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76 posts from February 2009

February 23, 2009

Green Ideas Thrive in Tough Times

Waste not, want not--mend your clothes Is there a bright side to the recession? Green priorities are remaining strong, while old ideas like victory gardens and thriftiness are making a comeback. A recent post on the Green Skeptic encourages readers to use the economic crisis as a reason to get creative. Holland Cotter at the New York Times hopes the recession-hit art world will respond with fresh ideas and limit-pushing new work. In short, many green types are responding to crisis with more ingenuity and drive than ever.

Continue reading "Green Ideas Thrive in Tough Times" »

Finding Roots of a Stable Food System in Biomimicry

Grains For more than 20 years, the Land Institute has been working to create an ecologically stable agricultural system by developing deep-rooted perennial versions of annual grain crops. In doing so, the organization's breeders and agroecologists are attempting to mimic the highly efficient native flora of prairies. Their research suggests that perennial grains would produce yields comparable to those of conventional crops while vastly improving the health of our soil and water.

The Land Institute's researchers are among many professionals turning to biomimicry to solve some of our most pressing environmental problems.

--Melissa Weiss

Green Your Community: Share Tools

Join a tool lending library Green neighborhoods aren't just good for the planet: When times are tough, strong communities can ease financial burdens and provide emotional support. This week we're providing tips for getting by with a little help from your friends and neighbors.

Tip#1: Join a Tool-Lending Library

Save money and reduce your consumption by pooling resources with your neighbors. Tool-lending libraries allow members to borrow supplies for gardening, repair, or construction projects. Wikipedia has a short list of tool libraries in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Your 'hood not on the list? Create your own library with a group of friends or make connections online.

--Thanks to Green Life reader Laurie Rambo for this tip.

Share your tips: How do you share resources in your community?

Tip#2: Meet and Eat

Tip#3: Get Deals on Bicycles

Tip#4: Set a Green Example

February 20, 2009

Daily Roundup: February 20, 2009

Ocean Views: Google officially denies rumors that the mythical underwater city of Atlantis was discovered using Google Earth software. CNet News

Blocked: In a statement submitted to the EPA, scientists claim biotechnology companies are thwarting research on the environmental impacts of genetically modified crops. New York Times

Look Who's Talking: Environment ministers from more than 140 countries are negotiating an international treaty to reduce mercury pollution. BBC

Parched: Due to extreme drought, farmers in California's Central Valley region won't be allocated irrigation water from the federally managed Central Valley Project this year.  Reuters

Super-sized Strokes: A new study finds a correlation between the rate of strokes and the number of fast food restaurants in a neighborhood. 60-Second Science

--Della Watson

Sierra Club Success

Thumbs up The Sierra Club is basking in the recent recognition it’s gotten from a couple of high-profile organizations.

First, the venerable National Geographic named Sierra Club Outings the best adventure-travel company in the “hiking and trekking" category, which is quite an accomplishment, considering the stiff competition. We topped other organizations for which we have great respect, including Country Walkers, Classic Journeys, and the Wayfarers.

Then one of our all-time-favorite enviro-blogs, Grist, named Bruce Nilles as their eco-hero of the year. Nilles, who directs the Sierra Club's anti-coal campaign, has been a critical player in shutting down coal plants in the Midwest. (Fun fact: Nilles and Sierra Club founder John Muir both went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Go Bucky!)

--Avital Binshtock

Please share: What else do you think the Sierra Club should be acknowledged for?

Movie Review Friday: Ice Bears of the Beaufort

Escape to the movies with one of our Movie Review Friday selections. Each week we review a film with an environmental theme that’s currently in theaters or available on DVD. Seen a good eco-flick lately? Send us a review of 100 or fewer words and look for it in the next Movie Review Friday.

Ice Bears of the Beaufort (2009)

Playing at the San Francisco Ocean Film Festival (Feb.19-22).

Polar bear 

See the breathtaking trailer here.

Stunning, unrushed cinematography and editing; natural sound with no narration; and a spare music score by Patrick O'Hearn transform this film into a meditative plea to protect one of the most awesomely powerful—and comically playful—animals on earth. Can this magnificent bear and its largely unknown world of snow-capped mountains and magnificent skyscapes cope with ill-considered oil development, marine pollution, and global warming? It's a question perhaps only we can answer. Filmmaker Arthur C. Smith III will be onstage at the festival to answer questions and provide additional insight.

Continue reading "Movie Review Friday: Ice Bears of the Beaufort" »

February 19, 2009

Daily Roundup: February 19, 2009

The Dish: Desmond Williams investigates concerns about melamine in plastic dishware. Inhabitots

Breaking the Mold: Could the solution to the plastic problem come in the form of "liquid wood"? Eco Child's Play

Burning the Cow: A British town aims to offset beef production emissions by reusing cow carcasses as a fuel source. Green Daily

Charged Up: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom unveils electric vehicle charging stations in front of City Hall. Gas 2.0

Be Cool: Find five clever tips for lowering your refrigerator's carbon footprint. Chelsea Green

--Della Watson

Inviting Winter to the Locavore's Table

Honey In January, we explored options for eating locally during winter. By now, some readers may be observing their fermenting sauerkraut with trepidation while others patiently await the maturation of the sage seedlings in their new indoor herb gardens. And yet, at the end of the day, when our tummies grumble, we step into some sticky questions in the kitchen.

Now that we've invited winter to take a seat at the table, we'll have to find creative answers to locavores' most common issues.

1. Want to ditch those expensive, imported spices? Use herbs and hot peppers from your garden or the farmers' market.

2. Having trouble finding local oil? If you're an omnivore, consider cooking with lard or butter from a sustainable dairy or butcher shop.

Continue reading "Inviting Winter to the Locavore's Table" »

Green Taxis Catching On From Coast to Coast

Green taxi I don't take a lot of taxis, but I admit that when I do hop in a cab, speed and convenience are my motivation, not my carbon footprint. So I perked up while walking through downtown San Francisco this week when a Green Cab zipped by, sporting a spiffy green-and-white paint job and a checkered logo.

The company was founded in 2007 by eight veteran cabbies who were tired of getting pathetically low gas mileage in their company-issued cars. Green Cab is still a small outfit but the hybrids comprising the worker-owned company's modest fleet get 40-plus miles to the gallon.

Continue reading "Green Taxis Catching On From Coast to Coast" »

Honoring Black History Month: Green Camping

Black History Month, green camping In honor of Black History Month, this week we’ll be sharing excerpts of the new book Blacks Living Green: Small Smart Steps, written by Dr. Sharon T. Freeman with a foreword by Carl Pope, the Sierra Club’s executive director.

From the section called "Tips for Eco-Friendly Camping":

"While campfires are fun and comforting, remember to burn only fallen wood. Don't cut down branches from a living tree. Don't clear a new piece of ground to make a fire. Some campgrounds provide you with a place to build a fire. Look for previously cleared places and reuse those if possible."


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