As Hanukkah hits, it’s time to gear up for holiday gift-giving. I know your local newspaper and favorite magazine have all suggested that you support their advertisers, but what’s an environmentally aware, Gulf-minded shopper to do?Well, your friends at the GRN thought we should go ahead and cash in, I mean weigh in with a few thoughts of our own.Maybe it’s elitist, as a recent study by the National Endowment for the Arts found the average amount of time Americans spend reading is now at an all time low, but we love books here at the GRN. If you remember back over the summer, we threw some book reviews your way recommending some Gulf-centric reading. Here’s a recap:The Most Important Fish in the Sea – H. Bruce Franklin treats us to a treatise on menhadan, a deceptively fascinating book about a small, oily fish most people have never heard of, yet our ecological future in the Gulf may rely on.Fateful Harvest by Duff Wilson is the true story of Patty Martin, mayor of a small Washington farming town, and how she and a small group worked with the author (and Pulitzer Prize finalist) to let the public know about the hidden toxins found in some common commercial fertilizers.Pinhook by Janise Ray wonderfully mixes ecology, history and culture into the exploration of the beautiful wilds of Florida.The Swamp by Michael Grunwald follows the story of a paradise lost and how the Everglades ecosystem, once a river of grass that stretched across south Florida, was slowly overrun by developers, politicians, and the Army Corps of Engineers – the same agency that is now attempting to restore the ecosystem.The Wilderness Coast and The Sea Brings Forth by Jack Rudloe both document Jack’s adventures with his wife as they explore the Gulf Coast of Florida while they operate the Gulf Specimens lab in Panacea, Florida.And to this list, I’ll add a couple recent releases: For the culinary enthusiast in your network, famed New Orleans chef/restaurateur (and GRN board member) Susan Spicer has put out Crescent City Cooking, a great first cookbook that props open the kitchen door and lets you slowly figure out the secrets to some of her best-loved dishes.Like the environment but turned off by the ‘eat your vegetables they’re good for you’ approach of many environmentalists (save the GRN, of course)? Ken Wells serves up lots of laughs, ludicrous political shenanigans and colorful characters along the ‘Cajun Coast,’ as he subtly educates you and inspires you to action for Louisiana’s coastal crisis in Crawfish Mountain. Listen to an NPR interview with Ken here.Oh, and if you don’t like books – here’s two more suggestions: The fine folks at Alternative Apparel are donating a percentage of their sales from their sustainable, Alternative Earth clothing line to the GRN – softest shirts you’ve ever worn!Give gift memberships to the GRN! Who really needs another knick-knack to dust, or something that requires extensive wrapping? 4 quarterly newsletters and a healthier Gulf? Who wouldn’t want that?So, there’s our $.02 on holiday gift giving – good luck this season and enjoy the family, friends and food!Aaron Viles is the GRN’s Campaign Director

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