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106 posts from October 2009

October 28, 2009

Inspecting Climate Models

Sex sells. While people all over the world last Saturday submitted photos of themselves spreading the word during 350.org’s International Day of Climate Action, a handful of fashion models drew attention to the cause in their own way: by taking off their clothes.

At the beginning of this video, the models are dressed in heavy layers to represent 387 parts per million, the current harmful level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. How on earth do we possibly escape the life-altering effects of this warmer climate and get down to the ideal limit of 350 ppm? The models creatively demonstrate the importance of reaching this goal by undressing to almost the bare minimum as the numbers tick down.

The ad is certainly intriguing, but it raises some questions. The ladies are marketed as "supermodels" but it's unlikely that anyone reading this knows any of their names (post 'em in the space for comments if you do). Also, it occurs to us that the video almost encourages global warming; as it gets hotter, will hot girls be taking their clothes off more?

As we approach Copenhagen, innovative methods to convey messages about global warming are surely welcome. But while this video might leave some wanting to watch it again, that desire may not be out of concern for the environment.

--Michael Mullaley

Free Song from Sierra Club Supporter Sarah Kelton

Sarah Kelton is offering her song "The River's Tears" on the Sierra Club's social network Climate Crossroads as a free music download.

Kelton's roots are in folk and her tunes have been played on FOX, NBC, and MTV's "Making the Band." After spending a year playing in Nashville, she's heading back into the recording studio. 

"I eat mostly organic foods because I strive for optimal health and because I believe in clean farming processes that sustain a healthy Earth," she said. "To me, any product, action, or organization that is protecting the environment is important and should be supported."

Click here for the free download.

--Brian Foley

Book Roundup Wednesday: Books About Cooking Responsibly

Books about environmentalismEvery Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. Today we're recommending books about cooking and preparing food with consciousness.

The Conscious Cook: Delicious Meatless Recipes That Will Change the Way You Eat (by Tal Ronnen, $29, William Morrow Cookbooks, Oct. 2009): Chef Tal Ronnen compiles delicious and simple vegan recipes that even devoted carnivores will crave. Think gardein “steak” sandwich with watercress, red pepper, and horseradish mayo. Or a “chicken” salad sandwich or many mouth-watering desserts. Most recipes are paired with pictures, which provide half the fun, and there are also interviews with green restaurateurs and innovative vegetarians, as well as recipes from guest chefs.

Sustainable Food: How to Buy Right and Spend Less (by Elsie McDonough, $8, Chelsea Green, Sept. 2009): This latest installment from Chelsea Green Guides teaches readers the first step in green cooking: how to buy eco-friendly foods. The book is divided by food groups (including beverages) with an introduction that will help anyone new to green living understand sustainable-food vocabulary. This guide is easy to read and small enough to tote in your reusable grocery bag during your market trips.

Canning & Preserving Your Own Harvest (by Carla Emery and Lorene Edwards Forkner, $17, Sasquatch Books, Aug. 2009): If you’ve already learned to grow fruits and vegetables, this book will tell you how to save your fresh produce for the off-season with easy-to-follow directions about how to preserve foods the old-fashioned way: curing, canning, drying, pickling, and freezing. The book's second half contains recipes for jams, purées, cheeses, meats, oils, and more.

Continue reading "Book Roundup Wednesday: Books About Cooking Responsibly" »

Green Your Halloween: Thoughtful Treats

Green trick or treat With all the ghouls and goblins that come out for Halloween, the scariest thing by far is still the looming threat of an unsustainable world. This week’s tips are about how to slay your eco-demons on All Hallows’ Eve.

Tip #3: Give Green

Be conscious about what you hand to young trick-or-treaters this year. Opt for organic or vegan candy and chocolate, or to be unique, you can give out quarters (especially if you encounter particularly thoughtful children trick-or-treating for a cause) or small toys bought from Goodwill or a similar used-goods store.

Tell us: What treats will you be handing out this year?

October 27, 2009

Daily Roundup: October 27, 2009

More Than Half: A World Bank study determined that greenhouse gases from the processes involved in raising animals for food account for 51 percent of human-caused emissions. ENN

Trendy Statement Untrue: Statisticians have officially disproved the recently popular claim that the planet is now cooling. San Francisco Chronicle

Speedy Slaughter:
Just a day after Montana’s wolf-hunting season started, the southern part of the state ended it because the number of wolves killed there surpassed the region’s quota. Victims of the hunt included three alpha wolves that were crucial to a study that’s currently underway. Los Angeles Times and Treehugger

