1 December 2008 — Issue #50 Editor: Michael J. Ross
In this special holiday shopping issue of the newsletter, we focus on some of the many new members to the growing PristinePlanet.com community. All of us at PristinePlanet.com extend to you, our much-appreciated readers, best wishes for the holidays. Have a "green" Christmas!
The human skin absorbs an astonishingly large number of chemicals with which it comes in contact — including such skin irritants as dyes, parabens, preservatives, phthalates, sulfates, fragrances, talc, artificial oils, and other substances — many of which are considered toxic, if not carcinogenic. As a result, one might assume that the ingredients of cosmetics would be kept safe through regulatory oversight, either governmental or industry-led. However, there is no such monitoring in the United States or in most other countries. Consumers should thus be concerned and vigilant about the toxicity of the skin care products that they use, including cosmetics. A terrific source of more healthful alternatives is Eve Organics, whose offerings are certified organic — in many cases even certified vegan — and free of all toxic substances. The firm, located in Macomb, Michigan, was created in August 2007 by Sharron Pinheiro and Heather Washburn. Sharron had years of experience in producing organic cosmetics for family and friends, using essential oils; so she partnered up with Heather, a sister-in-law, to make her products available to everyone, and help educate women on the dangers of conventional cosmetics. In fact, many customers have discovered that their seemingly unresolvable skin problems cleared up when they switched to healthier products from Eve Organics.
As pollution of the oceans, rivers, and other waterways continues unabated, the pollutants continue to accumulate in the plant and animal life within those bodies of water. In turn, consumption of those life forms as food, is a growing source of pollutants within humans — so much so that nutritionists and health practitioners are increasingly recommending against eating seafood. Yet little thought is given to another common nutrient taken from the oceans: salt. Melissa Kushi is well aware of this problem, and was thus motivated, in 2006, to create HimalaSalt, which is based in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, and offers pure sea salt that is hand-harvested from a protected source deep within the Himalayas. Her company, Sustainable Sourcing, LLC, is a logical outgrowth of her diverse background in sustainable foods, farming, alternative health, and ethical business. For instance, she helped create bamboo micro-industries in rural Africa, and replaced coca crops with organic cotton in the jungles of Peru. Closer to home, she introduced heirloom soybean seed to organic farmers in the United States. Melissa runs all her operations is an environmentally conscious manner, through a commitment to clean wind and solar energy, total carbon neutrality, and eco-friendly packaging that is 100 percent recycled, recyclable, and reusable. Also, five percent of all profits go to ecological efforts.
Prior to the "green" revolution, environmentally conscious people oftentimes faced the dilemma of knowing that their purchasing of mainstream products contributed to the world's mounting ecological damage — during manufacture, distribution, and eventual disposal. Fortunately, with the development of materials recycling, fair trade policies, organic agriculture and certification, and other green practices, consumers are now able to vote with their dollars in supporting more ecologically and socially responsible choices. Our ability to educate and empower ourselves online, is a key principle behind Kate's Caring Gifts, a virtual greeting store that offers a wide variety of products — all of which make terrific gifts — that are friendly to people and the earth that we share. Cofounders Kate and Lee Amon opened their business in November 2004, in Fremont, California, combining their backgrounds in engineering and marketing, respectively. The husband and wife team are dedicated to providing reliable information about their products, which are selected based upon ethical manufacturing, healthy ingredients, and unsurpassed quality. The offerings include natural body care items, organic baby clothes, gift baskets, gift certificates, organic chocolates and other foods, and so much more. Show that you care for Mother Nature as well as your gift recipients, through Kate's Caring Gifts.
Some eco-entrepreneurs are motivated to create their own green businesses partly as a result of their professional experiences in the corporate business world. Such is clearly the case for Melissa Zenz, who worked with major oil companies as a reimbursement analyst, which entails environmental and forensic accounting of ecological damages and other costs caused by leakage of refined oil products from underground storage tanks (e.g., at gas stations). She worked with environmental engineers and learned about the immediate and future damage from petroleum to soil, groundwater, and air, and ultimately to humans, wildlife, and plant life. When she became pregnant, Melissa was disappointed at the sore lack of maternity and baby products free of plastics and other petroleum-based toxic substances. For years she did further research, and in 2001 incorporated her company, Envegan (from "environmental" and "vegan"), dedicated to selling earth-friendly, labor-friendly, vegan products for babies, children, and families — including organic hemp children's shoes, organic cotton toys and dolls, unfinished wooden toys, and much more. The Web site, KidBean.com, officially launched in February 2003. Melissa's deep commitment to research and education is reflected in her personal customer service, which so impressed one customer that she was literally in tears of joy.
Even though stopping environmental degradation is no laughing matter, and switching to a more sustainable lifestyle is something everyone should get serious about, that does not mean we can't have some fun at the same time we're going green. This sense of joy pervades Zoe & Sprout, an online retailer of original eco-friendly baby and toddler clothing designed to make people smile, laugh, and gain a more positive outlook on making a difference. Located in Bella Vista, Arkansas, the firm was founded in 2006 by Amanda Zylowski, a stay-at-home mother who wanted a creative outlet and an opportunity to use her business skills. She saw a real need for affordable, colorful, and witty organic offerings for children. As a proud member of the PristinePlanet.com community, Amanda invites newsletter readers to enjoy a 15 percent discount when ordering (simply use the code "PRISTINE" during online checkout). She is also justly proud of the quality of their designs: After thousands of sales, the only returns they have ever had were for a different size. Every item offered is made in a fair labor and fair trade manner, of silky soft 100 percent SKAL-certified organic cotton. All their white items are non-chlorine bleached; all their natural colored items contain no dyes; all colors use non-toxic and azo-free dyes. And all items are 100 percent fun!
A common theme of the modern environmental movement, is to "think globally, act locally" — that is, to consider the whole planet when making the right choices within one's own relatively small sphere of influence. Beth Remmes, a resident of Lilburn, Georgia, USA, believes that everyone can heal their own piece of the earth, and together create an abundant future for the planet we share. In this spirit, she founded Zola Goods in July 2007, as an online community and resource offering a number of solutions to environmental challenges — solutions that people can apply to improve their lives and the environment. These include products for energy conservation, composting, water conservation, reusable bags, paper items, candles, games, gift supplies, and plant kits. Customers have expressed their appreciation for learning of these simple and affordable changes they can make to their lifestyles. People can participate even more, by becoming Zola coordinators and earning 20% of whatever they sell, in a completely transparent and no pressure manner. Coordinators can host home eco-parties, help educate people in their community, and earn supplemental income; contact Beth to learn more.
Letters and guest articles posted in the Newsletter section of the Forum or sent to the publisher become the property of PristinePlanet.com, and may be edited for brevity or clarity prior to publication.