy?) eco self-builder. I've been reading it for the past few weeks picking out info on water-saving, insulation - all the  exciting things homeowners get involved in - and have to say it's a great book for £10. The structure is confusing and overlapping,  the typography is circa 1974 and the writing style can sometimes be either laborious or too jargon-packed for the layman. However - and that's a manor-sized however - the book is filled with an incredible amount of practical and educational eco building info. The book's directory also seems relatively comprehensive and covers most of the UK. Find out more at the publisher's site, Green Building Press.

August 28, 2005 in Design, furniture & DIY, Energy saving, TV, books, music & film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Who's who of organic food

Org_dir_coverfinalIf you live in Bristol, Ludlow or Hackney, it's stupidly easy finding shops that sell organic grub - there are loads of them. When Spar's as good as it gets, however, buying organic lettuce can be a bit trickier. Handily enough, the Soil Association produces an annual Organic Directory and the next one's out October 3rd. It covers virtually everything - box schemes, farmers's markets, farm shops, normal shops, farms, B&Bs, mail order, restaurants, cafes - and is divided up by region and county. There's also a UK-wide directory filled with purveyors of Hippy Shopper-type products, from health and beauty to clothes and kids' stuff. Bagsy yours from bookshops or the Soil Association shop in October for £9.

August 23, 2005 in Food & drink, TV, books, music & film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No Waste Like Home

NowastelikehomeAt 8.30 on a Friday night I'm presuming you're out drinking organic ale or ethical water in a watering hole, so set those VCRs and Sky+s to record BBC Two at 8.30  next week - the Beeb's got a new eco home show called No Waste Like Home.  The premise is essentially Hippy Shopper meets How Clean is Your House?, except instead of Kim and Aggie advising borderline OCD cleaning, it features the jolly Penny Poyzer (pictured) doling out energy saving tips to wasteful homeowners. The series is accompanied by a book later this month - which I'll be running a review on shortly - plus a useful website with tips, links and a virtual house.

August 20, 2005 in Energy saving, Recycling, TV, books, music & film | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

FairTrade haha heehee

DubblebarProof that FairTrade's hitting the mainstream: Dubble, maker of the fine FairTrade Dubble Bar on the right, is sponsoring this year's Edinburgh Fringe festival with a prize for best comedy duo. There are six acts up for the Dubble Act Award, which is announced this Saturday by Mervyn Stutter. In the meantime, you can sample the super cheap, mass market ethical joys of Dubble down at your local shops and supermarches - find your nearest on Dubble's website. [found via The Scotsman]

August 17, 2005 in Food & drink, TV, books, music & film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The eighties: chemistry sets. Noughties: solar sets?

SolarboxMaybe it was just my hometown, but in the eighties every kid wanted a chemistry set for Christmas. I like to think the Solar Box on the left will become a must-have for kids in the noughties, though that may be tricky as it's not available on Xbox, PS2 or GameCube. If you can drag your little 'uns from the telly for a second, however, it should prove a fun yet cunningly edifying winner - the set contains 210 pieces that go together to make a solar-powered plane, solar windmill and solar fan. Yes, I do want one for myself. I just need to think of a nephew to give me justification. You can get yours for £36.50 from Greenshop in the UK. 

August 3, 2005 in Ethical & green gifts, Kids stuff, TV, books, music & film | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Fruitstock 2005

FruitstockI think Fruitstock could be my ideal festival, even if it is shamelessly corporate. This Saturday's party features a sublime combination - gallons of Innocent smoothies, a massive farmers' market, Nitin Sawhney, Gilles Peterson and a tent full of Neal's Yard natural body goodness. Aside from the chance to see Nitin and his rollcall of spectacular guest singers, going along sends a message to the rest of the food and drink industry that you don't want to stick vats of chemical gloop and unidentifiable stuff down your throat. Plus it's in Regents Park, which is lovely in August. And there's a cake stall whose profits go to a charity for hard-up kids, Chicks.

August 1, 2005 in Food & drink, Shows & events, TV, books, music & film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

The verdict on Leo Hickman's green book

A_good_lifeLeo Hickman nearly lost his wife and his sanity by trying to be greener and more ethical. Happily, he held onto both and finished A Good Life, an awesomely comprehensive and sharply-written book on how to live the dream. It's full of stats, advice, directories and a bewildering level of detail. If FOE's Save Cash and Save the Planet is a book for ethical Padawans, this is the tome for ethical Jedi Masters. Where Save Cash recommends buying seasonal food, A Good Life prints an entire calendar telling you what UK fruit and veg is in season each month (right now it's a berryfest - strawberries, loganberries, tayberries plus a whole load of cabbages and lettuces). Other sections range from home, personal finance and travel to family, community and work. Naturally, it's all printed on recycled paper. For £15, you get a damn fine reference book. A Good Life at The Guardian Bookshop.

