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75 posts from May 2010

May 26, 2010

Green Your Laundry: The Right to Dry

Clothesline Whether you lug a bag to the laundromat or roll a basket into the garage, you've got to clean your clothes. But doing laundry consumes a lot of energy and water, so this week we're providing tips for an eco-friendlier wash and dry.

Tip #3: Let it Hang Out

Now that the weather's warmer, instead of tossing your damp clothes into the dryer, hang them outside. Line-drying uses zero energy (except your own) and we think sun-dried clothes actually smell better. If the weather doesn't permit (or for more delicate items), invest in an inexpensive drying rack that you can set up inside. If you want to use a clothesline but your homeowners' association forbids it, consider getting involved with Project Laundry List or a similar advocacy organization (before you do, check out this hilarious clip from The Colbert Report about the right-to-dry movement).

Tell us: How do you dry your clothes?

May 25, 2010

Daily Roundup: May 25, 2010

What a Job: A new Interior Department report alleges that the federal officials assigned to monitor drilling in the Gulf of Mexico regularly accepted gifts from friends at oil companies and, while at work, took illegal drugs and viewed pornography. New York Times

Salt on a Wound? BP’s use of potentially toxic chemical dispersants – 830,000 gallons so far – to break up the oil it spilled has become a topic of much debate, as well as a point of contention between the federal government and the oil giant. Greenwire

Innocent Victims: Wildlife officials report that more than 300 birds, almost 200 turtles, and 19 dolphins have died so far as a result of BP's oil disaster. Of the oiled birds found, 31 have survived thanks to rescue attempts. Scientific American

In the Green: A new survey of executives at corporations with revenues of at least $1 billion indicates that 70 percent of them plan to increase spending on environmental initiatives within the next two years. Reuters

Piscine Profits: New research out of Kenya suggests that closing fisheries and regulating the use of fishing gear, such as nets, can actually result in more profitable catches that raise the overall income of those who make their living by fishing. ENN

--Avital Binshtock

Green Ways to Mark Memorial Day

Memorial day As we remember the sacrifices of our servicemen and women this Memorial Day, it may be worthwhile to ponder a few eco-conscious ways to help commemorate those that will be honored this Monday.

Considering the serious national-security threat caused by our dependence on foreign oil coupled with all that oil currently washing ashore in Louisiana (and the military's response) – stark reminders of the environmental impact fossil-fuel dependence can have on our soldiers, ecosystems, and communities – why not commit to spending your Memorial Day fossil-fuel free?

If you're traveling on Monday, perhaps do it by walking or biking instead of relying on a car. You can also visit a national park to honor those who gave their lives to defend our country and all its beauty. Another option is to enjoy a scenic hike and a vegetarian picnic at your favorite open space. You could spend an hour writing a letter to the editor of your local paper to spread the word about the need for greener transportation options to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

--Sarah A. Henderson

Pulling the Plug on Gas-Guzzlers

Electric car Lance Armstrong is getting a new set of wheels. The zero-emissions Nissan Leaf electric car will be available for purchase in December, and the Tour de France champion will be its official spokesperson.

The Leaf runs on a 23 kilowatt-hour lithium-manganese battery and eliminates gasoline usage, allowing up to five passengers to travel for 100 miles between charges.

But what if you’re planning on traveling more than 100 miles in a day? Nissan’s website assures us that the vehicle’s navigation system displays the nearest charging locations. However, taking a cross-country trip in one of these cars may be a risky plan until charging locations become more widespread.

Continue reading "Pulling the Plug on Gas-Guzzlers" »

Green Your Laundry: Go Nontoxic

Detergent Whether you lug a bag to the laundromat or roll a basket into the garage, you've got to clean your clothes. But doing laundry consumes a lot of energy and water, so this week we're providing tips for an eco-friendlier wash and dry.

