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47 posts from July 2007

July 20, 2007

Fast Fact

If all U.S. households received and paid their bills online, it would eliminate more than 800,000 tons of waste each year.

Sun for Your Supper

When I spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle recently about "green grilling," the reporter expressed some skepticism about the idea of cooking with a solar oven. Admittedly, the concept does sound a little wacky. But the paper's food editors were apparently willing to give it a whirl, buying their own Sun_oven_new_2Sun Oven (pictured) and devoting four pages to the joys of off-the-grid cooking, including tantalizing recipes (with instructions for solar and conventional preparation) for shrimp and lemon skewers, buttermilk cornbread, and a baby beet salad.

A new title from Stackpole Books, Solar Cooking for Home and Camp, offers even more recipes, along with author Linda Frederick Yaffe's instructions for making your own box cooker out of cardboard and aluminum foil. Seriously. It doesn't even look that hard. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm in favor of any weekend project that results in eating. If you've done any solar cooking, let me know what you think and what your favorite recipes are.

Daily Tip : July 20, 2007

I feel like I am already doing a lot to protect the environment. However, each day I try to find one new thing to do to reduce my footprint, something that I haven't been doing already. The other day I really wanted to see a movie in the afternoon, but my husband had the car and the bus doesn't go to the theater. I decided that I could ride my bike. It feels further, but it's no further than where I go by bike to volunteer once a week. I don't succeed every day in reducing my footprint this way, but I do manage to do it a couple of times a week. It keeps me on my toes, thinking outside the box of my comfort zone and habits.

-- Submitted by Judy Skog

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July 19, 2007

Art You Can Eat

At the height of World War II, hundreds of victory gardens were thriving in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Artist Amy Franceschini is rekindling her city's self-sufficient spirit--and getting her work on gallery walls. She's designed and distributed gardening starter kits, which were featured in a recent museum exhibit along with photographs of the plots planted so far and playful, yet functional, sculptures like this bicycle-wheelbarrow hybrid. futurefarmers.com/victorygardens

(Photograph by Amy Franceschini)

Daily Tip : July 19, 2007

Weeds may not be good for your garden, but they can be good for you: A cup of chopped dandelion leaves has almost 40 percent as much calcium as a cup of milk, plus plenty of other nutrients.

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July 18, 2007

What's Hot (or Not)

When it comes to "chic alternative lifestyles," gay is out and green is in, according to the latest Vanity Fair.

Ties are "out" in Italy, where the government is following Japan's lead and encouraging employers to allow casual dress in the summer to reduce air-conditioning demands. (C'mon, Italy, you're going to have to get ahead of the eco-curve if you want to keep setting the fashion agenda.)

Cheese-wedge houses are out, and good design is in, says Witold Rybczynski, whose architectural commentary accompanies a slideshow of ecofriendly, but aesthetically pleasing buildings on Slate.

Daily Tip : July 18, 2007

Food travels an average of 1,500 to 2,000 miles to reach our plates -- but not if you buy it from one of the more than 1,200 small U.S. farms that offer fresh produce "subscriptions." Find one near you at foodroutes.org.

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July 17, 2007

Daily Tip : July 17, 2007

If it's time to buy a new clothes washer, consider a front-loading machine. They use one-third to one-half the water and less soap than top-loaders, and they're gentler on clothes too.

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July 16, 2007

Tapping Into Water Trends

In San Francisco, the bottled-water backlash has already begun: hot local restaurants are taking the expensive, environmentally damaging item off their menus and replacing it Getyourfillwith house-carbonated tap water, while Mayor Gavin Newsom has banned the use of city money to buy bottled water. Now New Yorkers are being blanketed with ads promoting the city's tap water as a "cool," "healthy" drink with "zero calories" that's "great on the go."

If this campaign works, how about similar ads touting the benefits of other green behaviors like taking the bus ("you + a good book = a happy commute" and "kiss road-rage goodbye") or hanging out laundry on a clothesline (a "meditative," "free" way to "get a tan while taking care of chores")? If you had a big ad agency--and budget--at your disposal, what ecofriendly habits would you promote and how?

Daily Tip : July 16, 2007

Feeling fishy? Opt for Wild Alaskan or Pacific salmon over the farmed kind. It’s better for you, and the ocean. To download a handy reference guide to potentially dangerous or overfished seafood, go to sierraclub.org/mercury/fishguide.pdf.

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