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91 posts from March 2010

March 29, 2010

Green Your Spring Holidays: Passover

Seder plate Spring is a wonderful time to honor the earth’s fresh bounty, so it’s no surprise that many holidays fall during this season of renewal. This week, we’re giving you tips for celebrating your spring holiday of choice in planet-friendly ways.

Tip #1: Green Your Passover

Passover begins tonight at sundown, so today will be spent cleaning and removing chametz (leavened products) from Jewish homes. If you do this, consider using cleaning products from a responsible company such as Seventh Generation or Planet.

Since food is such a big part of Passover, set a sustainable Seder plate: Choose free-range for the hard-boiled eggs, organic apples for the charoset, and for the maror, grate fresh horseradish instead of buying it in a jar. For the rest of the meal, opt for ingredients that were produced locally.

Tip #2: Green Your Easter

Tip #3: Green Your Persian New Year

Tip #4: Green Your April Fools' Day

Share your tips: How do you green your spring holidays?

March 26, 2010

Daily Roundup: March 26, 2010

On Second Thought: The EPA proposed a veto of the 2007 permit issued for one of West Virginia's major mountaintop-removal coal mines. New York Times

Clean Sea Breeze: New regulations to limit air pollution from ships in U.S. and Canadian waters were adopted by the Marine Environment Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organization. ENS

The Great Outdoors: The White House announced a new initiative to encourage public discourse about public lands and wildlife. The initiative will begin with a conference on April 16. Sierra Club

Font and Center: The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is changing its email font from Arial to Century Gothic because the new font uses about 30 percent less ink when printed. Washington Post

Don't Cross the Line: The Sierra Club's new executive director, Michael Brune, told reporters that a climate bill with too many concessions might lose the club's support. "We will go to the mat for defending Clean Air Act authority. We are also concerned about offshore oil drilling," he said. The Hill

--Della Watson

Out With the Old, in With the New(ish)

MessyclosetLast Saturday marked the official start of spring, the season of cleaning. After you unclutter those closets, basements, and garages, we hope you’ll find new homes for your old stuff. Here are some suggestions:

To unload books, CDs, DVDs, and video games (and update your collection with new ones), join SwapTree. Members list what they're trading and what they want. Then, algorithms find the items they can get in exchange. The site is free — users pay only for postage (usually a mere $2).

Continue reading "Out With the Old, in With the New(ish)" »

Retired Navy Leader Says America's Fossil-Fuel Use is a National-Security Threat

Oil photo There's been much discussion about America's national-security problems caused by our reliance on foreign oil. But according to retired Vice Admiral Dennis McGinn of the nonprofit Center for Naval Analyses (CNA), the problem doesn't end there. All of our fossil-fuel use, he says, as well as our current electricity-grid system, threatens our nation's security and stability.

Those in San Francisco can hear McGinn discuss the findings of the CNA's report, "Powering America’s Defense: Energy and Risks to National Security," at the Commonwealth Club this Monday at 6 p.m. Tickets are $20.

--Jessi Phillips

The Journey Begins

Dog sled riders-sm Last week we reported on the Danish artist Ap Verheggen's plan to erect a sculpture on an iceberg near an Inuit village in Greenland to highlight the effects of climate change.

Here's an update: After some delays, the artwork is now in place. The team had planned to deliver its pieces by dogsled, but because of the ice's unpredictability, had to use a helicopter instead.

Shifting slightly, the iceberg has begun its slow trek out to sea; viewers can follow the journey via webcam.

--Wendy Becktold

Movie Review Friday: The 11th Hour

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.

The 11th Hour (2007)

Available on DVD

The 11th Hour is an information-soaked documentary about current environmental trends, melded with a brainstorm's worth of ideas to break our eco-hazardous habits. The film uses more than 50 researchers, scientists, and environmentalists to drive home the immediacy of the threat that we're posing to our own lifestyle.

Narrated and partly written by Leonardo DiCaprio, it lacks the high-drama entertainment value we've come to expect when we see his name attached to a film. But it's very clear early on that DiCaprio and his co-star Thom Hartmann weren't targeting viewers in search of a date-night flick. Images of climate-change impacts, including shots of Hurricane Katrina victims, set the tone. The shock value is apparent: You get thrown into The 11th Hour's dark world, then realize it's actually our world.

Continue reading "Movie Review Friday: The 11th Hour" »

March 25, 2010

Daily Roundup: March 25, 2010

Isle of No Man: A small island in the Bay of Bengal that was claimed by both India and Bangladesh has disappeared with rising sea levels. Officials estimate that 18 percent of Bangladesh’s coastal area could be underwater by 2050, displacing 20 million people. MSNBC

Declining Deforestation: According to a U.N. report, the global rate of deforestation declined over the past decade due largely to aggressive tree-planting campaigns in Asia. However, an area the size of Costa Rica is still being destroyed each year. New York Times

Yes to Yucca? A group of lawmakers are challenging the Obama administration’s plan to scrap the long-planned nuclear waste dump at Nevada's Yucca Mountain. ENN

Low-Carbon London: Ten boroughs across London begun efforts this week to become "Low Carbon Zones" as part of a program aiming to cut the city’s carbon emissions 20 percent by 2012. ENS

Righteous Rage: Angered by conservatives who have criticized Avatar for its pro-environmental themes, James Cameron lashed out during a recent press conference and has promised to make the environment the theme of his DVD-release plan. TreeHugger

--Wendy Becktold

Earth Hour is Saturday: Turn Off the Lights

Earth Hour You've heard of Earth Day, but what about Earth Hour? This Saturday, March 27, at 8:30 p.m. (local time), join hundreds of millions of people around the world who are taking a stand on climate change. It's easy to participate in this global sustainability event: Simply switch off your lights for 60 minutes during the fourth annual Earth Hour.

Worry not; you don't have to sit alone in the dark contemplating climate change (though reading by candlelight sounds pretty good). Instead, you can host an Earth Hour event, or find one that's already planned in your city or town.

Continue reading "Earth Hour is Saturday: Turn Off the Lights" »

Nature Docs Drawing Huge Buzz

Green docs Are nature films the new reality-entertainment craze? Wildlife documentaries have been around for decades, but celebrity-narrated, high-def nature films are generating a lot of buzz right now. A few indicators?

*According to the Discovery Channel, nearly 11.8 million people tuned into the debut of its new series, Life, narrated by Oprah Winfrey. That's about 1.5 million more than Discovery's Planet Earth got upon its premiere.

*Disneynature will release Oceans, narrated by Pierce Brosnan, on Earth Day, April 22, as a follow-up to last year's highly successful nature documentary, Earth.

*Even Sarah Palin is getting in the act: She's slated to host a TLC series about Alaska's natural wonders.

--Jessi Phillips

Women's History Month: Planting Trees

Kenya's Green Belt Movement planted millions of trees March is Women's History Month, so this week we're highlighting important events in the lives of pioneering women and providing a related tip that you can use whether you're female or male. 

Event: In 2004, Wangari Maathai became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She is the founder of the Green Belt Movement, which inspired Kenyans to plant more than 45 million trees.

Tip: Shade trees help reduce energy costs at home. When planning your landscaping, opt for native species, which will be adapted to your climate. American Forests provides tips for planting a tree

Share your tips: What are your suggestions for nurturing young trees?

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