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80 posts from August 2009

August 27, 2009

Save Money By Going Green: Drive Less

Gas prices Going green doesn’t just save the outside world; it also can save the hard-earned money in your bank account. This week, we’re dispensing advice about one of the more self-interested aspects of being green: keeping your cash.

Tip #4: Step Away From the Car

Gas prices are one of America's most publicly bemoaned expenses. But consumers can take matters – and costs – into their own hands. By driving less, not only will you lower demand for oil, and thereby the average price for it, you’ll also keep your own wallet fat. To find out how much you can save by reducing your motoring miles, give this nifty driving-cost calculator a whirl.

The environmental cost of fossil-fuel dependency needs no introduction, but here are a few links in case you need reminding. If you must drive, read our tips for minimizing your vehicle’s impact and cost.

August 26, 2009

Daily Roundup: August 26, 2009

Anarchy in the UK: Camp for Climate Action held protests across London today in hopes of drawing a “link between the climate crisis and the financial crisis.” CNN

Let’s Talk About Wrecks, Baby: In an effort to address California’s billion dollar energy crisis, scientists at U.C. Berkeley are developing a new programmable thermostat with the capacity to communicate with users. Innovations

May Cause Earth Defects: A new study states that tobacco costs the global economy $500 billion annually in medical expenses, productivity loss, and environmental harm. Reuters

Outfoxed: According to a new study, the Flying Fox, the world’s largest fruit bat, could go extinct within decades due to legalized killing. Dot Earth

The Polar Distress: The population of Polar Bears has shrunk, and so has the size of their full-grown bodies. Their new smaller stature may be a result of pollution, dwindling sea ice, and inbreeding due to lack of options. BBC

--Julia Gelbaum

Tired of Coal? Wear It On Your Sleeve. Well, Wrist.

I'm tired of coal After reading article after article about the environmental horrors of coal, coal ash, and mountaintop removal, you might want a flashing fluorescent sign that says “I am tired of coal.”  Maybe you could settle for a bracelet?

Imtiredonline.com, a company that sells bracelets proclaiming “I’m tired of…” to support charities (the charity is different depending on what you’re tired of), has added a bracelet for those sick of coal.  Actress and environmentalist Daryl Hannah recently wore one at a protest against mountaintop-removal coal mining in West Virginia.

The bracelets are made from recycled tires (Get it? I’m “tired” of…), and cost $10. Half of each sale is donated to the Rainforest Action Network.

Other  “I’m tired of…” causes include animal cruelty, global warming, and discrimination. To learn more, or to buy a bracelet, click here.

--Sarah F. Kessler

Book Roundup Wednesday: Books About Greening Your Life

Books about environmentalism Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. This week, we’re recommending books about greening your life.

Almost Green: How I Saved 1/6th of a Billionth of the Planet (by James Glave, $25, Skyhorse Publishing, Sep. 2008): This account of a suburbanite's attempt to green one corner of his life begins with a confession: "My name is James, and I drive an SUV". Through humour and and self-awareness, this book might win over those who have qualms about the discomfort and expense of making eco-minded lifestyle choices.

Green Made Easy: The Everyday Guide for Transitioning to a Green Lifestyle (by Chris Prelitz, $13, Hay House, April 2009): This book, organized by categories like "Green Your Personal-Care Products" and "Green Your Paper Supplies," is a handy reference for making household changes. It includes recipes, step-by-step guides, and helpful resources that make being green -- as the title promises -- pretty easy.

Continue reading "Book Roundup Wednesday: Books About Greening Your Life" »

Save Money By Going Green: Tax Deductions

Tax deduction for charity Going green doesn’t just save the outside world; it also can save the hard-earned money in your bank account. This week, we’re dispensing advice about one of the more self-interested aspects of being green: keeping your cash.

Tip #3: Give Green

It’s only August, but many of us know we have a big bill to pay come April. To shave down that sum, and to ensure that your money goes to a cause you care about – the environment – consider making a tax-deductible donation to one of the many worthy nonprofits, such as the Sierra Club Foundation, working hard to save the planet. Yes, there’s an upfront cost to this one, but the write-off will be worth it.

Tell us: What are your favorite green write-offs?

