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65 posts from January 2009

January 30, 2009

Daily Roundup: January 30, 2009

Hope for Work: Vice President Joe Biden will head a Middle-Class Task Force, which will focus on creating green job opportunities for Americans. LiveScience

Ready to Blow: Alaskans prepare for a possible eruption of Mt. Redoubt. Associated Press

Serotonin Swarm: Scientists discover that a familiar neurotransmitter turns friendly grasshoppers into swarming locusts. Scientific American

Dried Up:  Californians brace themselves for what experts suspect may become the state's worst drought on record. Christian Science Monitor

Busted! Police are using Google Earth to spot hidden marijuana plantations. PC World

--Della Watson

Boy Scout Loggers


What comes to mind when thinking about the Boy Scouts of America? The images might include campfires, canoeing, merit badges, and logging -- wait, logging? That's right. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, over the last couple of decades, Boy Scout groups have clear-cut tens of thousands of acres of forest that they own.

Why would a seemingly pro-environment group resort to logging their own pristine lands? "In public, they say they want to teach kids about saving the environment," said Jane Childers, a scouting volunteer from Washington state. "But in reality, it's all about the money." 

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Movie Review Friday: Defiance

Escape to the movies with one of our Movie Review Friday selections. Each week, we review a film with an environmental theme that’s currently in theaters or available on DVD. Seen a good eco-flick lately? Send us a review of 100 or fewer words and look for it in the next Movie Review Friday.

Defiance (2008)
In theaters now

After the Bielski brothers (Daniel Craig, Liev Schrieber, and Jamie Bell), who are Jewish, lose the rest of their family during World War II, they head into the forest to hide from the Nazis. A small group of neighbors soon joins them, and word spreads among local Jews that a growing community is keeping safe in the dense woods.

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January 29, 2009

Daily Roundup: January 29, 2009

Tweeting for a Cause: Social media takes a stab at social change with "Twestival," Twitter's fundraising event to aid clean water projects in developing communities. Mashable

Winded: Why is California lagging behind Iowa and Texas in wind power growth? Green Inc.

Selling Green: Find out how to keep your green business afloat during tough economic times. GreenBiz

Attack of the Worms: Liberia declares a national state of emergency as millions of caterpillars known as "army worms" destroy crops and pollute water sources. Reuters

Tests for Toys: Will new safety regulations put small artisan toymakers out of business? GeekDad

--Della Watson

Voluntourism: Take A Trip, Lend A Hand

Volunteer Inspired by Barack Obama's call to action, Americans turned out in droves for last week's MLK Day of Service, participating in more than 13,000 official service projects across the country. (The Sierra Club helped organize many of these.)


Now, with February just around the corner, many of us are musing about a vacation to put a little pep back in our step. But with the economyand our bank accountsreeling, luxury vacations aren't in the cards. So why not harness the spirit of service and participate in a volunteer vacation?


Working vacations have been on the upswing thanks to 9/11, Katrina,and the 2004 Asia tsunami. The percentage of travelers planning to volunteer during their vacations nearly doubled from 2006 to 2007. According to a new survey, 55 percent of us are interested in taking a volunteer vacation.

Continue reading "Voluntourism: Take A Trip, Lend A Hand" »

Cities Abuzz With Bees

BumblebeeA bus screeches to a stop. A car alarm goes off. Drivers exchange honks. These sounds dominate many of America's cityscapes. And yet, a growing number of cities are abuzz with another noise: that of the bumblebee. An increased interest in urban gardening, coupled with growing concern over Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), has led city dwellers across the U.S. to welcome native pollinators and honeybees into the metropolitan landscape.

Illinois: There are two beehives on Chicago's City Hall and four on the roof of the Chicago Cultural Center.

California: Membership in the San Francisco Beekeepers' Association has more than doubled over the last four years. Last July, the Pollinator Project donated pollinator-friendly plants to the Slow Food Nation Victory Garden.

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Eating Local in Winter: Regional Cuisine

Regional cuisine Depending on your region, maintaining a local diet all year long can either be a snap or a supreme challenge. This week we'll explore options for eating locally during the winter months.

Tip #4: Try Local Recipes

Traditional dishes tend to rely on local ingredients, so preparing regional recipes is a great way to connect with your area's history and culture. Get inspired by the Slow Food movement, which protects food heritage by promoting "good, clean, and fair" local cuisine. To be more of a locavore, buy from organic wineriesartisan cheesemakers, eco-friendly breweries, and sustainable restaurants close to where you live.

Share your tips: What is your region's local cuisine? Have you found ways to make healthier, greener versions of traditional dishes?

January 28, 2009

Daily Roundup

GOre Green: Al Gore spoke today to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the urgency of getting green done. TreeHugger

Saturdays Off: The USPS will ask legislators to permit an end to Saturday delivery; the move would save about $1 billion per year, a figure based, in part, on decreased fuel usage. PoynterOnline

Not Much: A new report says that the cost of battling global warming would be less than 1 percent of global GDP. SustainableBusiness.com

Watery Solution: Fertilizing the ocean to make plankton grow might help eliminate carbon dioxide. Scientific American

Gimme Five: Whole Foods markets will now have collection bins for recycling #5 plastics. Recycling Today

--Avital Binshtock

Book Roundup Wednesday: Books About Green Economics

Books about environmentalism New for 2009 on the Green Life is a weekly roundup of books addressing a particular aspect of environmentalism. This week, given that almost everyone is anxiously following the state of the economy, we’re recommending new and soon-to-be-published books about green economics and environmental money issues. Check back here every Wednesday to discover new and worthwhile books.

Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy (by Peter G Brown and Geoffrey Garver, $17, Berrett-Koehler, Feb. 2009): Invoking the Quaker principle of “right relationship” – acknowledging that all of life is interconnected and treating that fact with respect – the authors suggest reforming and downscaling the economy to a level that’s sustainable for maintaining the integrity of life on earth.

Inquiries Into The Nature Of Slow Money: Investing As If Food, Farms, And Fertility Mattered (by Woody Tasch, $22, Chelsea Green, Jan. 2009): Suggesting a new financial system that brings money “back down to earth,” this book, written by a VC expert, propones that investors place their funds into sustainable, responsible agriculture.

Continue reading "Book Roundup Wednesday: Books About Green Economics" »

A New Cereal Box

Cereal box You delicately nudge your finger under the cardboard flap, mindful of its crucial interlocking function, but it rips anyway. It'll never close properly now. You shake that off and focus on the inner bag, but the plastic immediately tears halfway down the side and spills cereal between the two containers. The whole thing will be stale in a couple of days and you can't help but think, "What a waste."

After years of breakfast-time torture, Kellogg finally agrees. The world's largest cereal producer rolled out a new packaging plan on Monday, providing 40 Wal-Mart and Kroger stores in Detroit with cereal in shorter, deeper containers. The six-month trial aims to sell the same amount of cereal while saving shelf space and reducing packaging waste.

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