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66 posts from November 2008

November 19, 2008

Wave Hello to Renewable Energy

Wave We've tapped the earth for coal, built turbines to capture wind, used fire to warm our toes, and now, a British engineer, Alvin Smith, is experimenting with harnessing the power of water waves. The Searaser uses water displacement from waves' crests and troughs to produce energy; the point of the device is to create enough pressure to pump water uphill so that it can be stored and released similar to the way dams produce electricity. The prototype, Times Online reported, pumped water 160 feet uphill. A full-sized pump should be able to pump 650 feet and be able to power 470 homes. Used together, the pumps could make a significant difference in supplying residential renewable energy.

Continue reading "Wave Hello to Renewable Energy" »

Green Your Thanksgiving: Spare the Turkey

Turkey_face Just thinking about Thanksgiving dinner seems to expand the stomach. This week, we offer tips to help you green your feast.

Tip #3: Go Turkey-Free

For some, it's all about the bird. But, as readers of this blog have pointed out, if having the greenest possible Thanksgiving is your goal, a vegetarian or vegan feast is the solution. With more than 45 million genetically modified turkeys raised in overcrowded factory farms for Thanksgiving day alone, dispelling tradition can be a greener, kinder, healthier alternative. 

Regardless of your reason for going turkey-free this year, delicious alternatives are easy to find. Check out vegetarian options at vegkitchen.com, try Tofurkey (it's good), or, if you're inclined, go entirely vegan. If eating meat-free isn't enough for you (or if you feel bad enough about the meat you are eating), save a turkey's life through Adopt a Turkey.

What are your favorite ways to go vegetarian or vegan on Thanksgiving? Please share them as a comment below.

November 18, 2008

Daily Roundup

Cycle Justice: A Portland, Oregon man is sentenced to 45 days in jail for driving at high speed with a bicyclist clinging to the hood of his car during a road rage incident. Treehugger


Eco Skateboards: A Canadian green business produces skateboards from sustainable bamboo. Skateboard production is reportedly the largest cause of maple deforestation. Inhabitat


Lame Duck: President Bush gives the green light for Oil Shale development in three western states.  New York Times


Fuel Cell Phones: A Swedish company is developing non-toxic technology that will power energy intensive mobile devices. CleanTechnica


Pedestrian Comment: The “Walkability” of a city is not only environmentally friendly, and convenient. According to some it’s also an issue of social justice. World Changing


-- Mario Aguilar

Don’t Pooh-Pooh its Impact

Elephant_dung To promote the release of their Horton Hears a Who! DVD (Dec. 9), 20th Century Fox’s PR people decided to send journalists a bit of crap.

That is, some 1,500 reporters received double-sided press releases printed on recycled paper made of elephant dung. The company that manufactures the finely textured parchment, Mr. Ellie Pooh, sources its, uh, raw material from endangered pachyderms in Sri Lanka; profits go toward preserving the animals.

Continue reading "Don’t Pooh-Pooh its Impact " »

It’s a Green, Green, Green, Green Life

Environmentalism Friday through Sunday had San Francisco hosting its seventh Green Festival, an eco-living conference that jumps from city to city in fall and spring. The organizers claim that it’s the world’s largest environmental expo, and it was indeed big. More than 400 vendors and service providers showcased their goods in hopes of catching the attention of attending consumers, retailers, and press.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be reporting in more detail about the trends and products we saw there. But to sum up in general terms, it looks as though green ways of living have branched into virtually every realm and phase of life, including childhood, higher education, buying a home, being a responsible adult (there are an inexhaustible amount of products for doing so), retirement – and even death.  

--Avital Binshtock

Crackdown on Africa's Illegal Wildlife Trade

Elephant A four-month investigation coordinated by Interpol led to the arrest of 57 suspected illegal wildlife traders in five African countries, reports msnbc.com. The operation, according to the Interpol press release, involved more than 300 law-enforcement officers. The arrests took place at more than 50 locations throughout the Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, and Zambia, confiscating a ton of elephant ivory, along with other prohibited commodities such as hippo teeth and leopard skins. 

