Conscious Chocolates and Denim Insulation: The Latest in our Eco World

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Global Exchange Organic Chocolates are sweet on the earth.
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Guster hits the road on a green tour.
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Fashion designer Ralph Lauren (right) with homeowners Paul Headed and Crystal Mackey

Be My Eco-Valentine

Conscious chocoholics rejoice! Indulge in melt-in-your-mouth morsels that are sweet for you, the environment and cocoa producers. Global Exchange’s gourmet, fair trade, organic confections-including chocolate-maple crème, caramel and almond-toffee bon-bons-are certified to ensure that cocoa farmers are paid a living wage and that they’re free of exploitative child labor (

Playtime without Poison

The Oregon Environmental Council’s Eco-Healthy Childcare Program helps parents determine whether daycare facilities are environmentally safe. Childcare providers complete a questionnaire rating their air quality and use of chemical cleaners and pesticides; those with high environmental scores are designated as eco-healthy facilities (

Muster Up Some Guster

Rock band Guster’s green Campus Consciousness Tour, powered by wind from Native Energy, includes an educational pavilion with info on eco-topics such as reducing global warming and biodiesel fuel (which powers the band buses). Information at:;

New Homes for Old Jeans

Following Hurricane Katrina, Americans collected their old denim for a good cause: making nontoxic insulation for Habitat for Humanity homes. Spearheaded by Polo Ralph Lauren and insulation manufacturer Bonded Logic, the program received used jeans from high school and college students, Polo employees and celebrities (including Sheryl Crow, Tobey Maguire and Lindsay Lohan). Their castoffs were made into UltraTouch, an all-denim, highly efficient insulation without carcinogens and formaldehyde. The denim is now installed in homes in the Gulf Coast and Bronx, New York.
-Hallie Johnson, Laurel Kallenbach