August 25, 2009

Daily Roundup: August 25, 2009

Inventing a Greener World: Last quarter, a U.S. record was set in clean-energy patents granted. The number: 274, led by fuel-cell innovations, followed by wind and solar technologies. SustainableBusiness.com

Très Bien: Salmon are reappearing in Paris's Seine River; this year, at least 1,000 migrated through – a number far exceeding expectation. The fish are on the E.U.'s endangered species list, mostly because of historic water pollution, but cleaning efforts are having a positive effect. National Geographic

Encore Mieux: Air pollutants in Europe are decreasing, says a new report. Sulfur oxides are down 72% from 1990, and particulate matter is down 12% from 2000. EurActive

Fatal Work: An explosion in a Chinese coal mine killed 11 workers; three were missing at press time. Scientific American

Hope They Offset: Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) is hosting a climate-change tour this weekend; four members of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will join him in his home state to see firsthand the effects of global warming. AP

--Avital Binshtock

National Parks Week in NYC

Celebrate in NYC's Central Park Beginning September 19, the National Parks Conservation Association will sponsor a week-long series of public events in New York City parks. The lineup of family-friendly activities includes a candlelight tour of Grant's Tomb, a park-themed scavenger hunt at the American Museum of Natural History, and a campfire sing-along at Sandy Hook Beach.

The highlight of the week is called "Feel Free: A National Parks Celebration in Central Park." The September 23 event at Central Park's East Meadow will feature musical performances by Carole King, Gavin DeGraw, Alison Krauss and Union Station, and clips from Ken Burns's new documentary The National Parks: America's Best Idea.

Not planning to be in NYC this summer? Get inspired by reading Sierra magazine's interview with Ken Burns, then visit a national park in your neck of the woods.

--Della Watson

Lose the Car, Lose the Weight

Bike to work Losing their cars inspired a different kind of loss for 250 city dwellers who took on Zipcar’s “low-car diet” this year. The participants dropped a collective 413 pounds by giving up their personal gas-guzzlers for a month. They walked 93 percent more miles and biked 132 percent more miles on their new car-sharing plan.

The folks at Zipcar might be on to something: Maintaining the industrialized world’s most time-consuming work schedule can make it hard to squeeze treadmill time into an already booked day.  But with about 100 calories in every mile walked, returning to the world’s original “treadmill”—a.k.a. transporting yourself—can be seriously good for you and the environment.

Continue reading "Lose the Car, Lose the Weight" »

Save Money By Going Green: Save Energy

Turn the light off

Going green doesn’t just save the outside world; it also can save the hard-earned money in your bank account. This week, we’re dispensing advice about one of the more self-interested aspects of being green: keeping your cash.

Tip #2: Turn Off the Light

We’ve heard the admonishment many times: “Turn off the light when you leave the room,” but it bears repeating; sometimes we forget just how money- and energy-saving that little green action can be. Leaving six 100-watt bulbs burning for 10 hours per day wastes about $200 annually. Put that sum into a CD with 5% interest, and you’ll have more than $2,600 in 10 years. Plus, leaving the light on funds coal-burning companies.

Earth Hour, a global effort to turn the lights out for an hour, resulted in a 10% energy-usage drop worldwide last year; in Chicago alone, that prevented 420 tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted. (While you're at it, remember to turn off your computer at night.)

Tell us: What are your favorite cost-effective ways to save energy?

August 24, 2009

Daily Roundup: August 24, 2009

Water Hazard: New studies suggest that Atrazine, a popular weed-killer and common drinking water contaminant, may be dangerous even at low levels of exposure. New York Times

Forest Slump: In an effort to reduce rampant deforestation in Brazil, environmental groups are offering to pay farmers to leave forests standing. New York Times

Go Fish? No: As a result of the loss of sea ice due to global warming, the expansion of commercial fishing in the Arctic has been prohibited until researchers know more about the changing marine environment there. MSNBC

Pondscum Millionaire: A Chinese energy and research company that turns algae into biofuel is developing a new strain of algae that will grow faster, have higher oil content, and absorb more carbon dioxide. CNN

District Align: African officials hope to present a united front at the U.N. meeting on climate change in Copenhagen. African nations are among the planet’s lowest emitters of pollution but may suffer most from climate change. BBC

--Julia Gelbaum

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