Continue reading " Crackdown on Africa's Illegal Wildlife Trade" »

Green Your Thanksgiving: DIY Sauce and Stuffing

Cranberry_sauce Just thinking about Thanksgiving dinner seems to expand the stomach. This week, we offer tips to help you green your feast.

Tip #2: Do it Yourself

Consider making your own cranberry sauce and stuffing instead of dumping a gelatinous canned mass onto your plate and filling your turkey with glorified croutons. Spruce up the conventional sauce with some Fuyu persimmons, a seasonal food, or keep it simple with a touch of orange zest. For stuffing, get day-old baguettes from a neighborhood bakery -- or use cornbread. Substitute vegetable broth to make this feast favorite vegetarian-friendly.

What are your favorite tips and recipes for cranberry sauce and stuffing? Please share them as a comment below.

November 17, 2008

Daily Roundup

Detroit Details: As Congress hashes out a possible rescue plan for American automakers, Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope dishes the scoop you won't hear from the media. Taking the Initiative

Water Worries: Recent research links hydraulic fracturing, a drilling process used to access natural gas, to contaminated water. Of course, it's hard to connect the dots when even the EPA doesn't know what's in the drilling fluids. Scientific American

Top Videos: If the old saying, "we will conserve only what we love" is correct, then a collection of funny, cute, and disturbing animal videos is clearly a conservation tool, not just a fun way to use your bandwidth. Wired

Landlocked: A bill that would protect hundreds of miles of public land will be shelved till next year. Despite bipartisan support in committee, a filibuster threat has stalled progress. Grist

Oil Yo-yo: The United States goes "from shock to trance" when it comes to oil, President-elect Barack Obama said on "60 Minutes." Can we break the cycle? Dot Earth

High Speed Rail Gets a Vote of Confidence

Rail infrastructure needs modernization Amtrak CEO Alex Kummant resigned Friday, capping off a couple of news-packed months for the nation’s rail systems. In early October, Amtrak reported a record-breaking year for ridership from 2007 to 2008. Roughly 3 million more people got on the trains last year, and each of Amtrak’s lines posted gains. Officials point to skyrocketing petroleum prices as the main cause of the increase, though it could be an indication that the nation is warming up to the idea of driving less.

California’s Proposition 1A was amongst several rail initiatives passed on November 4th. The approved ballot measure provides funding for the long sought after high-speed rail line which will serve every major city between San Francisco and San Diego. This is good news for the environment according to our friends at Inhabitat, who dug up some facts from the California High Speed Rail Authority:

Continue reading "High Speed Rail Gets a Vote of Confidence" »

Fresh Food Drives

Veggiesl The holidays are fast approaching, and with them comes the annual holiday shtick: Trees, lights, holiday parties, gifts, resolutions and...food drives. Perhaps you've noticed the fliers posted around your office or school requesting that people donate "non-perishable" canned food items like tuna, corn, pancake mix, and soup to the needy for their annual Thanksgiving Food Collection . Donating food to the needy sounds like a great idea; but not if it's foods that we would only dare eat if we were stranded on a deserted island -- foods like tuna laden with mercury, vegetables covered in pesticides, and soup with half a day's worth of recommended sodium intake...all soaking in the leached chemicals from the cans they have been sitting in for possibly years on end.

If there is anyone who needs fresh, healthy, and organic food, it's the malnourished hungry people of this country. Fortunately there are organizations like Farm Fresh Rhode Island that run a "Fresh Food Drive" at local farmers markets, where people can donate fresh produce to the Rhode Island Food Bank and other meal sites. Also, Arm & Hammer has teamed up with the non-profit Feeding America with a goal of delivering one million pounds of fresh food to the needy. So leave your unwanted canned foods in the back of your pantry, and donate some fresh, healthy food. Oh, and you don't have to wait until the holiday season to do this, we're pretty sure the hungry are hungry all year.

- Michael Fox

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