The Eye on the Environment

At Eye of Horus we take Conscious Living and Earth-based Spirituality seriously. We’ve always looked for opportunities to put our values into action.  One of the most obvious began in 2005, when we reclaimed the vacant-lot/trash-heap next to our store and planted a Garden Labyrinth with an aromatic herb and flower garden surrounding a brick-bordered pebble path. This year, we added a compost bin, so we could stop putting weeds and cuttings into landfills and provide an organic source for amending the soil.

But the world is changing, literally, and here’s what we’re doing to minimize our impact to the environment and reduce our carbon footprint.

A Green Website

Green HostingIn 2007, our website hosting company became carbon neutral, which means our website is carbon neutral. We always liked them, they were an employee-owned company. But then, they decided to go Carbon-neutral. “We’ve calculated the impact of everything that DreamHost uses and leaves behind in the course of our daily work. All of the resources that we use – paper in the office, electricity for our servers, even the gas in our cars that bring us to the office – leaves behind some kind of soul-sucking residue in the world.”

So, that got us thinking about how we could do even more to lower our environmental impact, and we took a look at every aspect of our business, and decided that if our hosting company could go greener, so could we.

Thus, 2008 became our Green year, and once we had that intention set in place, we found a variety of ways we could go greener. It was easier, than we thought, once we started looking at things with a Greener Eye . . .

Wind-Powered Book Store

Our store in Minneapolis is powered 100% by Windsource® (We called to make the switch in August 2008 . . . we expect to see the switch reflected on our September bill). The energy in our store is 100% wind energy from Minnesota wind farms. Oh, and speaking of books, we’ve also figured out a way to help customers offset the impact of the books we sell.

Our Tree-Planting Program

In August, Eye of Horus partnered with Eco-Libris: the revolutionary environmental service that lets people balance out the paper in the books they read by planting a tree for every book.  Eco-Libris, started with a website in July of 2007, and the success of their first year in business has been quite monumental! Already 50,005 books have been balanced, consequently planting 65,586 new trees in developing countries. They have since expanded their program by partnering with publishers, authors, and bookstores.

Eye of Horus has become the 25th bookstore offering a tree-planting program to help customers plant a tree for each book they buy. For just $1, the customer gets an Eco-Libris sticker, and Eco-Libris, through Eye of Horus, gets the money to plant another tree.

A Green Catalog

2008 was also the year of our first catalog, and we thought long and hard about the environmental impact of producing a paper catalog. So we searched and searched for a printer which could meet our needs. Our catalog is printed on 50% Recycled, 25% Post Consumer, FSC Certified paper, so no Forests are harmed in the making of the paper.  Not only that, but their print production facilities have high standards, as well. In their own words:

Wizard Graphics does our best to be green by recycling 100% of our waste paper, cardboard, aluminum printing plates, and plastic shipping materials. We greatly reduce our ink waste by using only Stay Open Inks, that will Not dry on the press, thus having to be discarded at the end of each day.”

Greener Greetings

We’ve long supported local artists by carrying art-greeting cards, but we wanted to expand our selection, and found a company that not only had cards with art from some of our favorite artists–Brian Froud, Meredith Dillman, Jessica Galbreth, Nene Thomas, and Jasmine Becket-Griffith–but they were tree-free, as well.

Tree-Free makes Sweet-Paper™ cards and envelopes from 50% Sugar cane bagasse and 50% recycled fiber, including 30% post-consumer. Sugar cane bagasse is a waste product of the sugar refining industry; it is the fibrous material remaining in the sugar cane after the sugar is removed.

We still carry artisan cards, as well, but now about half of what we stock are tree-free, and the other half support artists. We think that’s a pretty good balance.

We’ve also added Tree-Free gift bags, as well, so customers can present their gifts in a beautiful bag which is 100% tree free!

Degradable or Re-usable Bags

Speaking of bags, we took a look at those black plastic bags, and decided to make the switch to fully degradable clear bags.  Expect that little change in September. At least, for those of you who don’t bring your own bag to shop with.  Of course, we also sell canvas totes you can re-use, as well.