Big Promise:
The E.U. offered to cut its member nations’ emissions between 80 and 95 percent by 2050, and from 20 to 30 percent by 2020 if a climate-change deal is reached in Copenhagen. The Guardian

Firing Up:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is suing the Yes Men group of actors and stuntmen for staging a fake news conference “announcing” that the chamber had changed its skeptical stance on global warming. The chamber is also using Google ads to raise money and awareness against “attacks” from “liberal left-wing extremist groups and their leftist allies.” New York Times and Huffington Post

--Avital Binshtock

South Park Spoofs Dolphin Hunt

In the town of South Park, no subject is sacred, including the controversial Japanese dolphin trade. While the plight of marine mammals has been explored in the documentary The Cove and the television series Whale Wars, we're betting that South Park's upcoming episode, "Whale Whores," will offer the most humorous treatment of the subject. According to Ecorazzi, the attack shown in the above clip compels Stan to take on the dolphins' cause. The cartoon character could use high-profile activists for inspiration, so we're curious to see how the story plays out. The full episode is scheduled to air Wednesday night on Comedy Central.

--Della Watson

Brief Book Review: Wallace Stegner's West

Wallace Stegner's West Wallace Stegner's West (edited by Page Stegner, Heyday Books, $19, Oct. 2008)

Wallace Stegner won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. But his greatest contribution might well have been as mentor to arguably the most influential, environmentally savvy writers America has seen since Emerson and Thoreau’s transcendentalism. The director and founder of Stanford University’s creative writing program, his sphere of influence included Wendell Berry, Edward Abbey, Larry McMurtry, Barry Lopez, and Robert Hass.

Wallace Stegner’s West gives us the very best of his visionary writing, framing the West in his own words. Compiled, edited, and introduced by his son Page, several previously unpublished essays are part of this important collection.

--Pamela Biery

Running Barefoot for the Children

Saving the world one barefoot at a time As important as it is to reduce our eco-footprints, we sometimes forget that many people around the world live in poverty and are unable to afford things we consider basic necessities, like shoes. Children in developing countries often grow up barefoot, making them susceptible to contracting diseases through cuts and sores from contaminated soil and water. One environmentalist is hoping to draw attention to this plaguing issue in a unique way: He's running a marathon barefoot.

Casey Cochran, CEO and founder of the Green Guide Network, will be running the Santa Barbara Marathon on Dec. 6 shoeless in support of Toms Shoes, a company that provides shoes to children in need. Cochran, who enjoys finding creative, economical ways to live green (he saves gallons of water by not wearing socks!), hopes to raise enough money to send 1,000 pairs of shoes. To read about how he's preparing for the challenge, visit his barefoot blog.

There are two ways to get involved: First, you can purchase a pair of shoes for yourself or a friend; with every purchase, Toms donates a pair to children. Second, you can donate to the Friends of Toms, a nonprofit dedicated to eradicating podoconiosis, a disease that plagues those who walk barefoot in silica-rich soil but is completely preventable by shoes. Just enter “Casey Cochran” in the “in honor of” field on the donation page so he can keep track.

--Michael Mullaley

Green Your Halloween: Vintage Costumes

Vintage Halloween costume With all the ghouls and goblins that come out for Halloween, the scariest thing by far is still the looming threat of an unsustainable world. This week’s tips are about how to slay your eco-demons on All Hallows’ Eve.

Tip #2: Get Used

Instead of buying one of those cheaply made, plastic-packaged costumes at the Halloween store, hit Goodwill or another vintage shop equally rife with clever items and ideas. Renting retro garb is also green. Or swap costumes with someone whose getup you admired last year.

Tell us: What’s your Halloween costume this year?

October 26, 2009

Daily Roundup: October 26, 2009

3. 5. 0. Saturday was the International Day of Climate Action, and people around the world showed their concern by portraying the number 350 (in parts per million, the amount of carbon dioxide that’s the safe upper limit) in every way possible. Treehugger, GreenMuze, and CNN

Executive Frown:
The Obama administration confronted the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, America's most powerful business organization, about the chamber’s skeptical position on climate change. Los Angeles Times

The Tab: The EPA estimated that passing the climate bill would raise a typical U.S. household's annual energy costs by about $100. About.com

BioBad? The current laws regulating biofuels may worsen climate change, according to scientists, because the government doesn't keep track of their carbon emissions. NPR

Green Glitz: Last night’s Environmental Media Association awards (EMAs), which honors green people in the entertainment industry, bestowed recognition on Sir Richard Branson, Jason Mraz, and the producers of the film 2012. Presenters included Harrison Ford, Ed Begley Jr., Amy Smart, and other eco-celebs. Ecorazzi

--Avital Binshtock

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