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77 posts from July 2010

July 30, 2010

Daily Roundup: July 30, 2010

Taking A Side: In a three-volume report released yesterday, the EPA strongly defended the the scientific community's position on anthropogenic warming and stated its plans to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions as part of the Clean Air Act. Los Angeles Times

Damming Consequnce: Massive catfish in the Mekong River could be driven to extinction due to planned hydropower development. ENN

Watery End? Years of dumping, drilling, and negligent regulation in the Gulf of Mexico could make the body of water unsalvageable, experts say. New York Times

Saving Grace: The Bureau of Land Management announced plans to protect 170,000 acres of biologically diverse habitat in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve. National Geographic

What A Man: The face of Old Spice, Isaiah Mustafa, isn't on a horse or a boat this time – he's taking a full-fledged vegan cleanse. Ecorazzi

--Allison McCann

A "Tree" That Recharges Gadgets With the Sun's Energy

Solar tree Solar energy is becoming more mainstream than ever, with the production of solar panels in all forms, including soccer balls and heart-shaped roof toppers.

The most recent introduction into the growing variety of sun-collecting gadgets is Greendix’s solar-powered "fruit tree" that acts as a portable charging station. Its leaf-shaped solar panels charge up “energy apples,” which glow from green to red to show when they are “ripe” – or charged – and ready to use. The apple-shaped batteries can be used to recharge cell phones or iPods without using electricity.

While the idea of “energy apples” might seem a little extravagant, we think it’s exciting that solar-energy companies are trying to appeal to a younger audience.

--Kristin Baldwin / image courtesy Philip Fu

Movie Review Friday: Crude Impact

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.

Crude Impact (2006)

Available on DVD

In the 1950s, the U.S. was the largest producer of petroleum and the idea that we might one day run out of this endless resource was unthinkable. What was also unthinkable was the economic, political, and environmental destruction that one single source of energy could wreak – but Crude Impact plainly exposes the devastation caused by our addiction to oil.

The documentary begins with a brief history of oil production and the resulting global population boom, which the film argues has led to a consumption-driven culture with too many people and too few resources. Viewers learn bleak statistics too, including the fact that Americans account for 4% of the world’s population yet consume 25% of its resources.

Continue reading "Movie Review Friday: Crude Impact " »

July 29, 2010

Daily Roundup: July 29, 2010

Smog City: Moscow has a carbon monoxide level that does the same amount of bodily harm as smoking two packs of cigarettes every few hours. BBC

Protective Instincts: A plan to ship 16 radioactive generators across the Great Lakes has resulted in a global uproar. Vancouver Sun

No Small Thing: Since the 1950s, plankton numbers have decreased 40 percent globally. These tiny organisms are the base of the ocean's food chain and provide half of the earth’s oxygen. Yahoo! News

Here Comes the Sun: In Sicily, the very first molten-salt-based solar thermal power plant has begun generating enough power to provide for 5,000 homes. Climate Central

Beach Bummer: More than 2,200 beach closings or advisories have been issued on coastlines from the Florida panhandle to Louisiana, ten times the number from last year. AP

--Kristin Baldwin

Sierra Magazine Photographer Opens Gallery

Sierra magazine cover We love Clark Little's daring shots of waves as they curl and crash onto the shore, so we're thrilled to hear that Sierra magazine's January/February cover photographer is opening his own gallery in Laguna Beach, California.

Little, who grew up in Hawaii and learned to surf on Oahu's North Shore, started capturing his colorful, glass-like images of waves in 2007. "I love this work," says Little. "It's my passion and I get to have so much fun doing it, and now share it with this artistic community." The Clark Little Gallery will hold its grand-opening celebration on August 5.

If you can't make it in person, check out our slide show of Little's photography here.

--Della Watson

Green Your Bedroom: Flooring

Rug on wooden floor The bedroom’s where you spend much of your time. Even if you’re sleeping for most of it, it’s important to ensure that your home’s most intimate room is in line with the principles of sustainability. This week’s tips will help you get there.

