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Published on August 21st, 2008 | by Shirley Siluk Gregory


Use Your EcoBrain: Green Reading Without the Trees

EcoBrain.)If you’ve ever felt guilty about buying a new book, but really wanted a title you couldn’t find used online or at the library, here’s a cool and greener way to stay on top of new releases from the world of environmental publishing: EcoBrain.

Founded last year by two passionately green families at different ends of North America (one in the U.S., one in Canada), EcoBrain is “dedicated to educating people about environmental living options while affording them the opportunity to purchase materials digitally in an effort to radically reduce the impact on the environment,” according to its Website. In other words, it lets you buy books about green living in a way that’s truly green: in digital, no-printed-paper-or-snail-mail-delivery-necessary format.

While the company’s tech and service people are based in Atlanta, the rest of the staff works remotely from various locales, another boost for the environment. And though it’s only one year young, EcoBrain already boasts an extensive list of titles on everything from climate change and cooking to renewable energy, religion and sustainable living.

These aren’t self-published or vanity books of questionable pedigree, either. EcoBrain’s offerings include releases from established publishers like New Society, Storey Publishing and Cambridge University. Among the site’s top titles: “Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil” by Michael C. Ruppert;  “The Casual Conservationist” by Eric Robbins; and “EcoKids: Raising Children Who Care for the Earth” by Dan Chiras.

EcoBrain also buys carbon offsets to compensate for the carbon emissions of its business operations, and is looking into Web hosting options that use servers powered by renewable energy. To learn more about the company or to browse its selection of titles, visit EcoBrain.

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About the Author

Shirley Siluk Gregory, a transplanted Chicagoan now living in Northwest Florida, represents the progressive half of Green Options' Red, Green and Blue segment. She holds a bachelor's degree in Geological Sciences from Northwestern University but graduated in 1984, just when the market for geologists was flatter than the Florida landscape. Just as well, though: she had little interest in spending her life either in a laboratory or, heaven forbid, an oil field. So, of course, she went into journalism. After extremely low-paying but fun and educational stints at several suburban Chicago weeklies and dailies, Shirley and her then-boyfriend/now-husband Scott found themselves displaced by a media buyout and spending the next several years working as freelancers. Among their credits: The Chicago Tribune, a publication for the manufactured-housing industry, and Web Hosting Magazine, a now-defunct publication that came and went with the dotcom era. Shirley's always been concerned about nature and conservation (and an avid pack-rat, as her family can attest to), but became even more rabidly interested in the environment primarily due to two factors: the growing signs that global warming was real and threatening, and the birth of her son, Noah, in 2003. Suddenly, the prospect of a world that might not be quite as habitable in 40 or 50 years took on a whole new, and personal, meaning. Living where she lives now also helped light the fire of Shirley's environmental awareness: her hometown was severely damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, and beaten up again by Hurricane Dennis in 2005. That, and the fact that she and her family were vacationing in New Orleans until the day before Katrina -- and spent 12 hours driving home for a trip that normally takes 3 -- has made Shirley deeply appreciate how fragile our lifestyles are, and how dependent they are on sound management of natural resources and sustainable living practices. That's why she's become a passionate reader and writer about all things green and sustainable.

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