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April 04, 1993|CHARLES SOLOMON

1993 EARTH JOURNAL: Environmental Almanac and Resources Directory from the editors of Buz z worm Magazine (Buzzworm Books: $9.95; 430 pp., illustrated, paperback original); THE BUZZWORM MAGAZINE GUIDE TO ECOTRAVEL from the editors of Buzzworm Magazine (Buzzworm Books: $9.95; 239 pp., illustrated, paperback original); THE GREEN CONSUMER by Joel Makower with John Elkington and Julia Hailes (Penguin: $11; 339 pp. , paperback original). With its handy lists and concise summaries of key issues, Buzzworm's informative "Earth Journal" is a useful annual reference. The authors excoriate the Bush Administration's shabby environmental policies, calling the U.S. performance at the Earth Summit the No. 1 ecological disaster of 1992 (Vice President Dan Quayle and the Council on Competitiveness rank as No. 8). "Ecotravel" reads like an expanded chapter of the "Journal." The editors focus on 100 trips--all of them well off the beaten track--with notes on suppliers, costs, ecological significance of the trip and any applicable restrictions, including respecting local cultures. Joel Makower's "Green Consumer" emphasizes a new version of the Three R's: reduce, reuse and recycle. Although he concedes that every product has some impact on the environment, Makower presents valuable suggestions on how to avoid excess packaging and products that waste energy. Even more useful are the tips on balancing conflicting concerns: e.g. the debate over cloth vs. disposable diapers (cloth wins). "Green Consumer" should be updated and reissued annually. As Wendell Berry notes in "Earth Journal," "The world is being destroyed--no doubt about it--by the greed of the rich and powerful. It is also being destroyed by popular demand. There are not enough rich and powerful people to consume the whole world; for that, the rich and powerful need the help of countless ordinary people."

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