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87 posts from June 2011

June 28, 2011

WATCH: Stoveman's Uplifting Video to End Open-Fire Cooking


What’s a woodwalk? It’s the first step to making a meal in Kenya, which involves cooking over open fire. It’s also the title of the first episode, launched today, of the Paradigm Project’s web miniseries, Stove Man. The four-week long installments of short, energetic videos capture the experiences of Americans Greg Spencer and Austin Mann as they toil alongside people who live without stoves, including the Gabbra women of the Kenyan desert.

Lower respiratory infections, often caused by exposure to open-fire cooking, account for 6% of world deaths, and are the most common single cause of death in low-income countries. The Paradigm Project hopes to give 5 million families $40 stoves, the idea being to save people, trees, and money.

Continue reading "WATCH: Stoveman's Uplifting Video to End Open-Fire Cooking" »

Green Your Fourth: Vegetarian Grilling

Grilled tofu Independence Day is, from sea to shining sea, a glorious holiday. This year, your festivities can help protect those purple mountain majesties. This week’s tips tell you how.

Tip #2: Cut back on meat.

What’s going atop your coal-free grill? May we suggest a few excellent vegetarian options? A U.N. report says that raising livestock for food creates more pollution than all modes of transportation combined, so this is something to take into account. If cutting meat and dairy out of your Independence Day party isn’t an option, consider barbecuing fewer animals and supplementing those calories with salad or corn. And when choosing your protein, whether it’s beef, tofu, or tempeh, look for an organic label.

Tell us: What do you plan to grill this Fourth?

June 27, 2011

Daily Roundup: June 27, 2011

Any Other Name: New Joshua trees aren't likely to grow in Joshua Tree National Park, for the tree's range is creeping north with rising temperatures. Climate Central

This Sucks: The duo of DVR and set-top cable boxes use more energy than some refrigerators and air-conditioning units — and most of that power is drained when people aren’t using them (it's the manufacturer's fault). New York Times

Smelly Seas: The sea's scent comes from a gas released by algae and, since warming seas bring more algae, the world’s waterfront should smell stronger in the coming years. TreeHugger

New Neighbors: A plankton extinct in the North Atlantic for the past 800,000 years has moved back via a northwest passage through the shrinking polar ice cap. ScienceDaily

Breathing Wall: Fighting desertification, African nations south of the Sahara plan to install a wall of trees 7,600 km long, starting in Senegal. Time

--Juliana Hanle

Green Magician Turns Trash Into Cash

We've seen artists transform garbage into sculptures and paintings, but Steve Trash adds a new twist to the art of reuse: The zany illusionist performs feats of recycling magic. Trash says, "I find things in the garbage and make up magical routines to go with them."

Every trick he performs carries an eco-friendly message. During one bit, he turns pieces of paper into dollar bills with a flick of his fingers. Other parlor tricks include refilling an empty soda can or changing a deck of cards from red to green. While performing these sleight-of-hand displays, he chats up audiences, educating people about the value of recycling in a refreshing, unexpected way.

Continue reading "Green Magician Turns Trash Into Cash" »

Green Fashion Monday: A Sleek Water Bottle

Nau Kleen Kanteen water bottle 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.

When it’s finally time to replace your beat-up Nalgene bottle, consider going simple and sleek. The BPA-free, stainless-steel water bottle to the right ($38, including a one-year warranty), a result of a partnership between eco-clothing company Nau and plastic-free bottle maker Klean Kanteen, is a joy to carry. Its brushed-metal look, accented with a sustainably harvested bamboo topper, is achieved via a handcrafted process. It’s got no paint (the logo’s laser-etched), plastic, or rubber seals, and Kleen Kanteen is a member of 1% for the Planet.

--Avital Binshtock

Green Your Fourth: Cleaner Coal

Solar oven Independence Day is, from sea to shining sea, a glorious holiday. This year, your festivities can help protect those purple mountain majesties. This week’s tips tell you how.

