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23 posts from March 2007

March 22, 2007

You Grow, Girl

When Gayla Trail began gardening, she scoured magazines for material that spoke to growers like her: an income-challenged twentysomething with only her Toronto rooftop and sidewalk to tend. Finding nothing, she started a Web site to connect with people who share her "punk rock approach" to urban, organic gardening. The site has sprouted a companion book; both offer clever tips on everything from nontoxic pest repellents to plants that will thrive on a fire escape.

(Photograph by Leela Corman)

March 21, 2007

Boys of Summer Go Solar

Being a baseball buff, I was relieved when Mr. Green determined that my team, the San Francisco Giants, was doing a pretty good job with recycling. (And I don't just mean bringing back one of my favorite players.) This week, los Gigantes announced that they are installing solar panels at PacBell SBC AT&T Park. (Check out the computer-generated simulation of what it will look like in KGO's news report.) Now how ‘bout some organic beer, guys?

March 19, 2007

The Buzz

"When you see first-graders trying to make their classrooms carbon neutral, you know the word has become mainstream."

--Erin McKean, editor in chief of the New Oxford American Dictionary, which picked carbon neutral as its word of the year for 2006
* * *

"American politics is greening at a rapid rate."

--Economist, November 9, 2006
* * *

"I live in a very normal-looking house with a fax machine and a computer. I have everything I need to get by in the modern world--I just do it more efficiently."

--actor Ed Begley Jr., whose eco-themed reality show, Living With Ed, premiered on HGTV in January

March 15, 2007

Putting the "Reality" Into Reality TV

Aspiring Rolling Stone reporters tackled four of "America's eco-disasters" for the MTV reality show "I'm From Rolling Stone." San Francisco hip-hop fan Krishtine de Leon's assignment brought her to Kentucky, where Sierra Club activists Lee and Aloma Dew took her on a "Tour de Stench" of Tyson's mammoth chicken houses and introduced her to the people who have to live with the pollution (and foul odor) these factory farms create.

Rs2"Can you imagine living right next door to a huge compound with 50,000 chickens and these huge exhaust fans that blow urine dust at you all day?" de Leon says of her experience in the March 8 issue of Rolling Stone, which features an exposé on Smithfield Foods, the nation's top hog producer. "I got to see how brave these people were to take a stand and to be willing to make sacrifices to change things."

Other contestants reported on environmental violations by Koch Industries and Asarco in Texas and the lasting legacy of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill in Alaska. Check out the final episode on Sunday night at 11 p.m. (EDST) to see which one lands the coveted gig.

Steeled for the Trail

Adventurous types can wear their passion on their sleeve--or ears or neck--with stylish, Tarma_2outdoor-themed wristbands, earrings, and pendants by Tarma Designs. Made of recycled stainless steel, the line of men's and women's jewelry features designs based on natural shapes and active pursuits, from climbing to kayaking. Repurposing the metal is a sensible and sustainable choice, says cofounder Stephanie George. "It's lightweight, durable, and you can sweat in it!"

March 13, 2007

Hydrogen - Hope or Hype?

Sierra's own Mr. Green (a.k.a. Bob Schildgen) was on Wisconsin Public Radio recently, talking with host Kathleen Dunn about the viability of hydrogen as a fuel alternative. You can listen to the show online or read some of his thoughts on the topic in a book review he wrote a while back.

March 12, 2007

Pop Corner

UclareportHollywood often comes under fire for polluting our minds with sex and violence. But what it's certainly fouling is the air. A November 2006 report by UCLA's Institute of the Environment calculates that film and television production in the Los Angeles metropolitan area creates 140,000 metric tons of air pollution annually--more than the region's hotel, apparel, or aerospace industries. The media moguls do a better job on reducing waste; the two Matrix sequels, for example, got high marks for recycling 97.5 percent of the wood, concrete, steel, and other materials (about 10,000 tons in all) used to create their futuristic world.

March 08, 2007

10 Ways to Go Green at Work

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NEW: Download these tips in pdf format.

Office_1Greener homes are in the spotlight these days, but what about the other places where many of us spend huge chunks of our time--our offices? Some simple changes of habit can save energy and resources at work, and these small steps can be multiplied by persuading the powers-that-be at your workplace to adopt environmentally friendly (and often cost-effective) policies.

1. Be bright about light
Artificial lighting accounts for 44 percent of the electricity use in office buildings.

> Make it a habit to turn off the lights when you're leaving any room for 15 minutes or more and utilize natural light when you can.

> Make it a policy to buy Energy Star-rated lightbulbs and fixtures, which use at least two-thirds less energy than regular lighting, and install timers or motion sensors that automatically shut off lights when they're not needed.

Continue reading "10 Ways to Go Green at Work " »

March 06, 2007

Green Goes Glamourous

Glamour_apr07cover"The 10 easiest things you can do to help the planet" grace the cover of Glamour's April issue--right next to Drew Barrymore's smiling face and below "Real women confess their sex fantasies." Though it's billed as "the fantasy issue," there's nothing fantastical about the magazine's top ten tips, which include such simple and effective things as changing your light bulbs, taking transit or riding a bike instead of driving, using green household cleaners, and eating local or organic foods. Glamour's eco-coverage also includes a video tour of Hollywood activist Laurie David's green home improvements ("inspiration central!") and a round-up of green web links that you can "click to help save the planet."

March 05, 2007

Fast Fact

A dollar spent in a locally owned business is worth three times as much to the local economy as one spent in a chain store.


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