Making Earth Day Greener Than Ever

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For a lot of booksellers, every day is Earth Day, but on and around April 22, several bookstores -- including Changing Hands, Vroman's, Boulder Bookstore, and McNally Robinson -- will hold events and create displays to promote Green Living and to participate in the worldwide celebration of Earth Day 2008.

Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona, is dedicating all of 2008 to "Going Green," so, of course, said PR coordinator Holly Nelson, it "has a couple cool things going on for Earth Day." The store will feature a display entitled "Green Reading for Green Living," which offers titles on topics such as composting, biking to work, and fighting global warming.

To get kids geared up for Earth Day, Changing Hands is planning an Earth-awareness and science day on Saturday, April 12. Kids will use Pop Bottle Science (Workman), science-in-a-bottle kits, to create a volcano, a tornado, a barometer, a thermometer, a walkie-talkie, a compass, and a lava lamp. Local scientists, including a physical anthropologist and a chemist, will be on hand.

Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, California, is inviting customers to its Earth Day Celebration, which will run from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 19. The invitation calls for "all tree-huggers, environmentalists, flower children, preservationists, and anyone who just plain cares about our world ... [to] celebrate our beautiful planet in an entertaining and unique way."

The bookstore, which features a permanent green titles and sidelines section and environmentally friendly plumbing and lighting, will hold the celebration in its courtyard, where there will be organic food, live music, a number of speakers, and an eco-friendly fashion show. In one of Vroman's more unusual demonstrations, Earth Day participants will be able watch as a Mercedes Benz is converted to run on vegetable oil.

More than a dozen vendors and speakers are scheduled to participate in the Vroman's program, including Ten Thousand Villages, which will present "Fair Trade 101," an exploration of the relationship between environmentalism and social justice. Deborah Tull, a sustainability coach certified in Permaculture Design, Bio-Intensive Organic Gardening, and Compost Education, will discuss sustainable communities.

At the end of the day, Vroman's is partnering with the Pasadena chapter of Critical Mass -- a bicycle crew -- for a ride around town.

Boulder Book Store in Boulder, Colorado, has long been creating both in-store and window Earth Day displays using green sidelines and titles, said Marketing and Promotions Manager Mandy King. This year, for the first time, the store will host an author event specifically geared towards Earth Day. Heather Hansen (Disappearing Destinations, Vintage) will discuss how Machu Picchu, Glacier National Park, and many others are changing due to global warming, environmental degradation, overuse, and natural causes. "Heather approached us about doing an author event in April and the 22nd, was available so it was just great timing!," said King.

At McNally Robinson Booksellers in New York City, bookseller Adjua Greaves said that in April, to coincide with Earth Day, the bookstore, which changes window displays bimonthly, will take down its Buy Local display and replace it with a Go Green theme.

Greaves noted that a number of books about green and organic pregnancies were recently published, and she planned to include selected titles in the display, along with books on sustainable architecture and design. "I'll also use a great book called The Green Book [Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen, Three Rivers] that we usually shelve in our environmental section," she said. "It has tips on how to make the transition to green living.... It was a staff pick a few months ago. And The Big Green Purse [Diane MacEachern, Avery] is great. It'll be one of the conceptual anchors of the display."

"Earth Day is a great way to raise people's awareness about how their everyday choices can make a big difference in the world -- whether those choices be around how they commute to work and how they heat their homes, or where they shop and what their consumer dollars are supporting," said Allison Hill, Vroman's president and COO. "Shopping locally, choosing an independent over a chain store, going green whenever possible, these are all small gestures that make a big difference -- in people's day-to-day quality of life and in the world at large." --Karen Schechner

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