Time spent enjoying the outdoors recharges your spirit and gives you further motivation to protect the planet. This week, we'll provide tips for keeping your summer athletic activities green.
Tip #2: Make Yourself Known
In most U.S. cities, cars far outnumber bikes, making cycling more dangerous and deterring potential riders. Encourage green transportation in your community by participating in group rides like Critical Mass or local events such as San Francisco's Sunday Streets or Portland's Sunday Parkways. Can't find an event in your area? Make a date with friends. Remember to follow the rules of the road and be courteous at all times--you'll be more likely to tempt beginning cyclists to join you and to convince drivers that you belong on the road.
Share your tips: How can we make communities more bike-friendly?
Friends with Vehicles: General Motors launched ChevroletVoltage.com, a social networking Web site dedicated to its upcoming plug-in electric hybrid vehicle, the Volt. Treehugger
Trash Backlash: Brazil fined three companies that imported around 1,600 tons of garbage falsely declared as plastic cargo from Great Britain. Reuters
Hands Off: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar ordered a temporary freeze on new uranium mining claims in federal lands near the Grand Canyon. Washington Post and Sierra Club
This Is Your Brain on Pollution: A new study shows that prenatal exposure to high levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons is correlated with lower IQ scores in childhood. Science Daily
No Promises: Jairam Ramesh, India's environment minister, told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that India would not agree to any "legally binding emissions reductions targets." New York Times and CNN
Although the wine industry has traditionally been dominated by red and white varieties, there are currently plenty of wineries working towards green. Some package their wines in boxes instead of bottles or use only organic grapes. One has even achieved carbon neutrality. Hall Wines chose to focus their environmental efforts on construction.
The Weatherman: Microsoft chairman Bill Gates is reportedly working with a team of scientists to develop weather-controlling technology that would break up hurricanes before they hit land. Ecorazzi and Huffington Post
Pay What? Austin Energy, the top U.S. supplier of green power, faces low enrollment in its GreenChoice program due to the increased price of wind power. Green Inc.
Back to School: The Chinese government sentenced environmental activist and former uranium mine worker Sun Xiaodi and his daughter to "re-education through labour" for leaking state secrets and intelligence abroad. Reuters and AFP
Meth Mess: The Kansas Department of Health and Environment won't be cleaning up any meth labs this year--the Clandestine Drug Lab Response Program, which removed and disposed of hazardous chemicals, was cut due to state budget issues. Topeka Capital-Journal and Prime Buzz
No Jatropha: BP is getting out of the jatropha business after selling its stake in a joint venture to cultivate the shrub for use as a potential biofuel. Environmental Capital
Riding a bike to work is a great deal: you save money on gas, start your day with a workout, and help the planet by curbing emissions. So why don’t more of us partake? It might have something to do with the 44,000 injuries bicyclists incurred in traffic accidents in 2007. Or maybe it’s the fear inspired by the horn-honking hostility some drivers have toward cyclists. Either way, in any metal-bending battle between a bike and car, the car will always win.
Which is why David Zabriskie created an organization to help keep cyclists safe on the road. The record-holder for the fastest time trial at the Tour de France, Zabriskie has been hit three times by cars while riding his bike. The worst collision left him in a wheelchair. While he was able to recover and is participating in this year’s Tour de France, he realizes that not all cyclists are as lucky. So he started Yield to Life.
If the first step to quitting an addiction is admitting there’s a problem, then here we go: our culture is plastiholic. Americans alone produce double their weight in raw plastic materials each year. The world uses more than 500 billion bags annually, and the 97 percent of those bags that are not recycled pile up in landfills or make their way into the ocean, where marine life ingests much of them.
In May, Sierra reported on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch -- an expanding gyre of trash now twice the size of Texas, and one of the many impacts of our extravagant bag-use.
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 short review and look for it in the next Movie Review Friday.
Interviews with these journalists, combined with disturbing footage of factory farms and slaughterhouses, proves that the food we have come to think of as cheap is actually quite costly. While watching, we learn that, in addition to contributing to food poisoning, obesity, and diabetes, our increasingly corn-based diet is fueling a staggering loss of genetic diversity and an unsustainable oil addiction. Petroleum runs every stage of the modern agricultural system, from driving tractors to transporting cows to fertilizing fields.
However, the filmmakers do try to show that the situation isn’t all gloom and doom; they profile major players in the mainstream move toward sustainable foods (including the CEO of Stonyfield Farm, an organic dairy producer that sells to Wal-Mart). The film ends optimistically, with a reminder that people can vote for a better, healthier future whenever they buy food.
Timber! The sale of timber from Alaska's Tongass National Forest was approved by the Obama administration, marking the first logging contract awarded since Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced in May that he would review all sales in roadless national forests. Huffington Post
The Trees Stand: The Department of Interior reversed a Bush-era policy that doubled the amount of logging in western Oregon's old-growth forests. The reinstated logging limits are aimed to protect wildlife such as the endangered spotted owl. New York Times and Associated Press
Friends of Jaws: A group of shark attack victims are lobbying in Washington to support the Shark Conservation Act of 2009, a bill that supporters hope will decrease the incidence of shark "finning." L.A. Unleashed
Going Places: Zac Sunderland, a 17-year-old California native, became the youngest person to sail around the world alone. CNN
Cha-ching: Sarah Palin's op-ed criticizing the Obama administration's energy plan was reportedly the catalyst for a $100,000 day of fundraising at MoveOn.org. MoveOn sent an email blast asking for funds to challenge Palin's "false claims." Politico, Washington Post, and The Plum Line
Ever wonder how long that homemade beef stew you made last week will stay good? What about that can of almonds you opened three months ago? And how about those (line-caught) salmon steaks you grilled for last Saturday's dinner party?
The answers to these and thousands of other questions about food-and-beverage freshness, safety, and storage can be found at StillTasty.com, the "ultimate shelf-life guide." On its Keep it or Toss It? section, you can browse different foods by category (vegetables, dairy, meat, etc.), or enter the food item in question into the "Search" box. (We tried stumping the site with capers, chutney, and caviar, and got multiple hits for all three.)
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