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88 posts from April 2009

April 28, 2009

Daily Roundup: April 28, 2009

Critters Celebrating: The Obama administration revoked a midnight ruling by the Bush administration weakened the protections provided by the Endangered Species Act. NPR

Alaska in Trouble: Sarah Palin’s state will be the first to generate U.S. climate refugees fleeing ice melt. Elsewhere in Alaska, lead from e-waste is contaminating the waters. Discover and Treehugger

No Go: The EPA withdrew a permit for a coal-fired power plant that was scheduled to be built in New Mexico’s Four Corners region. New Mexico Independent

Good Cop: Ever gotten a ticket for not wearing a lid while riding your bicycle? If you lived in Denmark, not only would the police have gifted you with a helmet – but they would’ve given you a hug too. Treehugger

Makin' Waves: Disneynature is so pleased with its $100 million opening-week take for Earth that it’s already planning its Earth Day 2010 release: Oceans. Ecorazzi

--Avital Binshtock

Solar Chicago

Solar panels Chicago's South Side may soon be home to the largest urban solar power plant in the United States. The proposed project, slated for completion by the end of the year, would provide roughly 200 green jobs and produce 10 megawatts of energy. If Exelon and SunPower Corporation secure a loan through Obama's economic stimulus plan, they'll redevelop 39 acres of an industrial brownfield site to house the 32,800 solar panels. If the $60-million project is built, city residents may breathe a sigh of relief: Cook County (where Chicago is located) is home to three coal-fired power plants, which contribute to at least 2,800 asthma attacks each year. The proposed solar project could power 1,200 to 1,500 homes a year--not nearly enough to replace the coal-fired power plants, but nonetheless a big step toward a clean energy future.

--Della Watson

America's Most Walkable Cities

Walking Leaving the car at home is good for your health and the environment, but some cities lend themselves to walking more than others. Whether you're moving to a new neighborhood or just curious about life outside your vehicle, check out how an area ranks on Walk Score's list of America's top-40 most walkable cities, which include San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.

If you don't see your small town on the list, type in your address to see a detailed map of the walking-distance amenities such as grocery stores, schools, and entertainment venues, and get the place's Walk Score. The scoring system factors in whether housing and businesses are mixed in the same area and whether streets are comfortable for pedestrians with bike lanes and countdown crosswalk timers.

--Jordana Fyne

Green Your Shopping Habits: Gifts

Green your gift-buying habits Shopping is an activity so ingrained into our society that we often do it thoughtlessly, automatically, or hurriedly. By paying more attention to how you shop and what you buy, however, you can make a difference for the planet. This week we’re sharing tips about how to green your shopping habits.

Tip #2: Green Your Gift-Buying Habits

It’s easy to be profligate when shopping for gifts. After all, we want to show the person for whom we’re purchasing how much we care about them and that we wouldn’t hold back when doing something nice for them. But in the long run, prodigal buying for those we love will hurt not only them, but us too, along with all of Earth’s other living things.

So how to green your gift-giving? Well, say Mother’s Day is coming up. Consider shopping online (thus saving the fuel emissions of driving to the mall) for a symbolic gift that will also help Mother Earth, like the Sierra Club’s “Sponsor a Wild Place Gift,” which, for $25, gets mom a certificate that lets her know that a wild place is more protected because of her, plus a cuddly version of an endangered species. Another green benefit? You can skimp on the wrapping.

Tell us: How do you green your gift-buying habits?

April 27, 2009

Daily Roundup: April 27, 2009

Small World, Fast Flu: Swine flu has become an epidemic so quickly thanks in large part to the effects of globalization and the density of human populations Dot Earth (NYT)

Last Hurrah: Check out this video of what may be the last ride down a section of China's Yangtze River before dams stop it up. National Geographic

Job Change: Google.org’s Larry Brilliant is leaving his current gig for the Urgent Threats Fund, which is headed by founding president of eBay Jeffrey Skoll and targets climate change, water scarcity, pandemics, nuclear proliferation, and Middle East conflicts. Nature

In The Bag: Plastic-bag makers are aiming to increase the recycled content of their products to 40 percent by 2015. Greenbiz.com

Buyers’ Market: While prices are down, conservationists are moving to buy open-space lands for the purpose of preserving them. Los Angeles Times

--Avital Binshtock

5 Green Gift Ideas for Mother's Day

Show the love on mother's day Make your mom proud by celebrating Mother's Day (May 10) with environmentally responsible gifts.

Ecofriendly Indulgences: Treat your mom to ethical chocolate and wine that'll keep her taste buds and conscience happy. Check out Sierra magazine's top picks for artisanal, organic, and fair-trade chocolates and our experts' recommendations for sustainable wines.

Perfect Plants: Organic, fair-trade bouquets are an instant pick-me-up, but potted plants look just as good, last longer, and improve air quality.

A Year of Fresh Fruit: If your mother enjoys cooking with seasonal ingredients, treat her to a year of locally raised fruits and veggies. Contact a local CSA farm to make your mom a member.

The Gift of Time: Skip the stuff and give your overworked mom a break by volunteering to run errands (on your bike, of course), prepare a healthy dinner, or tend the garden.

A Piece of the Planet: Help the Sierra Club protect the planet by sponsoring a wild place in your mother's name. She'll get a photo, a certificate, and a cute stuffed animal.

Share your tips: What are your ideas for green Mother's Day gifts?

--Della Watson

Green Your Shopping Habits: Clothes

Green your clothing shopping Shopping is an activity so ingrained in our society that we often do it thoughtlessly, automatically, or hurriedly. By paying more attention to how we shop and what we buy, however, we can make a difference for the planet. This week we’re sharing tips about how to green your shopping habits.

Tip #1: Green Your Clothes-Shopping Habits

When it comes to buying clothes, the greenest – and often hippest – purchases are vintage. For great finds, shop at used-clothes boutiques, online stores, or at prominent antique shows like Massachusetts’s Brimfield, Manhattan Vintage, or California’s Vintage Fashion Expo.

If you have to buy new, look for eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, hemp, or recycled anything. Buy classic styles (not trends!) so that your purchase doesn’t, in a year, end up in the landfill. And make sure your choices are well-made and durable so they don't fall apart after only a few months of wear.

Tell us: How do you green your clothes-buying habits?

Tip #2: Green Your Gift-Buying Habits
Tip #3: Green Your Food-Buying Habits
Tip #4: Green Your Purchases For Your Home

April 24, 2009

Daily Roundup: April 24, 2009

Wild World: Budget cuts at the Bronx Zoo mean hundreds of animals will be looking for new homes. Ecorazzi

Busy Week: Earth Day, Arbor Day, and World Malaria Day aren't the only things to mark on your calendar. It's also National Beanpole Week. Treehugger

At the Pump: California's Air Resources Board approved a low-carbon fuel standard, the first regulation of its kind in the nation. Scientific American

Going Up: Industrialized nations' emissions of greenhouse gasses rose almost one percent in 2007. Reuters

Say What? Al Gore responds to Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who questioned Gore's motives during climate hearings in the House of Representatives. Compass

--Della Watson

Green Humor

The documentary filmmakers who made Plagues and Pleasures on the Salton Sea are behind the cameras again. The team is working on a new series of comedic webisodes about environmental issues called Greener Schnitzels. Watch the first video below.

Go Green -- And Get Involved -- By Ditching The Gym

Gym After a long, stationary day within the walled arms of a cubicle, it's no wonder that many of us drive directly to the gym after work. Or is it?

The thought of driving to a gym is enough to make some environmentalists cringe. But even walking or biking to the gym doesn't account for the energy consumed by the facility's lights, TVs, stereos, air conditioner, and heater. There are some notable exceptions-- including several human-powered gyms that harness clients' energy to generate electricity. But even these gyms, which are few and far between, cure the symptom of human restlessness rather than its cause.

Continue reading "Go Green -- And Get Involved -- By Ditching The Gym" »

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