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94 posts from June 2010

June 30, 2010

Daily Roundup: June 30, 2010

Energetic Negotiations: A meeting between Obama and 23 senators failed to quell major differences regarding a comprehensive energy bill, with Democrats and Republicans still at odds concerning a proposed tax on greenhouse-gas emissions. New York Times

Agitatin' Alex: High seas and rough winds from Hurricane Alex have hampered oil-spill cleanup efforts in the Gulf. New York Times

Big Deal: Joe Biden visited the Gulf for the first time yesterday, promising locals that their claims filed against BP will be honored even if they surpass the $20 billion set aside by the oil giant. Los Angeles Times

Make Him Dance: Females of the bird species Houbara bustards who watch males dance and display their feathers before mating have increased fertility and produce healthier chicks, according to new research. National Geographic

Buzz Words: Musician Sting has pledged to help the Bees for Development Trust, advocating sustainable beekeeping to counteract the mysterious decline of the important pollinators. Ecorazzi

--Sarah A. Henderson

10,000 American Flags Spell Out "FREEDOM FROM OIL" in D.C.

Freedom from oil flags on national mall Today visitors to the Washington Monument will see a patriotic display on the National Mall: 10,000 American flags planted in the soil, arranged to spell out "FREEDOM FROM OIL." The flags, which represent about 50,000 people who took action online, are part of the Sierra Club's campaign to urge President Obama to create a plan to move the country beyond oil within the next 20 years.

Volunteers staked the flags into the ground on Tuesday, and today's press conference included speakers from the Communications Workers of America and the Truman National Security Project, as well as Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune.

Check out the Climate Crossroads blog to see more photos and video.

--Della Watson / photo by Heather Moyer

Book Roundup Wednesday: Beekeeping for Beginners

Book reviewEvery Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. This week we’re recommending books about the benefits of beekeeping.

Honeybee: Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper (by C. Marina Marchese, $23, Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers, Oct. 2009): It’s difficult to pin down a genre for this book. Part memoir, part beginner’s guide, and part recipe collection, Marchese’s work is an entertaining look at one woman’s discovery of the joys of beekeeping. As the founder and owner of Red Bee Honey, Marchese has the experience to back up her advice, observations, and humorous anecdotes. The book is filled with quaint drawings and tasty recipes and concludes with a helpful glossary and appendix that details 75 varieties of honey.

Why Do Bees Buzz?: Fascinating Answers to Questions About Bees (by Elizabeth Capaldi Evans and Carol A. Butler, $22, Rutgers Press, Mar. 2010): Offering both basic and specialized information about bees in a question-and-answer format, the authors answer questions such as, “Can a bee hear?,” “What is the waggle dance?,” “How high do bees fly?,” and “What do bees do all day?” This collection of research is presented in an approachable and extremely informative style. Photos and sketches accompany many of the bee-related facts.

Continue reading "Book Roundup Wednesday: Beekeeping for Beginners" »

Green Your Independence Day: Party Preparations

Independence Day decorations Sunday is the 4th of July, and what better way to honor the nation we love by protecting and conserving its natural resources? This week’s tips will help you plan a bright-green celebration.

Tip #3: Accents and Accoutrements

Instead of buying all-new U.S.A.-themed decorations, look around to see what you already own that you could use. White Christmas lights could brighten up a late-afternoon get-together. Flowers from your (or a generous neighbor’s) garden can make the perfect centerpiece. Still yearning for red, white, and blue? Dress in it, bake a three-hued cake, or put out bowls of strawberries, blueberries, and sliced apples. Speaking of snacks, buy stuff like potato chips in bulk to prevent single-packaging waste, as long as you're sure it'll all be eaten.
 
Tell us: What are your best party-prep tips?

June 29, 2010

Daily Roundup: June 29, 2010

Slow, Steady Solution: Federal scientists plan to relocate some 50,000 sea-turtle eggs from Alabama and Florida panhandle beaches to protect the hatchlings from oil. New York Times

Fishy Findings: A new study shows that toxic levels of mercury are more likely in saltwater (not freshwater) fish, contrary to previous knowledge. New York Times

Liquid Assets: Private companies in the small town of Sitka, Alaska, are looking to sell up to 9.5 billion gallons of water per year from its Blue Lake reservoir to drought-laden regions. National Geographic

Cheating the System: Environmental activists have accused several coolant firms of deliberately increasing their greenhouse-gas emissions to receive extra carbon credits when they reduce to normal levels. ENN

Lean and Green: Go Green Fitness has opened in Connecticut, complete with 25 stationary bikes hooked up to individual generators to supply electricity to the gym. Grist

--Allison McCann

Greenpeace to Costco: Something's Fishy

Seafood After convincing Trader Joe's to sell only sustainable seafood, Greenpeace has set its sights on Costco. A new campaign targeting the big-box retailer charges that Costco sells 15 of the 22 species of fish at risk for extinction according to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), including orange roughy and Chilean sea bass.

