I picked up a copy of Adria Vasil’s Ecoholic at my neighbourhood bookstore, Singing Pebble Books, a couple of weeks ago and the more times I’ve consulted it, the more impressed I’ve been with it. Adria certainly did her homework.
The book is subtitled “Your guide to the most environmentally friendly information, products and services in Canada,” and for the most part it delivers on this promise. The information she provides goes far beyond other guides to eco-friendly living both in terms of the environmental and health impacts of our choices, and in terms of the specifics of how to practice a greener lifestyle.
I admit that I was leery of buying something that purported to be national in scope while proudly bearing its Toronto “NOW column” origins on its cover. But for the most part it doesn’t appear to be biased towards Toronto, covering companies across the nation. However, the city specific appendix for Ottawa was disappointing, barely scratches the surface of what is available here. Fortunately there are other resources on green living in Ottawa ; )
Ecoholic is strongest on those services and products that are available nation-wide, and through the internet. The one purchase I’ve made so far that was a direct result of reading Ecoholic was a Preserve razor made out of recycled yogurt containers in Massachusetts–so not even made in Canada–which I ordered on the web.
The lists of companies and web-addresses that Adria provides will go out of date soon. This is simply the result of the rapid changes in this sector of our society. Beau’s beer, for example, was not included in Adria’s list of organic beers, and I’m being generous in assuming the oversight had to do with the newness of the brewery (it just celebrated its one-year anniversary) and not the distance of the Eastern Ontario company from Toronto. However, even though eco-companies may come and go, because Adria outlines exactly what to look for in a product or service and why, Ecoholic will continue to be a useful reference for anyone interested in making more sustainable choices in their day-to-day living for many years to come.
The book is available at most book stores and at the Ottawa Public Library. While the library has 20 in circulation, be forewarned that there are currently 85 people on the waiting list to borrow a copy. Ecoholic retails at $24.95, which is a bargain for its 340 pages of information printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper.