More Booksellers Making Earth Day Greener Than Ever

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

With the annual celebration of Earth Day less than three weeks away, booksellers across the country are steeped in plans to promote conservation, green living, and an understanding of our impact on the environment. Here, in the second of a two-part series, booksellers from The Learned Owl Book Shop, Cranesbill Books, and Eagle Harbor Book Company share innovative ideas for marking the April 22 worldwide event and for making their communities better places to live.

The city of Hudson, Ohio, is planning a big celebration with all sorts of demonstrations and events on Saturday, April 19, a few days before Earth Day, said Liz Murphy of The Learned Owl Book Shop. As part of the festivities, local merchants are hosting an all-over-town Green Window Scavenger Hunt, with one of five different "green" conservation-oriented items hidden in each window. In addition, Merchants of Hudson (MOH) is sponsoring "How Many Steps," which is being advertised in local newspapers and through the schools, to promote walking around town instead of driving. Participants will be given a "passport" listing all of the participating merchants twice, in two columns. "Families pace off from one business to another, draw a line and list the number of steps it took," said Murphy. "We [the MOH] will take the results and publish a 'Hudson How Many Steps' map and/or make up signs to post around" (for example, 365 paces to The Learned Owl, 1205 paces to the Library, etc.).

Cranesbill Books in Chelsea, Michigan, has launched an ecological film series and a Sustainability section that "actually encompasses some disparate subjects such as organic gardening, peak oil, natural resources and economic theory, strategic reduction of carbon footprint (both in individual homes and in whole communities), green building, alternate energy sources, organic gardening, and on and on," said Jan Loveland. "People are excited about it, titles are selling well."

Cranesbill tried an Earth Day event several years ago, but "it bombed," Loveland said. However, given burgeoning consumer interest in all things green, she's now game to try again. "This year, a committee of folks has decided to put together a Chelsea Earth Day Celebration, and ... I am on the committee." The celebration will be held at a beautiful, old train depot, where there will be about 20 booths, including Cranesbill's, which will feature titles like Big Green Purse by (Diane McEachern, Avery/Penguin), Hey Mr. Green by (Bob Schildgen, Sierra Club Books), and The Green Gardeners Guide (Joe Lamp'l, Cool Springs Press). The booth will also include green sidelines, such as grow your own apple and pine tree kits from DuneCraft and Toysmith Backyard Exploration Kits.

Bainbridge Island, Washington's Eagle Harbor Book Company, winner of the Outstanding Achievement Business Recycling Award in 2003, "continues to work on minimizing our impact on the environment and setting an example for green retailing in our community," said Mary Gleysteen.

Eagle Harbor, which already has a comprehensive Green Living section, is hosting a series of events on or around Earth Day: an April 17 reading by Stephen Arno (Northwest Trees, Mountaineers); an appearance by a Puget Sound native and forest ecologist for the USDA Forest Service, who will give a multimedia presentation on more than 60 species of wild Northwest trees; and an April 22 event with Bainbridge Island author Lynn Brunelle, who will lead a program of experiments culled from her books Pop Bottle Science and Camp Out! (both Workman). "Experiments will involve worms, mold, yeast, leaves, flowers, pizza box solar ovens, cool sundials, and more!," said Gleysteen. An April 24 event will feature Doug Fine (Farewell, My Subaru, Villard), who will discuss living "off the grid" on his New Mexico ranch.

Of Cranesbill's plans, Loveland told BTW, "I have invested time in this enterprise because I believe that solar and other energies will be everyday practice within a few years. I was raised to believe that these issues and respect for nature were critical." --Karen Schechner