Well darlings, 2011’s just been a big mush-up so far. Between the floods and the birds and the bees (not that kind, unfortunately) I don’t know where my head is at anymore. The good news is: there’s something you can do. CREW, an organization dedicated to Community Response to Extreme Weather, is calling for voluntourists to come to help clean up Brisbane, which was devastated by flooding. They organize people based on their skills, location and availability, and then connect them with opportunities through the Brisbane City Council and the Red Cross. Find out more or register at VolunteeringQld.org.

And if Down Under isn’t in your cards but you still want to lend a hand, Habitat for Humanity is starting up its first international eco-tourism community in Soran, Indonesia. The village, home to the eye-bulge inducing Prambanan Temple, will consist of over 420 homes and guest accommodations. The project aims to help establish sustainable tourism in the region while upholding cultural traditions, and to improve the housing conditions of local residents, making them earthquake-proof and outfitting them with the facilities to eventually house visitors. ‘Cause who needs a hotel when you can experience Javanese hospitality firsthand? Visit Habitat.org to apply.


If you simply must have room service, at least make sure it comes with tzatziki. Greenhotels is a new website that allows travelers to Greece to search hotels based on an eco-index, which rates waste management, energy use, sourcing of local products, water savings and so forth.

And should you find yourself downing an ouzo on Mount Parnassus or somewhere else with altitude, consider your choice of wax. No, not that kind! Ski wax, it has been revealed, contains PFCs, that compound found in Teflon which studies have shown does all sorts of nasty things to your internal organs, and to the little forest animals who live off the land. It also, if you’ll pardon the pun, sticks around for years. So slather your skis or board with a natural product such as Greenwax, Purl, Enviro Mountain Wax (which donates time and money to restoring forests) or Beaverwax… which is made – need I say it? – in Canada. 

There are snow bunnies, and then there are beach bunnies. Ladies bound for the winter sun, pack your iPads into one of Reveal’s quilted totes or handbags, made with recycled fabrics and zippers, and repurposed plastic bottles. Beat lovers, pop in some of their bamboo earbuds, lie back on a chaise lounge and chill. And if that’s not enough of an eco-fashion fix for you, the Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood is holding a soiree entitled Ethical Fashion in the Age of Austerity. London’s leading ethical fashion journalists and green advocates will come together for live music, workshops on how to style yourself sustainably, and, of course, drinks. You can join them on March 3rd at 6pm, waxed whichever way you like.



BRISBANE FLOOD PHOTO © ALEKS ATRENS
GREENHOTELS: ARISTI MOUNTAIN RESORT PHOTO © ARISTI MOUNTAIN RESORT
BEAVERWAX PHOTO  © BEAVERWAX