Ecoholic: Your Guide to the Most Environmentally Friendly Information, Products, and Services in Canada.


352 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 978-0-679-31484-4
DDC 640






Reviewed by Janet Arnett

Janet Arnett is the former campus manager of adult education at Ontario’s Georgian College. She is the author of Antiques and Collectibles: Starting Small, The Grange at Knock, and 673 Ways to Save Money.



In the hands of a more skilful writer this could have been a dramatic wake-up call on how we are destroying the Earth and the choices individuals can make to minimize the damage. Unfortunately, at Vasil’s skill level it deteriorates into a massive whine, a monotonous rant, and an attempt to promote obscure, expensive products as solutions.


The premise is that the Earth is a mess and every product we use, from candy to condoms, T-shirts to teddy bears, is contributing to the problem. Lip gloss, diamonds, CDs, shower curtains, candles, chocolate, even the paint on our walls … all are filling our bodies with a soup of nasties that includes carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and neurotoxins.


The book looks at our lives under the categories of cosmetics and personal grooming, clothing, medicines and nutritional supplements, food, products for children, the household environment (including furniture, electronics, lighting, and cleaning products), home renovations and maintenance, gardens, transportation, recreation, and finances. Integrated into these chapters is information on organic farming, water pollution and municipal sewage treatment, sweatshops, genetically modified foods, deforestation, green energy, imported flowers, hybrid vehicles, ethical investing, fair trade products, climate change, endangered species, and much, much more. Pick your crusade—any crusade: There’s certain to be at least a few lines about it tucked into this omnibus. This mass of information is supplemented with numerous sidebars, made nearly illegible for being printed in pale green lettering on a pale green background.


Although the message is that everything we do, especially everything we purchase, is sinful in some way, Vasil points out Earth-friendlier choices. Some are obvious, others rely on sourcing obscure brands on the internet or concocting homemade alternatives. Little is new or innovative.


Statements on the Earth-destroying properties of products are given as fact without documentation and only occasional, incomplete reference to sources. The style is faux-teenager, with an overall tone of trying too hard to sound “cool.”


The strength of the work is in the variety and quantity of anti-Earth products, actions, and issues discussed. Hundreds of web site URLs, a Canada-wide perspective, a resource list, a list of types of plastics, a glossary, and an index support the usefulness of the work as a household reference.


Vasil, Adria., “Ecoholic: Your Guide to the Most Environmentally Friendly Information, Products, and Services in Canada.,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 14, 2024,