Tip #1: Skip the Coal

Anyone affiliated with the Sierra Club knows how we feel about coal. To help lessen the 225,000 tons of carbon emitted from Independence Day grilling alone, opt for an electric or propane-powered grill, or a solar oven, over one that burns through charcoal. If you’ve only got a coal-fired cooker and can’t replace it yet, choose briquettes made of invasive trees, or biomass pellets from sustainably managed forests. Not sure how to find those? Look for products marked with this seal or this one.

Tip #2: A more vegetarian barbecue?

Tip #3: Let the sparks fly.

Tip #4: After the party...

Tell us: How will you grill greener this Fourth?

June 24, 2011

Daily Roundup: June 24, 2011

Jellyfish Jam: Operations at Japan's Shimane nuclear power plant have returned to normal after jellyfish retreated from a seawater cooling pipe. The jellyfish had been blocking the nuclear reactor's cooling system. Reuters

Who Killed the Electric Car? Electric-vehicle manufacturer Think Global filed for bankruptcy. The Norwegian company was founded more than 20 years ago and was owned by Ford from 1999 to 2003. Los Angeles Times

Net Gain: Researchers discovered that the "bubble nets" humpback whales use to trap prey are more complex than previously thought. A newly discovered feeding tactic has been dubbed "double loops." Mother Jones

Danger Zone: Canada, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Vietnam blocked a U.N. move to add asbestos to a list of dangerous substances subject to export restrictions. AFP

Animal Planet: Scientists discovered more than 300 new species in the Philippines, including a "laughing" cicada, a driftwood-eating starfish, and a deep-sea swell shark. Science Daily

--Della Watson

Zero-Waste Grocery Coming to Texas

Bulk grains for sale The first package-free, zero-waste grocery store in the U.S. will open this year in Austin, Texas, if founders can meet their funding goals. In.gredients will offer the usual grocery fare like organic produce, household cleaners, dairy, and wine with a refreshing twist: everything will be sold in bulk. Shoppers will bring their own reusable containers and bags to the grocery (or opt for the store's compostable containers if they forget).

Americans generate 250 million tons of trash annually and 1/3 of that waste comes from packaging, so a zero-waste grocery store would be great news for the environment. GOOD reports that the United Kingdom already has an all-bulk store, but In.gredients would start the trend in the United States. Founders are crowdsourcing the funds to launch the grocery; investors can contribute to In.gredients on Indiegogo.com.

--Della Watson

Movie Review Friday: Revenge of the Electric Car

Escape to the movies with one of our Movie Review Friday selections. Each week we review a film with an environmental theme. Seen a good eco-flick lately? Send us a short review and look for it in the next Movie Review Friday. 

Revenge of the Electric Car (2011)

Limited screenings available; DVD coming soon

Director Chris Paine follows up his successful Who Killed the Electric Car? with a new movie, Revenge of the Electric Car, progressing the real-life story forward from 2006, when American manufacturers destroyed as many as 5,000 electric cars.

Less than five years later, companies began competing in a race to bring affordable electric cars to market. Revenge of the Electric Car profiles key people at Nissan, GM, and Tesla, plus an independent backyard tinkerer, giving insight into their process, problems, and products. We get a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at those who manufacture the cars that can change driving forever, and we come to see what drives them.

It’s a fast-paced film with amazingly candid moments and strong, well-structured narration, delivered with just the right emphasis by Tim Robbins. This is a sleek package of a documentary that pits human personality factors with serious facts, all while keeping us in suspense for the next chapter — the one that, at least in part, we consumers get to help decide.

--Pamela Biery

June 23, 2011

Daily Roundup: June 23, 2011

Funds for Forest: Norway pledged $1 billion to support Indonesia's efforts to slow deforestation. Reuters

Gimme Sugar: Activist Willie Smits sees the Arenga sugar palm, which can be harvested for biofuel, as a solution for sustainable development in Indonesia. National Geographic

Serengeti of the Sea: After a decade of research, scientists have outlined two major marine life corridors, one stretching the length of the U.S. West Coast. Yale E360

Nuclear Summer: The British government confirmed future locations for eight new nuclear reactors. Guardian

Solar to the People: Energy secretary Stephen Chu committed to supporting Project Amp, which will install solar panels to meet more than 88,000 homes' annual energy demands. UPI

--Christa Morris

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