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17 posts from March 2006

March 01, 2006

The Incredible Bulk

The WEEE ManIf all the old cell phones, television sets, and microwave ovens you ever dumped came back to haunt you, the specter might look a lot like the WEEE Man (left). Created out of 3.6 tons of high-tech trash--the amount the average British citizen discards in a lifetime--the robotic figure stands 23 feet tall. It was built to raise awareness of the European Union's Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive, which will require manufacturers and retailers to recycle their products. Find out more at weeeman.org.

(Photo by David Ramkalawon)

Tip Sheet

Ecofriendly travel doesn't require mud-caked boots and a backpack. Even if your idea of a great vacation is a grand tour of European museums, here's how you can make your trip greener:

For more ideas on ecofriendly travel, check out responsibletravel.com, planeta.com, and ecotourism.org.

Pop Corner

One of the hottest movies released in 2005 was the political thriller Syriana, starring George Clooney and Matt Damon. Clooney plays a veteran CIA operative who gets entangled in a web of greedy oil companies, cynical politicians, and corrupt regimes. Director Stephen Gaghan, who wrote the screenplay for the drug flick Traffic, notes that oil and illegal narcotics both come from "some pretty screwed-up places that you didn't want to examine too closely."

Loosely based on a real CIA agent's memoir, the movie (due on DVD in May) paints a bleak picture of the causes and consequences of our dependence on oil. The film's production company, which specializes in socially conscious entertainment, has partnered with the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council to campaign for energy-efficiency improvements, increased fuel economy, and other cures for oil addiction. Find out more at participate.net/oilchange.

Auto Atonement

TerraPass Enlightened drivers can rack up karma points by paying for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to those produced by their vehicles. For annual fees ranging from $29.95 (for a hybrid) to $79.95 (for an SUV), TerraPass will subsidize wind farms, methane digesters that turn cow manure into fuel, and other renewable-energy projects. It'll also send you a windshield decal touting your good deed, so you can convert as-yet unrepentant motorists as you cruise by.

(Illustration courtesy of Terrapass)

Fast Fact

Since London initiated a fee for private cars to drive downtown, traffic has been reduced by a third and carbon dioxide emissions by 20 percent.

Good Eats

Ocean Friendly Cuisine"Great taste and responsible seafood choices definitely do go together," writes James O. Fraioli in his cookbook Ocean Friendly Cuisine. The mouth-watering recipes he's collected from top chefs all use fish or shellfish caught or farmed in a sustainable manner. This one comes from Karen Barnaby, chef at the Fish House in Vancouver, British Columbia. It features wild Alaskan coho salmon, which is low in mercury. For tips on selecting sustainable seafood, visit seafoodwatch.org and oceansalive.org.

Coho Salmon With Pistachio, Basil, and Mint Butter
6 salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
1/4 cup shelled pistachios
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste

Pulse pistachios, basil, mint, and garlic in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Add the butter and lemon juice and season to taste. Pulse until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and refrigerate until cold. (The butter can be prepared up to four days in advance.) Preheat the oven to 440*F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and arrange the salmon fillets in a single layer. Pour the wine over the fish and season to taste. Bake the salmon until almost opaque on top, about ten minutes. Place two tablespoons of the butter mix on top of each fillet. Continue baking until the salmon is just opaque in the center, about five minutes. Transfer to plates and pour the baking juices from the pan on top. Serves six.

Advice for Campers, Car Buyers, and Clotheshorses

Hey Mr Green In the March/April 2006 issue of Sierra, Mr. Green weighs in on cremating cans and dry-cleaning clothes, debates the merits of biodiesel, and revisits organic eating, air conditioning, and sweating "the small stuff."

Should we all be making our fuel from french fries? Should environmentalists be cheering or jeering the development of hybrid SUVs? Send your thoughts and questions directly to Mr. Green, or weigh in in the comments section.

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