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17 posts from March 2006

March 01, 2006

Fine Dining á la Park

Seared Kodiak Diver Scallops from the Nenana View Grille in Denali National Park Meals rival the views at Alaska's Denali National Park, where sumptuous dishes like seared Kodiak diver scallops (left) are part of the Planet Evergreen initiative to use more local and organic ingredients. "Folks who enjoy national parks tend to be environmentally conscientious," says Doug Bradley of Aramark, which runs eateries at several parks. "So how can we serve seafood that is being fished out of existence?" --Maryann Hammers

(Photo by Chris Arend)

Media Lounge

True tales of heroes, villains, and eccentric adventurers in the great outdoors

a film by Werner Herzog
For 13 summers, self-styled bear protector Timothy Treadwell lived among grizzlies in Alaska. Unarmed and generally alone, he talked to the bears, gave them names, and filmed their fights and frolics. Werner Herzog's documentary of Treadwell's unusual life--and death--is both an inquiry into the nature of man and beast and a portrait of a complex person who produced intimate footage of the animals he loved too much.
Let's Talk Let's Talk: Discuss this selection with your friends and neighbors.

Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life BREAKING TRAIL
a book by Arlene Blum
"Next year, I'm going to the beach," Arlene Blum tells herself after yet another cold, calamitous experience scaling a lofty peak. Yet she returns again and again, becoming the premier female mountaineer of the 1970s, while blazing other trails as a research chemist. Would a PhD candidate today be told by a faculty advisor, "Forget it. No girls in my group"? --Joan Hamilton

The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and GreedTHE GOLDEN SPRUCE
a book by John Vaillant
The life of Grant Hadwin would fascinate even if it hadn't involved a sacred, one-of-a-kind tree. Strong, relentless, and smart, Hadwin spent years as a logger in British Columbia--and knew how to swim a frigid river and cut down the Haida Nation's cherished golden spruce. John Vaillant's "whydunit" blends mystery and natural meditation to mesmerizing effect. --Wells Dunbar

Walking It Off: a Veteran's Chronicle of War and WildernessWALKING IT OFF
a book by Doug Peacock
From the Himalayas to Vietnam to the desert Southwest, Doug Peacock's memoir covers a lot of ground, literally as well as figuratively. He recounts his deep, sometimes difficult friendship with Edward Abbey and wrestles with war memories and personal demons. Ultimately, his story is about confronting mortality and coming to terms with our pasts in the wild. --Carl D. Esbjornson

Chasing Spring: An American Journey Through a Changing Season CHASING SPRING
a book by Bruce Stutz
"Each place, each species experiences its own spring," writes Bruce Stutz. Driving north across the United States as it thaws and blooms, the author observes rituals of the season and oddities of nature--like the wood frogs that turn two-thirds of their bodily fluids to ice during winter and thaw in spring--as well as the effects of global warming, which threaten to change a time of renewal into one of uncertainty.

Fast Fact

Gaining grounds: Fair-trade-certified coffee is available from more than 400 companies at 35,000 retail locations across the United States.


Head 'Biters' Heather and Jen Heather Stephenson and Jennifer Boulden, cofounders, Ideal Bite

A pair of businesswomen who enjoy the finer things in life might seem like unlikely eco-gurus, but the cofounders of the Web site Ideal Bite have a formula that works: being "light" green and proud of it. The duo's confessional blog chronicles how their day-to-day choices affect their social lives, shopping trips, and eating habits, while their daily e-mail tips offer practical advice on everything from makeup to mutual funds.

Q: Why do you write about your misadventures in green living?

A: We're not perfect--nobody is--so no matter how eco-egregious you are, we won't shake our fingers at you.

Q: What types of tips get the most response?

A: We've gotten flak for recommending humane veal and "conflict-free" diamonds. But we're not writing for people who have already decided not to buy diamonds or eat meat.

Q: Where did you get the name Ideal Bite?

A: From the idea of an apple a day. If you don't want to eat the whole big green apple, just take a bite! Small changes, when done en masse and over time, add up to big results.

(Photo by Jennifer Nash)

Fast Fact

Cleaning the lint filter on your dryer can decrease the energy used per load by up to 30 percent.


HollywoodsChic sunglasses aren't the only things providing shade in Los Angeles. Residents can get up to seven free trees to plant around their homes by taking a short workshop from the city's utilities department. In addition to lowering household energy bills, pines, oaks, and others improve air quality and reduce water runoff. Trees for a Green L.A., initiated in 2000 and modeled after a program in Sacramento, has beautified neighborhoods with almost 50,000 trees so far. Find out more at ladwp.com/trees.

(Illustration by Josef Gast)


Only 31,042 franchises to go: McDonald's is testing out fair-trade-certified organic coffee at 658 locations in New England and New York. * The Clinton Presidential Center in Arkansas offers weekly tours highlighting its green features, including recycled-aluminum ceilings, 336 solar panels, and recharging stations for electric cars. * Prius-owning actor Leonardo DiCaprio has filmed a commercial in Japan for the Toyota hybrid. * Curb Your Enthusiasm creator Larry David is giving away his Prius to one lucky college student to raise awareness about global warming. Enter the contest at mtvu.com/partners/stopglobalwarming before March 3. * Last year, the nonprofit Wisconsin Environmental Initiative certified more than 850 new homes in the state as "green built" based on their land use, materials, and efficiency-- up from only 30 six years ago. * Sunset magazine's green-built "idea house" in Menlo Park, California, is the first in a planned subdivision of 47 units that produce as much energy as they use. * Down the coast in Carmel, director Clint Eastwood's new luxury-housing development features solar and wind generators, a water- reclamation system, and landscaping from an on-site native-plants nursery.

Check Out That Bike

Bike Library Who says there's no such thing as a free ride? At St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York, students, faculty, staff, and community members--anyone with a campus library card--can check out one of ten bicycles gratis for up to two days. Since the library can already issue a fine or hold up grades for late returns, there's no deposit or paperwork required. The program, which began last fall, has been "wildly popular," says university spokesperson Macreena Doyle. "As soon as the bikes come in, they're out again."

(Illustration by Josef Gast)

Fast Fact

Wind-power users in Colorado pay an average of $10 a month less than those relying on conventional sources. Find local providers at green-e.org.

Down-to-Earth Art

Cornwall Summer Circle by Richard LongNature is both inspiration and medium for British artist Richard Long, who creates sculptures out of the raw materials he finds--even the footprints he makes--during long walks all around the world. Gallery pieces like Cornwall Summer Circle (left) bring the outside in to memorialize these journeys. Work from his trek last fall in the Sierra Nevada foothills is on display through April at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Find out more at richardlong.org.

(Photo courtesy of Richard Long)

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