Tip #4: Look Under Your Feet

You may not think about your bedroom’s floor all that often, but it’s yet another part of your home that you can likely make greener. If you’re thinking of replacing carpet with a more solid surface (to avoid carpet’s host of environmental and health problems), consider going with cork or reclaimed wood.

Rugs can help your flooring last longer; find one you love at a garage sale or thrift store. Or snag a snazzy one at a neighborhood swap or by visiting some online swap sites.

Tell us: What’s your favorite type of flooring?

July 28, 2010

Daily Roundup: July 28, 2010

Fits the Bill: Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) presented the Senate with the Clean Energy Jobs and Oil Company Accountability Act of 2010, which if passed, will remove the corporate liability cap, protect workers who rely on natural resources for income, and financially safeguard communities' damaged shorelines. San Francisco Examiner

Bad Air Days: A New England heat wave has raised mercury and ground-level ozone concentrations in the region’s atmosphere, considerably decreasing the air quality in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maine. ENN

Out of Gas: A federal appeals court rejected New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s push to require all taxi owners to switch to hybrid vehicles. The court said that only federal, not local, governments can mandate fuel-economy and emissions standards. New York Times

Lost Legend: Renowned cave-diver and underwater filmmaker Wes Skiles, whose photography graces the current issue of National Geographic, died while filming near a reef off Boynton Beach, Florida. North Florida Herald

Green Party: Chelsea Clinton’s upcoming wedding will feature an eco-friendly menu, including vegan and vegetarian dishes and grass-fed organic beef. Ecorazzi

--Sarah A. Henderson

Artists Take Aim at BP

The Gulf coast is reeling from a yet another oil spill and recent disasters in China and Michigan have provided further examples of the destruction wrought by oil dependence. Rather than wallow, though, some artists are expressing their frustration by creating oil-spill-inspired artworks. MutualArt recently spoke with two such artists: Heide Hatry and Jane Fulton Alt. In response to the BP oil disaster, Hatry created gruesome mixed-media sculptures of crude-covered animal corpses, while Alt (whose work is represented in the above video) photographed beachgoers covered in a dark, oil-like substance.

Continue reading "Artists Take Aim at BP" »

Book Roundup Wednesday: Environmental Spirituality

Books about environmentalism Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. Today we're recommending books about the overlap of spirituality and environmentalism.

The Way Home: Making Heaven on Earth (by Madis Senner, $25, O Books, Dec. 2009): For an interesting correlation between environmentalism and the afterlife, check out this book about the importance of treating the environment in a kind, heavenly way. Through citing Bible passages and other religious influences, the author asserts that we are instructed by higher powers to create heaven on earth. As such, Senner presents a compelling argument that respecting the environment and having a close relationship with Mother Nature is the only way to dismiss the material world we created and embrace our true identity as spiritual, not physical, beings.

The Green Devotional: Active Prayers for a Healthy Planet (by Karen Speerstra, $15, Conari Press, Jan. 2010): Providing a green and inspirational way to get through your day, this handy collection of environmentally focused prayers and quotes is an ideal pick-me-up. From Gandhi quotes to Qur’an passages, with environmentalists’ musings mixed in, this devotional supplies a terrific range of timeless ideas from some of the most influential environmental voices. Speerstra's hope is that each passage encourages readers to act on its message and live a life more in harmony with nature.

Continue reading "Book Roundup Wednesday: Environmental Spirituality" »

Green Your Bedroom: Bedding

Green bed The bedroom’s where you spend much of your time. Even if you’re sleeping for most of it, it’s important to ensure that your home’s most intimate room is in line with the principles of sustainability. This week’s tips will help you get there.

Tip #3: Green Where You Sleep

To make sure your bed is as environmentally responsible as possible, go with sustainable sheets, preservationist pillows, a minimalist mattress, and a fault-free frame. After that’s all set, tuck yourself under conservationist covers. Keep in mind that buying these any of elements used or organic is usually best.

Tell us: What about your bed is eco-friendly?

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