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47 posts from July 2007

July 26, 2007

Daily Tip : July 26, 2007

To eat organically on a budget, choose minimally processed food, buy in bulk to avoid marketing and packaging costs, cook as much as you can from scratch, shop locally and in season, and deploy meat as a seasoning rather than the centerpiece of a meal.

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July 25, 2007

Pop Corner

Sweet LandFirst-time director Ali Selim's historical romance movie, Sweet Land (now available on DVD), was as low impact as it was low budget. The actors and crew worked under natural light whenever possible, carpooled to the set, and agreed to forgo flights home on weekends, while Selim offset any carbon dioxide emitted during filmmaking.

Advice on cooling beers and cooking out

Hey Mr Green In the July/August 2007 issue of Sierra, Mr. Green weighs the benefits of a new energy-efficient refrigerator against the environmental costs of replacing the old one and contemplates the campfire.

Curious, concerned, or just generally confused about environmental issues of all stripes? Send your thoughts and questions directly to Mr. Green, or weigh in in the comments section.

Daily Tip : July 25, 2007

Americans toss out more than 100 million cell phones every year. Keep their toxic ingredients (including lead, mercury, and arsenic) out of landfills by recycling your old cell through CollectiveGood.com.

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July 24, 2007

Healthier Hardware

Greener ChoiceWater-saving plumbing fixtures and nontoxic sealants can make your next home-repair project more sustainable, but they don't always stand out on the shelves. Plan-It Hardware is trying to fix that. The California-based distributor screens home and garden supplies for recycled content, energy efficiency, biodegradability, and other criteria to find the best products in each category. Retailers that stock Plan-It's selections get vivid "Greener Choice" labels and product guides to point eco-conscious shoppers in the right direction.

Daily Tip : July 24, 2007

Little steps add up. If organic foods made up just 10 percent of everyone’s diet, it would restore more than 6 billion pounds of carbon to our soil, and eliminate more than 2 million pounds of antibiotics used in livestock and more than 2 billion barrels of imported oil annually. Find out more at Mission Organic 2010.

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July 23, 2007

The Buzz

"The greenest ballpark in the country may be Fenway Park, because only an idiot would try driving and parking there."

--Sports Illustrated, March 12
* * *

"Environmentalists were no fun. They were like prohibitionists at the fraternity party. . . . The tipping point will be occurring when the environment is no longer seen as a nag, but as a positive force in people's lives."

--California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R)

Pop Corner

Extravagant weddings (and the subsequent bitter divorces) are regular soap opera fare, but Days of Our Lives added a new twist when it married off lead characters Sami and Lucas in a green ceremony. Their May wedding featured organic flowers and food, biodegradable favors, and recycled-paper invitations, all of which were touted on the show's NBC Web site. Also detailed online were Sami's nine "close calls": three previous trips down the aisle and six nuptials called off at the last minute. Will the green wedding be the one with the fairy-tale ending?

Sami and Lucas Green Wedding

Daily Tip : July 23, 2007

When traveling, look for a hotel that is working to save water and energy and reduce waste. Get listings at greenhotels.com or greenseal.org/programs/lodging_properties.cfm.

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July 21, 2007

Pick Your Poison

I like to pat myself on the back because I don't own a car, but if my boyfriend offers to pick me up after I've had a long day at work, I'm not about to say no. Despite what we know about their polluting ways, cars are still a part of life for many environmentalists. And unless you've converted yours to run on French fries or plug-in power, you've still got to buy gas. But where?

Pulling up to the gas pump is never something you can feel 100 percent good about, and the huge size and complex organization of oil companies makes their activities hard to track. But there are differences. When Sierra looked at oil companies, we broke our research down into four categories: Pyp_airfresh
Get a free air freshener listing our top, middle, and "bottom of the barrel" choices

  • environmental and human-rights abuses, e.g., oil spills and pipelines driven through indigenous communities
  • toxic releases from refineries, or how much pollution they create per barrel of oil processed
  • stance on global warming; and
  • green initiatives

Based on this, we gave our worst ("bottom of the barrel") ratings to ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips and middling scores to Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, Valero Energy Corporation, and Citgo.

Philadelphia-based Sunoco came off looking pretty good, but the company is relatively small and doesn't do its own oil drilling and exploration, so there are fewer opportunities for it to do ill. Of the big companies, BP ended up as our "best" (or, really, "least worst") choice because of its leadership on reducing CO2 emissions, supporting the Kyoto Protocol, backing off on drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and investing in alternative energy. Of course, BP has plenty of black marks on its record too. All the more reason to reduce the amount of gas you have to buy, by walking, biking, taking transit, carpooling, or driving a more fuel-efficient vehicle.

Check out the full survey or find out how you can get a free air freshener listing the summary results.

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