Living Lightly

Shop: Green Life and Common Crow
“We believe that small, regional connections are the underpinnings of a healthy and sustainable economy,” says Pat Towler, who co-owns Gloucester’s Green Life Natural Living with Kathryn Noonan. Translation? While they carry a broad range of organic foods and textiles here and at their Common Crow Natural Market around the corner, they always go local when possible. Green Life’s organic cotton onesie, for example, is designed by Gloucester resident Jill Josephson and printed in Easthampton with fiber-reactive dyes that don’t leave polluting residues after production. Green Life also carries bags by Maine-based Erda, which employs women in transition, and their products are made primarily from factory ends of upholstery fabrics. Green Life Natural Living, 196 Main St., Gloucester, 978-283-1255; Common Crow Natural Market, 6 Elm St., Gloucester, 978-283-1665,

Use: Green Cleaners
Perchloroethylene, or perc, is the solvent used by 85 percent of dry cleaners—yet it’s classified as a hazardous air pollutant by the EPA. Due to the chemical’s volatility, the possible carcinogen is in our air, water, and under our nose. California banned installation of new perc machines, and some Boston companies are catching on. Zoots and Dependable Cleaners use hydrocarbon-based Eco-Solve, and Anton’s uses some hydrocarbon machines. But while hydrocarbon solvents may be better, they’re still fossil fuel–based. Carbon dioxide is the least toxic and kindest to the environment, but very expensive and not available locally…yet.;;

Read: Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn
23 million acres of lawn cost Americans 270 billion gallons of water, $30 billion in upkeep, and plenty of pollution. (Mowing for one hour is as bad as driving 350 miles.) Why not use all that land to grow food? Architect Fritz Haeg’s book offers secrets for cultivating gardens on postage stamp–sized lots, plus regional models and essays to show that “edible estates” are feasible anywhere, and everywhere. Bellerophon Publications, $24.95, Brookline Booksmith.

CLEAN CONSCIENCE: Gloucester’s Common Crow Natural Market and Green Life Natural Living offer eco-centric skin care products, including, clockwise from top, River Soap Company vegetable-based soaps, $4.25 each; Under the Canopy towels, $12–$44; Hugger Mugger Earth Elements yoga mats, $39–$43; Pangea Organics hand soap, $13.