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60 posts from December 2008

December 17, 2008

Green Your Good Deed: Give Green Toys

Santa gives green gifts The tradition of giving is a fundamental part of the holiday season, even in cash-strapped times. This week we'll offer ways to get more green mileage from your generosity.

Tip #3: Choose Eco-friendly Gifts

Whether you're donating to a toy drive, playing Santa Claus, or simply spoiling a new grandchild, green gifts are your best bet. Support eco-minded businesses by opting for planet-friendly toys, which are often healthier for children. Organic Keiki offers both phthalate-free playthings and organic clothing.

Share your tips: Where do you shop or barter for green toys?

December 16, 2008

Daily Roundup

Tax Man: A prominent climatologist, James Hansen, is urging Obama to adopt a carbon-tax system instead of the cap-and-trade policy that the president-elect currently supports. Worldwatch

Matter of Degree: Though global warming is still a huge problem, it appears to have slowed just the slightest bit in 2008. Dot Earth

Continental Shift: Europe’s leaders have reached a deal about how to reduce the continent’s greenhouse-gas emissions to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. Nature News

Big Arachnid: A recently discovered spider species might be the world’s biggest. Researchers found it in northern Laos. National Geographic

Dry State: Water-strained California is subject to new federal restrictions on pumping water from the northern part of the state to the southern part. Officials hope the measure will save a fish species, the smelt, from extinction. L.A. Times

--Avital Binshtock

High Pesticide Levels Found in Some Drinks

Juice-based soft drinks

The United States fared rather well in a recent study of pesticide levels in fruit-based soft drinks. Other countries weren't so lucky. The worldwide study, conducted by Antonio Molina-Diaz and Amadeo Fernandez-Alba, measured the amount of common pesticides such as carbendazim, thiabendazole, imazalil, and malathion found in more than 100 drinks from 15 different countries. Beverages from Spain and the U.K. had the highest levels of pesticides, while samples from the U.S. and Russia revealed the lowest levels of the toxins.

Don't want to take any chances? Opt for organic juice. Share your favorite brands and recipes in the comment section below.

Policing the Toy Shelves

Policeman Conscious consumers have been using a handheld device called the X-Ray Fluorescence (NitonXRF) Analyzer to test for levels of harmful elements in toys. With 45 million toys recalled in 2007, more in 2008, and no major government agency regulating the industry, product safety is a major issue again this holiday season. 

Continue reading "Policing the Toy Shelves" »

Green Your Good Deed: Recycle Christmas Trees

Recycle christmas trees The tradition of giving is a fundamental part of the holiday season, even in cash-strapped times. This week we'll offer ways to get more green mileage from your generosity.

Tip #2: Give Your Tree Back to the Earth

If you opt for a real Christmas tree (Sierra's Mr. Green says that real trees are greener than fakes), help the environment by recycling the brown-needled conifer after the holiday. Trees can be used to restore sand dunes, wetlands, and fish habitat. Turn your tree into wood chips or compost if you're landlocked. Earth 911 will help you find a recycling program in your area.

Share your tips: How do you avoid sending the Christmas tree to the landfill?

December 15, 2008

Daily Roundup

Hey, Nice Bike: Want to stand out from the pack? Handcrafted wood handlebars will give your bicycle a unique look. Make

The Scoop: Massive layoffs in the media industry have hit the environmental beat. A number of renowned green journalists are now looking for work. Green Biz

Ideas That Work: When a holiday bonus isn't in season, these green gifts may bring the cheer back to the office.  Re-Nest

It's Official: Barack Obama announced the top members of his energy and environment team, adding that the new administration will make policy decisions based on science. Green Tech

Turning Trash to Treasure: Now you can trade unwanted gifts for something you might actually use. The holidays are the prime time to recycle at Barter Quest. Eco Child's Play

Obama: "Repower America."

In the video below, Barack Obama, seated with Joe Biden and Al Gore, states a commitment to "repower America" by using the problems associated with climate change as an opportunity to reduce foreign-oil dependence and create jobs for a new green economy. Gore introduced the "Repower America" concept in a speech earlier this year. Obama doesn't specifically commit to Gore's 10-year, 100% clean-energy goal, but it's significant that he's made energy policy and green jobs a dominant theme of his transition. Thanks to the Daily Kos.

-- Mario Aguilar

Green Your Good Deed: Save a Wild Place

Polar bear family The tradition of giving is a fundamental part of the holiday season, even in cash-strapped times. This week we'll offer ways to get more green mileage from your generosity.

Tip #1: Buy Gifts That Give Twice

Make your money do double duty by donating to a conservation organization in a friend or relative's name. Donations to the Sierra Club's Sponsor a Wild Place program help protect some of the planet's most spectacular wilderness areas. Still need something to put underneath the tree? The sponsorship includes a tangible gift, such as an adorable wildlife puppet or a 1892-style rucksack.

Share your tips: How do you practice generosity on a budget?

December 12, 2008

Daily Roundup

Isn't it Romantic? German luxury automaker, Daimler, has joined with Italian electric company, Enel, to make scenic EV drives through historic Rome, Milan, and Pisa a reality by 2010. Earth2Tech

No More Upgrades: A bad economy and lower gas prices are hurting green products, as consumers with tight budgets skip pricey hybrids or biodiesel retrofits. Reuters

More Truth: One of the environment's most recognizable champions, Al Gore, delivered a hard-hitting speech at the UN climate conference. Will his message be heard? BBC

Sweet Home: Sustainable design just became edible. Gather up the green gumdrops because Inhabitat is sponsoring an eco-friendly gingerbread house competition.  Inhabitat

Death of the Green Car? As Detroit's hope for a bailout fades, environmentalists wonder if they'll have to abandon hope for a green car revolution. The Wall Street Journal

Green Your Menorah


Most of the green holiday tips that pop up in the blogosphere tend to focus on Christmas, so we'd like to dedicate this post to the eco-minded Jews out there. Whether you're celebrating Hanukkah, Chanukah, Chanaka, or Hanukah (or if you just like lighting candles), there are several ways to green your menorah (and even your chanukiyah). Take this ecofriendly piece from eco-artware.com, a purveyor of art made of recycled, reused, and natural materials, as an example. Or if you'd like to start stimulating our economy, you could have this "Mixed Media" menorah, designed by Jenna Goldberg, for only $600. It's made of recycled olive-oil cans, copper nails, and mahogany. Don't want to spend $600 on a menorah made of recycled products? Make your own!

And what about what goes into your menorah? Be sure to pick up some soy-based eco-candles or 100 percent beeswax candles (don't worry, they're kosher) that burn much cleaner than conventional paraffin wax candles. To avoid dealing with waxy messes, try an energy-efficient LED menorah.

Have any other juicy Judaic green holiday tips? Share them as a comment below.

- Michael Fox

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