"As the third largest retailer in the United States and one of the largest seafood retailers, the scope of Costco's impact on ocean ecosystems is tremendous," said Greenpeace organizer Casson Trenor. The organization's Supermarket Seafood Sustainability Scorecard currently ranks Target first and best; Costco ranks number 14 out of 20.

Continue reading "Greenpeace to Costco: Something's Fishy" »

Gardens Grow Up(ward) for Growing-Up Kids

Woolly Pockets The newest thing to hit the walls across America’s schools is modular, made of 100 percent recycled plastic bottles, and requires just two screws to assemble.

Woolly Pockets, created by vertical-garden expert Miguel Nelson, are eco-friendly works of garden engineering that “pocket” plants – everything from succulents to houseplants to fruits (even watermelons) – to hang off a wall or sit in a freestanding container. The simple system can work indoors or out and takes all of five minutes to install. Wally, the wall-hanging device, makes vertical gardening a cinch, as well as conserves water – a built-in moisture barrier maintains a small reservoir for roots.

Recently, the company started working with schools across the country through the Woolly School Garden Program (they’ve already placed more than 200 edible gardens), to provide tools and education about sustainable, local, organic gardening. The program connects kids with local farmers so that youngsters can learn about planting native species and using waste to make compost. Some schools have even started selling their produce at local farmers’ markets.

Continue reading "Gardens Grow Up(ward) for Growing-Up Kids" »

How To Get a Free Tattoo of Your Favorite Endangered Species

Tattoo This fall, 15 Californians will get to wear their environmentalism on their arm – permanently and in ink.

Tatzoo, a contest launched by San Franciscan Molly Tsongas with Together Green and the National Audubon Society, will award 15 young adults with a tattoo of their favorite California endangered species in exchange for 100 days of environmental activism.

After the pool of entries is narrowed down to 15 (the deadline to enter is Aug. 5), the finalists will be given a handheld video camera to document their actions. They'll have to reach out to at least 100 people about protecting their species of choice.

If the green leaders follow through on their commitment, world-class tattoo artists will ink the endangered animal or plant on the finalist for free. The species available for tattooing (and protecting) include the bay checkerspot butterfly and the leatherback turtle, among 13 other threatened California natives.

Continue reading "How To Get a Free Tattoo of Your Favorite Endangered Species" »

Green Your Independence Day: Better Barbecuing

Vegetarian kabob Sunday is the 4th of July, and what better way to honor the nation we love by protecting and conserving its natural resources? This week’s tips will help you plan a bright-green celebration.

Tip #2: On the Grill

Now that you know how to green your grill, what can you responsibly place atop it? Meat is the historical choice, but given that the raising of livestock for food causes more emissions than all the world's cars, trains, planes, and boats put together, it’ll behoove us to consider more progressive alternatives.

There are many faux meats on the market, some so excellent that even professional carnivores rave about them. Or you can pick up fresh vegetables at your local farmers’ market for a colorful kebab. If meat's a must, however, opt for organic, grass-fed cuts so that you’re less likely to be supporting the dirty factory-farming industry.

Tell us: What’s your favorite 4th of July recipe?

June 28, 2010

Daily Roundup: June 28, 2010

Act Two? BP is planning to begin drilling for oil in Prudhoe Bay, which is north of Alaska, as early as this autumn. Rolling Stone

Higher Ground: A group of farmers established a farm in downtown Queens—seven stories above the concrete jungle. Living on Earth

Silver Lining: The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act may be expanded to help compensate uranium workers and residents whose health has been affected by radiation. Daily Climate

Let it Shine: A new solar-powered bulb may provide light to developing countries that are off the grid, limiting the dirty burning of kerosene. New York Times

Inland Issues: Drilling for oil on land can make messes too; over the past 2.5 years, 5.2 million gallons of oil have been spilled in Colorado. Denver Post

--Kristin Baldwin


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