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40 posts from May 2008

May 13, 2008

Good News for the Scarlet Macaw

Captive-born scarlet macaws in Costa Rica are reproducing in the wild for the first time. The new parents are members of a group of 100 macaws, born in the ZooAve Center for the Rescue of Endangered Species, who have been released into the wild within the last ten years. The parrots were once numerous throughout Costa Rica, but they now remain in reduced numbers in just two national parks. Biologists were unable to find any offspring until recently. Since last year, 22 chicks have been born in the wild. Additional chicks are expected, as four more scarlet macaw pairs have produced eggs. (Source: Associated Press)

Want to learn more about the plight of the scarlet macaw? Read our media lounge selection, The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw, by Bruce Barcott.

--Della Watson

May 12, 2008

Land For Sale

The real-estate market is tanking. So what's the "green lining"? Conservation groups can now afford to buy and preserve tracts of land previously slated for development, reports The Wall Street Journal. Groups like San Francisco's Trust for Public Land have successfully purchased land in Oregon, Colorado, and Massachusetts, turning would-be subdivisions into parks and open spaces.

A stretch of beach along Oahu's North Shore has recently attracted the attention of conservationists. The owner, Oaktree Capital Management, is facing foreclosure on the 880 acre property, thwarting plans to build five new hotels. In a symbolic show of support for Governor Linda Lingle's plea to preserve the undeveloped acreage, Hawaii's State Legislature recently approved a bill that would allow the state to acquire and preserve the North Shore property.


Sources:  The Wall Street Journal, Honolulu Advertiser, Alohapolitics.com, Santa Barbara News-Press

Bike to Work (and Play)

Urbancyclists_4 If you like the idea of getting around town by bike--but always reach for the car keys--this is your lucky week. Between now and Friday cities around the country will host workshops, festivals, bike swaps, and other events to help people hit the road on two wheels for the League of American Bicyclists' annual Bike-to-Work Week.

If a bike won't cut it for your commute, consider taking a cue from Savannah, GA, home of Dump the Pump day (Friday, May 16 and other days throughout the year). The city's Development and Renewal Authority encourages "Dump the Pumpers" to leave their cars at home and opt for public transit, carpooling, walking, or cycling instead. Those who do drive are likely to encounter hordes of pedestrians peacefully (and repeatedly) marching along crosswalks at "Crosswalk Action" events around town.

How do you plan to get around this week? Have you made any lasting changes in your commute habits? Share your stories about pump dumping here!


May 09, 2008

Green Tip: Grow a Low-Maintenance Lawn

The sounds of summer don't have to include the purr of lawn mowers and the patter of sprinklers. Lose the grass--cultivate a chemical-free lawn that drinks less and grows low.

Moss is an easy alternative to grass--it needs some moisture, but it requires little maintenance once it's established. Moss thrives in shady areas with compacted, acidic soil. Another option for greening your lawn is to encourage clover, a nitrogen-fixing plant, which enriches soil while providing a low-growing ground cover. Additional eco-friendly ground covers include strawberries and oregano--edible plants for lawns that taste as good as they look.


Sources:  NY Times, Eartheasy

Clean, Green, Off Screen

'Green' cars are hot in Silicon Valley, on Hollywood Boulevard, and even on TV these days. But a fan club that includes Cameron Diaz and Jessica Alba hasn't been enough to win hybrids a spot among vehicle-celebrities like the dork-tastic DeLorean ("Back to the Future") and roaring '68 Mustang ("Bullitt," below).

You won't find a purring Prius in  "Speed Racer", or in "Indiana Jones" . According to New York Times reporter Michael Cieply, hybrids in general need not apply for sexy car roles. "The 'in' ride with stars and producers isn't hot on screen," he writes. Somehow, even putting God behind the wheel of a Prius in "Evan Almighty" didn't catapult the car to superstar status. Shocking.

None of this, of course, has stopped venture capitalists and auto industry giants from pouring money into clean car technology, the Wall Street Journal reports.

What do you think about cars on the big screen? Do you have a favorite? Do you chafe at the ubiquitous product placement? What would you like to see done differently?

Old News

PaperLove getting the Sunday paper and looking for some creative ways to re-use all of that old news?

Apartment Therapy has featured a list of 20 household uses for old papers, from warming up your house to cleaning your fridge and even a way to entertain people at a party! For all twenty ideas, check out their post here.


May 08, 2008

Mr. Green Book Signing

We’ve heard a rumor* that Mr. Green fans from Japan have been swimming to California. Readers from New York started walking last month, and eager environmentalists from Vancouver are biking to the Berkeley. That’s right, Mr. Green (a.k.a. Bob Schildgen) is signing books in Berkeley, California, and the whole world wants to be there! So swim, walk, bike, or take the train to Mrs. Dalloway’s on Thursday, May 15th at 7:30 p.m. to meet our favorite know-it-all.

*Note:  This rumor is purely fictional--readers, please do not attempt a trans-Pacific swim.

May 07, 2008

Green Tip: Wrap With Fabric

This Mother's Day, ditch the wrapping paper and embrace the traditional Japanese art of furoshiki (fabric) wrapping. It's an eco-friendly way to dress up a package, and the fabric doubles as an extra gift. Use a tablecloth, pillow case, or napkin, and try out these furoshiki wrapping techniques to make your mom proud.


Homemade Windmills

We all try to make smart environmental choices, although often we can be overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of the task. Sometimes we need to be reminded that we don't need to start with very much to make a big impact.

Take five minutes to watch this incredible story of William Kamkwamba, a young Malawi man who built a windmill out of a tractor fan.

-Posted by Cara Naiditch

Let Go of the Machine

We know there must be a few of you left who still have those old-fashioned answering machines -- you know, the ones with the tape? It turns out that if all answering machines were replaced with voice mail services, the annual energy savings would total nearly two billion kilowatt-hours.1 There are a myriad of voice-mail choices online, even ones that will deliver your voice message to you in an email.

1 50 Ways to Help Save the Planet

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