July 7, 2005 in TV, books, music & film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Green Building Bible

GreenbuildingbibleIf you're trying to make your house greener, or even going the whole hog and building an eco home from scratch, you're going to need this book. I'm reliably informed by friends that it lives up to its Bible billing, providing an incredible directory of suppliers, materials and information on how to get grants for eco projects. It's now in its second edition, only costs £10 and is backed by impressive reviews at Amazon and here, here and here. You can order direct from Amazon or the Green Building Press's website.

June 25, 2005 in TV, books, music & film | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Harry Potter goes eco

HarrypotterUnless you're a muggle refusenik, statistics show you're going to buy the new Harry Potter book regardless of what I say. But there's now an added reason for finding out whether Harry and Hermione will get it on - the book will be one of the first big titles to be published on 30% Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper. That  means paper from a wood that's being responsibly-managed in a sustainable, green fashion. The move by the book's publisher, Bloomsbury, should put some pressure on other publishers to follow suit. Potter nuts can count down the days to The Half-Blood Prince here, read gossip here and visit JK Rowling's official site here. [found via Phatgnat]

May 25, 2005 in Recycling, TV, books, music & film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

This summer's greenest gigs

Croissantneuf2And I thought Glastonbury was green. This year's Big Green Gathering - a spin-off from Glasto's Green Fields, funnily enough - is green right down to the PA systems, the trinkets at the market stalls and the journey there. Though the festival hasn't confirmed any big name acts, it promises folk, reggae, hip-hop, world and techno on a variety of wind, solar and pedal-powered stages. Aside from the music, there's the chance to carve sculptures, meditate and take part in several dozen hardcore hippy activities. Travel-wise, you can cycle (it's going to have proper lock-ups), share a lift or take one of the laid-on buses. It's at Mendip Hills, just outside Cheddar (west!) running from 3-7 August. Adult tickets are £90 each.

May 2, 2005 in Green gadgets, Renewables, Shows & events, TV, books, music & film, Transport & travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A chicken don't come for free

The_streets1Hero of the hour award goes to Mike "The Streets" Skinner for taking fast food outfit KFC to task over its treatment of chickens. I can't put it much better than  Mike's words in a letter to KFC's boss, David Novak: "It comes as no surprise that KFC’s sales have been in the toilet... Please follow the recommendations of your own animal welfare board and PETA, and bring your company into the 21st Century." Until KFC becomes a paradigm of good animal welfare and organic food, try taking a look at The Organic Directory to find your nearest organic cafe for when you're on the (ahem) streets.

April 13, 2005 in Food & drink, TV, books, music & film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Buy book, live greener - part 2

1903919592Following on from last week's book of green tips, we present you this new one: Leo Hickman's A Good Life. We've not read it yet, but if it's anywhere near as funny and practical as his series for The Guardian, it should be a corker. The poor guy basically invited three 'eco auditors' to come round his house each week and rip his consumer choices to shreds - I seem to recall they were particularly scathing about what he had under the kitchen sink.

March 31, 2005 in TV, books, music & film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

6 Music goes green

GreendaysYou know a movement's going mainstream when the BBC jumps on board. 6 Music, the Beeb's superb digital station for everything that used to be good on Radio One, has just started a week of eco-minded shows called Green Days. As well as having a dedicated website full of green tips and info, the week's regular programmes are being taken over to discuss everything from organic muesli (the Phil Jupitus show) and Environmental Elvis (Gideon Coe) to global warming (Tom Robinson). The fact that 6 Music's about the only UK music station worth listening to these days - aside from XFM and the odd bit of Radio 3 - is an added bonus. If you're not in the UK, you can listen online.

March 29, 2005 in TV, books, music & film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Buy book, save planet and pennies

Savecashandsavetheplan_1Here's a book written by a bunch of people very much after our own heart. As the name suggests, it's a collection of green money-saving tips, ranging from the  familiar (buy lemons for cleaning, recycle, switch to green electricity) to the not-so-obvious (avoid toxin-filled carpets, grow veg, sign up to an ISP with an ethical policy, drive smoothly to avoid excess fuel consumption). It's all written in a non-preachy style and presented in a fairly simple but accessible fashion. The topics cover pretty much every area of life - home, money, work, leisure, activism, shopping. We would suggest rushing out to buy a copy, but the authors would probably prefer it if you checked it out from your local library, bought it second-hand or borrowed it from a friend to cut down on waste. The book has its own website with daily tips.

March 24, 2005 in TV, books, music & film | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Bob to save the planet

Bob When we were kids, Captain Planet was the TV hero who was going to save the world from eco disaster. For today's littl' uns it's Bob the Builder. The ever-chirpy chappy and his retinue of - slightly sinister, we've always thought - smiley vehicles are due to spend his next series building a green town   constructed from local materials and sensitively designed to blend into its bucolic surroundings.  It's on BBC2 and Cbeebies from Tuesday, 3rd May (time TBC). Bob's also got a DVD out on 16th May that explains how he gets to his new town.

March 15, 2005 in TV, books, music & film | Permalink | Comments (0)