May 24, 2010

Daily Roundup: May 24, 2010

Whale of a Problem: If BP’s oil disaster kills just three of the Gulf's sperm whales, the endangered species will be seriously threatened in the region. Meanwhile, BP says it will spend up to $500 million over ten years to research the effects of the oil it spilled on the Gulf of Mexico’s ecosystems. National Geographic and Yahoo! News

Paying for Mistakes: Congress is preparing to quadruple oil taxes to help pay for related cleanups. The move is predicted to raise almost $11 billion over the next ten years. Forbes

Green Growth: New research suggests that if the recently introduced climate legislation passes in the Senate, it will create 200,000 jobs per year through 2020. New York Times

Fresh Plan: The intention to construct America's first offshore freshwater wind farm was announced. It will be sited just north of Cleveland, Ohio, in Lake Erie. Greenwire

Electric Avenues: Tel Aviv, Israel, is switching its public-transit system to become all-electric, including converting the taxi fleet to consist entirely of hybrid or electric vehicles. Globes Online

--Avital Binshtock

In Malaysia, Paradise Lost?

Coral reefWith its untouched beaches, coral reefs, and rainforest habitat, the Malaysian state of Sabah, on Borneo, shelters thousands of fish species and hundreds of coral species, many of which are endangered.

However, plans to build a 300-megawatt coal plant on an undeveloped beach in Sabah continue to move forward despite its probable consequences on the region's biodiversity. Many environmental groups argue that the plant's sulfur dioxide emissions will result in pollution and acid rain. Additionally, transmission lines associated with the plant will disturb rainforest land, making even more threatened species homeless.

A group of organizations called Green SURF (Sabah Unite to Repower the Future) is encouraging Sabah to continue opposing the coal plant and to explore other energy options.

Looking to act? Consider sending a postcard to Malaysia's prime minister to express your opposition.

--Kristin Baldwin

Green Fashion Monday: Green Shoes for Clean Water

Toms shoes On Fashion Monday, we highlight a hip, green fashion item. Got a stylish eco-friendly product to recommend? Tell us about it and look for it in an upcoming blog post.

Looking for a good cause with a good fit? Toms shoes has partnered with Charity: Water to help provide drinking water to Africans in need. Proceeds ($5 worth) from two new limited-edition designs, which are vegan and made with hemp and recycled materials, will go toward the construction of a well in Sekura, a northwest Ethiopian village that currently has no access to clean water. As with all Toms shoes, for each of these pairs sold, a new pair will be sent to a disadvantaged child. $58

--Sarah A. Henderson

Green Your Laundry: Clean Machine

Front loading washer Whether you lug a bag to the laundromat or roll a basket into the garage, you've got to clean your clothes. But doing laundry consumes a lot of energy and water, so this week we're providing tips for an eco-friendlier wash and dry.

Tip #1: Efficient Washing Habits

Front-loading clothes washers (most have an Energy Star label) use up to half as much water and energy than other, older models, so if you're in the market for a new machine, snag one of those. But don't run out to buy a new washer if your old one still works. Instead, wait until you have a full load and wash your clothes in cold water (it gets them just as clean) on the shortest available cycle.

Tip #2: Choose Nontoxic Products

Tip #3: Let it All Hang Out

Tip #4: Ditch Your Dry Cleaner

Share your tips: How do you increase your washing machine's energy and water efficiency?

May 21, 2010

Daily Roundup: May 21, 2010

More or Less: A new analysis of the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico estimates the amount could be 100,000 barrels per day, ten times the official figure. Meanwhile, the EPA may restrict BP from securing future government contracts; this could mean that the company would stop drilling in federally controlled oil locations. NPR and ProPublica

Easing the Load: Obama announced the first-ever emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, to be implemented in 2014. The next round of standards, for cars and lighter trucks, are slated for 2017. Sierra Club

Out of Tuna: Researchers say that the Pacific tuna population may crash at any time, as did the species in the Atlantic Ocean. Earlier this year, an international attempt to restrict tuna trade failed. Nature

Gilded Fate: It appears that the world's smallest water lily, which two years ago went extinct in the wild due to agricultural demand for its water supply, has been sustainably resurrected. Scientific American

Big (Green) Apple:
New York City's second-tallest building, the 54-story Bank of America Tower, is now certified LEED platinum. Reuters

--Avital Binshtock

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