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78 posts from October 2008

October 31, 2008

Daily Roundup

Bee Well: Mites and viruses were the buzz at a recent conference on honeybee health. The conference, held in London, brought leading scientists together to discuss Colony Collapse Disorder. The Daily Green

Smell of Success: Brazil is rethinking its sugar cane harvest as critics choke at the practice of field burning. As the top sugar producer worldwide, a change in Brazil's method would be a sweet victory for enviros. About My Planet

Stop Cab: Mayor Bloomberg's plan for green cabs in New York City has hit a red light. A federal judge ruled that the city does not have the authority to regulate of fuel emissions standards. Reuters

Risky Drinks: British scientists have discovered high levels of heavy metals in wines from twelve countries. Consuming vanadium, copper and manganse over a lifetime could cause health problems. Now that's one heck of a hangover.  Scientific American

Treat List: Hitting the pavement to beg for candy? Make a list of top 10 vegan treats, check it twice, find out who's naughty or . . . no wait, wrong holiday. Ecorazzi

With Gas Prices Down, Drivers Fill 'Er Up

Gas-oil-vintage-sign Last July, oil prices climbed to a record $146 per barrel, and the average cost of a gallon of gasoline skyrocketed to $4.12 (another record). What happened? Americans realized they didn't want or couldn't afford to pay that much for fuel, so they started driving less. In fact, during the first quarter of 2008, Americans consumed 400 million fewer gallons of gasoline than in the same period one year earlier, preventing some 3.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere. Yippee, right?

Continue reading "With Gas Prices Down, Drivers Fill 'Er Up" »

Movie Review Friday -- Grizzly Man

Escape to the movies with one of our Movie Friday selections. Each week we review a film with environmentally or socially-responsible themes that’s currently in theaters or available on DVD.

Seen a good eco-flick lately? Send us a review of 100 words or less and look for your review in the next Movie Friday!

Grizzly Man (2005)
Available on DVD

In 2003, Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend were killed and consumed by a grizzly bear in the Alaskan wilderness. Prior to this gruesome end, Treadwell had lived among the bears for thirteen years, recording over a hundred hours of intimate video footage. Though Treadwell was a passionate activist, critics argue that these close quarters may have done the bears more harm than good. Indeed, the animal that ate Treadwell was ultimately shot for his infraction. Werner Herzog's mesmerizing documentary approaches the ordeal with restrained inquisitiveness. Archival footage of Treadwell's bipolar mood swings and naive, childlike love of bears begs a judgmental analysis, but Herzog opts not to air the juiciest footage--the audio recording of the deadly attack. It is this omission that ultimately grounds and humanizes the story.  

--Review by Della Watson

Sabertooth Cats Surprisingly Social

A reconstructed scene in the Pleistocene of western North America, showing a group of sabertooth cats of the species Smilodon fatalis, with several adults and cubs. Artwork by Mauricio Antón. Graphic courtesy of UCLA Newsroom. Sabertooth cats, it turns out, weren't much like our famously independent felines. According to new research published in the Royal Society's journal Biology Letters, the long extinct cats were probably social animals, hunting and hanging out together like lions. (With declining populations, by the way, that species may soon go the way of its ancient cousin--along with one in four of today's mammals.)

Continue reading "Sabertooth Cats Surprisingly Social" »

October 30, 2008

Daily Roundup

Get Smart: Denmark's tax exemption for electric cars has lured Mercedes-Benz to start selling electric Smart cars there. Another score for happy Danes. Cleantech Group

Vamoose, VCR: Time to clean out the basement, closet, or other black hole of obsolete electronics. Panasonic plans to roll out a new electronics take-back program in 10 states next month and in all 50 within three years. CNET

Cool Running: The New York City marathon will tread a bit lighter on the planet this year, with pedicabs shuttling spectators from First to Fifth Avenue and biodiesel generators providing power at the finish line. NYT: City Room

Vegan World: November 1 is World Vegan Day, our cue to brush up on the history of the meatless, dairyless, honeyless lifestyle from Pythagoras to Moby. Time

Cleantech Cleans Up: Venture capital investment in the green technology sector hit a record $1.6 billion in the third quarter of 2008. What credit crunch? Forbes

Brother, Can You Spare a Planet?

Power-station-dead-trees "Just as reckless spending is causing recession, so reckless consumption is depleting the world's natural capital to a point where we are endangering our future prosperity." That's how WWF International Director-General James Leape describes the findings of an international team of researchers in this year's "Living Planet" report [PDF]. A biannual effort of the Global Footprint Network, the Zoological Society of London, and WWF, "Living Planet" is a detailed audit of the world's biological resources, including plants, animals, and fresh water. In short, the conclusion is this: An ecological credit crunch looms. How's that for a Halloween scare? (Don't stop here--solutions follow.)

Continue reading "Brother, Can You Spare a Planet?" »

Three Ways to Spread the Green on Halloween

Share green tips Are your friends and family still in the dark about curbing carbon? Want to communicate your green know-how in a fun way? Here are three seasonal Web tools to share:

Find energy-saving stats and tips on Google's Halloween-themed energy calculator.

Refresh your quest to fight "vampire power" with Best Buy's Vampire Awareness Day campaign.

Challenge aspiring green parents to enter the Inhabitots Green Halloween Contest.

And don't forget to sign up for daily green tips from The Green Life!

Green Your Halloween -- Candles

Light with soy candles It's time for ghosts, witches, and jack-o'-lanterns. This week we'll provide tips for a greener Halloween.

Tip # 4: Set a Sustainable Mood

Create a spooky mood and save power by turning off the lights and enjoying the glow of the jack-o'-lantern. Conventional candles are made from petroleum-based paraffin wax, so light your (local, organic) pumpkin with soy candles. Soy is a renewable resource that produces less soot than paraffin, so the little ghouls and goblins can breathe easier. 

Browse the selection of soy candles at Bluewick or Way Out Wax.

Share your tips: How do you create a spooky, sustainable mood for Halloween?

October 29, 2008

Daily Roundup

Tainted Eggs: If you need another reason to choose local food (or go vegan), food safety officials in Hong Kong officials might have one. They announced today a second batch of eggs has been found with traces of the industrial chemical melamine. New York Times

Energy Overhaul: Fossil fuels could go the way of the dinosaurs by 2090, if researchers from the European Renewable Energy Council and Greenpeace are right. They released a 210-page report on putting renewables into overdrive this week. New Scientist

Wildfires have become twice as destructive as they used to be, and it's not all because of climate change. A new study shows federal firefighting strategies were misguided. The Thin Green Line

So Long, Durango: Beleaguered automaker Chrysler will halt production of its hefty hybrids, the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen, after months of promotion, countless promises, and zero deliveries.  LAT: The Science Files

Green Cabinet: Who might take the top enviro spots in the next administration? Get the scoop on possible cabinet picks. Grist

Animated Art

Chicken nuggets get animated in The Village Pet Store and Charcoal Grill, a new art installation in New York City. The animatronic exhibit is the work of Banksy, a popular U.K. artist known for his politically charged street art. The "pet store" features a makeup-wearing rabbit, a tank of swimming fish sticks, and a tail-wagging leopard coat. Much of the installation is devoted to processed food, and Banksy's sardonic creations reconnect chicken nuggets, hot dogs, and bologna to their animal origins. The effect is charming, creepy, and unforgettable. Odds are it'll convince a few folks to reconsider their eating habits. Since meat production carries a hefty environmental cost, those vegetarian converts might help to offset the energy used to power the creatures in the exhibit.

Source:  Treehugger

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